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Casablanca, Audi, La Irenita, Park Place Clinch Founders Cup Semifinals; Sunday Is First Day Of Daylight Saving Time

WELLINGTON, Fla., March 9, 2024---After Mother Nature had her way for a week,  four teams have been decided for the semifinals of the Founders Cup set for Sunday at Grand Champions Polo Club.

By Sharon Robb

Photos by Candace Ferreira

Audi (1-1) plays La Irenita (1-1) Sunday at 4pm, and Casablanca (2-0) will play Park Place (1-1), the final team to clinch a spot Monday at 11am.

It will be the first day for players, horses and fans to make the transition to Daylight Saving Time when clocks are turned forward one hour resulting in longer days kickstarted by an hour less of sleep.

Park Place had to wait out an an exciting final bracket game between Alegria and Kaia Polo rain-delayed until Saturday.

The bracket finishes were: 1. Casablanca, 2-0; 2. Audi, 1-1 with +3 net goals; 3. La Irenita, 1-1 with +1 net goals; 4. Park Place 1-1 with 0 net goals, 22 gross goals; 5.  Travieso 1-1 with 0 net goals, 20 gross goals; 6. Maltese Falcons 1-1 with 0 net goals, 19 gross goals; 7. Alegria 1-1 with -4 net goals, 27 gross goals; 8. Senvest 1-1  with -4 net goals, 16 gross goals; and 9.  Kaia Polo Team, 0-2.

On a hot, windy day, Alegria (Sugar Erskine, 6, Jason Crowder, 5, Tincho Merlos, 7, Fred Mannix, 7) came from behind to defeat Kaia Polo (Larry Wilson, 1, Lerin Zubiaurre, 7, Mariano Aguirre, 7, Santi Toccalino, 7), 15-14. Alegria finished with a 1-1 record.

Alegria worked its way back from a 3-0 deficit Kaia Polo started off with on handicap to a 10-10 halftime score. In the first half, Alegria outshot Kaia Polo, 12-10, and dominated throw-ins, 12-6.

Alegria stepped it up in the second half as the lead changed hands five times in the fourth and fifth chukkers before Alegria took the lead for good when Erskine and Mannix scored back-to-back goals for a 14-12 lead. The teams exchanged goals early in the sixth chukker with Alegria leading 15-13. Zubiaurre scored one last goal with 30 seconds remaining as time ran out on Kaia Polo's rally.

Alegria led in shots on goal, 19-16 and remained aggressive with the throw-ins, 17-11. Alegria, aggressive also on defense, led in fouls, 14-7, but managed to overcome its foul trouble.

Alegria got balanced scoring from its lineup. Merlos had five goals, four on penalty conversions. Erskine also had five goals, Crowder had two and Mannix had three including a penalty-one. Toccalino had a game-high seven goals, six on penalty conversions. Zubiaurre added three goals and Aguerre had one.


Senvest (Rob Mashaal, 0, Facundo Llosa, 7, Magoo Laprida, 8, Pedro Falabella, 7) knocked off All-Star Challenge champion Audi (Marc Ganzi, 1, Nic Roldan, 8, Jeta Castagnola, 10, Pancho Bensadon, 7).

The four-goal handicap advantage Senvest had was tough to overcome. Senvest led 7-3 for the first two chukkers and 7-4 at the half despite Audi shutting them out in the second and third chukkers.

Audi outshot Senvest, 10-5, in the first half. Senvest committed seven fouls in the first half and led in knock-ins 6-2. Audi outscored Senvest, 6-4, in the second half and shut them out for a third time in the fifth chukker but could not take advantage of scoring opportunities late in the game both from the field and penalty line.

Llosa scored a game-high four goals and Laprida added three. Audi got balanced scoring from its lineup. Roldan and Castagnola each had three goals and Ganzi and Bensadon each had two goals.


Maltese Falcons (Mia Cambiaso, 2, Pacquito de Narvaez, 5, Alejandro Novillo Astrada, 7, Poroto Cambiaso, 10), playing with virtually a new lineup, defeated reigning U.S. Open champion Park Place (Andrey Borodin, 0, Toly Ulloa, 8, Hilario Ulloa, 10, Cody Ellis, 5).

Mia Cambiaso, the oldest daughter of polo great Adolfo Cambiaso, made her WPL debut replacing an injured Melissa Ganzi (elbow).  It was the first of two games for Mia Cambiaso. She also played for Hawaii Polo Life, 12-11 winners over Dead End/West Haven in the Sieber 12-Goal Memorial.

Poroto Cambiaso, returning to the WPL after a three-year absence, led Maltese Falcons with six goals. Astrada and Mia Cambiaso each had two goals. The team was also awarded a penalty-one. Hilario Ulloa scored a game-high nine goals. The team had one goal on handicap.

The game was 9-9 in the fifth chukker until Poroto Cambiaso scored with 57 seconds left for a 10-9 lead. Cambiaso converted a 30-yard penalty to open the final chukker for an 11-9 lead. Both teams had scoring opportunities late in the game but failed to capitalize as Maltese Falcons held on for its first win.

The WPL, the winter season's biggest highlight, continues to make history as the only 26-goal polo played outside of Argentina.



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