Going into the finals of the US Open Women’s Polo Championship last Saturday at the International Polo Club Palm Beach as the only undefeated team, Hawaii Polo Life (Cecily Coors, Pamela Flanagan, Mia Cambiaso and Hazel Jackson) finished their impressive run through the tournament with the 8-3 win over Blue Water (Sophie Grant, Kylie Sheehan, Izzy Parsons and Meghan Shader-Jumet) to claim their third title in four years.
Leading from start to finish, Hawaii Polo Life controlled possession from the initial throw-in to overtake Blue Water 17-6. With few shots on goal for either team, the match was mostly played in open play where 10-scorer Hazel Jackson excelled with three goals and four assists to contribute to all but one of his team’s goals.
Using exceptional power, Hawaii Polo Life built a wide lead behind an equally strong defense, limiting Blue Water to just one field goal in the game. With the dominating performance, Hawaii Polo Life completed the five-goal victory to return to the winner’s circle.
Asserting themselves in the opening moments of the final, Hawaii Polo Life’s elite duo of Jackson and Mia Cambiaso connected for their team’s first goal of the game. Outpacing Blue Water 6-0 in the first chukker, Hawaii Polo Life kept their opponents stuck in their own half and added two more goals, the latest on a Penalty 2 conversion from Jackson to hold a 3-0 lead .
Catching the attention of the Blue Water defense, Jackson used the pass to score back-to-back goals for Cambiaso and Pamela Flanagan, extending Hawaii Polo Life’s lead to five at the end of the second chukker. Breaking through for their first goal of the game on a Penalty 2 from Izzy Parsons, Blue Water found their first rhythm of the game, but the scoreboard difference remained at five with two chukkers remaining.
Turning to their defense to start the second half, Hawaii Polo Life held Blue Water scoreless for the third time in four chukkers, preventing a comeback from the hardworking Blue Water squad. Hawaii Polo Life fourth member Cecily Coors scored her first goal of the finals on a pass from Jackson as time ticked on and they aimed to finish their strong performance. Despite conceding goals from Parsons and Kylie Sheehan in the final chukker, Hawaii Polo Life’s Jackson showed her 10-goal ability with her third goal to secure the 8-3 win and lift the US Women’s Polo Championship trophy. Open.
Tournament leader Jackson was named Most Valuable Player, while Top Pony was awarded to Bionica, played by Cambiaso and owned by J5 Equestrian and La Dolfina.
Having massive power behind Hawaii Polo Life has been a plus for all the talented riders on the team. “It’s absolutely crazy for me to ride these horses,” Jackson said.
Jackson had the chance to play three La Dolfina horses in the tournament.
“I can do different things on the pitch that I couldn’t do before,” she said. “I’ve never run so fast in my life! You have to stop driving sensitively because they simply go away! I’ve been riding these horses for three games and it took me a while to get used to them, but I love them. Having that option of J5 Equestrian, Chris Dawson and the Cambiasos, it lets you do your thing.
With little time to celebrate, Jackson was to board a plane for Argentina, followed by a return trip to England.