Two champions were crowned on February 24, 2019 at Empire Polo Club in Indio, California, in the finals of the Pacific Coast Circuit General George S. Patton Jr., with Lockton claiming their second consecutive 8-goal title in a 13-8 victory over Ridgway Hemp. The 4-goal final directly followed with exceptional open play performance from Buffalos, claiming the 9-5 victory over Hanalei Bay.
Facing each other in the final once again, Lockton (Athena Malin, Tommy Costello, Andres Gonzalez, Shane Rice) and Ridgway Hemp (Beau Staley, Meghan Gracida, Carlos Hernandez, Memo Gracida) battled in another hard-fought game that was ultimately decided in the final chukkers. Scoring opened with a field goal from Staley, erasing the one-goal advantage Lockton held on handicap. Ridgway Hemp’s defensive performance kept Lockton off the scoreboard in chukker one. Lockton responded with a three-goal second chukker, a balanced attack with a goal each from Rice, Gonzalez and Costello to gain a 4-3 lead. The high-scoring first half continued into the third chukker, with Hernandez scoring two field goals in quick succession, pushing Ridgway Hemp ahead by one. The lead then changed hands for a fourth time behind three consecutive goals from Lockton, including a Penalty 3 conversion for Rice, providing Lockton with a comfortable two-goal lead 7-5 at the half.
A clean first half produced just three combined penalty opportunities on goal between the two teams, but Ridgway Hemp restored the tie with two penalty conversions from Hernandez and Memo Gracida. Substituting for Tim Kelly, Athena Malin made her mark with her first goal of the game, giving Lockton a slim one-goal lead. Throughout the first four chukkers, neither team was able to gain control of the game, a strong fifth chukker from Lockton finally separated the field. Gonzalez continued to provide a scoring presence for Lockton, scoring his fourth and fifth field goals of the game, while Ridgway Hemp’s only offense came from the penalty line on a Penalty 2 conversion for Hernandez. Holding a three-goal lead, Lockton focused on their defense in the final chukker, successfully keeping Ridgway Hemp off the scoreboard to claim the victory 13-8. Most Valuable Player was awarded to Shane Rice and Memo Gracida’s mare Stripes claimed Best Playing Pony honors.
In the second final of the action-packed day on Field 1, Buffalos (Piers Bossom, Felipe Sordelli, Tim Rudy, Ross Adam) challenged reigning 4-goal champions Hanalei Bay (Krista Bonaguidi, Joe Coors, Ignacio Saracco, Luis Saracco). Hanalei Bay asserted themselves from the field in the first, controlling possession to hold a 2-0 lead on goals from Ignacio Saracco and Bonaguidi. Buffalos failed to find the goal in the first chukker, but came alive in a strong second chukker, led by three goals from Rudy. Foul trouble for Hanalei Bay became a contributing factor in their inability to score for the remainder of the half, with Buffalos utilizing multiple Penalty 5’s to generate a consistent attack. A fourth goal from Rudy, along with a field goal from Adam gave Buffalos a 5-2 lead at halftime.
The pace increased to begin the second half, with just one whistle blown in the fourth chukker in end-to-end action that favored Buffalos. Sordelli and Coors traded goals in the first minutes of the fourth chukker, but Buffalos took command after field goals from each of Bossom, Sordelli and Rudy extended their advantage to six. Protecting their lead, Buffalos sat back in the final chukker, allowing Hanalei Bay’s Luis Saracco to cut into the deficit with two final goals, but it wasn’t enough as they were defeated by Buffalos 9-5. Most Valuable Player was presented to Tim Rudy as game high-scorer after his five-goal performance, while Rudy’s Chrome claimed the Best Playing Pony award.