TechnoPolo Scores Win in USPA Fall Classic Opener
By Alex Webbe
Polo veteran J. J. Celis led all scoring with four goals for Barbarossa Leather, but it was the balanced attack of Franck Duberryâ€™s TechnoPolo team that scored an 8-7 win in the opening game of Grand Champions Polo Clubâ€™s 2010 USPA Fall Classic, played on the fields of the Palm City Polo club (the former Royal Palm Polo Club) in Boca Raton.
Juan Badiola opened the scoring for TechnoPolo in the first chukker, with Barbarossa Leatherâ€™s Leo Mandelbaum tying the game at 1-1 after the first seven-and-a-half minutes of play.
Badiola scored his second goal of the game in the second chukker, but a pair of goals from Celis (one from the field, one penalty conversion) and a goal from Omar Sosa had Barbarossa Leather up, 4-3.
TechnoPolo took the field in the third period with a disciplined defense that shut out the Barbarossa attack. Esteban Scott and Luis Lalor scored two goals apiece for TechnoPolo, and Barbarossa Leather found itself trailing 6-4 at the end of the first half.
â€œI thought we were going pretty well early in the game,â€ said Mandelbaum, Barbarossa Leatherâ€™s team captain, â€œbut we just couldnâ€™t convert a couple of opportunities in the fourth, and I think that cost us the game.â€
Barbarossa Leather did stage a mini rally in the fourth chukker, with Celis converting a penalty shot and scoring another goal from the field to tie the game at 6-6. TechnoPolo had chances to score, but errant shots at goal left them scoreless in the period.
Both defenses tightened in the fifth, with Duberry scoring the only goal of the chukker, a go-ahead goal for Techno Polo, while holding Barbarossa scoreless for the second time in the game.
Scott scored his third goal of the game to give TechnoPolo an 8-6 lead in a game that had become increasingly even, as Barbarossa struggled to get its offense on track.
The ball was driven carried up and down the field as time continued to run out on Barbarossa Leather. With seconds left on the clock, Mandelbaum carried the ball up the field to score the final goal of the game for Barbarossa Leather. The final horn sounded with TechnoPolo riding off with the 8-7 win.
PIAGET 9, AUDI 5
Melissa Ganzi scored six times Saturday afternoon as her Piaget team hammered Audi 9-5 to reach the finals of the 2010 USPA Fall Classic. The opening round of the Grand Champions Polo Clubâ€™s tournament took place in Boca Raton at the Palm City Polo Club, and presented an exhibition of textbook passing throughout the contest.
Melissa Ganzi scored the only goal of the first chukker as the teams felt out one another, as the Piaget defense kept Audi off of the scoreboard.
Hector Galindo scored a pair of back-to-back goals in the second period, and Melissa Ganzi scored her second of the game. A struggling Audi attack was held scoreless for the second consecutive chukker, and trailed 4-0 after the first two chukkers of the game.
â€œWe were passing the ball well,â€ said Piagetâ€™s Juan Bollini. â€œWe were well disciplined in our position play, and we passed the ball well.â€
An Audi attack finally emerged in the third period of play, with single goals coming from Joey Casey and Marc Ganzi, but a single goal from Galindo kept Piaget on the winning end of a 5-halftime score.
The Audi defense slowed down the Piaget attack in the fourth chukker, holding it to a single Melissa Ganzi goal, but the Audi attack was toothless, and was shut out for the third time in four chukkers. The period ended with Piaget leading, 6-2.
Piaget got two more goals from Melissa Ganzi in the fifth, with Marc Ganzi scoring Audiâ€™s only goal of the chukker. Piaget extended its lead to five goals, 8-3.
Audi got single goals from Marc Ganzi and Carlucho Arellano in the final chukker, while Melissa Ganzi scored her sixth goal of the game to end the competition with Piaget taking the game comfortably, 9-5.
Melissa Ganzi led all scoring with six goals, but is quick to credit Galindo for her success on the field.
â€œI just took the passes from Hector (Galindo) and carried them through the goal,â€ she offered. â€œHeâ€™s the star.â€
Galindo smiled and replied that â€œIf she (Melissa Ganzi) wasnâ€™t in position, m passes wouldnâ€™t matter at all. Sheâ€™s the one who carried the ball through the goal posts, under pressure. She had a great game,â€ he said.
The win propels Piaget into Sundayâ€™s 4 PM finals against TechnoPolo at the Grand Champions Polo Club. The consolation match between Audi and Barbarossa Leather will be played at 10:30 AM at the Palm City Polo Club in Boca Raton.