WELLINGTON, FL., February 8, 2018---Audi bounced back from its Ylvisaker Cup opening loss with an impressive 10-6 victory over Prestige Worldwide Wednesday at International Polo Club Palm Beach.
Playing with substitute Alejandro Novillo Astrada for Nico Pieres, Audi (Grant Ganzi, 2, Nic Roldan, 8, Alejandro Novillo Astrada 8, Marc Ganzi, 2) was relentless in only its second 20-goal game of the season against Prestige Worldwide (Will Johnston, 2, Stevie Orthwein, 4, Miguel Novillo Astrada, 9, Carlucho Arellano, 5).
Pieres left for Argentina on Monday night to be at his wife Angie's bedside to witness the birth of their daughter, Begonia. They also have a son Felix. Alejandro Novillo Astrada, who practiced with Pieres horses on Tuesday, had no problem blending in with his teammates.
"I have been playing with them for the last few years so it was easy for me," Novillo Astrada said. "We know each other, we know our strengths and our weaknesses and we like each other. That's the key I think. Hopefully, they can win the next game, too, and have a chance to qualify."
After a close first half with Audi leading, 6-5, the defensive battle increased in the second half with Audi shutting Prestige Worldwide out in the fourth and fifth chukkers and holding them to one goal in the final chukker.
"We played our best defensive chukker in the sixth because we just shut them down," Grant Ganzi said. "They couldn't do anything they wanted to. I tried to take out anyone I could to give these guys more space."
Audi converted 4-of-7 shots from the field while Prestige Worldwide was 3-of-7. Audi hit 6-of-8 penalty shots and Prestige Worldwide 3-of-4. Audi led throw-ins, 10-8, and Prestige Worldwide led in fouls, 17-8.
Roldan scored a game-high seven goals including six penalty conversions. Roldan now has 13 goals in two games. Alejandro Novillo Astrada added two goals and Grant Ganzi had one.
Miguel Novillo Astrada, playing against his younger brother, led Prestige Worldwide with four goals including two penalty conversions. Arellano and Orthwein each had one.
Audi improved to 1-1. Prestige Worldwide remains winless at 0-2.
Teenager Grant Ganzi is making his second consecutive 20-goal tournament appearance. Last month he played with Grand Champions Polo Club and finished 1-3 in bracket play after losing close games to eventual champion Tonkawa (9-8) and La Indiana (9-8) in the Joe Barry Cup.
"It was tough, we came back from 8-1 which I have never done in my life and lost the game," Grant Ganzi said. "I think we gave Tonkawa the best game so far, I'm not disappointed. We just missed a lot of goals.
"I'm happy we won today. We needed this win. We had a tough game against Pilot the other day but I thought we played well at the end. We just didn't jell completely as a team. Today was a much better team victory and much better defensively."
With Audi leading 8-5, Roldan was hit with a line drive in the lower left ankle with 5:08 in the fifth chukker. After a 15-minute injury timeout and with Brazilian Rodrigo Andrade waiting in the players' tent just in case, Roldan returned to the game and scored one more penalty goal in the sixth chukker.
"I'm good, I'm fine," said Roldan, playing in only his second game since November, 2017 in Argentina. He was sidelined for two months after breaking his fibia in his left leg in August while playing in Sotogrande, Spain.
"We're very happy," Roldan said. "It was a huge improvement from last game. Everyone played well. It's always tough to come in and play with a new team but we know Negro, we've been playing practices with him. To come in as a substitute he played amazing.
"It was a good win for us. We got our confidence up and our horses went much better. We wanted to minimize our mistakes we made last game and we did by 50 percent. We have a big game Sunday and we are ready to go."
Audi's next game is Sunday at noon against SD Farms (Sayyu Dantata, 2, Adam Snow, 5, Inaki Laprida, 7, Peco Polledo, 6). SD Farms is 1-1 after defeating La Indiana and losing to Colorado. Prestige Worldwide plays Colorado at 3 p.m. in the featured stadium game.
Thirteen teams are competing in the month-long tournament. The tournament features four 10-goal players: Hilario Ulloa, Facundo Pieres, Sapo Caset and Adolfo Cambiaso, making his season debut.
In last year's Ylvisaker Cup final, Coca-Cola rallied for a 9-8 victory over Tonkawa. Coca-Cola (Wes Finlayson, Julian de Lussareta, Julio Arellano, Gillian Johnston) dedicated the game to 17-year-old Donovan Strateman, tragically killed in a polo accident. Mt. Brilliant defeated Goose Creek, 11-10, to win the George Haas Cup subsidiary.
The prestigious Ylvisaker Cup, established in 2003, is named after visionary business leader and lifelong polo enthusiast Bill Ylvisaker. Ylvisaker, a former captain of the Yale polo team, founded the Palm Beach Polo and Country Club. He created the Polo Training Foundation to teach and develop young polo players.
Ylvisaker was a 7-goal rated player and won three U.S. Opens, two Coronation Cups against England and Australia, Gold Cup and four national 20-goal championships. He was chairman of the U.S. Polo Association (1970-75) and inducted into the Polo Hall of Fame in 1994. He died February 5, 2010 at age 85.
Rated No. 1 by Consumer Reports as the best auto brand overall, Audi is a valued sponsor with a rich winning tradition in polo. The German automobile manufacturer designs, engineers, produces, markets and distributes luxury automobiles throughout the world. Audi, founded in 1909, oversees its worldwide operations from its headquarters in Ingolstadt, Bavaria, Germany and local distributorship in West Palm Beach.
USPA Polo Network is live streaming the IPC winter season, including the entire Ylvisaker Cup with content from Wellington-based ChukkerTV.
Grand Champions Polo Club and Santa Rita Polo Farm is the largest and most unique 100-acre polo facility in Wellington with 120 stalls in five self-contained barns, exercise track, five climate-controlled tack rooms, vet room, staff quarters, guest house and polo fields with state-of-the-art underground irrigation and stick-and-ball fields.
The club features monthly 6, 8 and 12-goal tournaments and women's weekly league play during the winter season in addition to two 16-20 tournaments, $50,000 National 12 Goal, $100,000 World Cup winner-take-all 0-40-goal tournament, WCT Tournament and USPA National President's Cup.
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 unique program.
The Club Hotline is 561-644-5050. It will be updated every day at 8 a.m. for both players and fans