U.S. Open Champ Alegria and Orchard Hill Snag Spots in C.V. Whitney Final

Feb 26th, 2015 | By | Category: English Polo News

26 Feb 2015

Defending U.S. Open champion Alegria defeated Audi/Millarville 15-11 Wednesday to advance to the final of the C.V. Whitney 26-goal tournament at the International Polo Club Palm Beach. In the process, Julian Mannix garnered family bragging rights over big brother Freddie Mannix, who played on the opposing Audi/Millarville team. The two Mannix brothers led all players in scoring, with Julian making eight goals and Freddie six.

Alegria                            Audi/Millarville
Julian Mannix   4             Marc Ganzi   1
Hilario Ulloa   9               Magoo LaPrida   8
Mariano Aguerre   9        Rodrigo Andrade   9

Sterling Giannico   4       Freddie Mannix   6

Hilario Ulloa and Sterling Giannico. Photo: Liz Lamont Images/Phelps Media Group.

Julian Mannix was pleased with the victory of his cerise-clad Alegria team but downplayed the matchup against his brother. “It was a semifinal, and (it was) in the C.V. Whitney, which is an important tournament,” he said. “You are trying to play your best and elevate yourself as much as you can. I have played against Fred before, but not with this pressure of the semifinal.”

Alegria only changed one player (Clemente Zavaleta for Sterling Giannico) due to handicaps from last year’s U.S. Open team. In this situation some teams might feel the pressure of living up to the title. But Hilario Ulloa, who plays for the Mannix organization in the U.S. and Argentina, denied there was any pressure from carrying the U.S. Open crown.
Rodrigo Andrade. Photo: Liz Lamont Images/Phelps Media Group.

“Players change, players bring different horses, so things are different,” he said. “We had a good feeling in the first couple games of this tournament. It is a good start.”

The Mannix brothers both had the added pressure in the semifinals of taking most of the penalties for their respective teams. Julian Mannix won the penalty battle in the opening chukker, drawing first blood in the game with a safety conversion.  Marc Ganzi countered with a field goal for Audi/Millarville to make it 3-1 at the end of the first chukker (with handicap goals for 24-goal Audi/Millarville factored into the score).
After the evenly matched first chukker, Alegria went on a scoring spree in the second and third. Stellar direction in the center of the field by the team general, Mariano Aguerre, and the collected presence at the back by Giannico created numerous scoring opportunities for Julian Mannix and Ulloa, who capitalized on them. Alegria led 8-5 at halftime.
Rodrigo Andrade, Freddie Mannix and Hilario Ulloa. Photo: Liz Lamont Images/Phelps Media Group.

Audi/Millarville came out of the halftime break energized, tying the score at 8-all behind three unanswered goals from Freddie Mannix early in the fourth chukker. The last goal in that series was a gritty, determined effort to battle through the Alegria defenders, and it looked like the tide was turning. But Alegria rallied and scored two quick goals off the mallet of Julian Mannix, with Giannico contributing another. Giannico made the hook, turned quickly to accept the pass from his teammate and smoothly slid through the defenders to put Alegria back in the lead 11-8 at the end of the fourth.

Play got heated in the fifth chukker as both teams battled to regain momentum. There was a lot of up-and-down action but not many goals, and the Audi/ Millarville team saw several shots go wide of the goal. Alegria escaped the chukker with its three-goal lead intact.
Rodrigo Andrade, Freddie Mannix and Julian Mannix. Photo: Liz Lamont Images/Phelps Media Group.

Freddie Mannix started the sixth chukker by scoring a penalty two to chip away at the Alegria lead. But Ulloa countered with two more goals, and Julian Mannix drilled an exclamation point of a shot from about 70 yards out to finalize the victory for Alegria.

Julian Mannix, getting ready to depart IPC after the game to attend his afternoon college class, said, “It was a good one to win! Just concentrate and win” (which was sound advice for any team heading into a 26-goal final).

Alegria will attempt to maintain its winning record on Sunday when it faces Orchard Hill in the C.V. Whitney Final at IPC.

Orchard Hill Digs Deep; Defeats Valiente 11-8

Orchard Hill defeated Valiente 11-8 Wednesday in the semifinal of the C.V. Whitney Cup at the International Polo Club Palm Beach.

Orchard Hill                           Valiente
Steve Van Andel   A               Bob Jornayvaz   1
Ezequiel Ferrario  7                Alejo Taranco   6
Polito Pieres   9                      Guillermo Terrera   8

Facundo Pieres   10               Adolfo Cambiaso   10

Guillermo Terrera, Ezequiel Martinez Ferrario, Adolfo Cambiaso, Facundo Pieres and
Polito Pieres. Photo: Liz Lamont Images/Phelps Media Group.

Orchard Hill and Valiente went all out right from the beginning. This was high-octane polo at its best, with both teams separated by no more than three goals at any given point in the game. The Orchard Hill squad was firing on all cylinders throughout the first half, ending the first chukker with a three-goal lead. Throughout the next two chukkers, however, Valiente steadily gained ground. The first half ended with Orchard Hill leading 5-4.

Instant replay was a strategic factor in the match. The fourth chukker started off with a penalty call in favor of Orchard Hill, which was overturned after review by the independent umpire. After that, Adolfo Cambiaso started to make some noise, scoring two consecutive goals that gave Valiente a slim lead.
Facundo Pieres. Photo: Liz Lamont Images/Phelps Media Group.

Facundo Pieres responded by racking up two goals, tapping one in from the air in an astonishing show of skill. After Cambiaso briefly tied the score, Facundo Pieres pulled Orchard Hill into an 8-7 lead with a penalty conversion.

In the sixth chukker both teams struggled to find the goal mouth as several shots went wide. Facundo Pieres pumped up his horsepower to put a point on the board for Orchard Hill. In a crucial moment Orchard Hill challenged a penalty call, which was overturned after review. Guillermo Terrera made a goal to bring the score to 9-8, but Orchard Hill delivered the knockout punch with two consecutive goals to end the game 11-8.
Ezequiel Martinez Ferrario, Guillermo Terrera and Polito Pieres. Photo: Liz Lamont Images/Phelps Media Group.

The match was every bit as defensive as offensive, and patron Steve Van Andel had several defensive plays that were key to his team’s success. “For me, I get lucky once in a while, and that’s kind of nice,” said Van Andel with a chuckle. “I think both teams played man-to-man really well. It was tough to get around anybody. If you watch, the whole game was a battle.”

Facundo Pieres said he felt his team put in a Herculean effort to come back from a rough fourth chukker. “I love the way that we played in the first three chukkers and in the last two,” he said. “Hopefully we can look at what we did in the fourth chukker and not do it again.”
Ezequiel Martinez Ferrario and Guillermo Terrera. Photo: Liz Lamont Images/Phelps Media Group.

Polito Pieres, a major factor in many plays, credited his teammates with their play in their first tournament together. “I think it’s a good team. The four of us did well,” he said. “Steve (Van Andel) played a really good game against Bob (Jornayvez).”

The semifinals of the Les Armour Cup subsidiary begin Thursday, with Las Monjitas taking on FlexJet at 10 a.m. at the International Polo Club Palm Beach and Coca-Cola playing Lechuza Caracas at noon at Everglades Polo Club.

Featured Highlights:

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 – March 22, 2015

 

111th U.S. Open Polo Championship® – 26 Goal
March 25 – April 19, 2015

Source: Phelps Media Group