Aspen Valley Polo Club Wins Subsidiary
Astrada Named MVP At USPA Piaget World Snow Polo Championship
In a spirited snow polo game, Aspen Valley Polo Club won the subsidiary game of the USPA Piaget World Snow Polo Championship Friday at Rio Grande Park in downtown Aspen.
Making its tournament debut, Aspen Valley Polo Club defeated defending champion St. Regis, 4-2, to finish fifth in the six-team tournament.
Aspen Valley Polo Club (Juancito Bollini, Andrea Gonzalez, Alejandro Novillo Astrada) and St. Regis (Alejandro Gonzalez, Mariano Gracida, Roberto Gonzalez) played a scoreless opening chukker before Aspen Valley Polo Club took control for the remaining three chukkers.
Aspen Valley Club took a 2-0 lead in the second chukker with goals from Andrea Gonzalez and Astrada. Astrada scored two more goals in the third chukker.
Astrada finished with a game-high three goals and was named Most Valuable Player.
Mariano Gracida scored one goal in the third quarter and Alejandro Gonzalez added another in the fourth and final chukker for St. Regis.
For veteran player Roberto Gonzalez, it was a family affair playing with his son Alejandro and against his other son Andrea.
On Saturday, the three-day tournament concludes with the much-anticipated championship between Piaget (Marc Ganzi, Jeff Hall, Nic Roldan) and U.S. Polo Assn. (Grant Ganzi, Brandon Phillips, Tommy Biddle).
Piaget advanced into the final with a 5-2 win over FlexJet and 8-3 victory over Aspen Valley Polo Club.
First-year tournament sponsor U.S. Polo Assn. defeated Audi, 5-3, and St. Regis, 7-1, to earn the other final spot.
The championship will pit father against son, Marc and Grant Ganzi. At 16, Ganzi, a junior at Boca Raton, Fl. St. Andrew’s School, is the youngest player in the tournament and youngest player ever to play in the final.
Biddle, the oldest player in the final and team captain for U.S. Polo Assn., is the only 10-goal rated arena player.
Before the championship final at 12:30 p.m., Audi (Melissa Ganzi, Kris Kampsen, Juan Bollini) and FlexJet (Tommy Kato, Martin Pepa, Luis Escobar) will play in Saturday’s consolation final.
The final is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. and will be televised by NBC Sports Network on Dec. 27th at 4 p.m. EST., a joint production with Chukker TV, which is also providing exclusive content on its website, ChukkerTV.com including Wednesday night’s draw at St. Regis.
During the tournament, players are playing for points on the final stop on the 2014 calendar for the World Polo Tour.
Melissa and Marc Ganzi, co-owners of Aspen Valley Polo Club, sister club of Wellington, Fla.-based Grand Champions Polo Club, along with Larry Boland, president of Piaget North America, are hosting the polo extravaganza. St. Regis Hotels & Resorts and Starwood are the official hospitality partners and Audi is the official car.
On Saturday, polo fans will be able to relax and watch world-class snow polo from the heated VIP Pavilion while enjoying mountain fare from the The St. Regis Aspen Resort along with complimentary cocktails.
Following Saturday’s final, the awards ceremony and team presentations will follow along with a lavish after party in the VIP tent.