A great crowd lined Winthrop field at the Myopia Polo Club in Hamilton, Massachusetts for the first semifinal game of the National Youth Tournament Series (NYTS). Zone 3 (Florida Circuit) coached by Tom Goodspeed faced off against defending champions, Zone 4 (Eastern/Northeastern Circuit) coached by Team USPA member, Nick Snow. Benji Daniels began the scoring with a goal from the field for Zone 3. JP Vasquez answered with a goal to put Zone 4 on the board. The remainder of the chukker was decided on fouls. A penalty 4 conversion from Nico Escobar, followed by two penalty 2 conversions from Zone 4’s Tommy Huber, left the score 3-2 in favor of Zone 4 at the end of the first chukker. Escobar and Huber continued to showcase consistent penalty shooting in the second chukker. Escobar converted two, Huber one. A final goal from Daniels (his second of the game) put Zone 3 in the lead by one at the half.
Zone 3 continued to build off of their third chukker lead with two consecutive field goals by Matias Gonzalez. George Hempt converted a penalty 3 and Zone 4 trailed by two at the end of the third chukker. In the first two minutes of play in the final chukker, Daniel’s horse slipped and went down—Daniel’s walked off the field, but required a substitute. Nico Escobar’s younger brother Lucas Escobar was chosen to fill in. Play resumed with a quick goal from Nico Escobar and the score was 8-5. A beautiful penalty 4 conversion by Hempt put a final goal on the board for Zone 4 as the 30 second horn blew to end the game. Zone 3 secured their spot in the NYTS Championship Finals defeating Zone 4 with 8-6.
The second semifinal game was played on the historic Gibney field. Zone 1 (Pacific Coast, Pacific Northwest, Southwestern, Border, Hawaiian, Rocky Mountain) coached by Team USPA member, Felipe Viana competed against Zone 2 (Southeastern, Central, Midstates, Great Plains) coached by Henri Du Toit for the remaining spot in the final. At the onset of the game Zone 1 began with 1.5 goals on the board due to handicap. Zone 2 came out strong in the first chukker with three combined goals from Jake Klentner and Robbie Puente. A goal by Carlos Font, had Zone 1 trailing by .5 at the end of the first chukker. Two unanswered goals from Zone 1 in the second chukker, combined with solid defense by Jack McLean, put Zone 1 in the lead 4.5-3 at halftime. After the half, the roles reversed and the third and fourth chukkers saw four unanswered goals by Zone 2. Despite a valiant effort, Zone 1 was unable to capitalize on many fouls they were awarded. Zone 2 on the other hand, converted two out of three of their penalty shots, which ultimately led to their victory.
Sunday, September 4
1:30pm ET – Consolation: Zone 1 vs. Zone 4
3:00pm ET – Championship Final: Zone 2 vs. Zone 3
The finals of the 2016 NYTS Championship will be streamed on polochannel.com Sunday, September 4 at 5:00pm ET.