• US Open Women’s Polo Championship

    Photo: Kaylee Wroe Photography.

  • US Open Women’s Polo Championship

    Lía Salvo and Hazel Jackson (Photo: Kaylee Wroe Photography).

  • US Open Women’s Polo Championship

    Hope Arellando and Lia Salvo celebrating the win. (Photo: Kaylee Wroe Photography).

  • US Open Women’s Polo Championship

    BPP Picasita (Photo: Kaylee Wroe Photography).

US Open Women’s Polo Championship
US Open Women’s Polo ChampionshipUS Open Women’s Polo Championship

US Open Women’s Polo Championship

San Saba make history in Houston

November 13, 2017
November 13, 2017
The 2017 U.S. Open Women’s Polo Championship Final took place on Sunday at Houston Polo Club in Houston, Texas. An adrenaline-charged game between two incredibly talented teams, spectators were rewarded with five chukkers of full speed back-and-forth play and a white-knuckled overtime victory for San Saba 6-5. Was the first title for Lia Salvo after six years in the competition and three final appearances -San Saba left everything on the field and came out on top.

"To me, I don’t feel like I am on the top of my game just yet. I’ve got so much more to learn and I really appreciated Roberto’s [Gonzalez] help and everybody’s help from this week. I come to Houston every year and I always learn so much in the week that I am here. For all of those girls that are aspiring to go higher and higher, I am still there too. I am still trying to get to the top, and still cannot beat Lia [Salvo], and Wisey [Sarah Wiseman] and Nina [Clarkin] in every tournament, so I am still going to keep working hard," stated Hazel Jackson.

First chukker action did not disappoint with wide-open polo as both teams made numerous breakaway runs towards goal. Rocking P Lockton scored first, a beautiful angled backshot goal from Hazel Jackson off a well-placed backshot pass from Kristy Outhier. San Saba would immediately fire back, Lia Salvo capitalizing from the penalty line to equalize the score. A fast-paced and organized chukker for both teams, they would each manage another field goal to end the first tied 2-all. The remainder of the first half would be marked by several fouls from both sides, slowing down the game. 

Emotions running high, both teams were awarded a Penalty 3 in the third, which they each easily converted to maintain the gap. Rocking P Lockton trailed by one 5-4 entering the final period, but an expert goal by Jackson out of the bowl-in within the first seconds of play equalized the score 5-all. Neither were able to score however, including missed Penalty 4 opportunities from both teams. Yet, despite San Saba’s scoreless chukker, Lia Salvo impressed in the final minutes of play, going into overdrive, racing up and down field in defense grabbing the ball from all angles -her desire for the win palpable from the sidelines. A near goal by San Saba’s Hope Arellano ended regulation time initiating the overtime chukker. 

The stakes at an all-time high, San Saba dodged a bullet as a fantastic run by Lottie Lamacraft was picked up by Jackson, but unfortunately kicked out of bounds. The San Saba knock-in would prove the play to take the game, as Wiseman made a pass to Salvo who bolted towards goal. Thwarted by a hook at the last second, Rocking P/Lockton backed the ball towards centerfield which was then backed towards goal by Jones and picked up by Arellano for the score -a true team play to finish off the game. "I was so lucky to be able to score that winning goal, it meant a lot," said the always humble Arellano smiling from ear to ear. "Having my parents here has been amazing. My mom held a spare and my dad helped coach. It was awesome to have them both here. It was such a great opportunity and I had so much fun."

"I am so excited, I have played this tournament for six years and never won it, I am really happy, this is a big day for me. I love coming to Houston. This is the first time I have worn the San Saba shirt and I am really happy with how the team functioned. I think we went from minus to plus. We didn’t start as well as we wanted, but today all of us did our jobs really well," Lia Salvo said.

SAN SABA: Dawn Jones 6, Hope Arellano 3, Lia Salvo 8, Sarah Wiseman 8. Total: 25. 
ROCKING P/LOCKTON: Courtney Price/Athena Malin 3/4, Lottie Lamacraft 5T, Hazel Jackson 8, Kristy Outhier 8. Total: 24/25.
MVP: Lía Salvo. 
BPP Amateur: Chispita, owned and ridden by Dawn Jones in the second chukker. 
BPP Professional: Picasita ridden by Lia Salvo in the second chukker and owned by Dawn Jones. AQHA Top American Quarter Horse: Reata, played and owned by Rocking P Lockton's Kristy Outhier in the first chukker.

Story Credit: USPA.