Casablanca Wins Top Pony 12-Goal Series At Grand Champions At Palm Beach Polo; Nic Roldan Named MVP
Casablanca won the Top Pony 12-Goal Series Tournament with an impressive 14-7 victory over Pony Express Saturday at Grand Champions at Palm Beach Polo Club.
Casablanca (Grant Ganzi, Carlitos Gracida, Juancito Bollini, Nic Roldan), the youngest team in the tournament, continued its winning tradition.
Nic Roldan was named Most Valuable Player. Roldan scored a game-high seven goals. Roldan’s horse Ducati was named Best Playing Pony. Horseware creator Tom MacGuiness presented Roldan with the award.
“They all played great, the other kids deserve this,” Roldan said. “I love playing with these guys. They get better every game. I have to push and guide them a lot but that’s part of the process. Our team is jelling better and better every game. I get joy out of seeing them have fun and play well.
“Pony Express is a good team obviously, they got to the final,” Roldan said. “It just wasn’t their day.”
Gracida added three goals. Ganzi and Bollini each had two goals.
Toms Goti led Pony Express with four goals. Julian de Luzaretta added two and Bob Daniels had one.
“We knew they were a very good team,” Goti said. “I think we played badly today. They played really well and they rushed us. I thought Bob played really well on our team. We played a great tournament. Today was just a bad day.
“One moment they pass us by three goals and we try to recover, they score a few goals more and it was over,” Goti said. “All the young kids played great today. They are the future of polo. It is great to play with them so they learn. It’s nice to see how they grow and improve.”
Casablanca opened with a 2-0 lead behind Roldan’s goal on a breakaway and Ganzi’s big angle shot with 4:29 left.
The game was close until Casablanca pulled away after Bollini hit an uncontested back shot goal to give Casablanca an 8-5 halftime lead.
Casablanca started pulling away with its balanced attack in the second half. Roldan converted a penalty shot to end the fourth chukker with an 11-6 lead and another penalty goal at the end of the fifth chukker for a 14-7 lead which remained through the scoreless sixth chukker.
“You never want to think about how a game, how the score is going to end up or winning like that,” Ganzi said.
“What we always try to do is think 0-0 every chukker. It doesn’t matter what the score is, we just tell ourselves don’t let up, just keep playing hard.”
Roldan, the oldest member of the Casablanca team, has been playing with Ganzi and his family for several years.
“Nic is a big influence on our team and he was a big part of a victory today,” Ganzi said. “He plays incredible. He is our captain and our oldest person on the team which is funny to say. He helps us a lot out there. He is a great player.”
In the Top Pony 12-Goal Handicap final earlier in the day, Hawk Hill defeated Valiente, 10-9. Matt Coppola led scoring with six goals including the game-winner. Mariano Gracida, who had two goals, was named the game’s Most Valuable Player. Ian MacTaggart and Gringo Colombres each had one goal.
PoloNow Network live-streamed its second game of the day following the ProKidz Tournament.
PoloNow producers Mike Ferreira and Eric Monahan handled 55 instant replays and two team challenges and reviews during the Casablanca-Pony Express game. Pony Express lost both its team challenges.
Spectators and media members also got the opportunity to watch the game and instant replays on a 60-inch television monitor in the Grand Champions tent.
Since January, PoloNow and Grand Champions have been using instant replay at its Saturday feature games. Grand Champions is the first club worldwide to offer the cutting-edge technology to help improve the sport and its officiating.
In other Grand Champions at PB Polo tournaments:
Madelon Bourdieu Memorial 5-Goal:
Patagones 7, Yellow Cab 1: Peke Gonzales scored five goals to lead the winners. Martin Estrada added two.
Pony Express 5, Patagones 4: Tomas Goti scored four goals including the game-winner.
Limited Edition 8-Goal:
Hawk Hill 13, TLC Development 11: Gianico Sterling scored eight goals including the tying and game-winner. Tommy Biddle had seven goals for TLC. Glenn Straub had one goal.
Equuleus 12, Tonchala 11: Gonzalo DiCiurcio scored five goals including the game-winner. Martin Pepa also had five goals. Tavi Usandizaga scored a game-high eight goals for Tonchala.
Hawk Hill 15, SLS Jets 8: Gringo Colombres scored a game-high nine goals. Guille Usandizaga scored seven goals.
Far Niente 11, Tonchala 10: Ricky Mershad scored the winning goal. Kris Kampsen led Far Niente scoring with five goals and Mariano Gracida added three. Tavi Usandizaga had six for Tonchala.
TLC Development 11, SLS Jets 9: Tommy Biddle led scoring with six goals to lead the winners. Wes Finlayson added four goals and Glenn Straub had one.
Santa Rita Abierto 16-Goal:
Casablanca 11, KIG 9: Nic Roldan scored a game-high six goals to lead the winners. Grant Ganzi added two and Juancito Bollini and Fred Mannix each had one goal. Brandon Phillips had five goals for KIG.
For game recaps, news, features and photos of Grand Champions Polo Club-related eventsLive, go to www.grandchampionspoloclub.org.
Game video and live webcasts can also be seen at PoloNow Network at http://www.polonow.tv/.
2014 HIGH GOAL SEASON
MARCH 30-APRIL 20: 110th Maserati U.S. Open Polo Championships: SUNDAY: Audi vs. Alegria, 10 a.m.; Flight Options vs. Coca-Cola, noon; APRIL 6: Audi vs. Coca-Cola, noon; Alegria vs. Flight Options, 3 p.m.; APRIL 10: Audi vs. Flight Options 4 p.m.; APRIL 13: Quarterfinals; APRIL 16: Semifinals; APRIL 20: Hall of Fame Cup Final, U.S. Open final.
GRAND CHAMPIONS AT PALM BEACH POLO 2014 TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE (HOTLINE 561-373-0073)
MARCH: Madelon Bourdieu Memorial (5-goal); The Limited Edition 8-Goal Series; March 18-30, Santa Rita Abierto (16 goals); March 23-31, March 23-31, $50,000 National 12-Goal Tournament.
THIS WEEK’S SCHEDULE
TUESDAY: 8-goal, Tulum/Tuff Riders vs. TLC Development at Las Palmas, 10 a.m.
$50,000 National 12-Goal Tournament
TUESDAY: Flight Options/Newport vs. Port Mayaca at Grand Champions, 11 a.m.
SANTA RITA ABIERTO 16-GOAL TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE
TUESDAY: KIG vs. Goose Creek, 3 p.m.; WEDNESDAY: Casablanca at Equuleus, 4:30 p.m.; FRIDAY: Goose Creek vs. Casablanca; SUNDAY: Championship final.
APRIL: Las Acacias (5-goal); USPA Association Cup (8- goal); Museum of Polo & Hall of Fame Challenge Cup (12-goal); John T. Oxley Memorial Trophy (16-goal).
GRAND CHAMPIONS POLO CLUB SCHEDULE (561-644-5050)
SATURDAYS: ProKidz Tournament, 2 p.m.
APRIL 4-5: Fifth annual Gay Polo League International Tournament
APRIL 8-12: Women’s Championship Tournament
GRAND CHAMPIONS AT PALM BEACH POLO 2014 SPRING SCHEDULE (561-644-5050)
APRIL 17-19: Grand Champions Cup
APRIL 24-27: The USPA Spring Challenge
MAY 1-4: The USPA Sun Cup
MAY 8-11: The USPA Eastern Challenge
MAY 15-18: The Polo Gear Challenge Cup
MAY 22-26: The Memorial
GRAND CHAMPIONS POLO CLUB
WHERE: 13444 Southfields Road, on the corner of South Shore Boulevard and Lake Worth Road, Wellington, 33414.