FAMILY AFFAIR
Uskups govern Aiken's fall high-goal season.

One of the highlights of Aiken’s year is the fall high-goal season including the 20- goal Monty Waterbury, immediately followed by the USPA Silver Cup. Maureen Brennan’s Goose Creek team has dominated the Silver Cup for the past two years and was certainly a favorite going into the season, however Barb Uskup’s Barrington team stole the show in the Monty Waterbury final on October 8, while Tom Uskup’s MavOffice.com wrangled the Silver Cup 10 days later. Five teams competed in both events.

In the first event, after a week of Monty Waterbury playoff games, Gillian Johnston’s Bendabout team, with an 0-3 record, was eliminated while the remaining four teams headed to the semi-finals. Barrington was the only team to go undefeated at 3-0, while the other three teams sported 1-1 records. The first semifinal game pitted Barb Uskup’s Barrington team against husband Tom Uskup’s MavOffice.com team. Barrington had no trouble with MavOffice, downing it 15-8 in a preliminary match just a few days earlier.

TEAM ROSTERS
MavOffice.com
19
Tom Uskup
2
Julian Daniels
6
Tiger Kneece
6
Horacio Onetto
5
Barrington
19
Barb Uskup
A
Julio Arellano
8
Tommy Biddle
7
Antonio Galvan
4
Goose Creek
19
Maureen Brennan
A
Martin Zegers
6
Adam Snow
8
Cote Zegers
5
Bendabout
20
Gillian Johnston
1
Hector Galindo
7
Owen Rinehart
7
Whistle Uys
5
Pony Express
20
Pablo Avalos
4
Matias Magrini
9
Tomas Goti
7
Bob Daniels
A

In the semifinal match, Barrington began with a 1-goal handicap but MavOffice was the first to score on a Penalty 2 by 6-goal Tiger Kneece. A Penalty 4 conversion by 8- goal Julio Arellano put Barrington ahead and Tommy Biddle’s powerful goal extended its lead. Five-goal Horacio Onetto answered for MavOffice but Barb Uskup had the last word, scoring a Penalty 2 for Barrington. Ahead 4-2, Barrington continued to control the match in the second period. Biddle and Arellano combined for three goals while MavOffice was held to a Penalty 3 conversion by Onetto. Onetto converted another penalty early in the third, but Biddle responded with a field goal. Six goal Julian Daniels scored for MavOffice but Antonio Galvan answered for Barrington.

Down 9-5 at the half, MavOffice tried to regroup and managed to block all scoring attempts by Barrington in the fourth, while Daniels added one. Barrington didn’t take kindly to that and responded with three goals from Arellano and another from Biddle while MavOffice was limited to one goal from Daniels in the fifth. Barrington led by a comfortable seven goals going into the final chukker. But, MavOffice almost caught its confident opponent napping. Onetto and Daniels combined for six goals, three from the penalty line, while Barrington couldn’t get near the goal. But time was on their side and the final bell sounded with Barrington holding the narrow 13-12 victory, allowing them to advance to the final.

Later in the day, Goose Creek took on Bob Daniels Pony Express team. Nine-goal Matias Magrini got Pony Express going with three quick goals to open the scoring. Goose Creek began with a one-goal handicap and 8-goal Adam Snow scored to keep it close. Magrini and teammate 4-goal Pablo Avalos combined for three more goals in the second while holding Goose Creek to a pair of Penalty 2 conversions. Brothers 5-goal Cote and 6-goal Martin Zegers scored to tie the match in the third, but a Penalty 4 conversion by 7-goal Tomas Goti put Pony Express on top at the end of the first half.

Magrini increased the lead with a lone goal in the fourth. But, something seemed to happen to Goose Creek in the fifth. The team was energized, notching five unanswered goals to take a convincing 11-8 lead. A stunned Pony Express team watched the Zegers each score in the sixth, giving Goose Creek its ticket to the final.

The final match between Goose Creek and Barrington, both 19-goal teams, promised to be exciting and it was. Adam Snow started the scoring but Tommy Biddle shot back for Barrington. Martin Zegers added another for Goose Creek late in the first period. Martin Zegers and Snow sandwiched goals around one from Julio Arellano in the second to keep the lead. Barrington didn’t let the deficit get to it, and fired back in the third with goals by Biddle, Arellano and Galvan to take a brief lead. Snow tied the score to end the half knotted at 5-5.

In the fourth, Biddle scored on a Penalty 6, but Cote Zegers, Snow and Maureen Brennan found the uprights to take a twogoal advantage. Biddle used his secret weapon in the fifth, eventual Best Playing Pony Manu, and went on a scoring spree, adding four goals added to one from Barb Uskup to give Barrington an 11-8 advantage going into the final period. Biddle sunk a Penalty 5 from the spot and Galvan added another to give Barrington a five-goal lead. Snow aced a Penalty 4 and Martin Zegers scored from the field in the waning minutes of the match, but it wasn’t enough and Barrington had its win.

Tommy Biddle was named Most Valuable Pro after turning the game’s momentum in his team’s favor. Uskup was named Most Valuable Amateur and Maureen Brennan’s Diporora took Best Playing Pony-Amateur. The Silver Cup started just days later with the same roster, but the outcome of the preliminary games was much different. Bendabout, which couldn’t count a win in the first tournament, had found its rhythm and edged MavOffice in overtime. It lost a close game to Goose Creek, then downed Barrington 14-12. The only other team with two wins was Goose Creek, which had slipped Pony Express in a tight match. Pony Express, with an 0-3 record was eliminated, leaving the remaining four teams to advance to the semis.

Goose Creek took on MavOffice.com in the first semi. A hungry Goose burst out with three quick goals before MavOffice’s Onetto found the uprights. Snow responded with his third goal of the period for Goose Creek. The teams swapped goals in the second period and kept pace in the third. MavOffice was awarded a Penalty 3, followed by a Penalty 2, which Onetto had no trouble converting. At the same time a generally level-headed Adam Snow was given a technical. The half ended with Goose Creek holding tight to a narrow 5-4 lead. Both teams had to stay focused to win.

The teams traded goals in the fourth and Cote Zegers put Goose Creek up by two on a Penalty 2 conversion in the fifth, but Daniels scored from the field and Kneece knocked in a Penalty 2 to tie the score. With just under three minutes left in the period, and his frustration showing, Snow was whistled and given his second technical. Onetto scored from the field to give MavOffice a first-time lead heading into the sixth. Martin Zeger’s early Penalty 2 conversion knotted the score and a pictureperfect Penalty 4 by Snow gave the lead back to Goose Creek. Now all the team would have to do is keep MavOffice away from the goal until time ran out and they did a good job of it until a Goose Creek player knocked the ball over the team’s own backline. This gave MavOffice an opportunity and it seized it as Kneece sunk the Penalty 6, forcing overtime. The game had an anticlimactic ending when Onetto converted a Penalty 3 to give MavOffice, not just the win, but the golden ticket to the final.

The other semifinal had Bendabout take on Barrington, which started with a 1-goal handicap. Bendabout quickly overcame the handicap when Hector Galindo scored two quick goals. Barrington answered back with a pair of penalty conversions from Tommy Biddle. Gillian Johnston and Whistle Uys scored in the second but each goal was answered by a penalty conversion from Barrington. Uys tapped in a Penalty 2 in the third but Antonio Galvan answered for Barrington, ending the half with Barrington clinging tight to its handicap goal with a 6-5 advantage.

In the fourth period, Biddle broke loose with a pair of goals to increase the Barrington lead, but another Uys penalty conversion kept Bendabout in the game. Goals by Bendabout’s Galindo and Rinehart were answered by goals from Barrington’s Julio Arellano and Biddle. Trailing 8-10 in the final period, a Uys penalty conversion inched Bendabout closer, but it wasn’t to be as time ran out with Barrington taking the win.

The final would be Uskup versus Uskup as Barrington took on MavOffice.com. Could Barb Uskup’s Barrington team make it two victories in a row or would husband Tom’s MavOffice.com steal its thunder?

There was no doubt both team owners put their relationship aside and focused on the prize, the historic Silver Cup trophy. MavOffice got off to a great start with the first three goals, one from Tom Uskup and two from Tiger Kneece. A Penalty 2 conversion and a field goal from Tommy Biddle kept Barrington in the game. Biddle’s early second period goal tied the score but MavOffice shot back with a trio of goals from Horacio Onetto and a goal from Julian Daniels to propel ahead 7-3. A Penalty 2 conversion early in the third increased the MavOffice lead but Julio Arellano, Biddle and Antonio Galvan each scored to end the first half trailing 6-8. The Uskups took their teams to separate corners for the halftime break while spectators enjoyed the traditional champagne divot stomp and PRISA “High Goal Series of Aiken” t-shirt give away.

Arellano got right to work in the fourth with a goal to bring Barrington to within one but Onetto responded. In the fifth, Barrington lost its momentum while MavOffice collected three more goals, two from Daniels and another from Onetto. Going into the final period Barrington trailed 7-12. It looked all but impossible for Barrington to catch up but that didn’t stop the players from trying. Biddle scored two goals but MavOffice responded after each with penalty conversions. Arellano scored two, but Onetto answered with another from the penalty line. Biddle converted a Penalty 4, but it would be his last. Time had run out for Barrington and MavOffice took the win.

Being a good sport, Barb genuinely congratulated Tom and his teammates for the win. Horacio Onetto was named Most Valuable Pro after scoring a game-high eight goals. Tom Uskup took Most Valuable Amateur and his pretty grey mare, Krystal, took Best Playing Pony-amateur honors, while Julian Daniels’ Dream Catcher was named Best Playing Pony-Pro.

Long after the game was over, guests continued the season-ending celebration in the pavilion. After a successful season, the Uskups are left with the task of making room in their trophy cabinet for Aiken’s two most prestigious trophies.

 
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