Wellington, Fla. – Feb. 5, 2019 – For the second consecutive year, Patagones captured the Aspen Valley Cup 8-Goal Final Monday at Grand Champions Polo Club.
Playing with three teenagers in the lineup, Patagones (Milo Dorignac, 0, Santos Bollini, 1, Joaquin Avendano, 2, Santi Wulff, 5) defeated Altair Polo (Ashley Busch, 0, Keko Magrino,1, Brandon Phillips, 4, Nick Manifold, 3), 14-13.
Patagones finished the tournament with a 3-1 record and avenged its only loss, 10-7, in Jan. 30 bracket play to Altair Polo (2-2). It is the first tournament the team has played together.
Wulff, a steadying influence on his young teammates and field general for Patagones, was named Most Valuable Player after scoring a game-high eleven goals including what turned out to be the game-winner from midfield.
“I feel good,” Wulff said. “It’s always nice to win this tournament. I think the key was this team beat us pretty good last time in the bracket. I thought we came more prepared and were ready this time. We adjusted a few things and the horses played really good.”
Bollini, 19, Avendano, 18 and Dorignac, 14, all played significant roles in their team’s victory.
“It was all the young kids playing good polo,” Wulff said. “Plus, we had Keko on the other side who is 16 and played well. It is fun to see these kids scoring and playing faster than we do.”
Machitos Monserrat, played by Manifold in the third chukker, was selected Best Playing Pony.
Patagones broke open a close game in the fifth chukker behind Wulff’s three goals and Avendano’s goal for a 4-1 chukker and 13-10 lead. Wulff scored from midfield for a 14-10 lead early in the sixth chukker. Manifold and Phillips combined for three goals late in the chukker but ran out of time.
“We had been working the whole game on the man and in the fifth chukker it worked out I ended up with the ball a few times on my own and was lucky to score,” Wulff said.
“Our organization is playing great at all levels,” Wulff said. “More horses for the kids, more horses for all of us thanks to Gonzalo who supports us.”
For Bollini, it was his first 8-goal tournament victory in two years and learning experience playing with the veteran Wulff.
“It was so much fun, it was incredible,” Bollini said. “It was a learning experience with Santi. He can teach really well. He is the best teammate you can have. He talks to you on the field and doesn’t yell at you.
“It’s fun when you are all young and playing together,” Bollini said. “You have something in common and you all want to learn and get better. We knew our strengths and weaknesses. This is the best game we have played together as a team for sure.”
Also for Patagones, Dorignac added two goals and Avendano had one.
For Altair Polo, Phillips had a team-high eight goals including six on penalty conversions. Magrini had three goals. Busch and Manifold each had one goal.
Two years ago, Patagones won the Handicap Final of the Aspen Valley Cup 8-Goal tournament.
The Aspen Valley Cup 8-Goal Handicap Final is Friday at 3 p.m. featuring Dutta Corp (Nico Diaz Alberdi, 1, Timmy Dutta, 2, Lucas Diaz Alberdi, 5, Tim Dutta, 0) against Horseware (Tom MacGuiness, 0, Tim Kyne, 0, Hugo Lloret, 5, Jason Wates, 3).
In the Metropolitan Cup 6-Goal Final, Banks Mill/Amista Polo (Hope Arellano/Cecelia Cochran, 1, Lucas Arellano, 2, Agustin Arellano, 3, Kylie Sheen, 0) defeated Mayer Ranch (Landen Daniels, 0.5, Clark Mayer, 0.5, Justin Daniels, 2, Brenden Stenzel, 2), 5-4, to finish the league undefeated (3-0).
In the Handicap Final, The Polo School (Ace Boyd, -1, Santos Bollini, 1, Juanse Olivera, 1.5, Carlitos Gracida, 4) defeated Willowcreek (Misty Allen, -1, Cecelia Cochran, 1, Jason Wates, 2, Mike Matz, 3), 5.5-2.