Eight teams of some of the country’s top women players took to the sands of south Beach on Thursday, April 26th to compete in the opening day of the eighth annual Maserati Miami Beach Polo World Cup.
Day one brought the Maserati South Beach Women’s Polo Cup to an enthusiastic audience of polo fans and sports enthusiasts.
The elite bracket of competition was captured by the Heys USA team of Cecelia Cochran, Diana Jack and Alicia Harden, who took top honors with a hard fought 3-1 win over a talented Lufthansa Private Jet team of Valerie Biehl, Pamela Flanagan and Laura Willson.
Lufthansa Private Jet got into trouble early on with Cecelia Cochran converting a pair of penalty shots and Diana Jack scoring from the field for a 3-1 lead in the opening chukker of play. Laura Willson scored Lufthansa’s only goal of the chukker.
Second period play favored the Heys USA team once again with long runs and ball control frustrating a Lufthansa Private Jet team that fought to get back into play.
While Lufthansa Private Jet scored an earlier 3-1 win over Maserati they couldn’t seem to get a handle on the Heys USA team. With neither team able to score in the second chukker, Heys USA celebrated the 3-1 win for the tournament championship.
Cecelia Cochran was named MVP while Jennifer Williams’ Shy Fox was honored as Best Playing Pony. Shy Fox is a fifteen-year-old chestnut mare with white blaze. Williams played her in the WTC Finals 0-2 goal bracket placing 2nd out of 4 teams, the WTC qualifier in the Villages 4 goal – won, Palm City WTC qualifier – won. Shy Fox won the Gulfstream Ladies Invitational, Port Mayaca WCT – 2nd out of 4 teams. Shy Fox came out of the S. K. Johnson/Gillian Johnson Coca Cola breeding line.
The Bulgari team (Scarlet Davenport, Cristina Hosmer and Maggie McNamara) took the top spot in the lower bracket of play with a 1-0 defensive win over a Ciroc trio that included Josefina Gonzalez and Liselotte Sandberg. Cristina Hosmer scored the winning goal in the contest.
Bulgari snuck its way into its bracket final with a 4-3 double overtime shootout win over The Raleigh (Aimee Waters, Misty Allen and Slaney O’Hanlon). Ciroc scored a preliminary 2-1 victory over E! Entertainment (Debra Atwell, Annaleise Atwell and Stephanie Kraml-Suttle). Maggie McNamara was named MVP.
The two finals culminated a day in which over twenty five players and 100 horses competed for tournament bragging rights.
“I can’t put into words just what a great time it was,” said Lufthansa Private Jet’s Pamela Flanagan. “This was absolutely the best time!” she added.
Flanagan, a senior at SMU where she is the captain of the women’s polo team had just finished competing in regional competition where she scored 18 goals in one match! She wasn’t the only collegiate star on the beach. This year’s Gascon entry featured Julia Steiner and Kylee Sheehan, two members of this year’s intercollegiate National Championship University of Virginia women’s polo team.
“We’re going to try and return next year with our entire team,” said Sheehan. “We had a great time.”
The balance of the weekend was filled with parties and polo as the men’s team took center stage in the Maserati Miami beach Polo World Cup.
The balance of the teams competing were: Gascon (Tara Lordi, Melissa Hornung, Julia Steiner and Kylee Sheehan); Maserati (Lynn O’Connor, Jennifer Williams and Jolie Liston); E! Entertainment.