Grand Champions Polo Club Ends Successful Sixth Medium Goal Spring Season
Longfield Farm Wins Final Tournament In Overtime Thriller
WELLINGTON, FL-May 26, 2013---Grand Champions Polo Club's sixth annual medium goal spring season came to an exciting end on Sunday with Longfield Farm defeating YP.Com, 11-10, in overtime.
Marc Ganzi scored the winning goal to give Longfield Farm its first tournament victory of the season in the Piaget Memorial Day Cup final.
|Piaget Memorial Day Cup champions Longfield Farm hoisting the trophy, from left to right, Carlitos Gracida, Marc Ganzi, Hannah Buchan, Nic Roldan and Piaget's Lauren Duffy. Photo by Scott Fisher|
"I'm really happy, it was a tough tournament," Marc Ganzi said. "All the teams were evenly-matched.
"Mike Azzaro and Juan Bollini are great players and know how to win. We were behind most of the game. It was a tough match back-and-forth. Once I saw Carlitos (Gracida) have a slight leg up on Juan I knew he was going to hit some kind of back-hander and I just said I got to turn now and go grab that line. I got on the line before Juan did and it was 150 yards to goal who was going to make it.
|YP.Com's Juan Bollini (4) in control of the ball with Longfield Farm's Carlitos Gracida (3) in hot pursuit. Photo by Scott Fisher|
"Fortunately...very fortunately, I made the goal," Ganzi said.
Longfield Farm topped a field that featured six 12-goal teams in the four-day single-elimination tournament.
Longfield Farm's Hannah Buchan was named the spring season's most valuable amateur player.
"Oh my goodness, this was great," said Buchan, who has been playing polo for ten years. "Marc played great. It was a lot of fun playing with everybody. It's a great format."
|Longfield Farm's Nic Roldan (4) tries to avoid the bump from YP.Com's MVP Mike Azzaro (3) in a horse race downfield. Photo by Scott Fisher|
|YP.Com's Mike Azzaro accepts the MVP award from Lauren Duffy, Piaget Assistant Vice President of Retail Sales and Marketing. Photo by Scott Fisher|
YP.Com's Mike Azzaro, a 2013 Hall of Fame inductee and former 10-goaler, was named Most Valuable Player after scoring a game-high six goals and playing well on both ends of the field.
"That was fun and painful," said Azzaro, competing in his second consecutive spring tournament.
It was Azzaro's last game as a 7-goal ranked player. On June 1st he will move up to 8 goals at age 47.
|YP.Com's Melissa Ganzi acccepts the new Piaget Polo 45 watch from Lauren Duffy after being named the game's and tournament's Amateur Most Valuable Player. Photo by Scott Fisher|
YP.Com's Melissa Ganzi won the game's and Piaget Memorial Cup most valuable amateur player awards. Ganzi, who scored two goals and played well defensively, was presented the new Piaget Polo 45 watch by Lauren Duffy, Piaget Assistant Vice President of Retail Sales and Marketing.
"This is a lovely honor, I am very flattered and surprised," Melissa Ganzi said.
"It was an exciting game," Ganzi said. "The lead changed several times. It was exciting, back-and-forth. It really was anybody's game. Even overtime could have gone either way. We had our chances."
|Longfield Farm's Nic Roldan (4) leans into his bump against hard-charging Juan Bollini (4) of YP.Com. Photo by Scott Fisher.|
Longfield Farm's Nic Roldan scored back-to-back goals to send the game into sudden death overtime. He scored on a penalty goal with 5:36 left in the chukker and beat Azzaro to the ball to score again with 4:46 to tie the game at 10-10.
Azzaro and Marc Ganzi each had a chance to win it in the final minute but couldn't take advantage of scoring opportunities.
"I was happy for Hannah and Marc," Roldan said. "They did a great job and both played great. Hannah had an amazing tournament. She kept getting better and better throughout the week.
"And, Marc played great, too," Roldan said. "He missed a few goals but he made the most important one. In the end we are all happy. We have to thank Marc and Melissa for everything because without them this wouldn't happen. It was a great season and great way to finish."
|Longfield Farm's Nic Roldan (4) in complete control of the ball. Photo by Scott Fisher|
Roldan plays every spring season and said "they keep getting more and more competitive every season."
Fully-healed from a rib injury that sidelined him for two weeks, Roldan is headed to England to play for Thai Polo with Harold Link, Malcolm Borwick and Ale Agote. Roldan will represent the U.S. in the Westchester Cup on July 28th along with Marc Ganzi and return to the U.S. for more polo in Santa Barbara.
Best Playing Pony in the final was awarded to Yetti, a new 6-year-old gelding ridden by Marc Ganzi and owned by Halo Polo. "He's really sweet, he played really well," Ganzi said.
ELG, led by balanced scoring and teamwork, won the Casablanca Cup with an 11-10 victory over Palm House.
Kris Kampsen led scoring with four goals, Avery Chapman had three goals, and Martin Estrada and Wellington teenager Juancito Bollini each scored two goals.
In the Piaget Memorial Day Cup consolation final, Intercontinental defeated Audi, 11-9. Carlucho Arellano sparked Intercontinental's rally scoring three goals in the final chukker.
Arellano finished with five goals, Brandon Phillips had three, Alejandro Poma had two and Gene Goldstein scored one goal. JJ Celis scored six goals for Audi.
|The Gang Is All Here. Players from the Piaget Memorial Day Cup having fun including tournament host and player Marc Ganzi of Longfield Farm holding on to Glenn Straub of Palm House. Photo by Scott Fisher|
The 2013 Grand Champions spring season turned out to be the most competitive in its six-year history.
"I don't think this season could have been better," Marc Ganzi said. "The whole season was great. The polo was incredibly competitive. The level has improved, the teams are very even and yet the friendly, competitive tone of the club is still here.
"Everyone gets along and has a good time but everyone competes extremely hard and that's a difficult balance to find in polo and we have tried to build that here in polo. I think we have captured that."
Added Melissa Ganzi: "Every time we finish a season it seems like it's the best one. They just keep getting better and better."
Grand Champions had five different champions for the 2013 spring season: ELG/Psycho Bunny (Palm City Open), Power Horse (Polo Gear Invitational), Audi (USPA Spring Challenge and Eastern Challenge), Pony Express (USPA Sun Cup) and Longfield Farm (Piaget Memorial Day Cup).
GRAND CHAMPIONS POLO CLUB
WHERE: On the corner of South Shore Boulevard and Lake Worth Road, Wellington.