After no less than five trips to the National Copper Cup® Final over the past six years, Skaneateles sponsor Marty Cregg beamed after a close 8-7 victory over SD Farms. “It was our main goal as a team getting into this season,” said Skaneateles 5-goaler Costi Caset*. “Marty has been playing it for several years, and although he has been to the finals of it many times he never won it before, so winning the National Copper Cup feels great!” Caset continued.
Skaneateles started off with an early two-goal lead in the first, Cregg leading the charge with a Penalty 2 conversion, followed by a field goal from Caset. Even scoring from both teams in the second and third, both Caset and Sayyuu Dantata scored a goal apiece each chukker, gave Skaneateles the edge at halftime 4-2 in a surprisingly low-scoring first half of play.
Caset opened the second half with his fourth goal of the game off a Penalty 2 conversion to widen Skaneateles’ lead. A quick counter attack from SD Farms resulted in two unanswered field goals, one each from Peco Polledo and Juan Martin Obregon, to bring them within one 5-4. As play progressed, the pressure rose as both teams battled to maintain control of the game, resulting in numerous fouls in the fifth. Both teams capitalized from the penalty line, but once again Skaneateles was able to sneak by with the advantage 7-5 moving into the final chukker.
SD Farms came on strong in the sixth, with two field goals, one from Tristan Hurley and another from Polledo to even the score 7-all. As time wound down a costly mistake resulted in a Penalty 3 opportunity for Skaneateles, which Caset calmly sunk between the uprights to take home the 2017 National Copper Cup®. “The game came out as we expected, very tough and rough every play against a really strong team,” Caset said. “But although we didn’t have our best game I think we controlled most of the match and took advantage of our opportunities.”
After the second win for Skaneateles in the 12-Goal Trifecta at New Bridge Polo & Country Club in Aiken, South Carolina, fans are eager to see what will happen in the final leg of the series, the Bronze Trophy. “Now that we have the chance to win the trifecta we are going to try our best to achieve that also!” Caset remarked.
Most Valuable Player Amateur was awarded to American up-and-comer Tristan Hurley. “The 12-goal was amazing!” Hurley said. “I love the speed of the games. The teams were competitive and nobody had an easy road to the final. I learned that the mark is key. I beat my man much more in this tournament than in the past. It limited the other team and freed up our pros to play the ball with more confidence. We started slow on Sunday and it caught up with us, but I’m hoping we can give it a go next year!”
Most Valuable Player Professional was presented to Skaneateles’ Costi Caset, the game high-scorer, who managed a goal in each chukker. Best Playing Pony honors were presented to 8-year-old Argentine mare Torcasa, played in the fifth chukker and owned by Peco Polledo.
*Costi Caset is a member of Team USPA. Team USPA is a USPA program designed to enhance and grow the sport of polo in the United States by identifying young, talented American players and providing mentored training and playing opportunities leading to a pool of higher rated amateur and pro players and the resultant giveback to the sport of polo.
All photos courtesy of ©Katie Roth.