BOCA RATON, FL-Sept. 26, 2013----Teammates Gene Goldstein and Marc Ganzi combined for nine goals in the second half to rally Newport to a come-from-behind 13-11 victory over Casablanca in the season-opening game of the Prisa Invitational at Palm City Polo Club.
|Newport's Gene Goldstein pressuring Casablanca's Mike Azzaro. Photo by Scott Fisher|
Newport will play the winner of Friday's 10 a.m. Paladin-Beluga matchup in the championship final on Sunday at 10:30 a.m. at Palm City.
Paladin's lineup is David Krantz, Leo Mandelbaum, Nic Roldan and Juan Bollini. Beluga's roster is Misha Rodzianko, Carlitos Gracida, Joey Casey and Brandon Phillips.
|Newport's Luis Escobar and Casablanca's Juancito Bollini both have their eyes on the ball. Photo By Scott Fisher|
Under overcast skies on Thursday afternoon, what looked to be a blowout after Casablanca jumped on Newport for 7-2 and 8-3 leads, turned into an exciting comeback for Newport.
After a scoreless third chukker and trailing 8-3 at the half, Newport started to chip away at Casablanca's lead.
|Casablanca's Grant Ganzi closely defends Newport's Gene Goldstein. Photo by Scott Fisher|
Trailing by only one (10-9) after five chukkers, Marc Ganzi and his lightning quick horse tied the game at 10-10 to open the sixth chukker. Goldstein followed with a neck shot to give Newport the lead (11-10) for the first time in the game.
Grant Ganzi came right back with a quick goal to tie the game but Goldstein's hot mallet continued with a goal to regain the lead, 12-11. Teammate Guille Aguero scored an insurance goal in the final minute of the game.
|Casablanca's Grant Ganzi defying gravity while taking possession of the ball. Photo by Scott Fisher|
Ganzi finished with seven goals and Goldstein scored five goals, all in the second half.
Casablanca had balanced scoring. Grant Ganzi led with four goals, Wes Finlayson had three and Juancito Bollini and Mike Azzaro each had one goal.
|With Grant Ganzi of Casablanca defending, Newport's Gene Goldstein goes for the hook and fights for possession with Casablanca's Wes Finlayson. Photo by Scott Fisher|
Azzaro, a 2013 Hall of Famer and 8-goaler, was a field general sharing experience and long passes with his young teammates. Bollini, 18, Finlayson, 18, and Ganzi, 15, are among a hotbed of young up-and-coming players in Wellington.
Azzaro was scheduled to leave for China on Friday where he will represent the U.S. in the Oct. 1-5 Fortune Heights Super Nations Cup at the Tianjin Polo Club in Hong Kong.
|With Newport's Gene Goldstein on the lookout downfield, teammate Guille Aguero goes for the back. Photo by Scott Fisher|
Casablanca, one of Grand Champions' fall season's main sponsors, has been a pioneer in polo, recognized as the world's foremost producer of cutting-edge polo equipment and apparel, used and worn by polo players and followers of the sport.
Casablanca will have new products hitting the shelves in October including a menswear collection and all-way stretch blue jeans.
The Tackeria in Wellington is the local distributor of Casablanca merchandise which can also be found online at www.casablancapolo.com.
After a successful spring season, Grand Champions Polo Club is hosting what promises to be the most competitive fall season.
Nine tournaments are scheduled, including two 20-goal tournaments in November for the club's sixth fall season.
The Prisa Invitational is the first of seven medium goal tournaments, and only tournament scheduled for Palm City Polo Club.
The fall season-opener will serve as warm-up matches to shake the rust off and fine tune for the season.
The remaining fall tournaments will all be hosted at Grand Champions Polo Club. They are the Oct. 4-6 USPA Fall Classic, Oct. 13-15 USPA Kay Colee Memorial; Oct. 18-20 US Trust Cup, Oct. 25-27 USPA Fall Plates; Nov.1-3 Pedro Morrison Memorial and Nov. 8-10 Palm Restaurant Invitational.
The two 20-goal tournaments are the prestigious Oct. 30-Nov. 9 USPA North America Cup and Nov. 13-24 The National 20-Goal Championship.
During the 2012 fall season, Audi dominated the season winning back-to-back USPA North America Cup and USPA National 20-Goal Tournament titles with Marc Ganzi, Carlitos Gracida, Nic Roldan and Hall of Famer and former 10-goaler Carlos Gracida. In the national 20-goal final, Audi edged Piaget, 10-9.
The fall season is great preparation for the 20- and 26-goal seasons for 2014 in Wellington.
The fall season is fun and competitive. Rosters and lineups change from tournament to tournament. Evenly-matched teams are put together to help build players skills and performance.
All tournaments are USPA-sanctioned and have grown in stature since their start in the mid-1990s.
GRAND CHAMPIONS FALL SCHEDULE
Sept. 26-29, Prisa Invitational, Palm City, Boca Raton
Oct. 4-6, USPA Fall Classic
Oct. 13-15, USPA Kay Colee Memorial
Oct. 18-20, US Trust Cup
Oct. 25-27, USPA Fall Plates
Oct. 30-Nov. 9, USPA North America Cup
Nov. 1-3, Pedro Morrison Memorial
Nov. 8-10, Palm Restaurant Invitational
Nov. 13-24,The National 20-Goal Championship
PALM CITY POLO CLUB
WHERE: 18000 Jog Road, Boca Raton, 561-289-9099 (Club entrance is the first flashing light north of Clint Moore Road).
GRAND CHAMPIONS POLO CLUB
WHERE: 13444 Southfields Road, on the corner of South Shore Boulevard and Lake Worth Road, Wellington, 561-644-5050.