Orchard Hill scores a come-from-behind win in C. V. Whitney Cup final
By Alex Webbe
Audi (Marc Ganzi, Gonzalo Pieres, Rodrigo Andrade and Fred Mannix) appeared to be doing everything right through the first five chukkers of Sunday afternoon’s final of the 2016 C. V. Whitney Cup at the International Polo Club. It wasn’t Argentine 10-goaler Facundo Pieres, who led all scoring in last year’s high goal tournaments, or his talented 10-goal cousin (also rated at the maximum 10-goals) who made the difference. The scoring punch came from 6-goaler Julian de Lussareta in the final minutes of the game, hijacking the certain victory from the high-flying Audi lineup as Orchard Hill (Polito Pieres, Julian De Lussareta, Facundo Pieres and Steve Van Andel) successfully defended their 2015 title with a last chukker, come-from-behind 11-9 win.
Brazilian 9-goaler Rodrigo Andrade scored the first goal of the game from the field as both teams struggled to get an offensive rhythm going. Orchard Hill was unable to score and trailed 1-0 at the end of the first period of play.
Facundo Obregon converted a 30-yard penalty shot for a goal in the second period followed by a goal from the field from Julian de Lussareta at the 5:08 mark that leveled the score at 2-2. With defense being the byword of the chukker, no more goals were scored.
Audi got their offense on track in the third period with Freddie Mannix scoring on a 150-yrd run with the ball for a score and a 3-2 Audi lead. Andrade scored his second goal of the day a minute later and Polito Pieres scored the final goal of the chukker for a three goal, 5-2 halftime lead.
Orchard Hill returned fire as the second half got underway. A single goal from Andrade stretched the Audi lead to four goals, 6-2. When the Orchard Hill offense came alive. Facundo Pieres scored a pair of penalty goals and Polito Pieres scored a goal from the field.to cut the Audi lead to one goal, 6-5.
Gonzalito Pieres padded the lead by a goal as the fifth period got started, and the Audi lead expanded to two goals, 7-5. With 4:26 left in the period de Lussareta scored to trail by a single goal, once again, 7-6. A foul in the goal mouth by Orchard Hill resulted in a Penalty 1 and the awarding of a goal to the Audi team. Midway through the chukker the score stood at 8-6. Two more goals from de Lussareta and a penalty goal on a penalty conversion ended the period with 32 seconds on the clock.
The two teams battled for almost two entire minutes before Facundo Pieres scored on a short penalty shot that leveled eh score at 9-9. For the previous five chukkers Audi had held the upper hand, but that would not be the case in the sixth. Julian de Lussareta scored the go-ahead goal with 2 minutes left in regulation play and added another with 59 seconds remaining to be played. At the sound of the final horn it was Orchard Hill with the 11-9 win.
Six goals from the field from de Lussareta earned MVP honors. were followed by four penalty goals from Facundo Pieres and a single score from Polito Pieres. Audi got four goals from Gonzalito Pieres (three on penalty conversions); three goals from Andrade; and two goals from Mannix as well as a goal on a Penalty 1.
Steve Van Andel’s Norma was named Best Playing Pony. She was played by de Lussareta.
Valiente I over Valiente II, 10-9.
With both teams preparing for an opening round of play in the 26-goal USPA Gold Cup, the subsidiary competition for the C. V. Whitney Cup served as little more than a practice between two teams that are sharing the same property, Valiente (Bob Jornayvaz, Facundo sola, Alejo Taranco and Adolfo Cambiaso) and Valiente II (Rob Jornayvaz, Santi Chavanne, Diego Cavanagh and Tomas Garcia del Rio).
Valiente spotted Valiente II two goals by handicap and scored seven goals in the opening two chukkers for a 7-4 lead. Diego Cavanagh scored the only goal of the third period with Valiente sitting on top of a 7-5 halftime advantage.
The two teams played evenly through much of the balance of the game. Valiente scored single goals in each of the final three chukker while Santi Chavanne added three goals of his own (one on a 30-yard penalty conversion) and Rob Jornayvaz added a goal in the 10-9 Valiente win.
Valiente got three goals each from Alejo Taranco and Adolfo Cambiaso. Facundo Sola and Bob Jornayvaz each scored twice. Santi Chavanne led the Valiente II offense with three goals. Rob Jornayvaz added two goals with Diego Cavanagh and Tomas Garcia del Rio adding single goals in the loss.
Twenty-six goal action is slated to resume with the opening round of play in the 2016 USPA Gold Cup on Thursday with four games scheduled to be played beginning at 10am at the International Polo Club.