WELLINGTON — Audi, playing its best polo of the World Polo League season, defeated WPL 10-6 on Sunday to advance to the semifinals of the Triple Crown of Polo at Grand Champions Polo Club.
Audi (3-0) outscored WPL 5-2 in the second half, including two scoreless chukkers.
Audi will play Valiente (2-1), a 13-10 winner over Black Watch, in Thursday’s semifinal. Colorado (3-0) will face Grand Champions (2-1), a 14-13 winner over Mandarina, in the other semifinal.
“I think we played well most of the chukkers,” said Audi’s Pablo MacDonough, who was named Most Valuable Player. “We played the way we wanted. We have been playing together for two months now and we know each other on the field.”
MacDonough scored a game-high six goals, five on penalty conversions. Nic Roldan added two goals and Marc Ganzi and Kris Kampsen each had one. Diego Cavanagh scored three goals for WPL.
“Those guys are a great team and they lost their key player,” Kampsen said. “This was a huge win. It’s important to get back in the final. I want to win with these guys.”
WPL 6-goaler Agustin Nero was injured in the opening chukker when he tried to ride off Roldan, both taking out the goalpost. Nero returned to the game briefly before being replaced by Valiente 6-goaler Santi Torres in the second chukker.
Torres already had played in the Valiente-Black Watch game earlier in the day, but Audi team sponsor Marc Ganzi and his players agreed to allow him to play.
“We just thought it was good sportsmanship,” Ganzi said. “This is the beauty of the World Polo League. It’s a game at the end of the day, a game among gentlemen.”
In the last two tournaments, Audi has gone from winless in the Founders Cup to a finalist in the Palm Beach Open.
“We talked about how important this game was,” Ganzi said. “The pattern of polo that’s working for us right now is being super disciplined and playing good defense, which is not usually what we do. Pablo has us thinking defense first. When we defend well, we play well.”
In WPL action Friday, Valiente (Bob Jornayvaz, Pamela Flanagan, Mia Cambiaso, Adolfo Cambiaso) defeated Audi (Milli Sanchez, Nina Clarkin, Alejandro Novillo Astrada, Marc Ganzi) 6-4 in the U.S. National Mixed Doubles Championship at Valiente Polo Farm.
Clarkin and Adolfo Cambiaso were named MVPs. The game featured two men and two women on each team.
On Saturday, San Saba, led by MVP Sarah Wiseman, won the Sunny Hale’s Legacy WCT Finals. The team of Dawn Jones, Lia Salvo, Clarissa Echezarreta and Wiseman defeated WPL 6-4. Salvo broke a 4-4 tie with two goals in the final three minutes.
International Polo Club: In U.S. Open play, Equuleus, led by Mariano Gonzalez’s seven goals, defeated Coca Cola 14-9. In the feature game, Pilot defeated Postage Stamp 10-6, keeping its Gauntlet of Polo million-dollar hopes alive. Facundo Pieres led Pilot with a game-high six goals.