Seminole Casino Coconut Creek and White Birch Victorious as Triple Crown of Polo Continues
WELLINGTON, FL, April 3, 2021— Seminole Casino Coconut Creek overcame Santa Rita 15-9 yesterday while White Birch beat Pampa Norte 12-11 in overtime play.
Seminole Casino Coconut Creek (Melissa Ganzi, Nic Roldan, Alejandro Novillo Astrada, and Adolfo Cambiaso) met Santa Rita (Robert Strom, Nacho Figueras, Clemente Zavaleta, and Horacio Llorente) Friday morning as play continued in the World Polo League’s Triple Crown of Polo. Seminole Casino, with a team handicap of 26 goals, ceded two goals to Orea, a 24-goal team, on handicap. Adolfo Cambiaso subbed for Juan Martin Zubia.
Although Santa Rita started the match with a two-goal advantage, Seminole Casino Coconut Creek made short work of that lead. Melissa Ganzi scored the first goal of the day and Alejandro Novillo Astrada followed up with another. With 4:58 left on the clock, Seminole Casino Coconut Creek took the ball from the throw-in and Nic Roldan put the ball through the posts with an assist from Ganzi. Clemente Zavaleta made a shot from 80 yards to end the chukker in a 3-3 tie.
Nic Roldan put Seminole Casino back in the lead early in the second period, and Novillo Astrada backed Ganzi to finish a goal when her ball bounced off a pony. Roldan knocked in two more goals to firmly establish Seminole Casino Coconut Creek’s lead at 7-3, with Santa Rita failing to score in the period. Nacho Figueras broke Santa Rita’s dry spell seconds into the third chukker, but forty seconds later Adolfo Cambiaso took the ball from the bowl-in and passed it to Roldan, who made one of his epic long shots to goal. With another goal from Novillo Astrada, the half ended with Seminole Casino leading by 9-4.
Seminole Casino Coconut Creek was off to an auspicious start to the second half of the match, with each member of the team scoring as Santa Rita continued to struggle. With a 13-5 lead going into the fifth chukker, Seminole Casino Coconut Creek eased off on the pressure. Melissa Ganzi scored one goal, while Santa Rita played their best chukker of the match. With 1:45 on the clock Horacio Llorente took the ball through the uprights, and Nacho FIgueras finished the period by scoring a goal with 55 seconds left to play. Santa Rita fought back in the final chukker with Frenchman Robert Strom contributing back-to-back goals to take the score up to 9-14, but in the last seconds of the game Melissa Ganzi scored to end the match with Seminole Casino Coconut Creek winning by 15-9. Nic Roldan was the high scoring player with six goals to his credit.
Action continued at in the afternoon when White Birch (Chris Brant, Facundo Llorente, Mariano Aguerre, and Santi Toccalino) met Pampa Norte (Waqqas Al Siddiq, Santiago Loza, Magoo Laprida, and Pedro Falabella). White Birch, a 23-goal team, ceded one goal to Pampa Norte, a 22-goal team.
The match started with a foul in favor of Pampa Norte, and Magoo Laprida converted a Penalty 2. Both teams were battling ferociously, and Pampa Norte gave up two goals on penalties with Santi Toccalino going to the line. With 2:33 on the clock Toccalino made a superb run to goal, taking the score to 3-2, and in the last minute of play Chris Brant took a shot from the near side to end the chukker 4-2 with White Birch in the lead.
Neither team was able to score from the field in the second period, and all the goals were made from the penalty line – one by Toccalino on a Penalty 4 and two by Magoo Laprida. Magoo Laprida took the ball through the posts after 20 seconds of play, evening the match up at 5-5, but Toccalino found the uprights again to keep White Birch ahead by 6-5 at the half.
Both teams were firing on all cylinders in the second half, and it was nip and tuck all the way through, making for an exciting game. Santi Toccalino started the fourth chukker by converting a Penalty 3, while Loza sank an impressive under-the-neck cut shot. Pampa Norte cut loose with everything they had in the fifth chukker. They played a strong defense that kept White Birch down to only a Penalty 3 by Mariano Aguerre, wihile Loza scored two goals and Magoo Laprida contributed a goal from the field and one from the penalty line.
Down by 10-8 at the beginning of the final chukker, White Birch knew they had a fight on their hands. Facundo Llorente came through for the team, knocking in two goals to even the score at 10-10, and with 2:31 remaining Santi Toccalino converted a Penalty 2 to put White Birch ahead by 11-10. It was too early to celebrate though, as a whistle at 18 seconds sent Magoo Laprida to the penalty line to tie the score and send the game into overtime. Less than a minute into the seventh chukker, Facundo Llorente scored to win the match for White Birch. Santi Toccalino and Magoo Laprida were the high scoring players with seven goals each.