Audi Defeats Orchard Hill In USPA Piaget Gold Cup Opener; Plays Flight Options On Thursday

Mar 10th, 2014 | By | Category: English Polo News

10 March 2014

Audi’s Gonzalo del Tour (4) defends Santiago Chavanne (2) of Orchard Hill. Photo by Scott Fisher

WELLINGTON, FL-March 8, 2014-—Audi dominated Orchard Hill from start-to-finish to win its USPA Piaget Gold Cup opener Saturday with a 7-5 victory at International Polo Club.

With a relentless defense, Audi shut out Orchard Hill in the first, fourth and fifth chukkers and led by as many as four goals early in the sixth chukker.

“We watched a lot of video last night and the plan was to mark those guys very classic, one-for-one,” Ganzi said.

“The games that they had won they were getting a lot of open space,” Ganzi said. “You give Pablo MacDonough open space, he scores goals. The idea was to first take care of Pablo and have a good plan for Matias MacDonough and Santi Chavanne as two good workers so we had to keep the game tight and sticky.

Audi’s Marc Ganzi (1) keeps control of the ball as he makes his way past defenders downfield. Photo by Scott Fisher

“When we had our chances on a counter attack, the idea was to go through and score goals. We had a little bad luck in the first half, we should have been up by two or three.”

All four Audi players had at least one goal. Gonzalo del Tour led scoring with three goals. Team captain Marc Ganzi had two goals and Gonzalito Pieres and Rodrigo Andrade each added one.

Polo great Gonzalo Pieres Sr. watches his son Gonzalito Pieres and his Audi teammates. Photo by Scott Fisher

“I think we played well, we just couldn’t hit the ball because of the field,” Pieres said. “We controlled the man but we couldn’t finish the play. Luckily, they missed the ball, too.

“Our team was very well-positioned today, we didn’t make too many fouls,” Pieres said. “It is really important to start to win. For us, every game is a final. We won the first final, so now we have to think about winning the next one and try to qualify.”

Audi’s Rodrigo Andrade (3) avoids the hook of Pablo MacDonough (3) of Orchard Hill. Photo by Scott Fisher

Pablo MacDonough scored a game-high four goals for Orchard Hill. Santiago Chavanne had one goal.

It was a defensive battle from the opening chukker with Audi scoring the only goal of the chukker when Pieres scored from the field at the 2:14 mark.

Orchard Hill took a brief 2-1 lead with goals from Pablo MacDonough and Santiago Chavanne. Despite getting hit in the shoulder with a mallet to open the chukker, Ganzi came back to score his first goal of the game with less than a minute left to finish the chukker tied (2-2).

Audi teammates Marc Ganzi (1) and Rodrigo Andrade (3) work together to bring the ball downfield. Photo by Scott Fisher

Audi and Orchard Hill exchanged leads again in the third chukker after Audi missed two goal attempts and had another one snatched just before the goal line by Pablo MacDonough to end the half tied (3-3).

Audi missed two more goals to open the fourth chukker before del Tour lofted the ball for a goal at the 6:13 mark giving Audi a 4-3 lead and the momentum for the rest of the game. It was Audi’s only goal of the chukker.

Leading 5-3 going into the final chukker, Andrade took a pinpoint pass from Pieres to score with 6:04 left. Ganzi scored less than a minutelater to give his team a 7-3 lead with 5:45 left.

Audi team captain Marc Ganzi (1) drives downfield for one of his two goals of the game. Photo by Scott Fisher

“We were patient in the second half,” Ganzi said. “We just tried to calm down, then in the fifth and the sixth more goals came for us which was good.

“It’s one of those games where we just displayed an incredible amount of discipline. When you play good disciplined polo in the 26-goal, you have a really good chance to win. We knew over six chukkers that man-for-man we were the better team and I think we proved that today.”

For del Tour, 27, the win was particularly satisfying. After a two-year hiatus from playing in the U.S., del Tour returned to compete with Audi. He was more relaxed than previous games, controlling the pace of the game and turning away several Orchard Hill scoring attempts.

Audi’s Rodrigo Andrade (3) and Orchard Hill’s Pablo MacDonough (3) race after the ball. Photo by Scott Fisher

“I am really happy, we had to win today to get some confidence,” del Tour said. “It was a good win for us. I started a bit lost in the beginning of the season, now I feel better and good. I am happy to be back in the U.S. playing. Audi is a great team and I am playing with great teammates.”

The USPA Piaget Gold Cup is second crown jewel of U.S. polo’s Triple Crown.

Audi will look to avenge its Les Armour Cup loss to Flight Options when the two teams meet on Thursday in another bracket game in the battle of Grand Champions Polo Club-based pro teams.

Audi team captain Marc Ganzi (1) congratulates his teammates after defeating Orchard Hill in USPA Piaget Gold Cup opener. Photo by Scott Fisher

“I think we have actually played really good polo every game,” Ganzi said. “I don’t think we have really tanked any games. The game against Valiente we could have won in the last two minutes. The game against Coca-Cola we dominated from start to finish.”

Piaget has been the title sponsor since the tournament made IPC its home in 2007. The Piaget Gold Cup was first played in 1974 at Oak Brook Polo Club in Illinois.

For game recaps, news, features and photos of Grand Champions Polo Club-related events, go to www.grandchampionspoloclub.org.

Game video can also be seen at PoloNow Network at http://www.polonow.tv/.

Audi’s Rodrigo Andrade (3) goes for the neck shot with defensive help from teammate Marc Ganzi (1). Photo by Scott Fisher

2014 HIGH GOAL SEASON

MARCH 7-23: USPA Piaget Gold Cup: Thursday, Audi vs. Flight Options, 3 p.m.; MARCH 16, Orchard Hill vs. Flight Options, noon; Audi vs. Alegria, 3 p.m.; MARCH 19, Semifinals, 1, 3 p.m.; MARCH 20, Butler Handicap Semifinals, 1, 3 p.m.; MARCH 23, Butler Handicap Final, noon; USPA Piaget Gold Cup Final, 3 p.m.

MARCH 26-APRIL 20: 110th Maserati U.S. Open Polo Championships

GRAND CHAMPIONS @ PALM BEACH POLO 2014 TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE (HOTLINE 561-373-0073)

MARCH: Madelon Bourdieu Memorial (5-goal); The Limited Edition 8-Goal Series; The Top Pony 12-Goal Series; March 15-31, Santa Rita Abierto (16 goals); March 23-31, March 23-31, $50,000 National 12-Goal Tournament.

APRIL: Las Acacias (5-goal); USPA Association Cup (8- goal); Museum of Polo & Hall of Fame Challenge Cup (12-goal); John T. Oxley Memorial Trophy (16-goal).

THIS WEEK’S SCHEDULE

SUNDAY: 5-Goal, Patagones Azul vs. Elegante Polo, 10 a.m.; Patagones Blue vs. SLS Jets, noon; 12-Goal, Faraway vs. Hawk Hill, 1 p.m., Valiente Field 4; Casablanca vs. The Villages, 1:30 p.m., Fire Station Field.

GRAND CHAMPIONS POLO CLUB SCHEDULE (561-644-5050)

SUNDAY: Great Futures Celebrity Polo Match, 10 a.m., benefitting the Neil S. Hirsch Family Boys & Girls Club of Wellington.

MARCH 17: Buzz Welker Memorial Tournament

APRIL 4-5: Fifth annual Gay Polo League International Tournament

APRIL 8-12: Women’s Championship Tournament

Source: Phelps Media Group