By Alex Webbe
Seven goals from Los Amigos-Red (Paul Foster, Gabriel Gracida, Julio Novillo Astrada and Carlitos Gracida) team captain Paul foster carried his team to the 9-6 opening win over Flexjet (Ace Boyd, Melissa Ganzi, Lucas Lalor and Juan Bollini) in the 2016 Rocky Mountain Open at the Aspen Valley Polo Club Friday morning.
In a rough and tumble opening chukker neither team was able to hone in on the opponent’s goal until Flexjet team captain Melissa Ganzi put the only goal of the chukker through the Los Amigos Red goalposts for the 10- lead.
Los Amigos Red got right back into the game in the second period with Paul Foster tying the game, 1-1, on a pass from teammate Carlitos Gracida and giving his team the lead, 2-1, with his second goal of the day on a pass from Argentine 7-goaler, Julio Novillo Astrada.
Flexjet stormed back in the third period with Melissa Ganzi converting a 30-yard penalty shot to tie it at two goals apiece and giving her team a 3-2 lead with her third goal of the game. With less than a minute on the clock, Foster tied the game at 3-3 to end the first half.
Melissa Ganzi scored the first goal of the second half to give Flexjet a 4-3 lead, but Los Amigos Red battled right back. Goals from Astrada and Foster closed out the scoring and propelled Los Amigos Red back into the lead, 5-4.
Ace Boyd scored her first goal of the game in the fifth, tying the game again, 5-5, and Juan Bollini gave Flexjet the 6-5 led as he ricocheted the ball off of the goalpost for a score, 6-5. Foster was on fire, however, and with 3:31 left in the chukker, scored on a pass from Astrada to deadlock the game again, 6-6, with one period left in regulation play.
Foster continued to peck away at the Flexjet defense as he added two more goals in the sixth chukker. A single goal from Astrada was all there was as Los Amigos Red rode off with the win and a
berth in Sunday’s 11am (MST) final.
Tonkawa 7, Los Amigos White 3
Playing on their home field, Tonkawa (Alex Gooding, Jeff Hildebrand, Jimmy Seward and Nic Roldan) beat Los Amigos-White (Alejandra Foster, Grant Ganzi, Juancito Bollini and Sebastian Merlos), 7-3, in the opening three chukkers of the afternoon’s round-robin.
Tonkawa’s Nic Roldan scored the first goal of the mini-match, but goals from Alejandra Foster and Juancito Bollini gave Los Amigos White the early lead, 2-1.
Second chukker Tonkawa goals from Roldan and Alex Gooding were countered by a single goal from Alejandra Foster. After two chukkers of play the score was all even at 3-3.
Tonkawa pulled out all the stops in the third period. Jimmy Seward opened the scoring with his first goal of the game, 4-3, followed by three consecutive goals from team captain Jeff Hildebrand. Los Amigos White were unable to score and came up on the short end of a 7-3 score.
Los Amigos White 6, ChukkerTV 4
Los Amigos White held the field for the second three chukkers against ChukkerTV (Hilario Figueras, Segundo Merlos, Marc Ganzi and Tincho Merlos) while Tonkawa retired to the sidelines.
Back-to-back goals from Alejandra Foster gave Los Amigos White a 2-0 start, but ChukkerTV answered back with goals from Marc Ganzi and Hilario Figueras to tie it at 2-2 at the end of the first chukker.
A more defensively-oriented second period saw limited scoring with Sebastian Merlos scoring a goal for Los Amigos White and his younger brother, Tincho Merlos, responding with a goal for ChukkerTV. After two periods the score remained tied at 3-3.
Segundo Merlos scored his first goal of the game in the third, giving ChukkerTV a 4-3 edge, when Los Amigos White rallied. Two goals from Alejandra Foster and a goal from Juancito Bollini closed out
the game with Los Amigos White securing the win, 6-4.
Tonkawa 5, ChukkerTV 3
Tonkawa returned to the field for the final three chukkers of the round-robin against an 0-1 ChukkerTV entry. A simple win by Tonkawa would send them to the final of the 2016 Rocky Mountain Open, with ChukkerTV hoping for an upset and a shot at the cup themselves.
Jimmy Seward got Tonkawa on the scoreboard with the opening goal of the game, 1-0. Hilario Figueras tied the game at 1-1 for ChukkerTV. Tonkawa team captain Jeff Hildebrand scored the final goal of the first chukker for the early 2-1 lead.
Second period goals from Hildebrand and Alex Gooding extended the Tonkawa lead to three goals, 4-1, before ChukkerTV could respond. Marc Ganzi scored the final goal of the chukker but it was Tonkawa with the two-goal lead, 4-2.
Nic Roldan stretched the Tonkawa lead to three goals, again as they continued to battle into the final period of play. Hilario Figueras scored for the second time in the game, but it was a case of too little, too late. Tonkawa held on for the 5-3 win and a date in Sunday’s 11am final against Los Amigos White.
Flexjet, Los Amigos White and ChukkerTV will participate in a subsidiary round-robin on Sunday at 1:15pm. Both matches will be livestreamed on ChukkerTV.