Tag Archives: Mariano Fassetta

USPA Spreckels Cup Finals & Closing Day

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Doesn’t it seem like Opening Day was just yesterday?  Time flies when you’re having fun!

On Friday, September 27, Twin Palms/San Fernando played Starmeadow/Monteverde for the chance to play on Sunday in the Spreckels Cup Finals.  Starmeadow/Monteverde beat Twin Palms/San Fernando 12 to 9 and confirmed their match against Hanalei Bay the following Sunday.

The 2013 San Diego Polo Summer Season came to an end on Sunday, September 29, 2013 with the USPA Spreckels Cup Finals.  In addition to the USPA Spreckels Finals, over 1,000 attendees enjoyed equestrian entertainment, an opportunity drawing to benefit Prince Harry’s charity, Sentebale, and After Party presented by Belly Up Tavern in Solana Beach.

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We started the day with the Sundance Hills Drill Team, a group of six dedicated riders who put hours into meeting, practicing and perfecting their patterns and routines.

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The Santa Fe Hunt/West Hills Hounds is a Masters of Fox Hounds Association, MFHA, recognized Hunt located in Temecula, in southern California. They are a diverse group of riders, brought together by love of horses, open spaces, country values and riding with a fine pack of foxhounds as they work a scent.  They came out with about a dozen riders and hounds.

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Land Rover of San Diego and Porsche of San Diego had a fleet of luxury automobiles, including the 2014 Porsche Panamera.  Last Closing Day, president Ron Bonaguidi purchased a 2013 Range Rover from Land Rover of San Diego.  Ron said Jason Puga, owner of Land Rover of San Diego, is a great business man and he’ll never purchase another Range Rover from any other dealership.  His service is incredible and affordable.

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Danielle Pizorni, San Diego opera singer, blew us away with her rendition of the National Anthem.

joe-allisJoe Allis of Porsche of San Diego threw in the ceremonial first ball.  In the history of Spreckels Cup finals, there has never been a match so exciting and evenly matched as Sunday’s.  With 8 chukkers and at least 5 broken mallets, the competition was one of the best we’ve ever seen here in San Diego.

Hanalei Bay                 vs.              Starmeadow/Monteverde

Krista Bonaguidi (-1)                       Ellen Greenhill (-1)
Ashton Wolf (3)                               Colton Bancroft (0)
Mariano Fassetta (6)                       Martin Ravina (5)
David Samaniego (0)                      Graham Bray (4)

Sunday afternoon was the perfect San Diego summer day with 75 degree weather and slight ocean breeze.  Hanalei Bay and Starmeadow/Monteverde took the field, as Owner of Porsche of San Diego, Joe Allis threw in the ceremonial first ball.

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Graham Bray started the first chukker by scoring the first point on the afternoon for Starmeadow/Monteverde.  David Samaniego also took a great shot and scored one for Hanalei in the first chukker.  Teammate, Mariano Fassetta also scored two beautiful shots.  Martin Ravina scored 2 (one penalty) and Bray scored another for Starmeadow/Monteverde, bringing the score to 4 to 3.

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Things heated up for Starmeadow/Monteverde in the second chukker, as Martin Ravina scored an additional 3 goals for his team.  Krista Bonaguidi, first lady and owner of Hanalei Bay took a penalty shot for the team and scored!

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In the third chukker, goals went back and forth, 3 for Hanalei Bay, 2 for Starmeadow/Monteverde, bringing the score to 9 to 7, Starmeadow/Monteverde in the lead.

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As if the tension wasn’t enough, during the first minute of fourth chukker, Martin Ravina was given a red flag and pulled out of the game for the remainder of the chukker.  Colton Bancroft scored one, but opposing team, Hanalei Bay used this time to catch up and Mariano Fassetta scored two for his team.

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Hanalei Bay should have been able to dominate the scoreboard, but with fouls called, and time running out in the chukker, Starmeadow was able to hold on to the narrow margin, going into the 5th chukker with a full squad of players.  The time on the bench gave Ravina that extra push needed to make the game competitive going into the remaining chukkers.

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In the 5th chukker, Mariano Fassetta scored one for Hanalei and Martin Ravina scored one for Starmeadow/Monteverde.  The finals of the USPA Spreckels Cup couldn’t have been more exciting and all the guests were on the edge of their seats, some standing in the VIP tent, tense with anticipation.

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In the 6th chukker, Martin Ravina scored another for his team, bringing them ahead by one point.  With 30 seconds left in the match, Mariano Fassetta put one through, tying the game and taking it into over time.

The 7th chukker was a tough one.  Hanalei Bay’s Ashton Wolf had to call a time out due to lack of feeling in his hand and severe cramping.  At this point in the game, the horses were exhausted, the players just as tired.  At the beginning of the match, the players came on to the field, ready to fight for the win and prepared to expend every ounce of energy.  That energy was running out.  The play resumed and each team was able to defend their goals.  With less than a minute left in the 7th chukker, Colton Bancroft made a beautiful break away and, unfortunately, overshot a cut shot that would have been the most glorious win for Starmeadow/Monteverde. The 7th chukker ended, the match still tied.

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In the beginning of the 8th chukker, Colton made a second break away and all eyes were on him.  The ball went over the line and out of play.  Shortly after, eyes fell on his teammate, Graham Bray, who was on the ground.  Not many saw it happen, but Bray’s horse clipped the back of Ashton Wolf‘s horse and fell, exhausted, throwing Graham Bray to the ground, knocking the wind out of him.  Graham is one of the toughest players in San Diego, and when he’s on the ground for more than a few seconds, it’s serious.  Bray stayed on the ground for a few minutes, barely moving his legs.  After consultation from the EMT and fellow players, Graham Bray slowly rose, walked around, and mounted a fresh horse.  The play went back and forth for a minute and the ball was left in a cluster right near the Starmeadow/Monteverde goal mouth.  Mariano Fassetta’s horse started dancing around and they should have gotten out of there immediately.  A foul was called on Hanalei Bay’s David Samaniego and Martin Ravina took an undefended penalty shot, winning the USPA Spreckels Cup Finals for Starmeadow/Monteverde.  Both teams played an unbelievable game and made Spreckels Cup history as one of the most competitive games of all.

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Winners of the USPA Spreckels Cup Tournament: Starmeadow/Monteverde

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Member, Joe Cuillo and his daughter.

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Gatsby-inspired guests stomp divots during the Korbel California Champagne Divot Stomp!

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The Belly Up Tavern in Solana Beach presented the After Party and guests rocked out to Crush Effect DJ and live trombone and drums.

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Player, Mercedes Mafara and her friends celebrate the end of the season.  Mercedes won Most Improved Player, and her group won Gastby Best Dressed!

Thank you to our sponsors, players, members, fans, and staff for an amazing Closing Day and 2013 Summer Polo Season!  We’ll see you in June 2014.

American Heart Association Painted the SD Polo Club RED for the Inaugural Go Red Campaign

Go-Red-Fundraiser

Sunday’s finals of the Pacific Coast Polo Tournament also celebrated the inaugural American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women Campaign.  Emceed by ABC’s Bachelorette runner up, Kiptyn Locke, the American Heart Association had their first ever San Diego STRUT to promote heart health in women, along with a silent and live auction.  The Polo Club was decked out in red and all guests sported red flair in support of the organization.  According to the CDC, heart disease is the number one killer in women, which is more than all types of cancer combined!

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Porsche of San Diego had their gorgeous automobiles on display, including the all new 2014 Porsche Cayman.

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The first match was a consolation game played between Twin Palms/San Fernando and AdeptusColleen Wilson, owner of Adeptus had a spectacular afternoon, scoring 5 goals for her team.  Roberto Estudillo of Twin Palms/San Fernando also had a fantastic game, scoring 3 for his team.  Twin Palms/San Fernando was slow to start, but caught up by half-time, making the score 5 to 5.  Adeptus shined in the 5th chukker, bringing their team up 3 more point and winning the match 8 to 7.

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During intermission, the local community participated in the Go Red STRUT, a community-based, one-of-a kind fashion show.  Led by the San Diego Polo School students and Uakea Huddleston, the STRUT included two heart disease victims, one being a 4 year old boy.  Celebrity judges AJ Machado, Chris Cantore, Natasha Stenbock, Lisa Murphy, Mia Stefanko and Kiptyn Locke, judged the “strutters” and gave out prizes to various winners.

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Just after the American Heart Association’s Go Red STRUT, our announcer and auctioneer, Steven Lewandowski raffled off items for charity!

The national anthem was sung by two American Heart Association volunteers, one of which is a heart disease survivor.

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The feature match and finals of the Pacific Coast Polo Tournament consisted of Hanalei Bay (Krista Bonaguidi -1, Ashton Wolf 3, Mariano Fassetta 6, David Samaniego 0) and Starmeadow/Monteverde (Ellen Greenhill -1, Colton Bancroft 0, Martin Ravina 5, Graham Bray 4).  Hanalei Bay kicked off things in the first chukker with 3 goals but letting Starmeadow/Monteverde sneak up in the 3rd chukker.  Krista Bonaguidi scored 3 in the feature match, making her one of the high scorers on her team.  The game was all tied up in the 4th chukker, 7 to 7, but Martin Ravina scored 4 goals in the final chukkers to lead his team to victory.  Starmeadow/Monteverde beat Hanaeli Bay 10 to 8.

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Guests enjoyed the Korbel California Champagne Divot Stomp during half time and the Paul Cannon Band after the matches.

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When guests sampled Black Stallion Winery‘s Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon, they received a fun Black Stallion branded Go Vino glass!  Black Stallion’s chardonnay is one of our biggest sellers at Sunday Polo!

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Thank you to Ranch & Coast for being our media sponsor and Kiptyn Locke for emcee-ing the event!

Father’s Day

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The sun shined brightly on Father’s Day at the San Diego Polo Club, and families of all ages celebrated this fantastic day with their loved ones.  Son of our founding father, Willis Allen, flew in 8 antique biplanes and the Wavecrest Woodie Club drove out their prized automobiles for guests to enjoy.  San Diego European brought out Aston Martin to lead the parade of teams with their 2013 Vantage Coupe.

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From the east side of the polo field, the huge crowd enjoyed tailgating festivities along with picnic lunches in the foreground of the biplanes and Woodies.

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On the west side of the field, VIP  and Player’s Club guests were treated to Woodford Reserve Bourbon tastings and specialty cuisine from The Wild Thyme Company.  Special that day was a steak sandwich with caramelized onions and creamy aoili spread.

But the main attractions of the day were the exciting polo matches. The 1:00pm match featured Sycamore-Monteverde versus Star Meadow-Adeptus. The match ended with a score of 11-8 with Star Meadow-Adeptus taking home the trophies. 3 goal professional polo player Ashton Wolf led his team in scoring with 5 goals and his teammate 5 goal professional Martin Ravina tallied up 4 of his own.

ImageTo celebrate Father’s Day, we asked father of Roberto Estudillo, Bobby Estudillo to throw in the first ball!

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Our 3:00pm match between Hanalei Bay-San Judas and Twin Palms-San Fernando was a nail biter from start to finish. Hanalei Bay-San Judas began the match with a 2 goal handicap but Twin Palms/ San Fernando hit the field on all cylinders, scoring 3 unanswered goals in the first period to take the early lead. Things leveled out in the second period by offsetting goals from Hanalei Bay-San Judas’s 6 goaler Mariano Fassetta and Twin Palms-San Fernando’s 5 goaler Gaston Von Wernich.

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Billy Steta, president of the Mexican Polo Federation was the high scorer of the match chalking up 5 goals, the last of which was the game winner.

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Father’s Day Cup trophies were presented by Donald Wade, Operations Manager of Aston Martin and wife of the General Manager, Francesca Canales.

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Local musicians and brother band, Ottopilot performed for our 7th Chukker After Party!

Finals of USPA Spreckels Cup Ends 2012 SD Polo Season with Huge Success!

This past Sunday marked the celebrated USPA Spreckels Cup and Closing Day of the 2012 Polo Season!  While Sunday harbored bittersweet undertones, polo enthusiasts went out in style-literally.  Over 1300 guests adorned in 1920s, Gatsby attire we in attendance to cheer on the two competing teams of Hanalei Bay. Not only was last Sunday one of the biggest events of the season, but the San Diego Polo Club also hosted their second largest Sunday Polo crowd.

Season sponsor, Land Rover of San Diego also added to the lavish luxury of the afternoon by hosting an appreciation party in the Polo Pavilion.  In addition, guests were presented with samplers of Korbel’s California Champagne from the back of a Range Rover during the infamous Pretty Woman Divot Stomp.  SDPC’s partnership with Land Rover proved to be an advantageous one as two of the club’s members purchased Range Rovers that day!  Congrats on the new cars!

Anthony Ballard, a social member at SDPC, provided polo onlookers with a spirited performance of the National Anthem. Other musical guests on Sunday included Belly Up sponsored music by Crush Effect with live saxophone keys further cultivating the Gatsby-esque atmosphere.

Antique biplanes, old cars, and the Gatsby theme really brought out the comraderie and fun at the San Diego Polo Club!

While there was only one polo match on Sunday, fans were not deprived of a thrilling performance of athleticism, teamwork, and awe-inspiring horsemanship.  The first and only match of the day was a ten-goal competition featuring Hanalei Bay I versus Hanalei Bay II.  The tension and excitement in the air was tangible as SDPC’s President, Ron Bonaguidi went neck-in-neck against his wife Krista Bonaguidi for the coveted title of Spreckels Cup Champion.

Mariano Fassetta, of team Hanalei II, scored the first goal of the match.   Fassetta’s point was soon answered by Santiago Trotz of team Hanalei I.  Fassetta took advantage of the first chukker to prove he was a force to be reckoned with as he went on to single-handedly score an addition two goals for his team.  In comparison to the first, the second chukker was a quiet one as both teams regrouped and reevaluated their game plans. Marcos Bignoli and Santiago Trotz scored a goal apiece for Hanalei I ending the second chukker at Hanaeli I: 3, Hanalei II: 4.

Hanalei Bay II increased their lead by two points in the third chukker on behalf of Chris Collins Jr. and Mariano Fassetta.  In the fourth chukker, Hanalei II employed impressive defensive skills preventing Hanalei I from scoring a single point.  Hanalei Bay II took advantage of the fourth chukker to solidify their lead.  Mariano Fassetta started off the shooting spree by scoring two consecutive goals for Hanalei II followed by two points by Jared Sheldon and Chris Collins Jr.

Going into the fifth chukker, Hanalei II had a six-point lead on Hanalei I. While Chris Collins Jr. of Hanalei II scored the first goal of the chukker, Marcos Bignoli and Santeigo Trotz scored a goal apiece for Hanalei I.

The final chukker is always an enthralling one but this past Sunday, the sixth chukker took on an even more heartfelt meaning as both teams strived for the title of Spreckels Cup Champion.  With his eye on the prize, Chris Collins Jr. of Hanalei I scored two consecutive goals to start off the chukker.   Unwilling to hand over the victory, Patrick Uretz of Hanalei I answered Collins with two consecutive goals of his own.  While Marcos Bignoli scored the final concluding point of the day for Hanalei Bay I, ultimately it was Hanalei II who took the win and the recognition as USPA Spreckels Cup Champions- Hanalei I: 9, Hanalei II: 14.

Not only were the teams recognized for their talent at large but also Mariano Fassetta, of team Hanalei II, was decorated as the Most Valuable Player of the 2012 Polo Season.  Fassetta was presented with a $100 gift card to SDPC’s After Party Sponsor, Burlap.  In addition, the Best Playing Pony title was awarded (in the form of delectably crunchy carrots) to Pampeano owned by Santiago Trotz.

Thank you to everyone who made this one of the most memorable Summer Polo Seasons that San Diego has ever known!

More photos here.

Father’s Day: Fun in the Sun

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It was another beautiful day in Rancho Santa Fe on June 17, Father’s Day.  We flew in a dozen antique biplanes, which took off after the feature match.  We also had an assortment of antique cars, from a 1931 Model A Deluxe Roadster, to a handful of Woodies.  The Del Mar Cigar Club provided imported cigars, just for Dad.

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We kicked off the day with a match at 1pm.  Monteverde/H2 took the lead with 4 goals over Starmeadow/Southwind.  In the third chukker, Starmeadow/Southwind put 4 points on the board to tie up the match.  Points went back and forth in the next few chukkers, and by the 6th chukker, Monteverde/H2 won by 1 point.

Monteverde/H2                               Starmeadow/Southwind

Ellen Greenhill 0                                Colton Bancroft -1
Mariano Gutierrez 5                          Mike Kerley 3
Christopher Collins 2                        Graham Bray 5
Ron Bonaguidi 0                                Chris Collins 1

The Finals of the Father’s Day Cup was a tight one.  Chris Maloney of Twin Palms/La Pasion scored the two of the first 3 goals against Hanalei Bay/Adeptus.  But Hanalei Bay/Adeptus made a come back in the third chukker, taking the game into their lead 6 to 4.  Krista Bonaguidi and Colleen Wilson scored the two last goals for Hanalei/Adeptus, securing the win over Twin Palms/La Pasion.

Twin Palms/La Pasion                Hanalei Bay/Adeptus

Tracee Brunetti -1                               Krista Bonaguidi -1
Chris Maloney 1                                  Joesph Stuart 4
Gaston VonWernich 5                       Mariano Fassetta 6
Diego Cossio 4                                    Colleen Wilson 0

History of the Spreckels Cup

 The Spreckels Cup

John D. Spreckels, San Francisco financier, shipping magnate, and scion of the fabled Spreckels family, first discovered polo in the late 1800’s.  Shortly thereafter, he visited Coronado Island and was so completely captivated by the area, known at the time as the playground for the wealthy, that he immediately made plans to play polo on the island’s beautiful green lawns.  Spreckels built a polo facility on the island that quickly became known throughout the United States for the quality of its fields and climate, as well as the number and proficiency of its players and horses.

In the ensuing years, the Coronado Polo Club became known as the “Meadowbrook of the West”, after the famous club on Long Island New York.  Coronado was the site of many early prestigious polo tournaments, and its fields saw the first playing of the Pacific Coast Open, still considered one of California’s premier polo events.   Among those tournaments was the match that Spreckels inaugurated in 1909.  Calling it the Polo Challenge, he enlisted the aid of designers Brock and Feagus of Los Angeles, and commissioned a dramatic silver trophy almost two feet high.  Engraved on the trophy was the inscription, “Polo Challenge Trophy, presented by John D. Spreckels.”  The trophy was designed to be engraved with the names of the winners each year and was intended to be held by the winning team for one year.

The trophy was played for each year, with the exception of the years of World War I, and its engraved names read like a “Who’s Who” of California polo.  The last team to win the trophy before it was retired in 1921, was captained by Carleton F. Burke.  Burke, a dedicated horseman, was responsible for reintroducing thoroughbred racing in California in 1932, after a 23-year blackout.  He later became one of the founders of the California Horse Racing Board.  The Spreckels Cup remained among his most prized treasures.

 In an effort to document the history of polo in San Diego and in Southern California, Julie Mulvihill-Mayer launched a search for polo memorabilia in the archives of the Coronado Library.  Joseph E. Jessop, longtime San Diego resident and founder of Jessop’s Jewelers, had been employed at the Coronado Polo Club as a young boy and became a lifelong polo fan.  He recommended that the search continue at the Coronado Historical Society.   Following that lead brought Mulvihill-Mayer upon a veritable treasure trove of old polo trophies including the Spreckels Cup.  The trophies were brought back to San Diego, and Joseph E. Jessop and Jessops Jewelers President, Ken Laughlin, cooperated in masterminding their restoration.

When the season officially opened on June 10, 1988, the newly refurbished Spreckels Cup occupied a place of honor in the club’s trophy case.  Restored to its original appearance, and flanked by its companion pieces, the impressive silver cup cast an undeniable glow upon the matches and players.  The trophy’s presence provided a tangible link across the years and forged a bond between the players of today, John D. Spreckels, and the band of polo players that had such an influence on our sport and upon the San Diego Polo Club.

The California Thoroughbred Breeders Association generously loans the trophy to us annually.  We’d like to thank the CTBA’s Board for their role in securing this prestigious trophy for the continued use in this historical event.

Winners from 2010.  Chris Collins, Mariano Fassetta, Christopher Collins, Krista Bonaguidi

Willis Allen Memorial Cup Kicks Off in San Diego…

We are playing with a fantastic group of people in September.  If you’ve never followed the season of polo in San Diego, September is the best month to see action-packed games.  We welcome new players and new competition.

The first match on Sunday brought Hanalei Bay versus Southwind Adeptus.  Ron Bonaguidi, our President and Patron of Hanalei Bay played well, scoring 1 for the team in the first chukker.  Mariano Fassetta, now called the “Argentine Assasin” by our announcer Steve Lewandowski, scored 3, and Alvaro Tadeo scored 2 for Hanalei Bay.

Southwind/Adeptus played beautifully on Sunday afternoon.  Pedro Orellano scored 5 for Southwind/Adeptus, Colleen Wilson scored 2, Chris Collins scored 2, and even Mike Kerley got one.  Needless to say, Southwind Adeptus came out on top.  They are looking good this week, defeating Hanalei Bay 10 to 6.

During intermission, the San Diego Polo Club observed 9/11 by presenting the Rainbow Riders Drill Team of Poway.  The 8 women mounted horses decorated in sparkling red, white and blue colors and paraded the field with gorgeous American flags.  In addition to their performance, we asked all current armed forces, veterans, and emergency responders to join us on the field.

Congressman Martin Garrick gave a wonderful speech in remembrance of those effected by the tragedy of 9/11.  Our announcer, Steve Lewandowski brought the audience to tears as he congratulated each one of our heroes for dedicating their lives to helping others.  It was a very special day to remember the tragedy of 10 years ago and to count our blessings.

TRINITY: Rick Paicuis 0, Patrick Uretz 1, Jared Sheldon 1, Mariano Gutierrez 5

On Friday, Trinity met in our Clubhouse to watch a previous practice game against Starmeadow in order to prep for their Sunday match.  They talked strategy and how to handle one of our best and most aggressive players on the field, Graham Bray.

STARMEADOW: Graham Bray 5, Jesse Bray 3, Jessica Bailey 1, Colton Bancroft -1

The feature match started out slow, with Jesse Bray, Colton Bancroft (subbing for his mom, Joy Bancroft), and Graham Bray each scoring 1 for Starmeadow.  Trinity scored 2 (Jared Sheldon and Mariano Gutierrez).  Jared Sheldon spiced things up in the second chukker by getting bumped off his horse.  He got right back on and continued playing.

Fans celebrated the half time Divot Stomp with tastes of Rose Champagne sponsored by Korbel California Champagne.  Every Sunday we hide  a decorated champagne cork on the field and the person who finds the cork gets a bottle of Champagne!

Starmeadow and Trinity took the half time to form a game plan, and both teams came back stronger than the first half.  Jesse Bray scored 3 for Starmeadow and Colton Bancroft (only 14 years old!) scored one.  Meanwhile, Rick Paicius, Jared Sheldon and Mariano Gutierrez  each scored one for Trinity, bringing the game up to 7 to 6, Starmeadow in the lead.

In the 5th chukker, things heated up again and Sheldon had another fall.  Again, a little bruised, but not seriously hurt, Sheldon continued playing.  Jesse Bray scored a few more, totaling 7 goals that afternoon.  Mariano Gutierrez put 2 through in the 6th chukker, but it wasn’t enough for the win.  Graham Bray did the honor of scoring 2 more in the 6th chukker, just to be sure Starmeadow walked away victoriously.