Anticipation and speed.
Con Alma scored first, but it was the excellent positional play during the bowl-ins, that propelled Whiskey Victor/Aiken Horse to a 7-5 win Friday afternoon in the Aiken Polo Club’s USPA Player’s Cup 4 goal at the Powderhouse Fields.
Tomas Ezcurra opened the scoring for Con Alma, but Whiskey Victor/Aiken Horse answered back on a 30-yard penalty conversion by Whitney Vogt. Con Alma scored all five of their goals from the field, and Jose Rodriguez gave them a one goal advantage. However, Whiskey Victor/Aiken Horse concentrated on the fundamentals, and was very sound mechanically, responding powerfully with a game tying goal by Vogt.
The second chukker was a defensive struggle as both teams held one another scoreless for the preponderance of the period. Jose Rodriguez demonstrated his intrepid spirit and toughness, taking a ball to the face, but he returned to the field, not missing a beat. The chukker’s only goal was scored by Pam Gleason, finishing the play in the remaining seconds of the first half, giving Whiskey Victor/Aiken Horse a one goal advantage.
The end of the first half was a harbinger of what was to come as Gleason completed a natural hat trick, accounting for the only goals of the third chukker.
“Pam was playing so well, so we made the decision to pass the ball to her,” said Vogt. “She got a lot of jumps right out of the lineup.”
Whiskey Victor/Aiken Horse scored six consecutive goals with Gary Knoll and Gleason increasing the advantage to five goals. But creative playmaking and fast thinking by Con Alma enabled them to rally as they scored three times, with goals from Ezcurra, Rodriguez and Damian Belardinelli in succession.