Park Place Vaara Joins Park Place in King Power Gold Cup Semi-Finals

The final day of group play in the 2020 King Power Gold Cup held large implications for the semi-final seedings, with Park Place Vaara securing their spot after defeating Monterosso 13-8. Group play concluded at Cowdray Park Polo Club with a decisive 10-5 victory for Les Lions/Great Oaks against Thai Polo NW, leaving three teams tied with a 2-2 record in Zone B. 

A balanced team attack for Park Place Vaara saw all four players score at least two goals. Hilario Ulloa excelled in a passing role, utilizing all three of his teammates to lead all players with five assists. Monterosso struggled to match Park Place Vaara’s scoring from the field, shooting just 36% in the defeat. Perfect 4 for 4 penalty shooting along with an organized attack from the field led Park Place Vaara to the commanding 13-8 victory. 

Foul trouble for Monterosso put them behind in the early stages of the game, conceding two penalty goals to Park Place Vaara. Guillermo Terrera broke through to cut the deficit in half, leaving Monterosso trailing 2-1 after the first chukka. Park Place Vaara increased the pace for the remainder of the first half as Ulloa found both Juan Britos and Will Harper on the end of passes as part of a three-goal second chukka, extending Park Place Vaara’s lead to three. Undeterred by the slow start, Monterosso responded before the end of the half, as their pressure forced Park Place Vaara into three fouls, leading to two penalty conversions for Ignacio Toccalino to end the half trailing 6-5. 

A strong start to the second half for Park Place Vaara proved to be crucial in building a significant lead, with Britos leading the attack with two goals. The balanced attack left Monterosso unable to slow all four players, conceding four goals in the fourth chukka and seeing their deficit grow to four. A foul ridden fifth chukka prevented Monterosso from stringing together multiple goals, managing just one penalty conversion from Toccalino and leaving them trailing by five with just one chukka remaining. Effectively managing their lead, Park Place Vaara protected against any Monterosso runs to goal, maintaining their five-goal lead to complete the 13-8 victory and improve to a 3-1 record.

All eyes turned to the second game with Les Lions/Great Oaks and Thai Polo NW fighting for a victory to enter a shoot-out for a place in the semi-finals. Making his 2020 debut in the King Power Gold Cup, Camilo Castagnola scored three goals alongside two goals from Dillon Bacon as part of a strong Les Lions/Great Oaks performance. Limiting Thai Polo NW to 20% shooting on 3 for 15 shooting, Les Lions/Great Oaks’ organized defense led them to a convincing five-goal victory. 

A back and forth start to the game saw possession change hands often, but it was Bartolome Castagnola that opened the scoring to give Les Lions/Great Oaks the 1-0 lead. Two missed penalty attempts prevented them from increasing their lead in end-to-end action that produced numerous chances at goal, but just one goal each, leaving Les Lions/Great Oaks ahead by one goal. Scoring just one goal from the field and the penalty line, Thai Polo NW struggled to effectively get in behind the Les Lions/great Oaks defense, leading to a counterattack that saw a goal each from Bartolome Castagnola, Camilo Castagnola and Dillon Bacon to end the half with a three-goal advantage. 

After a slow first half, Thai Polo NW doubled their total on the scoreboard, converting a penalty 3 attempt, along with Ned Hine’s first goal of the game. Foul trouble played a factor in the late stages of the game as any momentum for Thai Polo NW was slowed by four fouls in the fifth chukka that resulted in two penalty conversions for Les Lions/Great Oaks. Holding a four-goal lead entering the final chukka, Les Lions/Great Oaks relied on their exceptional defense to limit the opportunities of Thai Polo NW and capture the 10-5 victory. 

Improving to a 3-1 record, Les Lions/Great Oaks joined Park Place and Park Place Vaara in a shoot-out to determine the two teams moving directly to the semi-finals. Taking five shots each from the 60-yard line, Park Place’s Gonzalito Pieres and Park Place Vaara’s Hilario Ulloa converted four of their five attempts, while Les Lions/Great Oaks’ Camilo Castagnola converted three of his five attempts, pushing his team into the quarter-finals in a rematch against Thai Polo NW.