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Audi defeats Orchard Hill 16-15 OT

March 22, 2015


The final of the 2015 USPA Piaget Gold Cup was truly a tale of two teams. Orchard Hill (Steve Van Andel, Ezequiel Gallego Ferrario, Polito Pieres and Facundo Pieres) rode into the game with a C. V. Whitney Cup title in their pocket and a record of seven consecutive 26-goal wins without a loss this season. Orchard Hill boasted the talented Pieres cousins, 10-goaler Facundo Pieres, who was leading the tournament in scoring with 31 goals in four games, and cousin Polito Pieres with a 9-goal handicap and talents that improve daily. Throw in team patron Steve Van Andel and Gallego Ferrario and you have a winning combination.

Audi was eliminated in their second round C. V. Whitney Cup game against Alegria, a Whitney Cup finalist. They bounced back in the Piaget Gold Cup, registering four consecutive wins to earn a berth in the tournament final. With 9-goaler Gonzalito Pieres (Facundo's older brother), Audi boasted the second highest scorer in Gold Cup competition. Brazilian 9-goaler Rodrigo was solid at Number 2 and 6-goaler Fred Mannix handled the Back position for Audi. The only question mark going into the game with Orchard Hill was the health of team patron Marc Ganzi. Ganzi had suffered a shoulder separation in Wednesday's semifinal win over Las Monjitas and was doubtful to play. His appearance on the Sunday field was a surprise, his performance more than anyone could expect.

Marc credited the miraculous recovery to the work of his trainer, Argentine Daniel Martinez, who had been working with him four to five hours a day since the fall four days ago.

With the talented one-two punch of Facundo and Polito Pieres, most expected that Audi would have their hands full, but it turned out to be the other way around. The first goal that was scored came from Gonzalito Pieres on a 40-yard penalty conversion, 2-0 (the 25-goal Audi team received one goal by handicap to start the game). Less than a minute later, another Orchard Hill foul returned Gonzalito Pieres to the penalty line where he scored on a penalty shot from 60-yards out, 3-0. Facundo Pieres closed out the chukker with a 30-yard penalty shot for a goal to trail Audi, 3-1.

At the 6:30 mark of the second chukker Facundo Pieres scored on a 30-yard penalty shot that cut the Audi lead to a single goal, 3-2. Consecutive goals from Gonzalito Pieres and Fred Mannix extended the Audi lead to three goals, 5-2. Facundo Pieres scored on a 30-yard penalty shot and added another goal from the field to bring orchard Hill to within a goal of the lead, 5-4. Orchard Hill fouled with 35 seconds on the clock, allowing Gonzalito Pieres to score on a 50-yard penalty shot for a 6-4 Audi lead.

The two teams traded goals in the third chukker. Mannix opened the scoring with a goal midway through the chukker, 7-4. Facundo Pieres responded with an Orchard Hill goal, 7-5. Gallego Ferrario cut the Audi lead back to a single goal, 7-6, but with 31 seconds on the clock, Gonzalito Pieres scored for the fifth time for an 8-6 halftime lead.

A determined Orchard Hill team took to the field in the fourth chukker with Facundo Pieres leading the procession. A goal from the field in the first 30 seconds was followed by two penalty goals that first tied the game at 8-8 and then put Orchard Hill in the lead, 9-8. Mannix scored the tying goal for Audi, 9-9, but Facundo Pieres took the lead back, 10-9, with the final goal of the chukker at 1:32.

Polito Pieres scored his first goal of the game in the opening minute of the fifth chukker, 11-9, but Audi fought right back. Audi picked up consecutive goals from Mannix, Gonzalito Pieres and Rodrigo Andrade to regain the lead, 12-11. Facundo Pieres converted a 60-yard penalty shot that tied the game at 12-12, but Audi wasn't through yet. Fouls by orchard Hill had Polito Pieres going to the penalty line where he scored consecutive goals on penalty shots of 60 and 30-goals to give Audi a two goal lead, 14-12 at the end of the chukker.

Polito Pieres scored his second goal of the game to open the sixth, 14-13. Gonzalito Pieres countered with a goal of his own three minutes later, 15-13. Polito Pieres cut the lead back to a single goal at 1:31 and Facundo Pieres carried the ball from one end of the field to the other end of the field to score the tying goal, 15-15, with five seconds left in regulation play.

After a brief intermission that allowed the players to find fresh mounts, they returned to the field. Audi took control of the opening throw-n and drove toward the Orchard Hill goal. After just 29 seconds of play, another Orchard Hill foul sent Gonzalito Pieres to the penalty line where he converted a 40-yard penalty shot for the winning goal, 16-15, in the highest scoring game in Gold Cup history.

Gonzalito Pieres led the Audi attack with ten goals (seven on penalty shots). Mannix added four goals, Andrade scored once and the team received one goal by handicap. Facundo Pieres led the field with eleven goals on the afternoon (six on penalty conversions). Polito Pieres was credited with three goals and Ferrario scored once in the loss.

Gonzalito Pieres was named MVP for his efforts while his mare, Rosparita, picked up Best Playing Pony honors.



   
 



  
 
 
Orchard Hill 15, Villa del Lago 13
January 25, 2015


The final of the 2015 20-goal Joe Barry Memorial Cup was just fast-paced, smash-mouth battle it was expected to be with Villa Del Lago (Jim Zenni, Agustin Obregon, Polito Pieres and Julian de Lusarreta) facing Orchard Hill (Steve Van Andel, Lucas Criado, Facundo Pieres and Julian de Lusarreta).

Between Orchard Hill and Villa Del Lago, they had two of the best ball control artists in the game. Orchard Hill boasted the talents of 10-goaler Facundo Pieres while Villa Del Lago saddled up with 9-goaler Polito Pieres (recently elevated to 10-goals in Argentina). The Argentine cousins were high-scoring machines that regularly carried the ball through seemingly impassable defenses to score.  The question would be, "Which cousin was going to outscore the other in Sunday's final".

Orchard Hill's Facundo Pieres opened the scoring with the conversion of a 60-yard penalty shot, 1-0, in the first 80 seconds of play. Julian de Lusarreta responded with a goal from the field two minutes later to tie the game at 1-1.  Polito Pieres scored ona30-yard penalty shot two minutes later to give the lead to Villa Del Lago, 2-1.  Facundo Pieres leveled the score at 2-2 scoring the final goal of the period with just43sweconds on the clock.

The pace continued to heat up as the second chukker got underway. De Lusarreta scored for Villa Del Lago with just 32 seconds off the clock, 3-2, followed by a 40-yard penalty goal from Polito Pieres at the 5:41 mark for a 4-2 lead.  Facundo Pieres scored a goal from the field with Polito and Facundo exchanging penalty goals to close the chukker with Villa Del Lago in the lead, 5-4.

Facundo Pieres tied it at 5-5 in the opening 30 seconds of the third chukker with a beautifully-executed neck shot. Polito Pieres took the lead back for Villa Del Lago, 6-5, at the 4:17 mark.  Facundo Pieres ended the chukker with consecutive penalty goals from 40-ardsand 60-yards for a 7-6 halftime lead for Orchard Hill.

The pace continued to quicken as the second half of play began.  The ball moved up and down the field at breakneck speed with both Facundo and Polito giving an exhibition of ball handling on the polo field.  Polito Pieres was the first to score in the fourth chukker with a tying goal, 7-7, in the opening minute of the period. A goal from the field from de Lusarreta was followed by a penalty goal from Polito Pieres as the Villa Del Lago lead grew to two goals, 9-7. Polito Pieres scored a goal from the field as Villa Del Lago continued to beat up on a stagnant Orchard Hill offense. Villa Del Lago led by three goals, 10-7, with time running out.  Orchard Hill team captain Steve Van Andel scored the final goal of the chukker with just 38 seconds on the clock. Villa Del Lago rode off the field at the end of the fourth on top of a 10-8 score.

Facundo Pieres went on a tear in the fifth chukker, scoring the opening goal on a 30-yard penalty conversion in the opening seconds of play, 10-9.  Facundo followed up less than a minute later with a 130-yard neck shot for a goal and then took the ensuing throw-in and raced 150-yards down the field to score the go-ahead goal, 11-10. Facundo Pieres scored his fourth consecutive goal from a melee in front of the Villa Del Lago goal12-10. Polito Pieres and Lucas Criado traded goals to end the chukker with Orchard Hill in the possession of a 13-11 advantage.
 



















 




Merchant Hub defeats FlexJet 11 - 8
January 18, 2015

Merchant Hub (Scott Swerdlin, Marianito Obregon, Facundo Obregon and Luis Escobar) recorded their first win of the season in Joe Barry memorial Cup competition at the International Polo Club Sunday afternoon by downing FlexJet (Melissa Ganzi Guille Aguero, Miguel Novillo Astrada and Juan Bollini), 11-8.

The 19-goal Merchant Hub team received one goal by handicap but FlexJet scored the first goal of the game on a 30-yard penalty conversion from Guille Aguero for a1-1 tie. Miguel Novillo Astrada made it 2-1 on a goal from the field with 1:34 left in the period.

Merchant Hub came alive in the second with goals from Marianito Obregon and his brother Facundo Obregon for a 3-2 edge. Astrada leveled the score at 3-3 with a goal in the final 48 seconds of the chukker.

Luis Escobar scored the go-ahead goal in the opening30 seconds of the third chukker for a 4-3 Merchant Hub advantage. Astrada converted a 40-yard penalty shot for s 4-4 score. Juan Bollini and Marianito Obregon traded goals to end the first half deadlocked at 5-5.

The fourth chukker remained scoreless until Marianito Obregon found Facundo with a pass that he redirected to a streaking Escobar who scored, giving the lead to Merchant Hub, 6-5. With 1:28 on the clock, Marianito Obregon scored to give Merchant Hub a two goal, 7-5 lead.

Fifth chukker action got underway with Marianito Obregon scoring the first goal of the period and Facundo adding the second as Merchant Hub stretched their lead to four goals, 9-5. Astrada got FlexJet on the scoreboard with a 40-yard penalty conversion, 9-6, adding a goal from the field moments later to cut the Merchant Hub lead to two goals, 9-7.Facundo Obregon closed out the chukker by scoring from the field with nine seconds on the clock. With one chukker left to play, Merchant Hub held a three goal, 10-7 advantage.

FlexJet pressed the attack in the sixth, with shots being blocked or going wide of the goal. Astrada converted a 30-yard penalty shot with nearly six minutes left to play, but that was where it ended. Luis Escobar scored on an impressive angle shot from just off the end line that gave Merchant Hub the security goal they needed as they rode on for the 12-8 victory.

Facundo Obregon led the Merchant Hub offense with four goals and earned MVP honors. Escobar and Marianito Obregon scored three goals apiece and the team received one goal by handicap. Astrada scored a game-high six goals (three on penalty shots). Bollini and Aguero scored single goals in the loss. Halo Polo's Oro,played by Juan Bollini in the fifth chukker, was named Best Playing Pony.

 



  

   
 

Villa Del Lago Conquers Coca-Cola 13 - 12
January 11, 2015


The feature match of the day saw Villa Del Lago (Jim Zenni, Agustin Obregon, Polito Pieres and Julian de Lusarreta) record a 13-11 win over Coca-Cola (Gillian Johnston, Sugar Erskine, Julio Arellano and Mason Wroe) to remain undefeated at 2-0. The loss was the second for Coca-Cola who fell to 0-2.

Argentine 9-goaler Polito Pieres scored the first goal of the game to give Villa Del Lago the early 1-0 lead, but the celebration was short-lived. Less than a minute later Julio Arellano tied it with a 30-yard penalty conversion, 1-1. Pieres responded with60-yard angled shot from the field for his second goal of the game, 2-1. Arellano tied it at 2-2 with 1:35 left in the chukker, and team captain, Gillian Johnston, gave Coca-Cola the lead with the final goal of the period, 3-2, at :52.

Arellano stretched the Coca-Cola lead to two goals, 4-2, with a scoring shot at 5:25 of the second. Pieres responded with a goal from the field just a minute later, 4-3, and teammate Julian de Lusarreta tied it at 4-4 with his first goal of the day. Arellano scored the go-ahead goal with 2:23 on the clock to give the lead to Coca-Cola, 5-4. A penalty and ensuing technical foul called on Pieres allowed Arellano to convert the penalty shot for a goal and watch Pieres get ejected for the remaining 1:23 of the chukker. Playing four on three, Arellano notched another goal to put Coca-Cola on top, 7-4.

Pieres wasted little time redeeming himself for the ejection as he scored the opening goal of the third chukker in the first 25 seconds of play, 7-5. Sugar Erskine scored his first goal of the game to keep Coca-Cola on top by three goals, 8-5. Pieres converted a 40-yard penalty shot to end the scoring in the first half with Villa Del Lago trailing, 8-6.

Goals were hard to come by in the fourth period as Arellano converted a penalty shot with just 3:34 left to play, 9-6. Pieres scored the only goal from the field, but it was Coca-Cola with the 9-7 lead entering the fifth chukker.

Pieres opened the fifth with a penalty goal to cut the Coca-Cola lead to a single goal, 9-8. Arellano converted a penalty shot of his own to push the Coca-Cola lead back to two goals, 10-8. Obregon scored a goal from the field followed by two more goals from Pieres (one on a penalty shot) that gave the lead to Villa Del Lago, 11-10.

Obregon's second goal of the game opened the scoring in the sixth period, giving Villa Del Lago a two goal lead, 12-10. Erskine scored to cut the Villa Del Lago lead back to a single goal, 12-11. With time running out, Pieres scored the final goal of the game for the hard-fought 12-11 victory.

Pieres led all scoring with ten goals. Obregon scored twice and de Lusarreta added a goal for the win. Arellano scored seven of his team high nine goals on penalty conversions. Erskine was credited with two goals and Johnston scored once in a losing effort.














 

Casablanca Rallies to Win 2015 Herbie Pennell Cup 13 - 11
January 4, 2015


Casablanca (Grant Ganzi, Juancito Bollini, Miguel Novillo Astrada and Nic Roldan) rallied from a five goal deficit to score a 13-11 win over a powerful Villa Del Lago team (Jim Zenni, Agustin Obregon, Polito Pieres and Julian de Lusarreta) Sunday afternoon in the final of the 20-goal Herbie Pennell Cup at the International Polo Club.

Casablanca made their way to the final by defeating Coca-Cola (Gillian Johnston, Kris Kampsen, Julio Arellano and Mason Wroe) Friday in semifinal action, 14-6. Villa Del Lago had a more difficult time of it as they edged Lechuza Caracas (Victor Vargas, Marcos Alberdi, Juan Martin Nero and Martin Espain, 10-8.

Villa Del Lago struck early, with 9-goaler Polito Pieres taking the opening throw-in 150 yards down the field for the first goal of the game, 1-0. It was nearly five minutes before another goal was scored as Nic Roldan tied it with a shot from the field, 1-1.Roldan's second goal came less than a minute later, putting Casablanca on top, 2-1. Consecutive goals from Pieres (one on a 60-yard penalty conversion) ended the first chukker with Villa Del Lago leading, 3-2.
A second period infraction by Villa Del Lago sent Miguel Novillo Astrada to the foul line where he scored on a 40-yard penalty shot to tie the game at3-3. A pair of goals from Agustin Obregon and another goal from Pieres ended the chukker with Villa Del Lago in command of a 6-3 game.

Pieres made it 7-3 in the opening minute of the third chukker as he carried the ball down the field with Casablanca's Astrada on his hip. Juancito Bollini passed the ball to Astrada and then rode a man out of the play to allow his teammate to score, cutting the Villa Del Lago lead back to three goals, 7-4. Obregon scored on a pass from Pieres with 3:25 left in the period, and Pieres scored his sixth goal of the day for a 9-4 advantage. Astrada answered back with a goal for Casablanca with 45 seconds on the clock but it was Villa Del Lago with the 9-5 halftime lead.

Casablanca returned to the field in the fourth chukker with a new look. A swarming defense kept Villa Del Lago off the scoreboard for the first time all day as Casablanca picked     up a goal from Juancito Bollini and a pair of goals from Astrada. With two chukkers to play Casablanca had cut the lead to a single goal, 9-8.

Both defenses tightened in the fifth period with all three goals being scored from the penalty line. Roldan and Pieres traded 30-yard penalty goals, with Astrada converting from 60-yards out for the final goal of the period and a 10-10 tie.

Julian de Lusarreta left the ball on the field for a pouncing Astrada in the opening minute of the sixth as the 9-goal Argentine carried it down the field for a go-ahead goal for Casablanca, 11-10. Ninety seconds later Roldan scored to put Casablanca ahead by two goals, 12-10. Pieres rallied for a goal with three minutes left to bring Villa Del Lago to within a goal, 12-11, but a final goal from Astrada at the 1:24 mark ended the threat as Casablanca registered a 13-11 win in the opening high-goal tournament of the 2015 season.

"We weren't marking Polito (Pieres) in the first half," said Casablanca 8-goaler Nic Roldan. "We were playing too loose, and whenever we had the ball we gave it away."The team made the adjustments at halftime and came back with a renewed focus. "I chewed them out at halftime," said Marc Ganzi, father of Casablanca's Grant Ganzi and captain of the Audi polo team. "I told Miguel (Astrada) to put Nic (Roldan) on Polito in the second half, and it paid off."

In the final three chukkers of the game, Pieres was held to just two goals, one of them on a penalty shot with Roldan shadowing him for the second half, and separating him from the pack.

Pieres had scored six goals in the first half but was held to just a pair of goals in the second half (one on a penalty shot), as the Casablanca team rode on for the victory and the first tournament title of the young season.

Astrada led the Casablanca attack with eight goals (two on penalty shots), and was named MVP for his efforts. His mare, Paulina, received Best Play Pony honors. Roldan added four goals and Bollini scored once for the win. Pieres scored eight times for Villa Del Lago (twice on penalty shots), with Obregon getting credited with three goals on the day.