WELLINGTON, FL-March 18, 2013—With one of its 10-goalers, Sapo Caset, home in bed with the flu, Piaget team captain Melissa Ganzi and coach Joey Casey put together a lineup that nearly knocked off ERG.
Ganzi sat out the game to enable 5-goalers Juan Bollini and Lucas Lalor to make up for Caset’s 10-goal rating. The team newcomers joined the remaining Piaget lineup, 10-goaler Miguel Astrada and Nacho Badiola.
The team needed the first half to jell, but once the foursome got the chemistry going, the USPA Piaget Gold Cup main stadium contest at International Polo Club Palm Beach turned into a game.
Grand Champions Polo Club-based Piaget lost a hardfought 7-6 decision to ERG, in one of five USPA Piaget Gold Cup games on Sunday. It was both teams’ final 11-team tournament appearance.
ERG will compete in Thursday’s Butler Handicap Tournament semifinals that also features Grand Champions Polo Club made Audi.
Piaget got balanced scoring. Lalor and Badiola each had two goals. Astrada and Bollini each scored one. Tincho Merlos scored a game-high four goals for ERG.
Piaget is now looking ahead to the Maserati U.S. Open that begins Thursday, March 28th at IPC.
“This was more of a game to get the horses ready for the Open,” Casey said. “We were just trying to conserve horses to move on to the Open.
|Piaget’s Lucas Lalor about to bring the ball downfield to his teammates.|
“Play, but if you feel a horse get tired, get off, don’t wait for the right time, go ahead and get off,” Casey said.
“We could have won it,” Casey said. “We changed horses a few times which normally we wouldn’t have done. That probably cost us a goal or two. We are looking at the big picture now.”
Badiola, at 23 and making his IPC high goal debut this season, was outstanding on defense turning in one of his better games of the tournament. “He is playing well,” Casey agreed.
In another Sunday game, Audi lost a 16-10 decision to Zacara. The game marked the return of Audi team captain Marc Ganzi, sidelined for three games nursing a broken thumb and knee injury.
The victory earned Zacara (3-0), one of only three undefeated teams remaining, a berth in Wednesday’s semifinals, joining Lechuza Caracas (3-0), Alegria (2-1) and defending champion Valiente (3-0).
In Wednesday’s semifinals, Lechuza Caracas plays Zacara at2 p.m. and Valiente will meet Alegria at 4 p.m. The winners advance to Sunday’s championship for the second jewel of U.S. polo’s Triple Crown.
In the other three Sunday games, Lechuza Caracas defeated Orchard Hill, 13-11; Zorzal beat Coca-Cola, 12-11, in overtime and Alegria topped Mt. Brilliant, 7-5.
Alegria earned its berth into the semifinals in a shootout after the main stadium game. Alegria won its first shootout with Zorzal, 7-6, to advance into the semifinal qualifier shootout.
Alegria and ERG then tied in the first round of the semifinal qualifier shootout, 4-4. Alegria won in sudden death when Julian Mannix scored the winning shot.
|Piaget’s makeshift lineup of Nacho Badiola, Miguel Astrada, Juan Bollini and Lucas Lalor that nearly knocked off ERG, 7-6.|
AUDI/PIAGET TOURNAMENT LINEUP
Thursday, March 21: Butler Handicap Semifinal, Audi vs. TBA, noon.
Sunday, March 24: Butler Handicap Final, noon; USPA Piaget Gold Cup Final, 3 p.m.
March 28-April 21, 109th Maserati U.S. Open Polo Championship
GRAND CHAMPIONS POLO CLUB
WHERE: On the corner of South Shore Boulevard and Lake Worth Road, Wellington.
INFORMATION: There are great field side views for tournament action at the home base of pro teams Audi and Piaget. Everyone is welcome to watch polo in a relaxed atmosphere during the spring and fall tournament season and other special events including the International Cup, Buzz Welker Memorial Junior Tournament, Women’s Championship Tournament and Gay Polo League Tournament.