Sometimes you have to take a page out of a previous chapter.
Karna went back to a strategy that helped them offensively in a loss in their previous game against Peachtree, in the second half of the finals of the New Bridge Spring Members 6-goal. And just as it did on Saturday, it worked, but this time with a different result as they defeated Bodega Gratia/The Idea Factory 9-7 on Tuesday afternoon. The game had been scheduled for Sunday morning, but was postponed because of the inclement weather.
Both teams came into the contest realizing the line between winning and losing is very thin, and it would be Karna opening the scoring on a goal by Luis Galvan. But, Karna would be plagued by foul trouble for much of the contest, and Bodega Gratia/The Idea Factory would capitalize as Romulo Crespo would successfully convert a penalty shot, the first of his seven goals in the match. Crespo would be as equally lethal from the field as Bodega Gratia/The Idea Factory held a one goal advantage after the first chukker.
However, Karna didn’t panic, and the ability to keep their composure would ultimately help them prevail. Crespo opened the scoring in the second chukker, successfully converting a 30-yard penalty shot. But, Karna remained unflappable under pressure, and it would be Marcos De Silva playing in place of Stan Sandefur, scoring on a difficult angle from 90 yards out. Karna would continue to attack the offensive zone, and this time Luis Galvan would bring the game to even terms with his second goal from the field. Crespo had an opportunity to give his team a one goal advantage, but his 60-yard penalty shot was blocked, and the teams would go into the half tied at 3-3.
Halftime was the perfect opportunity for the teams to discuss strategy, and make adjustments to the lineups for the final two chukkers.
“We played very well in our last game against Peachtree,” said Galvan. “We played open and classic polo. So, at halftime, I suggested we go back to the way we had played in our last game.”
The adjustments made by Karna were the difference as they scored from the opening bowl-in. The teamwork of Galvan and Walton paid instant dividends. The horse Walton played in the period, Destiny, was selected as the game’s Best Playing Pony, and the opposition attempted feverishly to mark him every time he got the ball, but Karna’s strategy worked, and their ability to start and finish plays, scoring from the chukker‘s opening and ensuing bowl-ins, provided them with a two goal cushion in the first 1:20 of the frame. Walton would continue to score at a remarkable pace as Karna continued to apply the pressure putting a firm foundation in place with Galvan assisting on Walton’s third consecutive goal. However, foul trouble enabled Bodega Gratia/The Idea Factory to climb back into the game as Crespo converted a 30-yard penalty shot. A deep drive by Karna found Walton hustling with the ball out front, and hitting the left upright, but De Silva was there to finish the play making it a three goal game. But, consecutive goals from Crespo, one from the field, and another on a penalty shot, made it a one goal difference going into the final chukker.
“The key in the third chukker was that during the throw-ins, I was able to get to the ball and would release it to Del,” said Galvan. “He was on a very good, fast horse, and he’s extremely handy with the ball, so as soon as I put the ball in front of him, he had the ability to take the ball from one end of the field to the other.”
It didn’t take long for Bodega Gratia/The Idea Factory to tie the score in the game’s final chukker, with Crespo converting a 60-yard penalty shot. But, it was all Karna from there as a suffocating defense and disciplined play would lead to offensive opportunities, while limiting scoring chances for the opposition. Walton would score his fourth goal of the game in a Most Valuable Professional Player performance, and Galvan would cap the scoring with his third goal of the match. Bodega Gratia/The Idea Factory’s Tom Uskup was selected as the Most Valuable Amateur Player.
“We tried not to commit any fouls during the last chukker because they were able to capitalize on those opportunities,” said Galvan. “We all played solid defense, Marcos (De Silva) and Chip Limehouse were outstanding.”