Audi Rallies Past CT Energia, Will Play Bobby Barry Cup Semifinals On Thursday
|Audi's Carlitos Gracida (2) tries to maintain ball possession on drive downfield. Photo by Scott Fisher|
WELLINGTON, FL-Jan. 19, 2014----In a wild, penalty-marred free-for-all, Audi rallied from a four-goal deficit to defeat CT Energia, 13-12, Sunday in the Joe Barry Memorial Cup.
Grand Champions Polo Club-based Audi (2-1) will play Thursday in the semifinals of the Bobby Barry Cup.
CT Energia finished the 14-team tournament winless (0-3).
|Audi teammates Nico Pieres (4) and Nic Roldan (3) close in on CT Energia's Alessandro Bazzoni (1). Photo by Scott Fisher|
It took Audi (Marc Ganzi, Carlitos Gracida, Nico Pieres, Nic Roldan) a few chukkers to get untracked against CT Energia (Alessandro Bazzoni, Kris Kampsen, Joao Paulo Ganon, Nick Manifold).
After learning it was mathematically eliminated from the Joe Barry Memorial Cup when Tonkawa defeated Faraway, 9-8, to finish 3-0 in its bracket, Audi overcame a "practice game" mentality and dug deep to work its way back into contention.
"It was very difficult knowing we were playing a practice game," Ganzi said. "Your mental preparation totally changes. It's tough for the boys to get up for a game that doesn't mean anything."
|Audi's Marc Ganzi (1) defending Joao Paulo Ganon (3) of CT Energia. Photo by Scott Fisher|
Audi trailed 3-0 after the opening chukker, trailed by one after the second chukker, two at halftime and three after the fourth chukker. Early in the fifth chukker Audi found itself in a hole, trailing by four goals (10-6).
Officiating and field conditions continue to be the biggest topics of conversation among several players competing in the 20-goal season.
"The umpires wouldn't let both teams play early in the game," Pieres said. "That's why we couldn't score. I think the fields are destroyed. I don't know how they are going to do the U.S. Open and Gold Cup."
|Nico Pieres (4) of Audi drives downfield with CT Energia players in hot pursuit. Photo by Scott Fisher|
"It's frustrating at the moment," Ganzi said. "My hope is that we can get it right because it's really not making the polo particularly fun at the moment. It's not fun to watch, it's not fun to play.
"But when they do allow us to play and we play properly, we play pretty well."
|Carlitos Gracida (2) of Audi reaches for the hook on Joao Paulo Ganon (3) of CT Energia as he approaches the ball. Photo by Scott Fisher|
Audi started playing well midway through the fifth chukker. Gracida started off the rally with a great breakaway goal to trail by only three (10-7) to start a scoring barrage of four goals in a little more than two minutes.
|Audi teammates Mark Ganzi (1), Nico Pieres (4) and Nic Roldan (3) talk strategy before comeback. Photo by Scott Fisher|
"Obviously, if we play polo, good things can happen," Ganzi said. "Playing polo is hitting the ball and going. When we get back to the business of playing polo we can actually play pretty good when we want to play.
"The extracurricular stuff we got to get rid of. Hopefully, that gets fixed for the next tournament and we can continue to work on a system and get better. That's always the idea, just get better and improve. There were some good moments today and not so good moments."
|Nic Roldan of Audi (3) and Alessandro Bazzoni of CT Energia (1) battle for the ball. Photo by Scott Fisher|
Ganzi, Roldan and Pieres each scored four goals. Gracida had one. Kampsen and Ganon had four goals apiece for CT Energia.
"This was like a practice game," Pieres said. "We needed to play some good chukkers so we have the confidence for the next tournament. Our fifth and sixth chukkers were really good."
For game recaps, news, features and photos of Grand Champions Polo Club-related events, go to www.grandchampionspoloclub.org.
|Nic Roldan (3) of Audi and Nick Manifold (4) of CT Energia in a horse race to the ball. Photo by Scott Fisher|
2014 HIGH GOAL SEASON
JANUARY 9-26: Joe Barry Memorial Cup
JANUARY 29-FEBRUARY 3: Ylvisaker Cup
FEBRUARY 22-MARCH 8: Iglehart Cup
FEBRUARY 14: National Museum of Polo & Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony
FEBRUARY 16-MARCH 2: C.V. Whitney Cup
MARCH 5-23: USPA Piaget Gold Cup
MARCH 26-APRIL 20: 110th Maserati U.S. Open Polo Championships
|Audi's Nic Roldan (3) drives downfield ahead of defenders. Photo by Scott Fisher|
GRAND CHAMPIONS @ PALM BEACH POLO 2014 TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE
JANUARY: Metropolitan Cup (5 goals); Aspen Valley Cup (8 goals); The Limited Edition 12-Goal Series.
FEBRUARY: Halo Polo Trophy (5 goals); USPA Cyril R. Harrison Trophy; USPA Sieber Memorial Trophy.
MARCH: Madelon Bourdieu Memorial (5 goals); The Limited Edition 8-Goal Series; USPA Regional President's Cup (8 goals); $50,000 National 12-Goal Tournament; The Top Pony 12-Goal Series; Santa Rita Abierto (16 goals).
APRIL: Las Acacias (5 goals); USPA Association Cup (8 goals); Museum of Polo & Hall of Fame Challenge Cup (12-goals); John T. Oxley Memorial Trophy (16 goals).
|Nico Pieres (4) of Audi maintains possession despite pressure from Joao Paulo Ganon (3) of CT Energia. Photo by Scott Fisher|