Lucchese moves on to Pacific Coast Open final

The Lucchese Polo team has hit its stride, and the combination of Tommy Collingwood, Jeff Hall, Sapo Caset and John Muse proves to be a near perfect union.

Following the team’s win of the Silver Cup on August 10th, Lucchese took a few days of rest and hit the Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club’s polo fields yet again for the Bombardier Pacific Coast Open. It’s no surprise that Lucchese’s first match against ERG, the team Lucchese defeated in overtime to win the Silver Cup, was physical and laden with fouls — 28, in fact.

“We didn’t play particularly well,” Hall told International Polo Club Palm Beach, making no excuses for the loss, “but we certainly didn’t get any breaks with the whistles.”

Yet the 17-11 loss didn’t dash the the spirit of the team, and Lucchese defeated FMB 11 - 7 on August 25th. After the first two chukkers, Lucchese maintained control of the game. Per IPCPB, Caset set the pace for Lucchese with five goals. Hall scored twice, with Muse and Collingwood adding single goals for the win.

But what set up Lucchese to progress to the Pacific Coast Open final was the team’s match against Wildcat, 9 - 8. “It was a well balanced team,” Hall said about his opponents after the game. This won’t be Lucchese’s first visit to the Pacific Coast Open finals; Lucchese won the three consecutive titles beginning in 2010.

Another title will be determined by the outcome of the final match against ERG on Sunday, August 31st.

Update, August 31, from Polo Consult: 

ERG defended their Bombardier Pacific Coast Open title, defeating Lucchese 12-10 in a tough fought match.

ERG (Kerstie Allen, Remy Muller, Agustin Merlos, and Sebastian Merlos) opened up the scoring in the first chukker. Sebi Merlos and brother Tincho each scored a goal in the first chukker. Lucchese stepped up in the second half of the first chukker with Sapo Caset scoring three consecutive goals, 1 from the field and 2 from the penalty line.  ERG began the second chukker with a quick goal by Sebi Merlos, but Lucchese kept their momentum as Hall and Caset each scored a goal to finish the chukker leading 5-3.  ERG controlled the 3rd chukker in an offensively dominated chukker. Tincho Merlos scored the first goal from the field, but was answered back by a goal from Caset. Tincho then put in three more goals from the penalty line and Sebi tapped in two from the field to put them ahead 9-6 going into halftime.

Lucchese came back from the half scoring two goals to put them within one goal 8-9 ERG on top to finish the 4th chukker. Scoring slowed in the 5th chukker with Lucchese putting only one on the board and ERG two goals to bring the score 11-9. Sapo scored the first goal of the 6th chukker to close the gap to one goal. Play continued up and down the field without any successful scoring attempts. With a little over a minute left of play, Sebi Merlos took the ball down the field and popped it through goal to put them up by two goals and solidify their win. Sebi Merlos was awarded MVP and Sapo Caset’s horse Noche won BPP. Sapo Caset was presented with the Skene award.