By Alex Webbe
Wins by Longfield (Hannah Buchan, Melissa Ganzi, Miguel Novillo Astrada and Juan Bollini) and La Karina (Brian Boyd, Carlitos Gracida, Santiago Wulff and Stuart Armstrong) Friday set the stage for Sunday’s final of the 2014 Rocky Mountain Open Championship at the Aspen Valley Polo Club Sunday afternoon.
Longfield opened the day’s Open competition against Los Amigos (Paul Foster, Gabriel Crespo, Lucas Lalor and Brian Middleton), and got down to business from the opening throw-in. Two goals from the field from Juan Bollini and a penalty goal from Miguel Novillo Astrada went unanswered. The first chukker ended with Longfield in front, 3-0.
Single goals from Astrada and Bollini extended the Longfield lead to five goals. For the second consecutive chukker Los Amigos were held scoreless in a 5-0 game.
Los Amigos finally got on the scoreboard in the third on a goal from the field from Paul Foster. Hannah Buchan answered back with a goal for Longfield to give her team a 6-1 advantage at the end of the first half.
Melissa Ganzi added two more goals to the Longfield total in the fourth chukker. Los Amigos responded with a penalty goal from Foster. After four periods Longfield continued to lead by six goals, 8-1.
Buchan and Crespo exchanged goals in the fifth, with Los Amigos gaining no ground on Longfield. Longfield continued to lead by six goals, 9-3. Foster scored his third goal of the game in the sixth chukker for Los Amigos, but it would be their last. Astrada closed out the game with a goal from the field for the 10-4 win and a berth in Sunday’s final.
Buchan and Melissa Ganzi scored two goals apiece for Longfield. Teammates Miguel Novillo Astrada and Juan Bollini scored three goals each for the win. Foster scored three times for Los Amigos. Crespo added a goal in the loss.
La Karina 13, KIG 8
Carlitos Gracida scored six times as La Karina swept past KIG (Marc Ganzi, Bash Kazi, Nic Roldan and Alejandro Gonzalez) 13-8 to capture the second position in the Rocky Mountain Open final.
KIG took the early lead on first chukker goals from Nic Roldan (one on a penalty conversion). La Karina was held scoreless and trailed 2-0 after the opening chukker.
Santiago Wulff scored consecutive goals in the second period while the La Karina defense shut down the KIG attack. After two periods of play the score was all even at 2-2.
Carlitos Gracida converted a penalty shot for a goal for La Karina, but KOG rang up goals from Marc Ganzi and Alejandro Gonzalez. At the end of the first half KIG was defending a paper thin 4-3 lead over La Karina.
The momentum swing went La Karina’s way in the fourth with Gracida and Stuart Armstrong scoring two goals apiece. Roldan converted a penalty shot and added another goal from the field for KIG, but the lead had been lost to La Karina, 7-6.
Four more fifth chukker goals from La Karina extended their lead over KIG to four goals. Gracida scored his fourth and fifth goals of the game with Wulff and Armstrong adding single goals. Marc Ganzi scored on a penalty shot but at the end of the period La Karina led, 11-7.
Gracida and Brian Boyd each scored a goal in the sixth chukker as the La Karina lead grew to six goals, 13-7. KIG managed just one more score (Alejandro Gonzalez) to end the game with La Karina celebrating both the win and the berth in the tournament final.
Gracida led the La Karina attack with six goals. Wulff and Armstrong were credited with three goals apiece and Boyd scored once from the field in a losing effort.