Longfield wins 2014 Rocky Mountain Open Championship
By Alex Webbe
La Karina (Brian Boyd, Carlitos Gracida, Santiago Wulff and Stuart Armstrong) exploded for four unanswered first chukker goals against Longfield (Hannah Buchan, Melissa Ganzi, Miguel Novillo Astrada and Juan Bollini) in the opening chukker of the final of the 2014 Rocky Mountain Open Championship, but were unable to stave off a second half rally that carried Longwood to a 13-12 win Sunday afternoon at the Aspen Valley Polo Club.
Carlitos Gracida opened the scoring for La Karina followed by a goal from Stuart Armstrong and two goals from Santiago Wulff, 4-0 while a shell-shocked Longfield team struggled to find any offensive punch.
Miguel Novillo Astrada converted a pair of penalty shots for goals in the second and Juan Bollini added another Longfield goal to cut the lead to 5-3. La Karina added another goal from the field from Wulff.
La Karina got two more goals from Wulff in the third chukker, and a single goal from Armstrong. Astrada converted two more penalty shots for Longfield, but it was La Karina with the 8-5 halftime lead.
Defenses were prominent in the fourth period. Astrada converted another penalty shot for a goal for Longfield, 8-6, but La Karina got it back on a goal from Brian Boyd. La Karina held on to their three goal lead, 9-6.
Foul trouble continued to plague La Karina, with Astrada chipping away at their lead. Three more penalty conversions by Astrada in the fifth were bolstered by a goal from the field from Hannah Buchan. La Karina was held to a single goal from Gracida and watched Longfield tie it up at 10-10.
Sixth chukker action witnessed Astrada open the chukker with his ninth penalty conversion of the day for Longfield’s first lead of the day, 11-10. Wulff responded for La Karina with a penalty shot that leveled the score at 11-11. Buchan’s second goal of the game put Longfield back on top, 12-11, but La Karina wasn’t through. Wulff’s seventh goal of the game deadlocked it at 12-12 with time running out. An unfortunate foul by a La Karina player sent Astrada to the penalty line once again where he converted the shot for the exciting 13-12 win.
Astrada scored all ten of his goals on penalty shots for Longfield and was named MVP for his efforts. Buchan added a pair of goals and Bollini scored once for the victory. Wulff led the La Karina attack with seven goals. Gracida and Armstrong scored two goals each and Boyd added a goal in the loss.
Diva, a five-year-old Bay Thoroughbred Mare was named Best Playing Pony. Diva is owned by Halo Polo and was played by Miguel Novillo Astrada.
Los Amigos 9, KIG/Aspen Valley 6
A balanced Los Amigos attack (Paul Foster/Alejandra Foster, Gabriel Crespo, Lucas Lalor and Brian Middleton) got off to a slow start but charged back into the game in the second half to record a 9-6 win over KIG/Aspen Valley polo (Bash Kazi, Marc Ganzi, Nic Roldan and Alejandro Gonzalez) in the consolation match of the Rocky Mountain Open.
Brian Middleton scored the opening goal of the game for Los Amigos, but goals from Bash Kazi and Marc Ganzi gave the early lead to KIG/Aspen Valley, 2-1.
Alejandro Gonzalez made it 3-1 with the only goal of the second period, and a goal from Kazi in the third put KIG/Aspen Valley in the lead, 4-1 at the end of the first half.
A pair of goals from the field from Gabriel Crespo and a penalty goal from Alejandra Roster tied it at 4-4 at the end of the fourth.
Lucas Lalor put Los Amigos in the lead with his first goal of the game in the fifth chukker, 5-4. Nic Roldan tied it at 5-5 with his first score of the day. Alejandra Foster put Los Amigos on top, 6-5, with her second goal of the match to end the fifth period.
Roldan tied the score one last time with the opening goal of the sixth chukker, but from then on it was all Los Amigos. Two goals from Lalor and a goal from Middleton carried Los Amigos to the 9-6 victory.
Lalor led the Los Amigos attack with three goals. Crespo, Middleton and Alejandra Foster scored two goals apiece for the win. Kazi and Roldan scored two goals each for KIG/Aspen Valley. Ganzi and Gonzalez added single goals in the loss.