Wellington, FL - Oct. 18, 2013 - For the second week in a row, Casablanca and ELG will meet Sunday in the championship final at Grand Champions Polo Club. Casablanca, winners of last weekend's USPA Kay Colee Memorial Cup, will play ELG in the US Trust Cup presented by Polo Gear at 10 a.m. ELG (Equine Law Group) will get the opportunity to avenge its 10-7 loss to Casablanca in the fourth tournament of the fall season. Both finalists survived round robin play featuring six teams on Friday at Palm City Polo Club in Boca Raton and Grand Champions. In the opening round robin, ELG (Avery Chapman, Marc Ganzi, Carlitos Gracida, Nic Roldan) topped Audi (Melissa Ganzi, Juan Bollini, Brandon Phillips, Leo Mandelbaum) and Beluga (Misha Rodzianko, Mariano Gracida, Joey Casey, Carlos Diaz) at Palm City. "It was a fun game among friends and very competitive, the right kind of polo we want to play," Chapman said. "Second week in a row we are in the finals."
ELG defeated Beluga, 6-2, in the opening game with Roldan scoring a game-high three goals. Audi then defeated Beluga, 8-1, holding them scoreless except for one goal by handicap. Melissa Ganzi scored a game-high four goals, including three unanswered goals in the opening chukker. Mandelbaum and Phillips each added two goals.
In the third and final game, ELG jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the opening chukker with two cut-shot goals from Marc Ganzi, was held scoreless in the last two chukkers and held on for a 5-4 win over Audi. Phillips and Bollini each scored two goals.
It was a key defensive bump by Chapman against Mandelbaum in the final minute that averted overtime. "It was a tale of two cities," said ELG's Marc Ganzi. "We played really well the first chukker and then went to sleep the last two and hung on. If that was a six-chukker match, we would have lost, but thankfully it wasn't so we get to move on, that's good news. "We played four really good chukkers today and the last two we got too relaxed, but we'll do better on Sunday," Ganzi said.
Roldan said team chemistry was the key. "We played really well as a team," Roldan said. "We started off super strong and got a little comfortable in the end."
"I always say it's good to play with your friends and it makes for a relaxing game," Chapman said. "I think we played as a team. We got a little comfortable which can happen when you jump out ahead. It's tough to be a frontrunner, then you have to be careful, you can't relax too much. They're a good team, we gave them a little bit of a hole and they almost came back. I really credit the other team for a lot of try and almost getting us. We had a bump at the last play to avoid them tying and going through."
In the second round robin, Casablanca (Juancito Bollini, Grant Ganzi, Wes Finlayson, Mike Azzaro) outlasted Newport (Kaisser Maakar, Gene Goldstein, Michel Dorignac, Luis Escobar) and Palm House (Glenn Straub, Kris Kampsen, Guille (Gigi) Aguero, Charles Armstrong).
In the opening game, Casablanca defeated Palm House, 6-2, getting balanced scoring from Bollini, Azzaro and Finlayson with two goals apiece.
Newport then edged Palm House, 6-5, with two goals each from Goldstein, Dorignac and Escobar. Casablanca eliminated Newport, 9-5, in the final game. Finlayson and Azzaro each had three goals.
After the championship final at 10, a consolation game will follow at noon and runner-up match at 2 p.m., all at Grand Champions.
During Sunday's exciting day of polo, the Wellington Chamber of Commerce trustees, members and guests will be hosted by Grand Champions Polo Club to help kick off the fall polo season and Wellington Green Market. Guests will be treated to an authentic Argentine Asado, beverages and special gift from the Wellington Green Market.
Polo Gear is this week's presenting sponsor. Polo Gear USA manufactures, distributes and sells polo products to players, teams and polo events worldwide. Polo Gear Wellington's Showroom and Warehouse is located at 3500 Fairlane Farms Rd #15 and is the local distributor.
In the showroom, there is a pictorial history of polo and polo memorabilia. The walls are lined with team jerseys and uniforms from the world's top teams, pictures of top players and celebrities, game action photos, trophies and mementos.
The shop serves as Polo Gear's wholesale and custom team order showroom. Its display room and warehouse is stocked with Polo Gear products.
Store hours are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. and Saturday 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Visitors are welcome.
GRAND CHAMPIONS FALL SCHEDULE
Oct. 18-20, US Trust Cup presented by Polo Gear
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.