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USPA GOLD CUP

Audi Defeats Orchard Hill In USPA Piaget Gold Cup Opener; Plays Flight Options On Thursday

Audi's Gonzalo del Tour (4) defends Santiago Chavanne (2) of Orchard Hill. Photo by Scott Fisher
WELLINGTON, FL-March 8, 2014----Audi dominated OrchardHill from start-to-finish to win its USPA Piaget Gold Cup openerSaturday with a 7-5 victory at International Polo Club.With arelentless defense, Audi shut out Orchard Hill in the first, fourth andfifth chukkers and led by as many as four goals early in the sixthchukker."We watched a lot of video last night and the plan was to mark those guys very classic, one-for-one," Ganzi said."Thegames that they had won they were getting a lot of open space," Ganzisaid. "You give Pablo MacDonough open space, he scores goals. The ideawas to first take care of Pablo and have a good plan for MatiasMacDonough and Santi Chavanne as two good workers so we had to keep thegame tight and sticky.
Audi's Marc Ganzi (1) keeps control of the ball as he makes his way past defenders downfield. Photo by Scott Fisher
"Whenwe had our chances on a counter attack, the idea was to go through andscore goals. We had a little bad luck in the first half, we should havebeen up by two or three."All four Audi players had at least onegoal. Gonzalo del Tour led scoring with three goals. Team captain MarcGanzi had two goals and Gonzalito Pieres and Rodrigo Andrade each addedone.
Polo great Gonzalo Pieres Sr. watches his son Gonzalito Pieres and his Audi teammates. Photo by Scott Fisher
"Ithink we played well, we just couldn't hit the ball because of thefield," Pieres said. "We controlled the man but we couldn't finish theplay. Luckily, they missed the ball, too."Our team was verywell-positioned today, we didn't make too many fouls," Pieres said. "Itis really important to start to win. For us, every game is a final. Wewon the first final, so now we have to think about winning the next oneand try to qualify."
Audi's Rodrigo Andrade (3) avoids the hook of Pablo MacDonough (3) of Orchard Hill. Photo by Scott Fisher
Pablo MacDonough scored a game-high four goals for Orchard Hill. Santiago Chavanne had one goal.Itwas a defensive battle from the opening chukker with Audi scoring theonly goal of the chukker when Pieres scored from the field at the 2:14mark.Orchard Hill took a brief 2-1 lead with goals from PabloMacDonough and Santiago Chavanne. Despite getting hit in the shoulderwith a mallet to open the chukker, Ganzi came back to score his firstgoal of the game with less than a minute left to finish the chukker tied(2-2).
Audi teammates Marc Ganzi (1) and Rodrigo Andrade (3) work together to bring the ball downfield. Photo by Scott Fisher
Audiand Orchard Hill exchanged leads again in the third chukker after Audimissed two goal attempts and had another one snatched just before thegoal line by Pablo MacDonough to end the half tied (3-3).Audimissed two more goals to open the fourth chukker before del Tour loftedthe ball for a goal at the 6:13 mark giving Audi a 4-3 lead and themomentum for the rest of the game. It was Audi's only goal of thechukker.Leading 5-3 going into the final chukker, Andrade took apinpoint pass from Pieres to score with 6:04 left. Ganzi scored lessthan a minutelater to give his team a 7-3 lead with 5:45 left.
Audi team captain Marc Ganzi (1) drives downfield for one of his two goals of the game. Photo by Scott Fisher
"Wewere patient in the second half," Ganzi said. "We just tried to calmdown, then in the fifth and the sixth more goals came for us which wasgood."It's one of those games where we just displayed anincredible amount of discipline. When you play good disciplined polo inthe 26-goal, you have a really good chance to win. We knew over sixchukkers that man-for-man we were the better team and I think we provedthat today."For del Tour, 27, the win was particularlysatisfying. After a two-year hiatus from playing in the U.S., del Tourreturned to compete with Audi. He was more relaxed than previous games,controlling the pace of the game and turning away several Orchard Hillscoring attempts.
Audi's Rodrigo Andrade (3) and Orchard Hill's Pablo MacDonough (3) race after the ball. Photo by Scott Fisher
"Iam really happy, we had to win today to get some confidence," del Toursaid. "It was a good win for us. I started a bit lost in the beginningof the season, now I feel better and good. I am happy to be back in theU.S. playing. Audi is a great team and I am playing with greatteammates."The USPA Piaget Gold Cup is second crown jewel of U.S. polo's Triple Crown.Audiwill look to avenge its Les Armour Cup loss to Flight Options when thetwo teams meet on Thursday in another bracket game in the battle ofGrand Champions Polo Club-based pro teams.
Auditeam captain Marc Ganzi (1) congratulates his teammates after defeatingOrchard Hill in USPA Piaget Gold Cup opener. Photo by Scott Fisher
"Ithink we have actually played really good polo every game," Ganzi said."I don't think we have really tanked any games. The game againstValiente we could have won in the last two minutes. The game againstCoca-Cola we dominated from start to finish."Piaget has been thetitle sponsor since the tournament made IPC its home in 2007. ThePiaget Gold Cup was first played in 1974 at Oak Brook Polo Club inIllinois.For game recaps, news, features and photos of Grand Champions Polo Club-related events, go to www.grandchampionspoloclub.org.Game video can also be seen at PoloNow Network at http://www.polonow.tv/.
Audi's Rodrigo Andrade (3) goes for the neck shot with defensive help from teammate Marc Ganzi (1). Photo by Scott Fisher
2014 HIGH GOAL SEASONMARCH7-23: USPA Piaget Gold Cup: Thursday, Audi vs. Flight Options, 3 p.m.;MARCH 16, Orchard Hill vs. Flight Options, noon; Audi vs. Alegria, 3p.m.; MARCH 19, Semifinals, 1, 3 p.m.; MARCH 20, Butler HandicapSemifinals, 1, 3 p.m.; MARCH 23, Butler Handicap Final, noon; USPAPiaget Gold Cup Final, 3 p.m.MARCH 26-APRIL 20: 110th Maserati U.S. Open Polo ChampionshipsGRAND CHAMPIONS @ PALM BEACH POLO 2014 TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE (HOTLINE 561-373-0073)MARCH:Madelon Bourdieu Memorial (5-goal); The Limited Edition 8-Goal Series;The Top Pony 12-Goal Series; March 15-31, Santa Rita Abierto (16 goals);March 23-31, March 23-31, $50,000 National 12-Goal Tournament.APRIL:Las Acacias (5-goal); USPA Association Cup (8- goal); Museum of Polo& Hall of Fame Challenge Cup (12-goal); John T. Oxley MemorialTrophy (16-goal).THIS WEEK'S SCHEDULESUNDAY:5-Goal, Patagones Azul vs. Elegante Polo, 10 a.m.; Patagones Blue vs.SLS Jets, noon; 12-Goal, Faraway vs. Hawk Hill, 1 p.m., Valiente Field4; Casablanca vs. The Villages, 1:30 p.m., Fire Station Field.