By Alex Webbe
Carlitos Gracida scored four of his team-high five goals to fuel the Steta Polo Team (Guillermo Steta, Brian Boyd, Nic Roldan and Carlitos Gracida) to a 12-11 win over Flexjet (Marc Ganzi, Alejandra Foster, Julio Novillo Astrada and Alex Gooding) Sunday afternoon in the final of the Mount Sopris Sup at the Aspen Valley Polo Club.
Nic Roldan opened the game with a goal from the field with teammate Carlitos Gracida making it 2-0 with his first goal of the game. Fouls were costly for Steta Polo with Flexjet’s Marc Ganzi converting a pair of 30-yard penalty shots for goals to level the score at 2-2. Brian Boyd closed out the first chukker with the go-ahead goal that had Steta Polo on top of a 3-2 score.
Steta took control of the game in the second, with Roldan scoring his second goal of the game and Gracida adding a pair for a 6-2 lead. Julio Novillo Astrada came up with the only goal of the chukker for Flexjet as they trailed at the end of the period, 6-3.
Guillermo Steta made his presence known with a pair of goals in the third chukker. Gracida scored his fourth and shutout defense had Flexjet trailing by six goals at the end of the first half, 9-3.
Boyd opened the scoring in the second half as the Steta Polo lead grew to seven goals, 10-3, when Flexjet rallied. A goal from Ganzi and two from Astrada cut the lead back to four goals, 10-6 at the end of the chukker.
Flexjet outscored Steta Polo in the fifth period with Astrada adding two more goals and Ganzi scoring his fourth of the game. Roldan Gracida and Roldan added single goals for Steta Polo, but an injury to teammate Boyd grounded their spirit as they entered the sixth.
Ganzi converted a 60-yard penalty shot and Astrada added a goal from the field for the only scoring in the chukker as Steta Polo held on for the 12-11 victory.
Gracida’s five goals led the Steta Polo attack and earned him MVP honors. Roldan added three goals with Steta and Boyd scoring two goals apiece for the win. Astrada’s six goals led the field for Flexjet. Ganzi was credited with five goals in a losing effort.
Santa Rita Polo Farm’s Kismet was named Best Playing Pony. Kismet is a five-year-old Bay mare and was played by Julio Novillo Astrada.
Los Amigos 9, Tonkawa 8
Earlier in the day, Los Amigos (Paul Foster, Lauren Sherry, Tincho Merlos and Gabriel Gracida) fell behind early but rallied to record a 9-8 win over Tonkawa (Jeff Hildebrand, Jimmy Seward, Lucas Lalor and Stewart Armstrong) in the Mount Sopris Cup subsidiary.
Tonkawa’s Stewart Armstrong scored the first two goals of the game followed by a goal from the field from teammate Jimmy Seward for a 3-0 lead. Tincho Merlos kept Los Amigos from getting shut out in the opening chukker, but it was Tonkawa with the 3-1 advantage.
The two teams match one another goal for goals as the pace quickened in the second. Two goals from Gabriel Gracida and a goal from Lauren Sherry bolstered the Los Amigos attack but Tonkawa registered single goals from Armstrong, Seward and Lucas Lalor. Tonkawa continued to lead by two goals, 6-4.
An oppressive Los Amigos defense in the third period held Tonkawa scoreless while the Los Amigos offense went to work. Merlos converted a 40-yard penalty shot and added another from the field. Paul Foster scored his first goal of the day and Tonkawa suddenly found themselves trailing 7-6 at the end of the first half.
Foster and Seward traded goals in the fourth chukker with both defenses turning shots on goal aside and riding opposing players off of the play. After four periods of play, Los Amigos maintained the one goals lead over Tonkawa, 8-7.
Fosters third goal of the game extended the Los Amigos lead to two goals, 9-7, but that was the extent of the Los Amigos attack. Tonkawa team captain Jeff Hildebrand cut the Los Amigos lead to a single goal again, 9-8 to end the fifth chukker.
The Los Amigos defense was at its best in the final period of play as they completely muffled the Tonkawa attack. The two teams battled through a scoreless final chukker in a 9-8 Los Amigos win.
Merlos and Foster scored three goals each for Los Amigos, with Foster netting MVP honors. Gracida added two goals and Sherry scored once in the victory. Armstrong and Seward each scored three times for Tonkawa with Lalor adding single goals in the loss.