Audi wins USPA North American Cup, 11-10; ELG beats Beluga 15-8
By Alex Webbe
A disciplined Audi polo team (Marc Ganzi, Carlitos Gracida, Nic Roldan and Michel
Dorignac) scored ran up a 6-4 halftime lead over Casablanca (Grant Ganzi, Brandon
Phillips, Mike Azzaro and Jeff Hall) in the finals of the 2013 USPA North American Cup
at the Grand Champions Polo Club, but needed to rally for a three-goal sixth chukker to
register an 11-10 win and successfully defend their 2012 title.
Audi received one goal by handicap from the 20-goal Casablanca lineup and ran it into
a 2-0 lead on the strength of a first chukker goal from Nic Roldan in the opening minute
of play. A minute later, Casablanca’s Jeff Hall converted a 60-yard penalty shot, 2-1,
and teammate Mike Azzaro tied it up at 2-2, with 1:32 left in the chukker.
Roldan stopped a shot on goal from Casablanca in the second chukker and raced over
200-yards before unleashing a 70-yard shot through the goals posts for a 3-2 Audi lead.
Penalties stemmed the Audi surge, with Hall and Grant Ganzi each converting penalty
shots for goals and a 4-3 lead.
Michel Dorignac’s first goal of the game tied it up for Audi at 4-4. Two more goals from
Roldan (one on a 60-yard penalty conversion) closed out the first half with Audi in front,
Grant Ganzi stepped up to the in the second half, scoring consecutive goals (one on a
penalty shot) to tie it up at 6-6. Marc Ganzi (Grant’s father) responded with a penalty
goal of this own, 7-6. Hall scored the final goal of the period and the two teams rode off
the field at the end of the chukker deadlocked at 7-7.
Azzaro added two more goals in the fifth while limiting Audi to a single penalty goal from
Marc Ganzi. With one chukker left in regulation play, Casablanca was on top, 9-8.
Roldan tied it up at 9-9 in the opening minute of the sixth chukker, and Marc Ganzi
added a penalty goal as Audi took back the lead, 10-9. Roldan carried the ball the
length of the field for his sixth goal of the game and an 11-9 advantage. With 1:29 left in
the period, Azzaro scored to cut the Audi lead to a single goal, 11-10. Casablanca took
control of the ensuing throw-in and attacked the Audi goal. A united defensive effort by
the entire Audi team cut the Casablanca rally short as time expired and Audi celebrated
the 11-10 victory.
Roldan led all scoring with six goals (one on a penalty shot). Marc Ganzi converted
three penalty shots for goals and Dorignac added a goal for the win. Audi also received
one goal by handicap. Azzaro led the Casablanca attack with four goals. Grant Ganzi
and Hall added three goals apiece in a losing effort.
Azzaro’s Gypsy Girl, a three-year-old black mare, received Best Playing Pony honors
while Dorignac was named MVP.
ELG 15, BELUGA 8
In earlier 20-goal competition, ELG (Avery Chapman, Guille Aguero, Kris Kampsen and
Carlucho Arellano) ran over Beluga (Misha Rodzianko, Luis Escobar, Jeff Blake and
Joey Casey) in a 15-8 win for the Beluga Cup.
Goals from Kris Kampsen and Guille Aguero gave ELG the early 2-0 lead before Misha
Rodzianko finally got Beluga on the scoreboard with a 30-yard penalty conversion, 2-1.
Jeff Blake and Avery Chapman exchanged goals in the final minutes of play with ELG
holding on to a narrow 3-2 edge.
ELG took control of the second chukker, shutting down the Beluga offense and scoring
three straight goals. Chapman converted a penalty shot to open the period followed
by goals from the field from Aguero and Carlucho Arellano. After two chukkers ELG
boasted a 6-2 lead.
Beluga got back into the game again in the third, getting opening goals from Luis
Escobar (60-yard penalty goal) and Rodzianco (a 30-yard penalty goal), 6-4. Arellano
and Kampsen answered back with single goals from the field, 8-4. Aguero and Escobar
exchanged goals to end the first half with Beluga trailing by four goals, 9-5.
For the first time all day, Beluga managed to shut down the Beluga attack, but they
were unable to provide any offense of their own. After a scoreless fourth chukker the
score remained the same with ELG in possession of a 9-5 lead.
A pair of goals from Rodzianko (one on a penalty conversion) cut the ELG lead to two
goals, 9-7. Kampsen scored from the field and Arellano converted a penalty shot for a
goal to restore the four goals lead, 11-7.
ELG drove in four more goals in the final chukker as Aguero scored twice and Chapman
and Arellano added single goals. Beluga was held to a single score from Escobar and
suffered the 15-8 loss.
Aguero scored five times. Arellano added four goals and Chapman and Kampsen
scored three goals apiece for the win. Rodzianko’s four goals led the Beluga offense.
Escobar scored three times and Blake added a goal in a losing effort.