By: Rebecca Baldridge
Photos by: Nick Tininenko
Carbondale, CO, July 5, 2021— La Karina defeated Casablanca and McClure River Ranch in round robin play to take the Independence Cup title. Santa Rita beat Rancho Los Amigos by 11-9 in the Just for the Love of It Cup.
In the Independence Cup round robin, McClure River Ranch (Lauren Sherry, Alex Gooding, Nacho Figueras, and Nacho Novillo Astrada) took on La Karina (Sugar Erskine, Brian Boyd, Marc Ganzi, and Nic Roldan). La Karina dominated the first chukker, with Nic Roldan scoring the first goal with a neat near side shot. With 3:34 on the clock, Ganzi found the posts and Sugar Erskine followed up two minutes later with a goal of his own. With the clock running down and La Karina up 3-0, Nacho Figueras took command of the ball and made a bold run to goal to end the period 3-1.
Scoring went back and forth in the second chukker. Figueras scored two goals for his team while Ganzi and Roldan each put the ball through for La Karina to end the period 5-3. Roldan and Ganzi kept up the pressure in the final chukker, with each scoring again before Figueras could fight back with a goal. A final successful shot from Brian Boyd ended the first match 8-4 in favor of La Karina, giving the team in green a +4 for the first match and McClure River Ranch a -4.
McClure River Ranch stayed on the field for the second match against Casablanca (Govinda Quish, Grant Ganzi, Toro Ruiz, and Pablo Spinacci). Govinda Quish struck first, scoring a goal for Casablanca, with Ganzi and Spinacci following up to take the score to 3-0. Lauren Sherry got out in front to find the uprights for McClure River Ranch and the chukker ended with Casablanca up 3-1. The second period saw more back- and-forth play, with each team doing a good job on defense. Alex Gooding found the goal, with Toro Ruiz following up to end the chukker 4-2.
In the final period McClure River Ranch couldn’t get on the board while Ganzi converted a Penalty 2. Casablanca took the match by a score of 5-2, giving them +3 in the round robin. The loss took McClure River Ranch to -7.
In the final leg of the round robin, La Karina returned to the field to take on Casablanca in what promised to be an exciting game. La Karina dominated the first chukker, with consecutive goals from Marc Ganzi and Boyd before Grant Ganzi came back with an answer. Pablo Spinacci scored the first goal of the second period for Casablanca, but Marc Ganzi came back with a goal to keep La Karina in the lead 3-2. The final chukker saw a battle of attrition with both teams playing hard but unable to score. A foul allowed Toro Ruiz to convert a Penalty 4, ending the match in a 3-3 tie. Each team scored a 0 for the round robin. La Karina, with a total score of +4 overall, was victorious for the day. Nic Roldan took MVP honors.
Earlier in the day, Santa Rita (Melissa Ganzi, Alejandra Foster, Alejandro Novillo Astrada, and Juan Bollini) met Rancho Los Amigos (Paul Foster, Vinny Sangaline, Tomas Pieres, and Horacio Heguy) in the Just for the Love of It Cup, a subsidiary match in the Independence Cup.
Alejandra Foster drew first blood for Santa Rita, but goals from Vinny Sangaline and Paul Foster put Rancho Los Amigos ahead 2-1 at the end of the first chukker. The lead was not to last as Santa Rita came out with guns blazing in the second period and the ladies dominating the goal. Alejandra Foster put the first ball through the posts, then Melissa Ganzi contributed a pair of back-to-back goals to put Santa Rita in the lead. Foster got out in front for another successful shot, taking the score up to 5-2. At the last moment, just before the 30-second horn, Horacio Heguy passed the ball to Paul Foster in front of the goal, and he tapped it in to end the period with a goal for Rancho Los Amigos. Alejandra Foster repeated what was becoming a habit, scoring the first goal in Chukker 3. Husband Paul retaliated by finding the uprights, putting Rancho Los Amigos within two goals at 6-4. Right before the horn, Ganzi scored to end the half with Santa Rita in the lead 7-4.
Ganzi took over from Alejandra Foster to score the first goal of the fourth chukker, sinking a challenging angled shot from the right. At the halfway point in the period, Tomas Pieres scored his first goal of the match. Play went back and forth for the next three minutes, and the chukker ended 8-5. Ganzi started the pentultimate chukker with another set of back-to-back goals, and play continued with both teams playing a strong defense. Neither was able to score until Pieres passed the ball to Foster, who tapped it in as the horn sounded.
With the score standing at 10-6 in favor of Santa Rita, Rancho Los Amigos went into the final chukker facing an uphill battle. However, they put up an impressive fight. Pieres scored the first goal of the period, then Ganzi retaliated by putting the ball through around half-chukker. Vinny Sangaline made a run downfield to score, and while the game was clearly lost, Horacio Heguy made a bold effort and found the goal at the horn. Santa Rita defeated Rancho Los Amigos by 11-9. Ganzi was the high scoring player with seven goals to her credit.
2021 Aspen Valley Summer Polo Series
ChukkerTV Challenge Cup 7/7-7/9
Craig Sakin Memorial 7/14-7/18
Basalt Handicap 7/21-7/25
Emma Challenge Cup 7/28-8/1
High Alpine Cup 8/4-8/8
Rocky Mountain Open 8/1-8/14
Mount Sopris Cup 8/11-8/15
The Carbondale Classic 8/18-8/22
World Polo League Triple Crown of Polo 8/25-8/28
Arena Tournaments & Asado – Tuesday Evenings
Kidz Uni-Wheel games during select tournament halftimes
Chukkers, Champagne, & Caviar
to benefit Aspen Valley Hospital Foundation
Sunday August 22, 2021
Visit www.aspenvalleypoloclub.com for more details.