The momentum can shift and the lead can change so quickly in the arena, said Di Jack, Mushi Polo. A coin toss would decide the outcome of Friday afternoon's game between Mushi Polo and Pepitas who were deadlocked at 11-11 at the end of regulation in the Aiken Polo Club's Aiken Ladies Arena tournament at Hilltop Farm Arena. And in the end, it would be Mushi Polo who prevailed.
Pepitas' Belinda Brody scored the game's first goal, but it was actually Mushi Polo who led after the first chukker with goals from the field by Cecilia Cochran and Sheri-Lyn Hensman. However, the game's first half became a tale of two chukkers as Pepitas dominated the second period as Hensman scored 3 times, twice from the field and another goal on a penalty shot. Belinda Brody also picked up her second goal of the game. Mushi Polo's only goal of the chukker came off of the mallet of Di Jack. Pepitas held a commanding 7-4 lead going into the half.
Mushi Polo made some adjustments at halftime and came out extremely strong. Teamwork, the ability to read the opposition and strong defense created a number of opportunities. Malia Bryan, Cecilia Cochran and Di Jack scored from the field to reduce the deficit to one goal. Mushi Polo seemed to find their rhythm in the 3rd and 4th chukkers.
"I think we tried to stay a little bit tighter, started to circle around a little bit more when we lost the ball, and started to come in behind our teammates and protect them," said Jack. "There was more blocking going on in the second half."
Pepitas did end the chukker on a positive note temporarily deflating their opponents thought of a comeback as Belinda Brody scored from near midfield.
And the final chukker would find Pepitas winning the bowl-in, with Brody finishing the play of the period's initial series with a back shot that found the mark,
The response was a relentless offensive outburst from Mushi Polo as they seized command of the opportunities scoring four consecutive goals with Haley Bryan, Cecilia Cochran, Haley Bryan and Di Jack scoring in succession. Jack's goal came in impressive fashion as she took the ball coast-to-coast.
Hensman tied the score at 10-10 by walking the ball in. Pepitas would go up 11-10 on a goal from Brody with a little more than a minute to play.
And just when it seemed as if Pepitas had the game won, Mushi Polo's Haley Bryan made a precision pass to Di Jack who scored the game tying goal with 13 seconds remaining.
"We were very lucky," said Jack. "We went out there to have a lot of fun. We wanted to show the spectators how exciting arena polo can be."