Alegria, Valiente, Orchard Hill and Audi/Millarville win C.V. Whitney Cup Opener

Nic Roldan and Sapo Caset. Photo: Alex Pacheco.
Nic Roldan and Sapo Caset. Photo: Alex Pacheco.

Cambiaso Leads Valiente to 9-7 Win Over FlexJet  

Wellington, FL - The C.V. Whitney Cup opened Friday with four matches, kicking off the 26-goal season at the International Polo Club Palm Beach (IPC). Alegria defeated Coca-Cola 13-9, Audi/Millarville won over Lechuza Caracas 10-9, Orchard Hill took Las Monjitas 16-11 and Valiente defeated FlexJet 9-7. The resulting slate for next Wednesday's semifinals is Alegria vs. Audi/Millarville and Valiente vs. Orchard Hill.  That will make for a busy week for Valiente, which is simultaneously preparing to play Coca-Cola in Sunday's 20-goal Ylvisaker Cup Finals. Also on Sunday, Tonkawa will take on Palm Beach Illustrated in the Haas Cup subsidiary finals.

FlexJet                                       Valiente
Melissa Ganzi   A                         Bob Jornayvaz   2
Gonzalito Pieres   9                     Alejo Taranco   6
Miguel Astrada   9                       Guillermo Terrera   8
Nic Roldan   8                             Adolfo Cambiaso   10

In his second game of the season at IPC, Adolfo Cambiaso again led Valiente to a win, this time over FlexJet. Valiente led throughout the entire game, with all four of its players scoring. Yet the victory came about in an uneven rhythm for Valiente, which in its last game steadily increased its momentum throughout, pouring it on in the second half.  This time, however, Valiente started out strong, ending the first half with a five-point lead. Then it inexplicably stalled, remaining scoreless in the fourth chukker and making only two more goals in the game.

Adolfo Cambiaso Nic Roldan and Guillermo Terrera (Photo: Alex Pacheco)
Adolfo Cambiaso Nic Roldan and Guillermo Terrera (Photo: Alex Pacheco)

Even Cambiaso seemed to have a hard time wrapping his head around it. "We started really good, and then in the middle we kind of slipped down," he said. "We got it to 7-2, and then, I don't know, we couldn't score. Probably (FlexJet) played better the last couple of chukkers. I'm just happy that we won our first game."

The early signs were pointing to a hands-down Valiente victory. In the first chukker the team established a two-point lead, stretching it to a three-point advantage in the second. The first half ended with a commanding five-point lead for Valiente, three of its goals contributed by Alejo Taranco. FlexJet galloped into the fourth chukker determined to show that it meant serious business. It rapidly racked up three points, courtesy of Gonzalito Pieres and Nic Roldan. Each team scored once in the fifth and sixth chukkers.
"I've got to give (FlexJet) a lot of credit," said Valiente patron Bob Jornayvaz. "We played well in the beginning, and then they really came back and sped it up - which was fine because it became a very fast game the last two chukkers. It was a great game, so much fun!"

Roldan, always a force of nature, lit the afterburners in the second half. His second goal, which came in the fifth chukker and narrowed Valiente's lead to just one point, had a certain vehemence to it. After getting the ball away from Valiente, he whacked it so hard that his mallet head broke off and flew through the goal posts right alongside the ball.  Cambiaso reasserted himself in the final chukker. With a minute-and-a-half left in the game, he slammed the ball down the field, catching up with it as it headed toward goal. He slowed it down in front of the goal mouth and then tapped it in. Pieres answered with a field goal for FlexJet, ending the game 9-7.

Adolfo Cambiaso. Photo: Alex Pacheco
Adolfo Cambiaso. Photo: Alex Pacheco

"I thought Miguel and Nic and Gonzalito played really well," said Jornayvaz. As for Valiente, he said, "This was the first game the four of us have played together. They've played team practices, but I haven't even played with them because I've been traveling quite a bit. I feel like I know what Adolfo's going to do, but never having played with Guillermo or Alejo before, I didn't know what to expect today. It was just a good, hard, physical game, and we were lucky to come out on the top side."

Orchard Hill Shines in First 26 Goal Match Advances to C.V. Whitney Semifinals

Orchard Hill powered by a tough Las Monjitas team 16-11 to win their first 26-goal game in the C.V. Whitney Cup. The Orchard Hill lineup featured two Pieres cousins, Facundo and Polito, united on the same team for the first time, and the family connection paid off for Orchard Hill as the cousins combined for fourteen of their team's sixteen goals.

Las Monjitas                       Orchard Hill
Camilo Bautista   A               Steve van Andel   A
Facundo Sola   8T                 Ezequiel Ferrario   7
Eduardo N Astrada   9           Polito Pieres   9
Sebastian Merlos   9              Facundo Pieres   10

Polito Pieres and Eduardo N Astrada. Photo: Alex Pacheco.
Polito Pieres and Eduardo N Astrada. Photo: Alex Pacheco.

"It was fantastic!" said Polito Pieres about playing with his cousin Facundo Pieres. The two Pieres superstars have both experienced success and are proven goal scorers on separate teams in the past, and the combination of the two high scoring players proved explosive.  Facundo Pieres seemed equally pleased after the match. "It was our first game with the 26 goal team and we brought in some new horses as well. The new horses played well so that was good. Everything with the team was fine in practice but you never know in the games so we were a little scared. But I liked it in the game! The other team was tough but I felt we had them under control, it was a good way to start."

The first chukker started slow with most of the goals coming from penalty conversions by Orchard Hill. The lone exception was a splendid field goal set up by a bomb of a pass from Facundo Pieres at midfield to Polito, who had a horse length on his man running to goal. Orchard Hill took an early 4-1 lead and continued to outscore their orange clad opponents in the second chukker, stretching their lead out to 7-2.

Facundo Sola and Facundo Pieres (Photo: Alex Pacheco)
Facundo Sola and Facundo Pieres (Photo: Alex Pacheco)

Las Monjitas came alive in the third, winning lineups, hustling the Orchard Hill attackers and feeding the ball downfield.  Facundo Sola got the first goal from the field for Las Monjitas, dancing around the goal post and the other Facundo (Pieres) to light up the scoreboard. Las Monjitas went on to outscore Orchard Hill 3-1 in the third chukker, but the lone goal from Orchard Hill should have got extra for style points, it was that spectacular. Facundo Pieres took the ball out of the air and went down field effortlessly tapping it out of the air around the defenders, finishing with a neck shot to goal that started with the ball a yard high in air when he hit it.

Las Monjitas rode the momentum from their successful third chukker into the fourth chukker, and closed within two of Orchard Hill behind goals from Facundo Sola and Sebastian Merlos. But the Pieres show resumed in the fifth chukker and stopped the Las Monjitas comeback attempt. Facundo Pieres converted two penalty shots and scored back-to-back field goals by somehow outfoxing his defenders at midfield and scoring through the unguarded goal on two brilliant runs. The four goals by Facundo Pieres in the fifth chukker gave Orchard Hill a comfortable five goal lead heading into the sixth. Las Monjitas, a team of warriors, kept on fighting to the end, but Orchard Hill maintained the lead to finish the match 16-11 and move forward to the C.V. Whitney semifinals.

International Polo Club Palm Beach Fast Facts:
Created by players for players, the International Polo Club Palm Beach was born out of the dream to build a facility to showcase the incredible skills of the ponies and players that dominate the sport. Members and guests enjoy panoramic views of the action from field side box seats or lawn and terrace seating. Sponsors and fans convene at The Winners Circle to congratulate the players during the awards presentation following the games. Gourmet brunches, après polo celebrations and the prerequisite charitable events will take place in The Pavilion. Designed to accommodate large parties, corporate clients, as well as family and friends.

Featured Highlights:
Herbie Pennell Cup - 20 Goal
Jan. 1 - 4, 2015
Joe Barry Memorial Cup - 20 Goal
Jan. 4 - 25, 2015  
Ylvisaker Cup - 20 Goal
Jan. 28 - February 22, 2015 
Iglehart Cup - 20 Goal
Feb. 28 - March 8, 2015
USPA C.V. Whitney Cup - 26 Goal
Feb. 15 - March 1, 2015 
Piaget USPA Gold Cup® - 26 Goal
March 4 - March 22, 2015 
111th U.S. Open Polo Championship® - 26 Goal
March 25 - April 19, 2015

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