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Casablanca scores in overtime to win North American Cup
By Alex Webbe
In one of the most exciting games of the fall season at Grand Champions Polo Club Casablanca (Grant Ganzi, Kris Kampsen, Nic Roldan and Jeff Blake) fought their way to a 10-9 overtime win over Palm Beach Polo (Glenn Straub, Brandon Phillips, Jeff Hall and Tommy Biddle) in overtime to capture the 2014 USPA North American Cup.
Palm Beach Polo received two goals by handicap from the 20-goal Casablanca team and went up 3-0 following an early goal from Tommy Biddle. Nic Roldan scored for Casablanca with less than a minute left in the chukker giving Palm Beach Polo the early lead, 3-1.
Kris Kampsen scored a goal from the field at the 4:18 mark and added another on a penalty conversion with two minutes on the clock. Palm Beach Polo was held scoreless with the chukker ending in a 3-3 tie.
Both defenses stepped it up in the third chukker with shots being deflected by astute defensive moves and others just missing the mark. At the end of the first half the score remained even at 3-3.
Brandon Phillips opened the second half with a goal from the field that put Palm Beach Polo in the lead, 6-5, but the rest of the period belonged to Kris Kampsen and Casablanca. Consecutive penalty conversions from Kampsen were followed by a goal from the field. At the end of the chukker Casablanca found themselves on top, 6-4.
The two teams traded goals in the fifth. Palm Beach Polo picked up single goals from Phillips and Jeff Hall to tie it at 6-6. Casablanca took advantages of Palm Beach Polo fouls as Kampsen converted twice. With one chukker left in regulation time Casablanca led, 8-6.
Phillips cut the lead to a single goal, 8-7 with just two minutes into the sixth period, but Casablanca answered back with a goal from Kampsen, 9-7. Phillips caught fire in the waning minutes of the period scoring twice and knotting the score at 9-9 for the final scores of the period and forcing a sudden-death overtime.
It didn’t take long for Casablanca to cash in on a Palm Beach Polo foul. With the Casablanca players attacking the Palm Beach Polo goal, the umpire’s whistle blew, awarding Casablanca another penalty opportunity. Kampsen took careful aim and drove the ball through the goalposts for the 10-9 win and the 2014 USPA North American Cup title.
Kampsen led all scoring with nine goals (five on penalty shots). Roldan scored once but was an integral part of the Casablanca attack and was named MVP. Phillips scored five goals for Palm Beach Polo with single goals from Hall and Biddle. Palm Beach Polo also received two goals by handicap in the loss.
Jeff Hall’s six-year-old Chestnut mare, Texas Two Step, was honored as Best Playing Pony.