GREENWICH, Ct., September 5, 2016---Defending champion Audi played its’ best game of the USPA East Coast Open to advance into Wednesday’s semifinals against Goose Creek at Greenwich Polo Club.
The Audi foursome of Marc Ganzi, Leo Mandelbaum, Nic Roldan and Sebastian Merlos finished its’ bracket play with a 3-0 record on Saturday after an impressive 16-8 victory over Postage Stamp Farm (Annabelle Gundlach, Gringo Colombres, Salvador Ulloa, Joao Paulo Ganon).
Goose Creek (Maureen Brennan, Marcos Garcia del Rio, Tomas Garcia del Rio, Mariano Gonzalez) advanced with a 6-5 win over Faraway (Hutton Goodman, Inaki Laprida, Julian Daniels, Pelon Escapite).
In Wednesday’s other semifinal game, White Birch (Santino Magrini, Hilario Ulloa, Mariano Aguerre, Peter Brant), 15-10 winners over Beluga (Chris Brant, Nick Manifold, Francisco Elizalde, Tommy Biddle) plays Airstream (Agustin Bottaro, Guille Aguero, Matias Magrini, Kris Kampsen), 11-9 winners over Tupungato (Luis Rinaldini, Santi Torres, Naco Taverna, Gaston Lisioli).
Audi-Goose Creek opens the semifinal round at noon followed by the White Birch-Airstream matchup at 4 p.m.
Audi, the only undefeated team in its bracket, finished with the top seed at 3-0 followed by Airstream, 2-1, Postage Stamp Farm, 1-2 and Tupungato, 0-3.
White Birch, last year’s runner-up, also finished at 3-0 in its’ bracket followed by Goose Creek, 2-1, Faraway, 1-2 and Beluga, 0-3.
In front of a worldwide ChukkerTV audienceon Saturday, Audi turned in a total team effort on both ends of the field to eliminate Postage Stamp Farm, making its’ USPA East Coast Open debut in the eight-team tournament.
“This was the best game we have played in the tournament,” Merlos said. “We are getting better and better. We have a good team and we are playing well as a team and that is important.
“We know Goose Creek is a good team, they are playing well,” Merlos said. “We have to play our best. Now starts a brand new tournament with the semifinals. We have to find a way to win.”
Audi has scored 40 goals in three games with wins over Airstream, 11-10, Tupungato, 13-7 and Postage Stamp Farm, 16-8.
Against Postage Stamp Farm, Audi was aggressive from the opening chukker jumping out to a 3-1 lead behind three consecutive Roldan goals in two minutes, two from the field and one from the penalty line.
Audi shut out Postage Stamp Farm in the third chukker to take a 7-3 halftime lead. Audi was just as aggressive in the second half pulling away for 9-4 and 13-5 leads in the fourth and fifth chukkers.
Mandelbaum and Merlos, making their Audi debut in the 2016 USPA East Coast Open, played well defensively frustrating Postage Stamp Farm for most of the game.
Roldan, America’s top player rated at 8 goals, scored a game-high eight goals to lead Audi. Ganzi had a tournament-high five goals and Merlos added three goals.
“We are right where we want to be, we came here to win,” Roldan said. “We have gotten better every game. The top four teams in the semifinals are super competitive. We know it’s going to be a battle. We have to play our best and stick with our system.”
Ganon scored a team-high six goals for Postage Stamp Farm. Argentine 6-goaler Gringo Colombres replaced Brandon Phillips in the Postage Stamp Farm lineup. Phillips suffered a lower back injury in the team’s 13-7 loss to Airstream. Phillips tried to ride on Saturday morning but was unable to without severe pain.
In Tuesday’s subsidiary Tommy B. Glynn semifinals, Postage Stamp Farm plays Beluga at 10 a.m. at Greenwich Polo Club and Faraway Polo plays Tupungato at Meadowbrook at 4 p.m.
Audi of America and its’ 29 Tri-State Audi dealers is presenting sponsor. Audi and its’ U.S. dealers offer a full line of German-engineered luxury cars. AUDI AG is among the most successful luxury automotive brands globally. Audi broke all-time company sales records for the sixth straight year in the U.S.
ChukkerTV is live streaming every preliminary, semifinal and final game. U.S. Polo Assn. is sponsoring the ECO broadcast for the first time. U.S. Polo Assn. is the official global apparel brand of the USPA, the governing body for the sport in the U.S. since 1890.
The U.S. Polo Assn. brand carries an extensive collection of classically styled, high quality, casual clothing from polo shirts and tees to khakis and hoodies for men, women and children as well as watches, luggage, handbags and much more.
ChukkerTV, an independent media company based in Wellington, was the first to introduce state-of-the-art live streaming technology in January 2014 at Grand Champions Polo Club. One of the biggest highlights for polo players is the use of technology in live streaming, instant replays and team reviews.
NBC Sports Network will air a 60-minute taped broadcast on Sept. 17 at 3 p.m. with drone aerials and instant replays for team challenges also provided by ChukkerTV.
The East Coast Open began in 1905 in Rhode Island and was played until World War I. It was resurrected in 1978 by former USPA President Donald Little at the Myopia Polo Club in South Hamilton, Mass. White Birch padron Peter Brant started hosting the tournament in the early 2000’s at Greenwich Polo Club.
The USPA 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.
2016 EAST COAST OPEN RESULTS/SCHEDULE
SATURDAY, AUG. 27: Goose Creek 15, Beluga 11; White Birch 12, Faraway 6.
SUNDAY, AUG. 28: Audi 11, Airstream 10; Postage Stamp Farm 12, Tupungato 7.
TUESDAY, AUG. 30: White Birch 14, Goose Creek 9.
WEDNESDAY, AUG. 31: Audi 13, Tupungato 7; Airstream 13, Postage Stamp Farm 7.
THURSDAY, SEPT. 1: Faraway 14, Beluga 9.
SATURDAY, SEPT. 3: Audi 16, Postage Stamp Farm 8; Airstream 11, Tupungato 9.
SUNDAY, SEPT. 4: Goose Creek 6, Faraway 5; White Birch 15, Beluga 10.
TUESDAY, SEPT. 6: Tommy B. Glynn Semifinals, Game 1: Postage Stamp Farm vs. Beluga at Greenwich Polo Club, 10 a.m.; Game 2: Faraway Polo vs. Tupungato at Meadowbrook, 4 p.m.
WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 7: ECO Semifinals, Game 1: Audi vs. Goose Creek, noon; Game 2: White Birch vs. Airstream, 4 p.m.
SATURDAY, SEPT. 10: Tommy B. Glynn Final, 1 p.m.; Governor’s Cup, 4 p.m.
SUNDAY, Sept. 11: ECO Finals, 3 p.m.
By Arianna Delin, Sharon Robb