US Open: Finals-Audi vs. Las Monjitas

Audi Wins US Open in Overtime

By Alex Webbe


The Audi polo team rallied from an early 5-1 deficit to score an impressive 9-8 win over a talented Las Monjitas team in sudden-death overtime in the finals of the 2009 US Open Championships at the International Polo Club in Wellington Sunday afternoon.


The arrival of skydivers and a low level pass over by jets had nothing on the action on the field as an energized Las Monjitas polo team jumped all over Audi in the opening chukkers of play.


Adam Snow got Las Monjitas on the scoreboard early, taking the opening throw-in and carrying it 150 yards down the field for the opening goal with just eighteen seconds gone in the game.  Las Monjitas continued to press the Audi defense, with Eduardo Astrada finally breaking through to score, taking a 2-0 lead.


Gonzalito Pieres finally got Audi on the scoreboard with a goal in the first thirty seconds of the second chukker, but Las Monjitas quickly answered back.  Two goals by Eduardo Astrada and another penalty goal from brother Nacho Astrada gave Las Monjitas a 5-1 lead.


Audi blasted out of the gates in the third chukker with Facundo Pieres scoring two goals in less than two minutes.  Gonzalito Pieres added a goal, but Adam Snow rallied with goal goals to keep Las Monjitas n top of a 7-5 score.

Audi’s defense managed to keep Las Monjitas from scoring in the fourth chukker while Facundo Pieres converted another penalty shot, cutting the lead to a single goal, 7-6. 


Defense tightened in the fifth chukker.  Eduardo Astrada gave Las Monjitas a two goal lead, once again, but the lead was short-lived.  Moments later Las Monjitas fouled. Audi was awarded a foul shot and Facundo converted it.  The chukker ended with Las Monjitas ahead, 8-7.


“We were really surprised with their marking and their game plan,” said Audi team captain Audi.  “We got lucky and were very fortunate to have won today,” he added.


Action was fast and furious in the sixth chukker.  First charging one way, then the other before Facundo Pieres scored the tying goal with less than a minute left to play.  The final horn was sounded and both teams retired to their respective ends of the field to prepare for overtime play.


“We feel very fortunate to have won,” Ganzi offered, “Today was a culmination of hard work, planning and a dream, and it’s a great ending.”


Just two minutes and fifty-two seconds after the ensuing throw-in, Audi took control of the ball.  Gonzalito Pieres stole the ball from Nacho Astrada.  Gonzalito left it for his younger brother who jumped on it, shooting and scoring from the 40-yard line.  Audi had made a successful comeback to win, 9-8 in overtime.


Facundo Pieres led all players in scoring with seven goals, and for the first time in Open history, a joint MVP award was presented jointly to Adam Snow and Eduardo Astrada.  The Best Playing Pony award went to Slecha, a 9-year-old gray mare.


The impact of the recent loss of horses last week wasn’t lost on the winning team.


“This game is definitely a tribute to Victor (Vargas of the Lechuza Caracas Polo Team),” said Ganzi, “he’s a friend.  I’m very confident that his team will regroup and will be back here again next year.”