Nic Roldan, Kris Kampsen Lucas Lalor. Photo: Liz Lamont Images/Phelps Media Group.
Orchard Hill Still Undefeated after 10-9 OT Win over Enigma; Lucchese Wins the Battle of the Cousins 16-12 over Villa del Lago
Wellington, FL – February 1, 2015 – The fields at the International Polo Club Palm Beach on Sunday at times looked more like a Formula One racetrack than a polo grounds, as players ran each other ragged (or tried their hardest to) in three whiz-bang 20-goal games in the Ylvisaker Cup. Some of the highest-speed and most hotly contested polo so far this season played out before a sea of spectators in packed stands.
In the featured match on Engel & Völkers field, Audi went into overdrive in the second half to seal a 12-10 victory over CT Energia. Orchard Hill, fresh off its win in the Joe Barry Cup, beat Enigma 10-9 in overtime, and Lucchese triumphed over Villa del Lago 16-12.
Nic Roldan was a scoring machine, making seven of Audi’s 12 goals and smacking in one or two in every chukker except the sixth (by which time Audi already had the win pretty much sewed up). He moved like a speed demon – usually of his own accord, but at other times forced to by Kris Kampsen, who chased him down on dozens of plays and scored two goals for CT Energia in the process. It was a rough-and-tumble game, played for the most part in unusually tight quarters.
“We got it over with – that’s all I can say,” said a laughing Roldan afterward. “It wasn’t pretty, and that’s a scrappy team to play against, so we knew it was going to be choppy.”
And that it was, from the first horn to the last. One particular span of controlled chaos was best described by the announcer Tony Copolla: “Wow, they’re going in about seven different directions!”
CT Energia’s ability to mix it up and still manage to score became evident when Joao Ganon kicked off the game with two goals in rapid-fire succession. Under heavy pressure by Kampsen on a racehorse, Roldan snuck one in for Audi on a nearside neck shot. Then the scoring force of Ganon and Nic Manifold kicked into gear, bringing CT Energia into a 4-1 lead at the end of the first chukker.
Roldan continued to ride it like he stole it, slamming two in more goals at the top of the second chukker. Not long afterward, Marc Ganzi suddenly emerged from the pack and slammed the ball downfield, tying the game at 4-all. Manifold and Freddie Mannix quickly brought it to 5-5. The third chukker opened with Roldan propelling the ball so high and fast that it went through the goalposts like a guided missile, breaking the tie and bringing Audi into the lead for the first time. The score stood at 6-5 at the end of the first half.
Ganon didn’t let that stand for long, though. He reinstituted a tie in the opening moments of the fourth chukker, which turned out to be a pivotal one for Audi (the team started the chukker tied 6-6 and ended it with a three-point lead). The score ping-ponged back and forth between a tie and a tight Audi lead. Roldan swooped in, scoring twice in a row to make it 8-7 for Audi. Working both sides of the pony, Mannix widened Audi’s lead to two points.
Audi was in the fast lane and clearly determined to stay there. In a slick display of passing and shooting, Mannix sent the ball on a backshot to Roldan (who was yelling “Open! Open!”). Roldan picked it up and scored on a neckshot. Audi, which had been trailing or tied for most of the game, now held a commanding 12-7 lead at the end of the fifth chukker.
CT Energia amped it up mightily, keeping Audi from scoring in the final chukker and, through great teamwork, put in three goals of its own. Had the clock not run out before CT Energia could keep on the move like the runaway train it had become, the scoreboard may have shown a different result. The game ended 12-10 for Audi.
How did Audi manage to turn the game around? “We were a little excited to play the first game of the Ylvisaker, and we want to win this tournament,” said Mannix.” We’ve really been focusing on today, and I think we were a little too nervous at the start, with too much energy. Then we settled down, and some of our team play showed through. Poor start, good ending.”
Ganzi gave an interesting take on his opponents. “You’ve gotta play 42 minutes of polo against those guys!” he said. “They’re very physical; they try to the end. You see the way they played the last two minutes – hey, they’re dying and dying, but they keep going. You have to respect a team that puts as much into it as they do into the game. They’re four good players, and we knew it was not going to be a pretty game. But I think when we had the moments to impose our will on them and open the ball up and spread the field out and make the game a little more open, that’s when we excel.”
Added Ganzi: “We have really good moments to learn from today. We’ll clean up a few things and get ready for Thursday; we’ve got a tough Enigma team coming at us.”
Orchard Hill Still Undefeated after 10-9 OT Win over Enigma
Orchard Hill narrowly defeated Enigma 10-9 in overtime in its first game in the Ylvisaker Cup at the International Polo Club Palm Beach.
The first chukker started off with a bang as Jeff Hall maneuvered through traffic to score in the first 30 seconds of the match. Remy Muller picked the ball up at the north end of the field and drove it in to score shortly afterward to tie the match up 1-1. Lucas Criado received a pass from Facundo Pieres and took off out of the pack to score, moving Orchard Hill into the lead. Enigma caught right back up as Carlucho Arellano converted to make the score 2-all at the end of the first chukker.
Criado started out the second chukker by showing off his pickpocket skills, repeatedly stealing the ball from Enigma players in pursuit of goals. Pieres scored on a 30-yard undefended penalty shot to put one up on the board for Orchard Hill. Matias MacDonough tied the score 3-3, racing down the field and weaving in and out of the pack until he found a window and made a deft neck shot that no one anticipated. (The announcer called it “all Matias, all the way!”) Pieres responded with an incredible last-second flip shot as he was running out of field to score. Criado took off on a breakaway, but his shot went wide due to intense defensive pressure from Hall. Enigma poured the pressure on Orchard Hill, repeatedly forcing Criado – and once, even Pieres – to hit wide and miss just yards from goal. In one play Pieres stole the ball from Hall, but Wirth laid a stealth hook on him, causing Pieres to miss the shot.
“He’s not 10 goals, and one of the best of them in the world, for nothing,” Wirth said, paying homage to Pieres after the match.
The third chukker started off with more speed from Criado, who announcer Gus Whitelaw compared to “a Jack Russell chasing a tennis ball.” MacDonough picked up a backshot from Remy Muller and sent the ball downfield. Before Pieres could steal it, Wirth swooped in, took control and handed the ball off to MacDonough, who quickly tapped it into goal. MacDonough followed up that impressive play by sending a pass downfield to Hall, who dueled it out in a horse race with Pieres to score, putting Enigma ahead 5-4. Pieres took one of his signature neck shots, but it sailed wide under immense pressure from Hall once again.
Hall continued his stellar performance in the fourth chukker, flipping the ball into the goalmouth in heavy traffic to make the score 6-4. After a foul in the goal mouth caused Orchard Hill not to score, a penalty one was applied in favor of Orchard Hill. The throw-in to begin play was within yards of the goal, and Pieres quickly took it in to tie up the game again 6-6. An appeal foul was applied on a later call, and Pieres made a neckshot to put one up on the board. A series of two penalty calls in favor of Enigma and converted by Arellano put Enigma back in the lead 8-7. A penalty number three and an appeal foul allowed Pieres to tie the score back up 8-8 at the end of the fifth chukker.
The sixth chukker started with an Enigma knock-in, and Hall took a neck shot that went wide. Pieres stunned the crowd with his ability to place the ball exactly where he wanted it with a lofted neckshot to bring to score to 9-8. MacDonough stole the ball from Pieres at midfield, took it 150 yards and scored, tying the game at 9-all.
That’s when things got really interesting. An umbrella of suspense hung over the field as the umpires reviewed the sidelines footage to determine whether the sixth chukker had ended on a safety. Once it was determined that was not the case, the ball was thrown in on the south end. Four seconds into play, a reaching penalty was called in favor of Orchard Hill. Pieres took the shot, clinching the game 10-9 and cementing his team’s undefeated streak. (Just a week ago Orchard Hill won the 20-goal Joe Barry Cup.)
Criado credited Enigma for its tough play. “I think Enigma is one of the best teams in the tournament,” he said. “I think we played well, but we missed a lot of goals. The horses went well after playing in the (Joe Barry) finals. We’re happy that we won.”
Pieres voiced similar opinions. “It was a difficult game. It was tough for us, and after the final it’s difficult to get on it again,” said Pieres. “This was a very tough team (to play against). We missed a lot of goals, and we’re lucky that we won it. I think that this is really good for us, and hopefully we can win another game and qualify for the quarter-finals.”
Lucchese Wins the Battle of the Cousins 16-12 over Villa del Lago in Ylvisaker Cup
New Lineup Successful for the Team from Texas
The only thing certain in the first round Ylvisaker Cup game at International Polo Club between the high-octane Lucchese and Villa del Lago teams was that a Pieres and an Obregon would be on the winning team. Lucchese’s Nico Pieres and Geronimo Obregon lined up across from Polito Pieres and Augustine Obregon, their respective cousins on the Villa del Lago side. Lucchese triumphed 16-12 and won family bragging rights while adapting well to their new lineup of Geronimo Obregon starting in place of the injured Andres Weisz.
Lucchese team owner John Muse was very satisfied after the game. Muse had missed the Joe Barry Cup semifinals due to illness.
“It was really nice to be back in the lineup with Nico and Magoo,” said Muse. “Geronimo is a great kid and doing the job well, and Nico and Magoo really know how to use me on setting picks and working with the team, we know each other well on the field.”
Geronimo Obregon was elbow to elbow with his cousin Augustine for most of the match as the two cousins were marking each other closely.
“It was good to play against him (Augustine),” said Geronimo. “I have to go a little harder when I play against him!”
The match kicked off with Nico and Polito Pieres going head to head. Polito drew first blood with a quick run to goal, but Nico countered with three field goals in the first chukker, including an athletic nearside flip shot under the mallet of cousin Polito. Julian de Lusarreta on Villa del Lago achieved the first non-Pieres field goal with a quick run down the field under pressure.
The teams stayed relatively even through the first two chukkers. Lucchese began to pull away in the third chukker as Nico scored a flashy goal out of the air on an equally flashy bald faced chestnut gelding named Cuenta, which was quickly followed by a Geronimo Obregon goal. Lucchese headed into halftime leading 8 to 6, and added to that lead at the start of the fourth chukker with a Magoo Laprida goal.
Down three goals, Villa del Lago now found a sense of urgency. De Lusarreta scored a tricky goal when the Lucchese defenders double-teamed Polito, leaving de Lusarreta alone to hit a cutaway backshot and run to goal. That freed up Polito for two high speed goals and all of the sudden the score was tied 9-all at the end of the fourth.
The fifth chukker started off with a Lucchese knock-in. Nico hit the ball to a fast moving Magoo Laprida on a speedy black mare. Magoo turned on the afterburners and went downfield to goal through the Villa del Lago defenders like they were not even there. Another goal by Nico and Laprida had Lucchese up by three goals, and a frustrated Polito had words with the umpire which led to his ejection from the game for the remainder of the 5th chukker. Lucchese added two more penalty goals in the 5th to close out the chukker with an impressive 14-9 lead.
“We knew we had to turn it on when Polito returned to the match and not relax,” said Nico Pieres after the match.
Lucchese did just that to start the sixth chukker. Nico added one more tally to maintain the momentum, and Geronimo put the nail in the coffin with a final field goal for Lucchese and 16 goals total for the boys in blue. Villa del Lago tried to rally, but the deficit was too large and Lucchese rode away with the victory, final score 16-12. Nico Pieres led all scorers with 10 goals in the match.
The action continues Wednesday at 10 a.m. with FlexJet playing Palm Beach Illustrated at IPC.
International Polo Club Palm Beach Fast Facts
What: Created by players for players, the International Polo Club Palm Beach was born out of the dream to build a facility to showcase the incredible skills of the ponies and players that dominate the sport.
Members and guests enjoy panoramic views of the action from field side box seats or lawn and terrace seating. Sponsors and fans convene at The Winners Circle to congratulate the players during the awards presentation following the games.
Gourmet brunches, après polo celebrations and the prerequisite charitable events will take place in The Pavilion, designed to accommodate large parties, corporate clients, as well as family and friends.
Herbie Pennell Cup – 20 Goal
Jan. 1-4, 2015
Joe Barry Memorial Cup – 20 Goal
Jan. 4-25, 2015
Ylvisaker Cup – 20 Goal
Jan. 28 – February 22, 2015
Iglehart Cup – 20 Goal
Feb. 28 – March 8, 2015
USPA C. V. Whitney Cup – 26 Goal
Feb. 15 – March 1, 2015
Piaget USPA Gold Cup® – 26 Goal
March 4-22, 2015
111th Maserati U.S. Open Polo Championship® – 26 Goal
March 25 – April 19, 2015
From the Turnpike:
Take the Lake Worth Exit
Head west on FL-802 W/Lake Worth Rd toward Hooks Rd
Continue to follow Lake Worth Rd (3.9 miles)
Turn right onto 120th Ave S
Destination will be ahead on the left (0.4 miles)
Exit Forest Hill Blvd, head West
Make Left turn onto 441/St Rd 7
Make Right turn onto Lake Worth Rd
Make Right turn onto 120th Ave S
Destination on Left
3667 120th Ave S, Wellington, FL 33414
International Polo Club Palm Beach: 561-204-5687
Mallet Grille: 561-282-5340
Spa & Fitness Center: 561-282-5288
Tennis Pro Shop: 561-795-7228
Polo Operations Office: 561-282-5283
Polo Hotline: 561-282-5290
Hampton Inn & Suites – (561) 472-9696 – Approximately 2 miles
Hampton Inn – (561) 472-5980 – Approximately 4 miles
Four Seasons Resort – (561) 582-2800 – Approximately 9 miles
The Breakers – (561) 655-6611 – Approximately 9 miles
Kimpton Tideline Ocean Resort & Spa – (561) 540-6440 – Approximately 9 miles
John Wash – President of Club Operations