Mark Bennett, Caroline Anier, Joey Casey, Misha Rodizanko and Mason Phelps. Photos: Liz Lamont Images/Phelps Media Group.
Cedar Crest Wins Founders Cup in Exciting Tie-Breaker
Wellington, FL – April 11, 2015 – JPMorgan Chase won the 2015 Senators Cup, defeating Gordon W. Ross-RE/MAX 5-3 in Saturday’s final of The 6th Annual International Gay Polo Tournament at the International Polo Club Palm Beach (IPC). Misha Rodizanko, the high-scorer for JPMorgan Chase, was named MVP.
Earlier in the day Cedar Crest clinched the 2015 Founders Cup in a penalty shootout after a tied match, taking McGladrey 9-8. Chip McKenney, who scored the winning goal, was selected as MVP.
The name of the sport is polo, but if you ask the players, the name of this game was fun. With festive tailgating going in theme-decorated booths fieldside – and the goalposts decked out in rainbow colors – The 6th Annual International Gay Polo Tournament was polo with panache.
“It was a great open game, and the field was fabulous,” said French pro Caroline Anier, who was instrumental in JPMorgan Chase’s win. “The weather was beautiful, the organization was great, and we were having a lot of fun. When you have a victory on top of this, it’s like a bonus.”
Gordon W. Ross-RE/MAX took an early lead, with teammates Gordon Ross and Misha Rodizanko each making a goal to close the first chukker with a one-point lead. JPMorgan Chase didn’t let that stand for long, however. The team surged in the second chukker and never looked back, maintaining a tight lead through the rest of the game.
The hottest action came in the second chukker, with Anier making two goals and teammate Tiffany Busch contributing another. A series of smooth plays by the evenly matched teams began with pro Joey Casey in the driver’s seat. He took the ball downfield full-tilt boogie in what looked like a sure run to goal, but then Anier swooped in.
She was all over the ball until Mason Phelps jumped in and broke up the play. With fine-tuned situational awareness, Phelps kept the ball under his wing just long enough for teammate Misha Rodizanko (the team’s high scorer) to get into position. Phelps passed the ball to him, and things were looking good again for Gordon W. Ross-RE/MAX.
But Anier suddenly resurfaced and rewrote the equation. On an assist from Mark Bennett, she took the ball on a breakaway, her lead increasing exponentially like Secretariat in the home stretch. Three seconds before the warning horn, she scored, ending the first half 4-2 for JPMorgan Chase.
The third chukker brought a bit of déjà vu, as Rodizanko also scored in its final seconds à la Anier. In the final period of the four-chukker match, Busch made her second goal of the day, sealing the deal for JPMorgan Chase, 5-3.
“That was probably the fastest game I’ve ever played!” said a jubilant Mark Bennett, who scored in the first chukker. “Caroline and Tiffany were wonderful. They put us where we needed to be, always calling the shots, giving good direction and great leadership. It was an awesome game. I’m happy to win, and I’m happy for JPMorgan.”
Jed Pearsall attributed the team’s victory to his teammates. “It was all them,” he said with a good-natured laugh. “I just tried to hold my own and not hold anyone back.” He added that Anier and Busch “were coaches on the field, as well as teammates. They coached us through everything, and that made it the way it should be – we were all smiling 100 percent of the time.”
Cedar Crest Takes McGladrey 9-8
Wins Founders Cup in Tiebreaker
“When you’re playing and you see all these wonderful people enjoying themselves on the sidelines, there just aren’t words for it!” said Rafik Boughadoui. “What a fun event – you come happy and you leave happy!”
Boughadoui had yet another reason to be happy: His team won the 2015 Founders Cup in the subsidiary match of the 6th Annual International Gay Polo Tournament at the International Polo Club Palm Beach (IPC). He made a crucial assist on the first goal of the match, which was sent into goal by Jean-Marc Herrouin. Their teammate Sunny Hale followed up with another, ending the first chukker 2-0 for Cedar Crest. McGladrey answered both of those goals in the second, with Dwight Tran and Charlie Muldoon each scoring.
Muldoon, who was McGladrey’s high scorer with three goals in the game, earned the moniker “Ramrod” from announcer Gus Whitelaw. The McGladrey contingent on the sidelines adopted it, cheering, “Go, Ramrod!” every time Muldoon ran with the ball. Muldoon mania caught on like wildfire. From tailgate booths on both sides of the field, champagne glasses could be heard clinking and the chant “Rammmm-rod!” echoing when Muldoon scored.
Meanwhile, the players kept their focus. Halftime ended with a 2-2 tie. Hale scored in the third and fourth chukkers. Muldoon answered with two back-to-back goals in the final period of the four-chukker match, bringing the spectators’ cheering to a crescendo as he tied the game 4-all at the end of regulation play.
A penalty shootout went two rounds. Chip McKenney, a deadeye accurate player who was 100 percent on his penalty shots, broke the tie with the winning goal and was named MVP. The match ended 9-8 for Cedar Crest.
What did McKenney think of the game?
“Exciting, exciting!” were the first words out of his mouth. “It was neck-and-neck all the way. I thought we had it in the fourth chukker, and then in the last 30 seconds they scored a tying goal,” he said.
“I think the shootout was a fun way to end it because every time you make a shot and every time you miss a shot, it just adds to the pressure of getting the next shot. So it really builds the tension. It’s a pretty fun way to end a tied game.”
Teammate Jean-Marc Herrouin, who scored in the first chukker and made both his penalty shots in the shootout, attributed his success to Hale. “It was a real honor to play with Sunny Hale, one of the top women polo players in the world,” he said. “Just spending time on the field with her improved my game tremendously.”
Hale, in her first time playing in the tournament, described it as “a nice, flowing, running game – a good, exciting game.” Noting that her team had played together for the first time just the previous day, she said, “Today it was a lot easier to gel because we’re a little more used to each other.”
Win or lose, said Hale, she had another reason for participating in the 6th Annual International Gay Polo Tournament: “I’m here because I support Chip McKenney’s efforts to promote more fun in polo and having a good time with friends, and that’s exactly what this event was.”
About the Gay Polo League:
GPL is a community that shares a love for adventure, fun and the challenging sport of polo. GPL is committed to providing members with an enjoyable, supportive and competitive experience. GPL represents a wide range of ages, backgrounds and skill levels. GPL trains and competes in mainstream matches and events while sharing enthusiasm for the sport, to change perceptions about our community.
For more information about GPL, visit www.gaypolo.com.
Tickets are now available for The 6th Annual International Gay Polo Week at www.gaypolo.com/the-event.
The 6th Annual International Gay Polo Week Fast Facts:
When & Where:
Thursday, April 9:
Exclusive private VIP Party
Friday, April 10:
GPL Polotini Party, Poolside at the Mallet Grille International Polo Club Palm Beach
Saturday, April 11:
Finals of the International Gay Polo Tournament at International Polo Club Palm Beach – Isla Carroll East Field and tailgate competition.
Sunday, April 12:
Polo Brunch, Poolside at the Mallet Grille International Polo Club Palm Beach
To purchase tickets, visit www.gaypolo.com
VIP Tables: $1,200 includes seating for six center field, open bar, gourmet food and tableside service throughout the matches.
Individual VIP: Tickets: $225
Tailgate Price: $375, includes tent, six tickets and one field-side parking place
VIP Parking: $25
General Admission: $25 (parking additional)
General Admission Parking: $10