Melody Capital (Cesar Gueikian, Lucas Lalor, Kris Kampsen and JJ Celis) scored wins over Flexjet (Melissa Ganzi, Juan Bollini, Tom de Bruin and Alejandro Poma), and The Dutta Corp (Tim Dutta, Piki Diaz Alberdi, Martin Estrada and Jared Zenni) in round-robin competition to earn a spot in the final of the 2016 Polo Gear Challenge Cup Friday morning at the Grand Champions Polo Club.
In the opening three chukkers of the mini-match Flexjet received one-half goal by handicap from the 14-goal Dutta Corp. and then watched as Martin Estrada scored all three goals of the chukker for a 3-½ Dutta Corp. lead.
Second chukker goals from South African 7-goaler tom de Bruin and Flexjet team captain Melissa Ganzi cut the lead back to a half goal, 3-2½. Piki Alberdi scored the final goal of the chukker to put Dutta Corp. in front, 4-2½.
Flexjet struggled to stage a final chukker rally but the Dutta Corp. defense held. Jared Zenni scored the only goal of the final chukker for the 5-2½ win.
Melody Capital 4, Flexjet 2
After receiving one goal by handicap from the 15-goal Melody Capital spotted the 13-goal Flexjet team one goal by handicap and then promptly took control of the next three chukkers.
First chukker goals by Cesar Gueikian (a 30-yard penalty conversion) and an 80-yard goal shot by J.J. Celis had Melody Capital in the lead, 2-1.
The Melody defense held Flexjet coreless for the second consecutive chukker, but the favor was returned. Despite several runs up and down the field, neither team was able to score and the 2-1 Melody Capital lead held with one chukker held with once chukker left to play.
Gueikian opened the third period with a pair of goals that extended the Melody Capital lead to three goals, 4-1. Try as they might, Flexjet was unable to break through the Melody Capital defense 4-1. Melissa Ganzi countered with a goal from the field at the 2:48 mark. Melody held the lead, however, and rode on to win, 4-2.
Melody Capital 5, Dutta Corp. 3½
A well-rested Dutta Corp. team rode on to the field to face Melody Capital in the final three chukkers of the round-robin. Each had won a game, making the final mini-match a must win for each of them.
Dutta Corp. received one-half goal by handicap from Melody Capital as play got underway, and Kris Kampsen converted a penalty shot at the 5:47 mark that gave the lead to Melody Capital, 1-½. Jared Zenni scored on a penalty shot for Dutta Corp. less than two minutes later, and added a goal from the field that stretched their lead to 2½-1. Cesar Gueikian closed out the chukker with a goal that cut the Dutta Corp. lead to one-half goal, 2½-2.
Two minutes into the second period Kampsen scored on a goal from the field. Less than a minute later Zenni responded with a 30-yard penalty goal. Dutta Corp. The two teams rode out a scoreless two-and-a-half minutes to the end of the chukker with Dutta Corp. maintaining the lead, 3½-3.
A determined Melody Capital team charged onto the field for the final seven minutes of play. Three minutes into the period Kampsen scored his third goal of the game, moving Melody Capital into the lead, 4-3½. Shutout defense and a final goal from Gueikian gave the game and an invitation to the final of the Polo Gear Challenge Cup to Melody Capital, 5-3½.
Audi 5, Sonny Hill 4
Audi (Timmy Dutta, Marc Ganzi, Jason Crowder and Brandon Phillips) received one goal by handicap from Sonny Hill (Curtis Pilot, Francisco Bilbao, Francisco Lanusse and Gonzalo De la Fuente) but took control of the opening chukker with three goals from the field for a 4-1 lead (Timmy Dutta, Brandon Phillips and Marc Ganzi each scored a goal). Francisco Lanusse scored the only goal of the chukker for Sonny Hill who trailed by three goals early.
With rain beginning to fall, Sonny Hill fought rallied. Back-to-back scores from Gonzalo De la Fuente cut the Audi lead back to a single goal, 4-3. Phillips closed out the chukker with his second goal of the game for the 5-3 advantage.
Both defenses stepped it up in the third chukker. Goals were hard to come by with Lanusse scoring the only goal of the period in a 5-4 Audi victory.
Sonny Hill 5, Casablanca 2½
With dark clouds forming and light rain beginning to fall, the second mini-match of the afternoon got started, and Sonny Hill was the early aggressor. Francisco Lanusse scored the first two goals of the game with a goal from the field and a 40-yard penalty conversion. Grand Ganzi responded with a Casablanca goal that cut the lead to a half-goal, 2-1½ (Casablanca received one-half goal by handicap). Lanusse ended the chukker with another penalty goal that pushed Sonny Hill ahead, 3-1½.
Lanusse scored the only goal of the second period with another 40-yard penalty conversion. Casablanca trailed, 4-1½.
Grant Ganzi and Francisco Bilbao traded goals in the final chukker as Sonny Hill ran off with the 5-2½ win.
Audi vs. Casablanca-rained out
With the final three chukkers on tap, the heavens opened and the final leg of the round-robin was called. No time has been designated for the make-up at this time.
By Alex Webbe