Wellington, FL - Oct. 6, 2013 - Audi won its first tournament of the fall season with a hardfought 12-11 victory over Newport Sunday in the championship final of the USPA Fall Classic presented by the Tackeria at Grand Champions Polo Club. Led by a balanced scoring attack, Audi held off upset-minded Newport in the final chukker.
Audi's Brandon Phillips' goal with assists from Marc Ganzi and Juan Bollini turned out to be the winning goal after Newport chipped away at Audi's 11-8 lead after five chukkers with three unanswered goals in the sixth chukker.
Phillips was joined by father-and-son Juan and Juancito Bollini and Marc Ganzi on the winning team. Newport featured Gene Goldstein, Guille (Gigi) Aguerro, Luis Escobar and Kaisser Maakar.
"At one point it was 11-6 in the fifth chukker," Bollini said. "It was hot and we didn't push that hard saving the horses and saving ourselves. I think our team played pretty well. Every goal that we scored was passing the ball and boom, boom, boom. We played as a team, everyone knew their position.
"The win was good and I am always happy to win a tournament especially with my son," Bollini said. "That was a tough team, they played very well. Gigi was very good."
Aguerro, 36, of Wellington was named Most Valuable Player after sparking two Newport comebacks including the game-winner in overtime in Friday's 9-8 semifinal win against Casablanca and near-upset on Sunday, scoring two goals in the sixth chukker.
Aguerro finished with 10 goals in two games including a game-high six goals in the championship.
"I am very happy with my game and with everything," said Aguerro, who started playing polo when he was 12 in Argentina. "It's been quite a while since I won MVP. This is my first time playing at Grand Champions, the competition is very good. I love the caliber of polo here. I will be playing here for the next two months."
"This was a good game, a fast, open game and not many fouls," Aguerro said. "It was close and that's what made it exciting. Our team played very well. The horses are getting better and we are getting used to each other."
It was Newport's second appearance in a championship final in two weeks. Last weekend Newport lost in the final, 11-8, to Paladin.
"It was our defense," said Goldstein. "When we tightened up the defense things broke for Luis and Gigi and we didn't let them get free runs at the ball. When Kaisser and I got out of position, our defense broke down and they were able to score.
"Gigi played great, it was fun playing with him, I have never played with him before," Goldstein said. "I am very happy he got MVP. It was a great tournament. The team played well and we made a lot of improvement. That was a very tough team."
At 17, Juancito Bollini felt like he was playing with three coaches on the field. "It's a great learning experience for me," said the Florida Atlantic University freshman. "I am learning from everyone and that's what's important. I love this team. I love playing with them, they all teach me."
Said his father, "Juan is young and has so much potential. He is playing very well."
In the consolation game, Beluga bounced back from its 11-4 loss to Audi in Friday's semifinal, to defeat Casablanca, 10-7. Beluga featured Misha Rodzianko, Carlitos Gracida, Leo Mandelbaum and Joey Casey. Casablanca's lineup was Grant Ganzi, Matt Coppola, Kris Kampsen and Wes Finlayson.
Mandelbaum, last weekend's MVP for Paladin, led scoring with four goals. Gracida and Rodzianko each scored three goals. For Casablanca which picked up one goal by handicap, Kampsen had three goals, Matt Coppola scored two and Grant Ganzi had one.
"I think everyone just played well today, that was the difference between today and the semifinal," said Joey Casey, recovering from a week-long virus. "The other team played good, too, they just had some bad breaks."
The USPA Fall Classic, presented by the Tackeria, was the second of nine tournaments scheduled for the fall at Grand Champions, including two 20-goal tournaments in November for the club's sixth season.
Grand Champions Polo Club's expanded boutique, supervised by Jennifer Guinan, made its home debut and was open for business during the games. A variety of Grand Champions merchandise and clothing will be sold throughout the season. Several players will model merchandise and sign autographs in the boutique during tournaments.
Presenting tournament sponsor Tackeria, located at 13501 South Shore Boulevard in Wellington, is a complete equestrian shop catering to all horse sports including polo. The store carries a full range of polo gear, saddles and apparel.
The remaining Grand Champions fall tournaments are the Oct. 13-15 USPA Kay Colee Memorial Tournament; Oct. 18-20 US Trust Cup, Oct. 25-27 USPA Fall Plates; Nov.1-3 Pedro Morrison Memorial and Nov. 8-10 Palm Restaurant Invitational.
The two 20-goal tournaments are the prestigious Oct. 30-Nov. 9 USPA North America Cup and Nov. 13-24 The National 20-Goal Championship.
During the 2012 fall season, Audi dominated the season winning back-to-back USPA North America Cup and USPA National 20-Goal Tournament titles with Marc Ganzi, Carlitos Gracida, Nic Roldan and Carlos Gracida. In the national 20-goal final, Audi edged Piaget, 10-9.
The fall season, great preparation for the upcoming 20- and 26-goal seasons in Wellington, is fun and competitive. Rosters and lineups change from tournament to tournament. Evenly-matched teams are put together to help build players skills and performance.
All tournaments are USPA-sanctioned and have grown in stature since their start in the mid-1990s.
GRAND CHAMPIONS FALL SCHEDULE
Oct. 13-15, USPA Kay Colee Memorial
Oct. 18-20, US Trust Cup
Oct. 25-27, USPA Fall Plates
Oct. 30-Nov. 9, USPA North America Cup
Nov. 1-3, Pedro Morrison Memorial
Nov. 8-10, Palm Restaurant Invitational
Nov. 13-24,The National 20-Goal Championship
GRAND CHAMPIONS POLO CLUB
WHERE: 13444 Southfields Road, on the corner of South Shore Boulevard and Lake Worth Road, Wellington, 561-644-5050.
INFORMATION: There are great field side views for tournament action at the home base of pro team Audi. Everyone is welcome to watch high and medium goal polo in a relaxed atmosphere during the spring and fall tournament season and other special events including the International Cup in November, Buzz Welker Memorial Junior Tournament in March, Women's Championship Tournament and Gay Polo League International Tournament, both in April.