Opening round of play in the six team, 20-goal USPA tournament.
Wins by Piaget and Berlin Polo in 2013 Beluga USPA North American CupBy Alex Webbe
Alejandro “Piki” Alberdi scored six goals in leading Piaget (Melissa Ganzi, Tommy
Biddle, Piki Alberdi and Juan Bollini) to a 9-8 win over Beluga (Misha Rodzianko, Carlos
Baez, Michel Dorignac and Luis Escobar) in the opening match of the 2013 Beluga
USPA North American Cup Tuesday morning on the grounds of the Palm City Polo Club
in Boca Raton.
The game got off to a slow start, with Beluga being spotted two goals by the 19-goal
Piaget team, 2-0. Alberdi scored the only goal from the field of the opening chukker as
Beluga left the field with a 2-1 advantage.
Consecutive goals from Alberdi in the second had Piaget in the lead, 3-2, as the
Argentine 8-goaler displayed the adept stick-work that made him one of the game’s top
players. Beluga’s Luis Escobar finally broke through the Piaget defense to score the
tying goal, 3-3, with 14 seconds on the clock.
Alberdi scored his fourth goal of the day in the opening minute of the third chukker to
put Piaget back in the lead, 4-3. Three minutes later Michel Dorignac converted a 40-
yard penalty shot for a Beluga goal and a 4-4 tie. Piaget’s Tommy Biddle and Escobar
exchanged goals to keep it all even at 5-5, but Alberdi managed a final goal in the last
12 seconds of the first half to give the lead back to Piaget, 6-5.
Both teams buckled down on defense in the fourth period, and it wasn’t until there were
three minutes left in the chukker that Misha Rodzianko scored to deadlock it again at 6-
6. Alberdi responded with a Piaget goal at the two minute mark and Beluga left the field
trailing by a single goal, 7-6.
Goals were scarce in the fifth as both teams struggled with accuracy in the goal area.
Piaget team captain Melissa Ganzi scored the only goal as she extended her team’s
lead to two goals, 8-6.
Escobar cut the lead back down to a single goal with a goal in the first minute of the
sixth period, 8-7, but Piaget wasn’t ready to give up. A Beluga foul was converted into
a goal by Biddle less than a minute later for a 9-7, two goal Piaget advantage. Beluga
continued to press but Piaget wouldn’t break. Escobar scored the final goal in the last
two seconds of play, but it was Piaget who recorded the 9-8 victory.
Alberdi’s six goals led all scorers. Biddle scored twice (once on a penalty shot) and
Ganzi added a goal for the win. Escobar set the pace for Beluga with four goals.
Dorignac and Rodzianko each scored a goal and the team received two goals by
BERLIN POLO 11, ELG 9
ELG (Avery Chapman, Guille Aguero, Kris Kampsen and Carlucho Arellano) charged
out to an 8-4 halftime lead before falling to a determined Berlin Polo lineup (Moritz
Gaedeke, Hector Galindo, Sugar Erskine and Jeff Blake) 11-9 in the second Beluga
USPA North American Cup match of the day.
ELG received two goals by handicap and quickly added two more goals with Carlucho
Arellano and Avery Chapman scoring from the field for an early 4-0 lead. Moritz
Gaedeke got his Berlin Polo team on the scoreboard with the final goal of chukker. ELG
left the field with a comfortable 4-1 lead.
Arellano scored again to open the second period and teammate Kris Kampsen
converted a penalty shot as the ELG lead was stretched to five goals, 6-1. Sugar
Erskine scored on a penalty shot for Berlin Polo but at the end of the second period
ELG was ahead, 6-2.
Kampsen scored two more goals in the third, but Goedeke and Hector Galindo
responded with single goals for Berlin Polo. The first half ended with ELG brandishing
an 8-4 advantage.
A refocused Berlin Polo team took the field in the fourth chukker and quickly went to
work. Erskine opened the chukker by converting a 60-yard penalty shot, 8-5, and then
followed up with a goal from the field, 8-6. Teammate Jeff Blake scored his first goal of
the day to cut the ELG lead to a single goal, 8-7.
Two more Berlin Polo goals went unanswered as ELG was shutout for the second
consecutive chukker. Erskine tied the game with a goal from the field in the opening
minute of the fifth period, 8-8, and then gave his team the lead with a converted penalty
Final chukker action saw Erskine score a goal from the field in the first 30 seconds of
play, 10-8. Galindo converted a penalty shot to extend the Berlin Polo lead to three
goals, 11-8 with two minutes left in the game. Kampsen scored the final goal of the
game at the one minute mark and Berlin Polo celebrated the 11-9 win.
Erskine led the field with six goals (three on penalty conversions). Gaedeke and
Galindo scored two goals apiece and Blake added a goal. Kampsen scored four times
for ELG (once on a penalty shot). Arellano added two goals and Chapman scored once
in the loss.
Competition is scheduled to continue in the 2013 Beluga USPA North American Cup
on Thursday with a 9:30AM game between Berlin Polo and Audi (Marc Ganzi, Carlitos
Gracida, Nic Roldan and Carlos Gracida, Sr.) followed by a 3:30PM contest between
Piaget and Casablanca (Grant Ganzi, Jeff Hall, Mike Azzaro and Mike Azzaro). The
morning game will be played at the Palm City Polo Club in Boca Raton while the
afternoon bout will take place on the grounds of the Grand Champions Polo Club in