South Beach Women’s Polo Cup V

Cheeki captures perfect record at South Beach Women’s Polo Cup V

 

For the Miami Herald

Tourists visiting the beach didn’t just swim in the blue water or tan on the sand while enjoying Thursday’s perfect spring weather.

Cheeki captured the South Beach Women’s Polo Cup V between 20th and 22nd streets with a perfect 2-0 record in the upper bracket.

Captain Tiffany Busch recorded five goals as her team beat James Hotel/JetBlue 6-4 in the final. She also tallied four in a 6-0 win over Raleigh/Comcast.

Down 3-1 following Alicia Harden’s two goals after the first chukker, Cheeki scored five unanswered points to take a lead it wouldn’t relinquish.

Busch, ranked No. 2 in the world, has been playing for 10 years. She, along with other top polo players from across the world, participated in the round-robin style match series.

“The team effort, the horses that they brought, the girls I played with, the coaching – everything about it is why we won today,” Busch said. “It was a team effort and that’s what made it a win.

“The wind was in our favor in the last chukker, which made a difference, and I was always taught never to stop pushing no matter the score.”

HEYS USA took the Elegante Polo Cup last year with James Hotel/JetBlue’s Cecelia Cochran and Alicia Harden. Eight teams competed in two brackets during the one-day tournament.

La Martina Miami Beach Polo World Cup is the only polo tournament in America played on the beach.

It is also the longest running in the world, entering its ninth year for the men’s competition, which will begin on Friday and run until Sunday.

With Cheeki’s initial success, the team looks to enter the World Snow Polo Championship in Aspen this December.

“We’re thrilled to have been invited to it,” Cheeki founder Sam Simon said. “We’ve got a perfect record and we’re really happy to support women’s polo. We think it’s really cool. Women’s beach polo — I couldn’t think of something cheekier than that.”

The W Hotel swept its two matches against Small Luxury Hotels of the World and La Martina in the lower bracket by a combined score of 17-4.

Tournament MVP went to The W’s Courtney Asdourian, who scored 11 total goals in those matches.

Asdourian played in high school and at the University of Kentucky. She currently works in polo and continues to train in Wellington.

“It was to have fun, and I was always told that beach polo is nothing like real polo so you’ve got to forget everything about real polo and hit the ball as hard as you can toward the goal,” Asdourian said.

In the upper bracket, Laura Wilson’s Dash earned best horse. Maggie McNamara’s Stare took the honor in the lower bracket.

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