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C.V. WHITNEY CUP® FINAL PREVIEW

Feb 25, 2022 4:44 PM

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Juan Britos and Park Place will face Scone in the C.V. Whitney Cup® final for the second consecutive year at International Polo Club Palm Beach in Wellington, Florida.
Juan Britos and Park Place will face Scone in the C.V. Whitney Cup® final for the second consecutive year at International Polo Club Palm Beach in Wellington, Florida.

Story courtesy of International Polo Club Palm Beach.

The first leg of the 2022 GAUNTLET OF POLO® concludes on Sunday, February 27 at the International Polo Club Palm Beach (IPC) in Wellington, Florida, with a rematch of the 2021 C.V. Whitney Cup® final between Park Place (Josh Hyde, Juan Britos, Hilario Ulloa, Cody Ellis*) and Scone (Miki Astrada, Kristos "Keko" Magrini*, Poroto Cambiaso, Adolfo Cambiaso). Providing a feeling of déjà vu, the two-highest rated players from each team return as Park Place’s duo of Ulloa and Britos seek to fend off father-son combination of Adolfo and Poroto Cambiaso for a second consecutive year.

In one of the more dramatic finals on U.S. Polo Assn. Field 1, Park Place handed Scone their only loss of the tournament when young Jack Whitman scored the game-winning goal in overtime to secure Park Place’s first title in the 2021 C.V. Whitney Cup®. Fast-forward one year and a similar situation presents itself as Scone remains the only undefeated team entering the final.

Kristos "Keko" Magrini leads Scone with twenty-six goals, including eighteen from the line.
Kristos "Keko" Magrini leads Scone with twenty-six goals, including eighteen from the penalty line.

Averaging 12.2 goals per game in 2021, Scone has produced nearly identical stats, averaging 12.0 goals, with a similar line-up that has featured Magrini and Astrada playing in place of Peke Gonzalez* and David Paradice respectively. The young Magrini has been a stand-out player in the tournament, ranking third among all players with 6.5 goals per game, 4.5 of which have come from the penalty line where he has converted 18 of his 19 attempts.

Park Place has found another gear offensively in 2022, leading all teams with 13.5 goals per game, two more goals than just a year before. Efficiency has been crucial to Park Place’s success as they currently sit as the only team shooting above 50% from the field, while also ranking first in penalty percentage at 82%.

Combining for 8.1 field goals per game, Ulloa and Britos have scored more goals from the field than any other team, generating a relentless attack that has been the foundation of Park Place’s title defense thus far. The additions of Ellis and Hyde have resulted in exceptional play off the ball, as well as an ability to move the ball down field and into position for another scoring opportunity.

Park Place's combination of Hilario Ulloa and Juan Britos have combined for 8.1 field goals per game.
Park Place's combination of Hilario Ulloa and Juan Britos have combined for 8.1 field goals per game.

While much can be said about Park Place’s offense, equal weight can be placed on Scone’s defense which has conceded just 6.0 goals on average, nearly four goals less per game than the next closest team. With the offensive development of Magrini and Poroto Cambiaso at the front of the game, Adolfo Cambiaso has been the anchor on the defensive end, reading and controlling the play to an exceptional degree and limiting break away runs from the opposition.

A similar narrative was seen entering the 2021 final with Scone holding the tournament-best defense against a Park Place team displaying offensive firepower, yet Scone has their sights set on a third title in the GAUNTLET, after capturing the 2021 USPA Gold Cup® and U.S. Open Polo Championship®.

Scone's Adolfo Cambiaso been a crucial an anchor on the defensive end to facilitate scoring opportunities for his teammates.
Scone's Adolfo Cambiaso been a crucial anchor on the defensive end to facilitate scoring opportunities for his teammates.

The #1 ranked offense in Park Place against the #1 defense in Scone sets the scene for another thrilling final, but Park Place will be cautious of their foul troubles as they have committed the most fouls per game at 13.8, while Scone has averaged the fewest at just 5.8. In the 2021 final, Park Place held Scone to just two penalty goals, winning the battle in open play. In a must-see final, Park Place will try to defend their title, while Scone battles to gain possession of all three trophies in the GAUNTLET OF POLO®.

*Kristos ‘Keko’ Magrini is an Active Team USPA Member. Cody Ellis and Peke Gonzalez are Graduating Team USPA Members. 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 ©David Lominska.

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