There was a great turnout for the inaugural Women’s Pacific Coast Open Final on Sunday, September 8, at Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club in Carpinteria, California, featuring local teams and top international players. After two very close semifinals, Plank Co. met Dundas in the final. Preventing Dundas from scoring a single goal in the second half, Plank Co. made up for their early deficit to win the title 6-5.
“I am very proud to see that the next generation of women’s polo here in the United States is following the path that Sunny Hale was trying to lay and demonstrate to all players—play our best, have fun and help each other. I think we demonstrated that in this tournament.” – Dawn Jones, Polo Gear Team Member
A tough match, Plank Co. had to face two of the best women’s players in the world, Hazel Jackson and Sarah Wiseman. Plank Co. gave Dundas a run for their money, however, with a very tough match. In a strong first chukker, Dundas’ Wiseman and Jackson demonstrated their exceptional skills scoring two impressive field goals. Suffering a scoreless first chukker, Plank Co. earned a single Penalty 1 in the second, but were outscored by Dundas’ highest-rated player. Continuing to dominate, Jackson contributed three more goals to the board to increase their lead to a resounding 5-1 at the half.
Regrouping and reevaluating their strategy at halftime, Plank Co. altered their game plan to leave Dundas scoreless in the second half. Plank Co.’s Dayelle Fargey began to chip away at the deficit by converting a Penalty 4 in the third chukker. In the fourth, Ina Lalor and Fargey worked to close the gap, forcing the game into an overtime chukker.
“We had some great coaching and advice during halftime, so going into the second half we refocused, changed who we were marking, and decided we needed to gamble and develop offensively,” Fargey revealed. “Everyone adapted and committed to the new plan and it worked out.”
Both teams battled in overtime for almost six minutes before Dundas suffered an unfortunate turn of fate when Hazel Jackson broke her mallet while in possession of the ball. Quickly seizing the opportunity, Fargey capitalized to run the length of the field and score the golden goal. A heartbreaking ending for Dundas, Plank Co. took home the inaugural title as Women’s Pacific Coast Open Champions 6-5.
Positive for the future growth of women’s polo, Dawn Jones (a member of the Polo Gear team) recognized the progressive benefits from participating in such a tournament. “I think the Women’s Pacific Coast Open proved to be an eye-opener. The finals were neck and neck and even; it was so well balanced,” Jones said. “Also, women’s handicaps are getting better and we proved it on the field today! I am very pleased with the inaugural Women’s Pacific Coast Open and with the help of the USPA and U.S. Polo Assn.”
“I think that by bringing international players like Hazel Jackson and Sarah Wiseman we really elevated the level of polo played here,” Sarah Siegel-Magness commented. “It’s time to have amazing women’s polo on the West Coast.”
Responsible for three goals, Dayelle Fargey was awarded Most Valuable Player for her comeback performance in the second half.
Best Playing Pony honors were presented to Fargey’s mare Ebony, who she played in the second and overtime chukkers. “She is unbelievable, I bought her in Winnipeg [Canada] off the racetrack as a three-year-old and trained her myself,” Fargey said. “She is an amazing horse and she makes me the player I am today.”
Santa Barbara local Cory Williams commented on her experience competing in the first Women’s Pacific Coast Open. “This tournament had four very competitive teams, any of which could have easily won,” Williams said. “We had to play our very best in the finals and stick with it to the end, playing just as hard in the first chukker as we did in overtime. It was an honor to compete with such amazing players and women.”
All photos courtesy of ©David Lominska.