WELLINGTON, Fl., April 10, 2017----Flexjet, one of the strongest teams in the U.S. Open, remained undefeated with an 11-9 victory over Travieso in the featured game Sunday at windy Engel and Volkers Field at International Polo Club Palm Beach.
The foursome of Melissa Ganzi, Rodrigo Andrade, Gonzalito Pieres and Nico Pieres, playing together for only the third time as a team for the Grand Champions Polo Club-based team, were in the attack mode on defense from the opening chukker even though its seemed snakebit around the goal post.
Travieso, making its 26-goal debut, stayed with Flexjet for most of the game but could not take advantage of the missed scoring opportunities.
Only Flexjet and Valiente remain undefeated at 2-0 in the six-team tournament. On Wednesday at 10 a.m., the two will face each other in the battle of the unbeatens in their final bracket game.
The 9-goal ranked Brazilian Andrade ignited Flexjet in the 7-3 second half with three goals. Andrade’s goal off a broken Travieso play gave Flexjet its first lead (8-7) of the game midway through the fourth chukker. The game was tied one last time (8-8) when Teo Calle scored off a neck shot.
Flexjet, based at Grand Champions Polo Club, took the lead for good when Argentine 9-goaler Gonzalito Pieres scored off a great angle neck shot from the corner of the field.
Travieso (Teo Calle, Alfredo Capella, Sebastian Merlos, Mariano Gonzalez) took advantage of Flexjet’s missed scoring chances to lead the first three chukkers, 2-1, 4-2 and 6-4. Flexjet’s pressure defense kept it in the game while shooting only 22 percent (2-of-9).
Flexjet defeated Audi, 10-9, in its tournament opener on Thursday, but was looking for more consistency against Travieso.
Pieres’ younger brother Nico, recently raised to 10-goal status in Argentina, was playing only his second game with the team since arriving from Dubai and already has chemistry with the team. He was named Most Valuable Player of the Game. He scored three goals including two on penalty conversions.
Gonzalito Pieres scored a team-high with five goals, two on penalty shots. Ganzi added one goal and played well defensively.
Pieres’ horse Open Galera was selected Best Playing Pony. Mariano Gonzalez scored a game-high five goals for Travieso.
Flexjet dominated the throw-ins, 16-8, but could only convert only 7-of-19 shots from the field. Travieso had 11 knock-ins but couldn’t move the ball close to goal.
In other Sunday games, Orchard Hill defeated Audi, 12-8 and Valiente defeated Coca-Cola, 17-12.
Flexjet has been a member of the Directional Aviation family of companies since 2013. They are committed to creating premium travel experiences and providing access to the most modern, technologically-advanced aircraft in the industry on a daily basis, going above and beyond world-class private travel experiences and unlike anything else in the sky.
The tournament is being live-streamed on the USPA Polo Network at uspolo.org with content provided by production company and Wellington-based ChukkerTV. All games will also be available for on-demand viewing.
Grand Champions Polo Club, with eleven polo fields, 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 unique program.
The Polo School at Grand Champions, a 501c3 organization, is dedicated to teaching polo to all ages, particularly grass roots youth. Its mission is to provide individuals in all walks of life opportunities in polo. The Polo School, directed by former 8-goaler Juan Bollini, operates in Wellington January through June and September through November.
2017 GRAND CHAMPIONS WINTER SCHEDULE
(Subject to change because of weather and scheduling conflicts).
APRIL: $100,000 World Cup Tournament (0-26 Goals), APRIL 4-15: $100,000 World Cup Tournament (0-26 Goals), single- elimination: Monday, 10 a.m., GSA vs. Palm Beach Illustrated, GCPC Field 1; 12:30 p.m., La Dalila vs. Orchard Hill, GCPC Field 2; 4 p.m. Valiente II vs. Sebucan at Valiente Polo Farm; Tuesday, 11 a.m., Valiente I at Deeridge at Valiente Polo Farm.
APRIL: Las Acacias (4-8 Goals).
APRIL 21-23: GCPC Abierto.
APRIL 28-30: USPA Eastern Challenge.
MAY 5-7: USPA Sun Cup
MAY 12-14: The Spring Challenge Cup.
MAY 19-21: Polo Gear Invitational.
MAY 26-29: The Memorial.
GRAND CHAMPIONS POLO CLUB
WHERE: 13444 Southfields Road, on the corner of South Shore Boulevard and Lake Worth Road, Wellington, 33414.
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 food and refreshments during the featured games of the winter, spring and fall tournament seasons and other special events. Admission is free except for some special events.