US team stops the skid, defeats English 8Â½-6
A 19-goal United States polo team (Marc Ganzi, Carlitos Gracida, Nic Roldan and Jeff Hall) delivered a knockout punch to an English foursome (Jack Richardson, Max Routledge, Richard Le Poer and Tom Morley) on their way to an 8Â½-6 International Cup win Sunday afternoon to end a losing streak that dates back to a 1997 Westchester Cup loss.
â€œIt wasnâ€™t pretty, but we won,â€ exhorted an exuberant Marc Ganzi after the game. â€œI know we can play so much better than that,â€ he added, â€œbut at least we won.â€
Following the defeat of the American women by the English, the menâ€™s team was anxious to get started. A fast pace was set from the beginning as both teams felt out one anotherâ€™s offensive capabilities and defensive weaknesses. The USA team received Â½ goal by handicap from the 20-goal English team.
An English foul put Marc Ganzi at the penalty line in the opening minutes of play where he converted the shot for a goal. Several shots at goal by both sides went wideand the USA settled for a narrow 1Â½ -0 lead after the first seven minutes ofplay.
England continued to press the attack but powerful backhanders from Jeff Hall and Nic Roldan turned defense into offense. Jeff Hall scored the gameâ€™s first goal from the field as England was unable to score for the second consecutivechukker. After two periods of play, theUnited States led, 2Â½-0.
Roldanâ€™s first goal of the game came in the third, and had the United States ahead, 3Â½-0. RichardLe Poer finally got England on the scoreboard with a goal from the field. A second Roldan goal ended the scoring forthe chukker. The United States left thefield after the third period with a 4Â½-1 lead.
A determined English foursome returned to the field in the fourth with a renewed determination. Single goals from Jack Richardson, Max Routledge and Le Poer got them back into the game, but a pair of penalty conversions from Nic Roldan kept the United States team in front, 6Â½-4, with one chukker left to play.
â€œWe just kept pushing,â€ said a dejected Morley after the game. â€œWe seemed to finally get it going in the second half,â€ he added, â€œbut it was a bit too late.â€
Hall opened the fifth and final chukker with a penalty goal. Roldan added his fifth goal of the game foran 8Â½-4 edge. A late penalty goal from Morley and a goal from the field from Richardson closed the gap, but time ranout with the US team besting England, 8Â½-6.
Roldan led the scoring with five goals and was named MVP. Hall scored twice and Marc Ganzi added a penalty goal for the win.
Richardson and Le Poer each scored a pair of goals for England. Morley and Routledge added single goals in the loss.
Jeff Hallâ€™s seven-year-old Bay Thoroughbred, Smooth, was honored as Best Playing Pony.