WELLINGTON, Fl.—November 16, 2016---Audi and Flexjet will play for the coveted USPA North American Cup on Friday at Grand Champions Polo Club.
In front of a large crowd and worldwide ChukkerTV audience on a picture-perfect day, Audi came from behind to edge Dutta Corp, 9-8, in Wednesday’s opening round to advance into the final.
Flexjet needed a thrilling overtime to defeat Casablanca, 12-11, on Nic Roldan’s winning goal two minutes into the extra chukker.
The subsidiary game between Casablanca and Dutta Corp is 10 a.m. on Friday on Field 4 followed by the championship game at 3:30 p.m.on Field 2.
Audi (Marc Ganzi, 1, Jesse Bray, 5, Carlucho Arellano, 5, Jeff Blake, 6) trailed Dutta Corp (Timmy Dutta, A, Kris Kampsen, 6, Guille Aguero, 6, Carlitos Gracida, 4), 5-3, at halftime before rallying in an explosive fourth chukker for five goals while shutting out Dutta Corp.
Ganzi sparked the rally with three goals including a penalty-two and Bray added two goals for an 8-5 lead after the fourth chukker.
Audi remained in the lead and held on for the win. Blake ended up scoring what turned out to be the winning goal at the end of the fifth chukker. Kampsen stole the ball and scored to cut Audi’s lead to one midway through the final chukker but ran out of time while Audi’s defense held tough.
Ganzi scored a game-high five goals. Bray and Blake each added two goals. Kampsen led scoring for Dutta Corp with three goals. Gracida added two and Dutta, making his high goal debut, and Agueroeach had one.
A flu bug knocked three players out of the lineup for the second game. Santos Bollini replaced mother and daughter Melissa and Riley Ganzi, who were going to split time at the one position for Flexjet. Gene Goldstein filled in for Grant Ganzi on Casablanca.
In the second game that ended at sunset, Flexjet (Santos Bollini, A, Jason Crowder, 6, Nic Roldan, 8, Jared Sheldon, 4) trailed Casablanca (Gene Goldstein 1, Juancito Bollini, 3, Julio Arellano, 8, JJ Celis, 4) for nearly three chukkers.
Casablanca started out with a 2-0 lead based on handicap and quickly extended its lead to 6-1 in the first five minutes of the opening chukker.
Behind balanced scoring, Flexjet started whittling away at Casablanca’s lead. With just over 30 seconds left to go in the third chukker, Sheldon scored to go into halftime at 8-8.
Flexjet took the lead for the first time early in the fourth chukker when Roldan hit a big pass to Santos Bollini who scored for a 9-8 lead. Celis’ goal tied the game at 9-9 before Sheldon scored back-to-back goals enabling Flexjet to pull away, 11-9.
Casablanca rallied in the sixth chukker after a defensive four minutes. Juancito Bollini scored with 2:47 left to trail by only one, 11-10. With 31 seconds left, Arellano then converted a penalty-four to tie the game at 11-11. Bollini saved Sheldon’s last-ditch scoring attempt to send the game into overtime and set up Roldan’s heroics.
Flexjet got balanced scoring. Sheldon scored a game-high four goals, Santos Bollini and Roldan each had three and Crowder added two. For Casablanca, Juancito Bollini and Arellano each had three goals, Celis had two and Goldstein added one. Casablanca had two goals on handicap.
“It was anyone’s game” Roldan said. “I hit it and knew I had Santos near the goal to back me up. It was a good game to win and now we are in the final.”
It will be Flexjet’s second consecutive appearance in the North American Cup championship final. Last year’s Flexjet team of Melissa Ganzi, Juan Bollini, Jason Crowder and Nic Roldan lost to Travieso’s Tony Calle, JJ Celis, Facundo Obregon and MVP Jesse Bray, 12-6.
Grand Champions, the only club in the nation to stage USPA-sanctioned 20-goal tournaments during the fall, is hosting both the USPA North American Cup and USPA National 20-Goal. The club closes out its fall season with the Carlos Gracida Memorial Legends of Polo game and fifth annual International Cup featuring Team USA against Uruguay on Nov. 26.
The club hosted eight successful medium goal tournaments during the fall season.
The United States Polo Association® was organized and exists for the purpose of promoting the game of polo, coordinating the activities of its member clubs and registered players, arranging and supervising polo tournaments, competitions, and games and providing rules, handicaps, and conditions for those tournaments, competitions, and games including the safety and welfare of participants and mounts.
Wellington-based ChukkerTV, leaders in polo broadcasting, is live streaming the entire fall season worldwide. ChukkerTV’s state-of-the art technology also features team challenges and instant replay which made their debut at Grand Champions in January, 2014.
Grand Champions, with eleven well-manicured fields, is enjoying its finest and busiest fall season in the ten-year history of the club.
Grand Champions caters to men, women and youth polo players at all levels. Its expert staff can customize a complete playing experience including horses, pros and certified umpires in addition to lessons and practice sessions as part of its’ Polo On Demand program, the only polo club in the U.S. to offer the uniqueprogram.
The Polo School, a 501c3 organization, is dedicated to teaching polo to all ages, particularly grass roots youth. Its mission is to provide individuals opportunities in polo. The Polo School operates in Wellington January through June and September through November.
GRAND CHAMPIONS POLO CLUB
WHERE: 13444 Southfields Road, on the corner of South Shore Boulevard and Lake Worth Road, Wellington, 33414.
2016 FALL SCHEDULE
USPA North American Cup: Friday, 10 a.m., Subsidiary game, Dutta Corp vs. Audi, Field 4; 3:30 p.m., Championship Final, Audi vs. Flexjet, Field 2.
Nov. 20-23, USPA National 20-Goal
Nov. 26, Carlos Gracida Memorial Legends of Polo and fifth annual International Cup, Team USA vs. Uruguay.
INFORMATION: For spectators, there are great field side views for tournament action and also the Grand Champions Polo Club Boutique. The club is home base for pro teams Audi and Flexjet. Everyone is welcome to watch every level of polo in a relaxed atmosphere that includes a complimentary Argentine asado by Cilantro’s during the featured games of the winter, spring and fall tournament seasons and other special events. Admission is free except for some special events.