After a competitive USPA Women’s Arena Handicap semifinal double-header, Bad Ass Polo, with Josie Dorsey, Posey Obrecht, and Demitra Hajimihalis, and La Jefa, composed of Katie Mitcham, Emmie Golkosky, and Jessica Schmitt, emerged from the pack.
Each with a laser-focus on winning the prestigious national title, the two teams faced each other on September 25 at Virginia Polo, Inc. in Charlottesville, Virginia. Gaining a narrow lead in the first and holding it throughout the final, Bad Ass Polo was able to fend off La Jefa’s advances with a strong fourth-chukker drive to seal the victory with 13 to 6.
Kicking off the final with an open first chukker, both teams made strong offensive plays as they tried to establish an early lead. “It took us a minute to figure each other out because we haven’t practiced prior to this,” Posey says. “After our first chukker, it was smooth sailing—the game was very open and there was a lot of communication between us.”
Breaking free from a pack of defenders along the boards, Josie quickly fired on goal to pick up Bad Ass Polo’s opening two-pointer, adding to their one goal advantage on handicap. Working effectively as a team, La Jefa answered back with two consecutive field goals.
Jessica briefly leveled the scoreboard in the second to four goals apiece, but her effort was met by a burst of offensive power in Bad Ass Polo. Scoring three consecutive goals with each teammate contributing to the scoreboard, Bad Ass Polo rapidly regained their lead and ended the half up with 7 to 4.
Riding the offensive momentum of the second chukker into the second half, Bad Ass Polo struck first with a tailshot from Posey to double up La Jefa early in the third. “At halftime, we talked about making sure we kept getting possession of the boards,” Demitra shares.
Working to chip away at Bad Ass Polo’s growing lead, La Jefa’s Katie made a nearside neckshot which passed underneath a horse’s legs and into the goal, followed up by Emmie who narrowed the gap to two. Wanting to end the tournament on the strongest note, Bad Ass Polo delivered their most offensive chukker yet, silencing La Jefa for the remainder of the game.
Hitting a perfectly placed backshot, Demitra setup Posey to tap the ball in and pick up her second consecutive score. Josie also contributed a pair of goals and Demitra claimed the final goal of the chukker to win the title with a dominant 13 to 6.
Reaching the USPA Women’s Arena Open final several times, Posey was proud to win the USPA Women’s Arena Handicap for the first time. “I’m thrilled to finally win this tournament!” she exclaims. “It’s especially great because I coached Josie and I’ve known Demitra her entire life. It’s really special to all come together and earn the win with friends.”
Previously winning in 2019 with UVA, Demitra knew she had a solid team in Bad Ass Polo with a strong chance of winning the trophy. “I think we all have similar styles so we know what to expect from each other,” she points out. “We tried to stay simple and use each other. Plus, we communicated a lot. Teamwork, communication, and using the team are key because you can’t do it alone. Also, being wired similarly in the arena with two really solid arena players was helpful.”
“I just started playing with our team captain Posey a year and a half ago in interscholastic polo. We thought it would be fun to play in this tournament together. The entire time, we were laughing—it was so fun,” Josie says.
Competing in the USPA Women’s Arena Handicap for the first time, she was named Most Valuable Player. “This is my first MVP award in a women’s tournament!” Josie smiles. “I’m a little surprised, but very thankful and glad we had a lot of fun in both games.”
Ironically receiving a bridle as a prize, Josie is looking forward to purchasing her first horse in the future. “Hopefully, I can buy a horse to put in the bridle, but that is a process,” she laughs. Dorsey will also be competing in the upcoming U.S. Open Women’s Handicap (the outdoor equivalent of this tournament) at Houston Polo Club in Houston, Texas this November.
Garrison Forest’s Zoey Bivalacqua received the Sportsmanship Award. “This was my first non-Intercollegiate/Interscholastic tournament, so it was a really good experience for me and I had a lot of fun,” she explains. “I’m typically more on the quiet side, so it was really exciting when I came out of my shell and was able to earn the Sportsmanship Award.”
Playing against other women who also attended Garrison Forest on opposing teams, Zoey learned a lot by participating in the tournament. “In the semifinal, I played against people who I normally play with. So it was a really fun, intense game,” she opens up. “My second game was more of a learning experience and I got to see some new plays and get out of my comfort zone a little bit more.”
Best Playing Pony honors were presented to Timone, owned by Virginia Polo and played by Jessica in the first chukker. A part of the men’s intercollegiate string since 2016, Timone was donated to the program by Russ McCall.
“I like playing Timone in the first because he’s super steady and nice to hit off of when warming up,” the rider muses. “He has a huge bump so he wins most plays, which gives me a lot of confidence. I can always count on him to get my head in the game.”
Recently graduating from UVA in 2020, Demitra has loved the opportunity to work and still enjoy playing the sport she loves. “This is my second year in the professional working world, and for me, winning this tournament means I can work and continue playing polo,” she says. “It’s really important to have a balance and polo keeps me motivated.”
All three teammates share a connection to Garrison Forest School in Owings Mills, Maryland. With this, the USPA Women’s Arena Handicap was a great opportunity to compete together for a national title.
“Demitra and I both went to Garrison Forest and Josie plays there now,” Posey shares. “There was also a complete Garrison Forest team, so it’s really special that we can all get together and compete in a tournament of this level.”
Photographs by Oana Moore