By Alex Webbe
Travieso (Teo Calle, Tony Calle, Lucas Lalor and Carlitos Gracida) staged a sixth chukker rally Sunday afternoon at the Aspen Valley Polo Club to score a 10-8 win over La Karina (Melissa Ganzi, Brian Boyd, Sebastian Merlos and Marc Ganzi) and successfully defend their 2015 Craig Sakin Memorial title.
Travieso struck first with Lucas Lalor sending the ball through the La Karina goal posts for the early lead. La Karina responded with a goal from Marc Ganzi on a 40-yard penalty shot. Lalor scored the final goal of the chukker, his second on the day, for the early 2-1 lead
The La Karina attack ramped up as the second chukker got started. Goals from the field from Marc Ganzi and Argentine 9-goaler Sebastian Merlos had them leading, 3-2. A La Karina foul leveled the score with Carlitos Gracida converting a 30-yard penalty shot for a goal, 3-3.
Tony Calle scored the opening goal of the third period as Travieso moved in front again, 4-3. La Karina answered back with Merlos tying goal the game on an acrobatic behind-the-back, nearside shot. Melissa Ganzi gave the lead to La Karina with her first goal of the day, 5-4. Lalor tied the game at 5-5 with the final goal of the first half.
Merlos took the lead back for La Karina in the fourth with his third goal of the game, 6-5, and a goal from Brian Boyd made it 7-5. Travieso rallied with goals from Tony Calle and Lalor to deadlock the game once again, 7-7.
Both teams stiffened their defense in the fifth period. A goal from the field from Melissa Ganzi gave the lead to La Karina, 8-7, but the lead was short-lived. Tony Calle responded with his third goal of the afternoon with the chukker ending in an 8-8 tie.
A confident Travieso team took the field in the sixth and final chukker. A La Karina foul sent Gracida to the penalty line where he scored from the 30-yard mark to give Travieso a 9-8 edge. La Karina tried to rally their offense but the Travieso defenders were up to the challenge. Lalor scored the final goal of the game, as La Karina failed to get on the scoreboard in the sixth chukker and it was Travieso celebrating the 10-8 victory.
Lalor set the scoring pace for the day with five goals, all from the field. Tony Calle added three goals and Gracida converted a pair of penalty shots for the win. La Karina’s Merlos scored three goals in the loss. Marc Ganzi and Melissa Ganzi each scored twice and Brian Boyd added a goal in the loss.
Melissa Ganzi was named MVP while Tony Calle’s Chestnut mare Sorpresta earned Best Playing Pony honors.
Tonkawa 8, Casablanca 6
Earlier in the day, Jeff Hildebrand’s Tonkawa polo team (Jeff Hildebrand, Jimmy Seward, Justo Saavedra and Stewart Armstrong) broke open a 6-6 tie in the fifth chukker to record an 8-6 win over Casablanca (Lauren Sherry, Grant Ganzi, Julio Novillo Astrada and Juancito Bollini) in the final of the Craig Sakin Memorial subsidiary match.
The two teams exchanged goals in the opening chukker with Tonkawa team captain Jeff Hildebrand putting the first goal on the scoreboard for a 1-0 lead. Julio Novillo Astrada countered with a goal from the field for Casablanca, 1-1. Justo Saavedra took the lead back for Tonkawa with his first goal of the day, 2-1. Grant Ganzi leveled eh score with the final goal of the chukker, 2-2.
Saavedra scored the first goal of the second period to put Tonkawa into the lead, 3-2, but Casablanca fired right back. Astrada scored the only other goal of the chukker, leaving the score all even at three goals apiece, 3-3.
Goals were scarce in the third with neither team being able to mount an effective offense. Casablanca missed a penalty shot and Saavedra scored a goal from the field as Tonkawa moved in front by a single goal at the end of the first half, 4-3.
Fourth chukker goals from Hildebrand and Saavedra went unanswered as Tonkawa took control of the game and forged a three goals advantage, 6-3.
Casablanca wasn’t ready to roll over yet, however, as they galloped into the fifth period. Two goals from Astrada and a goal from Ganzi were complimented by shutout defense. After five chukkers of play the score was deadlocked at 6-6.
The Tonkawa defense continued to dominate into the sixth chukker. Goals from Jimmy Seward and Steward Armstrong accounted for the only scoring in the final chukker. When the final horn sounded it was Tonkawa with the 8-6 win.
Saavedra set the offensive pace for Tonkawa with four goals. Hildebrand scored twice and Tonkawa got singe goals from Seward and Armstrong. Astrada led the Casablanca attack with four goals. Ganzi added two goals in the loss.