Casablanca wins Palm Restaurant Invitational final, 13-8
By Alex Webbe
Casablanca (Grant Ganzi, Leo Mandelbaum, Jeff Hall and Julio Gracida) ran up an 8-3 halftime lead over Palm Beach Equine (Gene Goldstein, Jeff Blake, Kris Kampsen and Scott Swerdlin) in the final of the Palm Restaurant Invitational at the Grand Champions Polo Club before recording a comfortable 13-8 win.
Palm Beach Equine received one goal by handicap from the 14-goal Casablanca lineup and added to it with a 60-yard penalty conversion by Kris Kampsen at the 5:25 mark, 2-0. Grant Ganzi answered back for Casablanca as he converted on a pair of penalty goals to knot it up at 2-2.
Kampsen gave the lead back to Palm Beach Equine with a 40-yard penalty goal, 3-2, in the opening seconds of the second period. Consecutive goals from the field from Ganzi had Casablanca in the lead, 4-3. Jeff Hall scored the final goal of the chukker for a 5-3 score.
Casablanca kept the pressure on with Hall opening the third period with a pair of goals from the field. Julio Gracida scored his first goal of the day while the Casablanca defense shut down the Palm Beach Equine attack. At the end of the first half it was Casablanca in the lead, 8-3.
The Casablanca defense continued to dominate the field in the second half. Leo Mandelbaum got in on the scoring spree for Casablanca with a goal and Hall added his fourth goal of the game for a commanding 10-3 lead. Kampsen kept Palm Beach Equine form being shut out with a goal. Casablanca continued to lead, 10-4.
A penalty goal from Kampsen in the fifth was followed up with a goal from Jeff Blake, 10-6, but it was Casablanca with the last word. Hall scored for the fifth time for the 11-6 lead.
Kampsen and Hall traded goals in the final chukker with Kampsen scoring on a penalty shot and a goal from the field. Hall’s sixth and seventh goals of the day came from the field for the 13-8 final.
Hall led all scoring with seven goals. Ganzi scored four goals (two on penalty conversions). Mandelbaum and Gracida added single goals for the victory. Kampsen’s six goals (four on penalty shots) set the pace for the Palm Beach Equine offense. Blake added a goal and the team received one goal by handicap.
Jeff Hall was named MVP while Grant Ganzi’s Rhapsodia received Best Playing Pony honors.
Team USPA 13, Palm Beach Polo 12
After having a disappointing start to preparations for the FIP World Cup zone play, the talented young players of Team USPA (Jared Sheldon, Jesse Bray, Patrick Uretz, Felipe Viana and Will Tankard) seemed to get it on track in the subsidiary of Palm Restaurant Invitational as they rode roughshod over Palm Beach Polo (Glenn Straub, Juancito Bollini, Brandon Phillips and Roberto Gonzalez) Sunday morning in a 13-8 win.
Team USPA spotted the 11-goal Palm Beach Polo three goals to start, but quickly made up for it. Jessie Bray scored the first goal of the game in the opening 28 seconds of play, carrying the ball down the field from the throw-in for the score. Ensuing goals from Jared Sheldon and Will Tankard tied it up at three goals apiece. With 59 seconds left in the first chukker, Roberto Gonzalez converted a penalty shot for the 4-3 Palm Beach Polo lead.
Foul trouble put Palm Beach Polo in the hole in the second period as Felipe Viana converted four 40-yard penalty shots for goals. Teammate Sheldon was on the receiving end of a pass from Tankard to a goal from the field. Shutout defense kept Palm Beach Polo off of the scoreboard. After two periods of play Team USPA led, 8-4.
Sheldon’s third goal of the game had Team USPA in front by five goals, 9-4 after the opening minute of the third chukker, 9-4. Palm Beach Polo’s Brandon Phillips converted a 40-yard penalty shot for a goal for Palm Beach Polo, 9-5. Bray converted a penalty shot for Team USPA with Phillips and Viana trading goals from the fields in the waning minutes of the first half. Team USPA continued to lead, 11-6.
Palm Beach Polo finally managed to curb the Team USPA attack in the fourth. Phillips added a goal from the field and a penalty goal. Palm Beach Polo cut into the lead but continued to trail, 11-8.
Goals were hard to come by in the fifth. The teams traded goals with Viana scoring his sixth goal of the game and Phillips adding his fifth. Team USPA remained in the lead, 12-9.
Phillips took advantage of a Team USPA foul in the opening seconds of the sixth chukker, converting a 30-yard penalty shot to cut the lead to two goals, 12-10. A Palm Beach Polo foul in the goal mouth resulted in a Penalty 1 and the awarding of a goal to Team USPA, 13-10. Roberto Gonzalez scored at the 4:47 mark of the final chukker, 13-11, but time was running out. Gonzalez scored the final goal of the game with 59 seconds on the clock as Team USPA rode off with the 13-12 win.
Viana scored six goals for Team USPA and was named MVP for his efforts. Sheldon added three goals, Bray was credited with two goals and Tankard scored once. Phillips scored three of his six goals on penalty shots for Palm Beach Polo. Gonzalez added three goals and the team received three goals by handicap.