Flat Out and Elangeni Ranch in US Trust Cup Finals

Flat Out and
Elangeni Ranch in US Trust Cup Finals

By Alex Webbe

Ganzi returned to the polo fields after a shoulder injury kept her sidelined
for three weeks, and she returned in style. 
Jumping on the opening throw-in in the opening chukker of Friday
morning’s three team round-robin, the Piaget team captain carried the ball 150
yards down the field to score the first goal of the game in the opening round
5-4 win over Catalina Hotel in the 2011 US Trust Cup hosted by the Grand
Champions Polo Club.

Hotel responded with two goals from Alan Lieberman, and Piaget found itself
trailing 2-1 after the first chukker.

picked up second chukker goals from J. J Celis and Joey Casey while holding
Catalina Hotel to a single goal from Kris Kampsen for a 3-3 tie.

Piaget went
ahead, 4-3, on a goal from Casey and stretched the lead 5-3 on a solo effort
from Melissa Ganzi who carried the ball from one end of the field to the other
for her second goal of the match.  Nathan
Lieberman scored the final goal of the game for Catalina Hotel as Piaget rode
off with the 5-4 win.

“I was just
so happy to be playing again,” said Melissa after the game.  “When I broke away with the opening throw-in
all I could do was enjoy the run to the goal. 
It’s only been three weeks,” she added, “but it felt like forever.”

The injury
seems to have healed will, as the Piaget team captain scored four goals on the
day and had a number of additional runs down the field.

Piaget held the field for the second
three-chukker matchup with Elangeni Ranch with California 6-goaler Jason
Crowder getting Piaget on the scoreboard early with a penalty conversion for a
goal.  Elangeni Ranch evened the score at
1-1 with Brian Street scoring on a shot from the field.  Melissa Ganzi closed out the scoring in the
first frame for a 2-1 advantage over Elangeni Ranch.

Defenses tightened on both sides in the second period.  Melissa Ganzi scored her second goal of the
chukker on a penalty shot while Diego Cossio answered for Elangeni Ranch with
his first goal of the game.  With on
chukker left in the second segment of the round-robin, Piaget held on to a
narrow 3-2 lead.

The Elangeni
Ranch offense got on track in the final period as long drives by 7-goaler Luis
Escobar and slashing passes from Cossio found Leo Mandelbaum on the scoring end
of their passes.  Three goals from
Mandelbaum and a single goal from Escobar went unanswered as Elangeni Ranch scored
a 6-3 win over Piaget.

The final matchup
of the morning competition pitted Elangeni Ranch against Miami Beach’s
father-son combination of Alan and Nathan Lieberman. 

Ranch wasted little time in putting goals on the scoreboard, picking up a pair
of goals from both Mandelbaum and Escobar while holding Catalina Hotel

chukker play had Catalina Hotel cutting into the four goal lead, getting a goal
from the field from Nic Roldan and two scores from Kampsen.  However, Mandelbaum and Cossio scored single
goals for Elangeni Ranch, and the period ended with Catalina Hotel trailing

Lieberman managed two goals in the final chukker, but it wasn’t enough as
Elangeni Ranch scored its second straight win in a 6-5 victory at the expense
of Catalina Hotel as it earned a berth in Sunday’s noon finals of the US Trust


In the final
match of the day, Flat Out needed a goal in overtime to score an 8-7 win over
Audi in a fast-paced showdown that set the final bracket for the US Trust Cup.

under threatening skies and brief sprinkles, Flat Out received one goal by
handicap and quickly added two more as Paul Knapp had Audi trailing early,
3-0.  Hector Galindo and Marc Ganzi
finally broke through the Flat Out defense to notch goals, and ending the chukker
trailing 3-2.

Ganzi tied
it up in the second on a goal from the field, but Argentine 7-goaler Jota
Chavanne scored his first goal of the game to keep Flat Out in the lead, 4-3.

Scoring was
a rare commodity in the third chukker. 
The Flat Out defense kept Audi off of the scoreboard while managing to
pick up a lone penalty goal from Knapp for a 5-3 halftime lead.

Phillips opened up the second half with a goal from the field before Galindo
scored on a well-deserved play in front of the Flat Out goal that had him weave
through the entire team before depositing the ball through the goalposts for a
score.  After four periods of play, Flat
Out held on to a two goal 6-4 lead.

rejuvenated Audi team took the field in the fifth with Misha Rodzianko and Galindo
scoring single goals while the entire Audi team managed to shut down the Flat
Out offense.  With one chukker left in
regulation time, the score was all even at 6-6.

Phillips scored
his second goal of the game on a penalty shot that put Flat Out ahead, 7-6, but
Audi wasn’t thru yet.  Marc Ganzi broke
through the Flat Out defenses in the final minute of play to knot it up at
7-7.  With time expiring, a well-placed
shot at the Flat Out goal was taken by Sugar Erskine.  With the ball heading directly between the
goals posts, the final horn sounded, ending the chukker as the ball rolled through
the goal.  No goal was signaled by the
umpires and both teams repaired to their picket lines for fresh mounts.

With the skies
darkening, the players raced back to the field for the sudden-death overtime chukker.  Flat Out took early control of the ball and
drove toward the Audi goal.  A foul was
committed in a defensive effort by an Audi player and Knapp converted the
ensuing penalty shot for the win.

Flat Out
team captain Knapp led all scoring with four goals.  Phillips scored twice and Chavanne added a
goal, and the team received one goal by handicap.

Ganzi and
Galindo accounted for three goals apiece for Audi.  Rodzianko scored once.

Polo action
in the US Trust Cup will continue on Sunday, October 30 with a 10 am
consolation match followed by a Noon finals between Elangeni Ranch and Flat