Grand Champions Blue Wins ProKidz Tournament At Grand Champions At Palm Beach Polo Club
The third installment of the ProKidz Tournament Saturday at Grand Champions at Palm Beach Polo Club featured a battle of the sexes.
Grand Champions Blue’s all-girls team of Jacqui Casey, Mia Astrada and Riley Ganzi along with former 8-goal pro Juan Bollini defeated Grand Champions White (Landen Daniels, Juanse Olivera, Matias MacDonough Jr. and pro Matias MacDonough won with a hardfought 4-3 victory.
Grand Champions Blue’s Mia Astrada, 13, won the ProKidz Most Valuable Player Award. Astrada scored three goals and played well throughout the game. Ganzi scored one goal.
Matias MacDonough Jr., playing alongside his father, Matias Sr., scored all three of his team’s goals.
It was an evenly-matched game with Grand Champions White taking a 2-1 lead after the first 10-minute chukker. Grand Champions Blue roared back with team work and wide open field play to outscore Grand Champions White, 3-1 in the second and final 10-minute chukker to clinch the win.
Pro polo announcer Toby Wayman gave Grand Champions Blue the nickname “Juan’s Angels” during the game.
“It was fun playing the boys team,” said Astrada, oldest daughter of Argentine 10-goaler Miguel Novillo Astrada.
“I am very happy, the game was fun playing with girls,” Astrada said. “I have played with both Riley and Jacqui. Playing helps me every week. I haven’t been playing that much because my horses aren’t here and I use my father’s horses and he needs them to play in his games.”
Astrada said she liked playing with Bollini more than her dad because “he passes me the ball more. My father thinks if he passes it more to me it’s not fair because he’s my father. Juan saw me and always passed me the ball.”
Casey, daughter of pro player and coach Joey Casey, also enjoyed the idea of an all-girls team. Casey has grown up playing polo with Ganzi, both top junior players.
“It was a lot of fun,” Casey said. “It’s better than when I go fast because the ball is more out there and you’re not all bunched up.
“When it’s an all-girls team we work together so we all know what to do,” Casey said. “I have played with Mia and Riley a lot before so we knew the plays and where to go. We talked a lot so it helped. Juan helped a lot talking to us.”
It was the third ProKidz event hosted at Grand Champions at PB Polo. Grand Champions is enjoying its role in helping to develop and promote youth polo by hosting a variety of junior tournaments throughout the year.
The concept of pairing a pro with juniors is to have some of the game’s best players mentor and nurture up-and-coming future boys and girls players. The junior players’ ages vary and the teams are matched evenly. The pros coach the players during the game.
The game was live-streamed by Florida-based PoloNow Network which is also pioneering instant replay and team challenges.
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: TUESDAY: Flight Options vs. Coca-Cola, 1:30 p.m.; Audi vs. Alegria, 4:30 p.m.; 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)
APRIL: $50,000 National 12-Goal Tournament; 6-17, USPA The National President’s Cup, 16-17, Las Acacias (5-goal); Museum of Polo & Hall of Fame Challenge Cup (12-goal); John T. Oxley Memorial Trophy (16-goal).
THIS WEEK’S SCHEDULE
TUESDAY: $50,000 National 12-Goal Tournament semifinals, Palm Beach Equine vs. Flight Options/Newport, 11 a.m.; Valiente vs. Casablanca, 4 p.m.
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