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Equuleus beats White Birch

By U.S. Correspondent Alex Webbe
Joe DiMenna’s Equuleus polo team (Martin Pepa, Magoo Laprida, Mariano Gonzalez and Joe DiMenna) scored twice in the final chukker and held off a last minute rally to defeat White Birch (Del Walton, Matias Magrini, Joao Ganon and Peter Brant) 10-9 Saturday afternoon in the finals of the 2013 Monty Waterbury Cup at the Bridgehampton Polo Club in New York.
In an offensively-challenged opening chukker, Mariano Gonzalez accounted for the only scoring with the conversion of a 40-yard penalty shot. White Birch was unable to generate any positive offense as Equuleus took the early lead, 1-0. White Birch’s Joao Ganon tied it up at 1-1 with a penalty conversion of his own followed by a go-ahead goal from Del Walton, 2-1. Equuleus responded with consecutive goals from Magoo Laprida to tie and then take the lead back, 3-2. Walton closed out the scoring with a tying goal that ended the chukker in a 3-3 deadlock. The two teams traded goals in the third period with Gonzalez scoring on a 60-yard penalty shot for Equuleus followed by a goal from the field from White Birch’s Walton, 4-4. White Birch team captain Peter Brant put his team on top again, 5-4, with his first goal of the game, but Laprida evened it up at the end of the first half, 5-5.
Goals from Ganon and Brant in the fourth chukker were complimented by a superior defensive effort that held Equuleus to a single goal from Martin Pepa. After four chukkers of play White Birch left the field with a one goal, 7-6 advantage. Ganon extended the White Birch lead to two goals with a penalty conversion to open the fifth, but Equuleus fought back. Defensive fouls by White Birch sent Gonzalez to the penalty line on three occasions, allowing him to convert goals from 30-yards and 40-yards while missing a go-ahead goal on a missed 60-yard attempt. The teams were all even at 8-8 going into the sixth chukker.
Both defenses held tight in the opening minutes of the sixth, with no scoring from either team. Gonzalez stepped up late in the chukker, converting another 40-yard penalty shot for a 9-8 lead and then cushioning it with another goal from the field. Ganon cut the Equuleus lead to a single goal with a penalty conversion with 40-seconds on the clock, but time was on the side of Equuleus. Ganon stole the ball from Laprida and charged 150 yards down the field, giving Matias Magrini an opportunity to tie it up with five seconds left. The effort failed and Equuleus celebrated the 10-9 victory.
Gonzalez scored five of his game high six goals on penalty shots and received MVP honors. Laprida added three goals and Pepa scored once in the win. Ganon scored four goals for White Birch (three on penalty shots) Walton contributed three goals and Brant scored twice in the loss. Brant’s pony, Chef, was named Best Playing Pony.

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