Audi – 11
Marc Ganzi (1), Rodrigo Andrade (9),
Gonzalito Pieres (9), Fred Mannix (6)
Engel & Völkers – 7
Carlitos Gracida/Mariano Gracida (4), Santi Torres (7),
Matias Magrini (8), Kris Kampsen (6)
Engel & Völkers leapt into action right from the start and Kris Kampsen scored first goal of the game with lightening accuracy. Fred Mannix quickly responded by running in a goal for Audi, setting the tone early for Audi’s fast-paced play. Both teams were evenly matched, riding hard and showcasing the speed and athleticism of their mounts.
In the second chukker, Audi took control of the match, with back-to-back goals scored by Rodrigo Andrade and Gonzalito Pieres. Pieres proved to be lethal from the penalty line, converting sequential penalty shots to confirm Audi’s lead 5-1. Mannix rocketed out of the bowl-in to score the final goal of the chukker 6-1.
After several wide goal attempts by Mariano Gracida (substituting for Jared Zenni), Santi Torres succeeded in gaining some ground by scoring with a cut shot through traffic. Then Kampsen surged into a breakaway to put Engel & Völkers three goals behind at the end of the end of the half.
Torres took advantage of broken play by Audi to drive a goal in and make the score 6-4. The game slowed down at this point, with players in close contact and fighting for position on every play. Kampsen began the fifth chukker strongly, adding another goal to Engel & Völkers’ tally and placed the team within striking distance at 6-5. But Pieres converted with a lofted neck shot, and Audi pulled away from Engel & Völkers with a two-goal lead.
Andrade made what was undoubtedly the shot of the game, a giant lofted neck shot to goal that brought the score to 8-5. From there, Audi simply dominated the game, scoring three unanswered goals to cement their lead 11-5. Matias Magrini tapped a goal in, and Carlitos Gracida made the final goal of the game to end the sixth chukker 11-7.
Mannix felt that Audi’s horsepower has played a large part in their success this season.
“I’ve got some super horses here this year, so it’s making a huge difference,” Mannix said. “All the players on this team do. If you look at the way Gonzalito [Pieres] is mounted, and Marc [Ganzi] is mounted very well, and Rodrigo [Andrade] is a beast, he’s got some very powerful, strong horses. I think the combination of everything together allows us to play in a way we want to play. We’re not feeling any external pressure how we should or shouldn’t play. It’s more like how we want to play.”
Audi patron Marc Ganzi is already looking ahead to Thursday, March 12 when Audi will go head to head with Las Monjitas at 10 a.m. at International Polo Club Palm Beach.
“We’ll watch some video tonight and see what we did right and what we did wrong,” said Ganzi. “Then we’ll practice probably on Tuesday and Wednesday. Then we’ll have a practice team, FlexJet, who’ll sort of mimic what Las Monjitas is going to do. We’ll watch a little video on Wednesday night and get ready for a big game on Thursday. It’s a big game. If we win it, we win the bracket and we get to take next weekend off, which will be good for the horses.”