Flight Options ekes out USPA Kay Colee Memorial Cup
By Alex Webbe
Flight Options (Melissa Ganzi, Jesse Bray, Juan Bollini and Julio Gracida) edged Audi/Palm Beach Equine (Marc Ganzi, Carlitos Gracida, Nic Roldan and Scott Swerdlin) 8-7 in the final of the 2014 USPA Kay Colee Memorial cup Sunday afternoon at the Grand Champions Polo club in Wellington, Florida.
The 12-goal Audi/Palm Beach Equine team received one goal by handicap but watched as an aggressive Flight Options attack scored two first chukker goals for a 2-1 lead. Juan Bollini scored the first goal of the game to tie it at 1-1 and team captain Melissa Ganzi made it 2-1 to close out the chukker.
Audi/Palm Beach Equine returned to the field with a vengeance in second period play. An aggressive attack resulted in three Nic Roldan goals while a disciplined defense held Flight Options scoreless. After two chukkers of play, Audi/Palm Beach Equine found themselves in possession of a 4-2 lead.
Roldan scored his fourth goal of the game in the third, but Flight Options 4-goaler Jesse Bray leveled the score with three penalty conversions. At the end of the first half it was all even at 5-5.
Melissa Ganzi put Flight Options back on top, 6-5, with her second goal of the game, but Marc Ganzi responded with a well-executed scoring run down to make it 6-6.
The parity of the two teams was evident again in the fifth period with Marc Ganzi scoring for Audi/Palm Beach Equine only to be answered by a goal from the field from Bray. After five chukkers of lay the score was deadlocked at 7-7.
Both teams struggled for control of the ball in the final chukker. Shots at goal went wide and scoring opportunities were missed as the ball traveled up and down the field. It was Bollini who finally scored the winning goal on a powerful goal shot for the 8-7 victory.
Jesse Bray led the Flight Options attack with four goals (three on penalty shots). Melissa Ganzi and Juan Bollini scored two goals apiece for the win. Roldan’s four goals set the pace for Audi/Palm Beach Equine. Marc Ganzi accounted for the other two goals in the loss.
Bollini was named MVP for his efforts while Melissa Ganzi’s Open Quarzo, an 8-year-old Dark Bay stallion owned by Halo Polo earned Best Playing Pony honors.
Aspen Valley wins round-robin
In a round-robin consolation match Aspen Valley Polo Club (Alejandro Gonzalez, Martin Pepa, Kris Kampsen and Carey Beer) scored wins over Newport (Gene Goldstein, Leo Mandelbaum, Brandon Phillips and Roberto Gonzalez) and Casablanca (Grant Ganzi, Juancito Bollini, Guille Aguero and Wes Finlayson).
Aspen Valley opened the competition with a three chukker mini-match with Newport. An opening goal from Kris Kampsen was countered by a goal from Newport’s Brandon Phillips, 1-1.
Second chukker action saw Kampsen score his second goal of the game while the Aspen Valley defense held Newport scoreless. Aspen Valley moved in front, 2-1.
Leo Mandelbaum tied it at 2-2 in the third, but three consecutive goals from Aspen Valley had them celebrating the 5-2 win.
Newport held the field for the second three chukkers of play as they faced a young Casablanca lineup.
Casablanca received 2½ goals by handicap with Wes Finlayson adding two goals in the opening chukker. Brandon Phillips scored once for Newport who trailed 4½ to 1.
Neither team was able to score in the second chukker as defenses ruled the field. Casablanca remained in the lead by three-and-a-half goals, 4½ to 1.
Newport team captain Gene Goldstein scored the first goal of the third chukker, but Juancito Bollini responded with a goal from the field for the final 5½ to 2 Casablanca win.
The final three chukkers of play pitted Aspen Valley against Casablanca. Each team had beaten Newport, and the winner would walk away with a first place finish in the consolation match.
Aspen Valley played flawless defense, shutting out Casablanca all three chukkers. Kampsen scored a goal in each chukker with Alejandro Gonzalez adding a goal in the final period. Aspen Valley rode away with the 4-2 win (Casablanca received two goals by handicap).