Audi Downs Piaget in Aspen Snow Polo Finals
By Alex Webbe
After a one-year hiatus, the combination of Melissa Ganzi, Kris Kampsen and Juan Bollini returned to Aspen to once again take top honors in the USPA World Snow Polo Championships in Aspen, Colorado with a 5-3 final win.
Both Audi and Piaget emerged from Friday’s preliminary action with perfect 2-0 records, and looked to be evenly matched for Sunday’s finals.
“The combination of Kampsen and Bollini is just too good,” said polo veteran Juan Salinas following the championship match. “They’ve won on the snow, on the sand and on the grass,” he added. “They are a very powerful combination.”
Nick Roldan opened the scoring for Piaget in the first chukker, but was quickly countered on a goal from Juan Bollini to end the chukker in a 1-1 tie.
Bollini put Audi up 2-1 with his second goal of the game in the second chukker, but Marc Ganzi evened the score for Piaget with a goal from the field to end the first half knotted up at 2-2.
Audi turned the corner in the match in the third chukker as disciplined defense by Bollini was complimented by an aggressive Kris Kampsen at the front end of the lineup. Kampsen scored twice while Bollini “shut the door” on any Piaget scoring effort and the teams left the snow covered field after the third period with Audi holding on to a 4-2 lead.
Roldan’s second goal of the game cut the Audi lead to a single goal, 4-3 when Bollini finally sealed the deal. Bollini hammered the ball through the goal posts from near mid-field in the final minute of play to deliver the win for Audi.
MVP Bollini led all scoring with three goals. Teammate Kampsen scored twice.
Nick Roldan set the pace for Piaget with two goals. Marc Ganzi scored once in the loss.
CRESTVIEW FARMS 5, BOMBAY SAPPHIRE 0
Maybe it was jet lag, maybe it was just an off day, but whatever it was Crestview Farms shook it off on Day 2 of the 10th Annual USPA World Snow Polo Championship as the 2008 defending champion scored a convincing 5-0 win over Bombay Sapphire in the consolation match.
In a slow starting game, Alan Martinez scored the only goal of the first chukker of play, followed by a scoreless second period that had Crestview Farms up, 1-0 at the end of the first half.
Goals from Martinez and John Eicher pushed the lead to 3-0 after three chukkers and goals from team captain Alan Meeker and Martinez in the final chukker resulted in a 5-0 Crestview win.
Martinez scored three times for Crestview Farms while Eicher and Meeker added single goals in the victory.
“We had a good game yesterday,” said Bombay Sapphire’s 4-goaler Stuart Campbell. “Jim (Miller) scored a nice goal yesterday and Chet (Lott) made some brilliant defensive shots for us. We’ve been skiing and attending parties all week long, so no one on our team is the least bit disappointed,” said the Director of Polo for The Villages Polo Club.
L’HOSTERIA 5, LAND ROVER 3
L’Hosteria relied on the talents of superstar Carlos Gracida in its hard-fought 4-3 win over Land Rover in the day’s opening contest.
Gracida scored the first goal of the game for L’Hosteria but Land Rover’s Olivier Garrard evened it at 1-1 to end the chukker.
Gracida made it 2-1, L’Hosteria, and was, again, countered by Garrard for the 2-2 tie. Gracida scored his third goal of the game to give L’Hosteria a narrow 3-2 advantage before Garrard’s third score evened it at 3-3.
L’Hosteria continued to press its attack, resulting in a fourth goal from Gracida and a 4-3 lead. The talented 9-goaler would add his fifth goal of the contest in the third chukker as L’Hosteria rode on to take the game, 5-3.
“The field played wonderfully,” said Gracida of the snow groomed Wagner Park in the center of the world-famous ski resort. “The sky was perfectly clear, it was sunny and there was a beautiful mountain at the end of the field, what could be better.”
Gracida gave the organizer kudos for the organization of the event and promised to return to the event as often as possible.
“I always have a lot of fun in the Snow Polo Tournament in Aspen,” he offered. Skiing, parties, horses, polo, what could be better?”
Piaget’s Nick Roldan led the tournament in scoring with seven goals. Carlos Gracida and Kris Kampsen scored six times apiece while the tournament’s MVP, Audi’s Juan Bollini, scored five goals.