by U.S. Correspondent Alex Webbe

Valiente (Bob Jornayvaz, Santi Torres, Sapo Caset and Adolfo Cambiaso) broke open a tight game against Orchard Hill (Steve Van Andel, Santiago Chavanne, Pablo MacDonough and Matias MacDonough) with a strong fifth chukker that gave them a 12-8 lead, an edge they held through a scoreless sixth chukker to win the 2014 C.V. Whitney Cup at the International Polo Club Sunday afternoon. Behind the leadership of 10-goaler Adolfo Cambiaso, who had been injured in semifinal action (elbow), Valiente was able to bust the game open, scoring seven times in the fourth and fifth periods, and ride on to the win.

In a defensively-oriented opening chukker, Cambiaso scored the only goal midway through the period for a humble 1-0 lead. Santi Torres converted a 60-yard Safety to open the second, 2-0. Consecutive goals from Pablo MacDonough and his brother, Matias MacDonough (60-yard penalty conversion) tied it up at 2-2. Sapo Caset broke the tie with a short penalty shot for a goal, 3-2, and Torres made it 4-2 on a great individual effort in the final second of the chukker. Steve Van Andel scored for Orchard Hill to open the third, 4-3, but Cambiaso responded with a goal from the field for a 5-3 Valiente advantage. Santiago Chavanne kept the pressure on Valiente with the final goal of the period. Valiente continued to lead, but Orchard Hill was within a goal of the lead. Caset converted a 40-yard penalty shot for a goal to open the second half, followed by a goal from the field from the 9-goaler, 7-4. The MacDonough brothers responded in kind, with single goals from Pablo and then Matias to bring Orchard Hill to within a goal, 7-6.Caset converted a penalty shot for a goal and Cambiaso added a goal from the field for Valiente, 9-6. Pablo MacDonough scored on a 40-yard penalty shot to end the chukker trailing Valiente, 9-7.

Valiente’s pace seemed to quicken in the fifth. Cambiaso scored back-to-back goals for a comfortable 11-7 lead. Matias MacDonough converted a 30-yard penalty shot, 11-8, but Caset countered with a penalty goal of his own. The fifth period ended with Valiente on top of a 12-8 score. Orchard Hill did everything they could to get back into the game in the sixth, but there was no give y the Valiente defense. The two teams played without a score in the final chukker despite a number of near scores. When the final horn sounded, Valiente celebrated the 12-8 win.

Cambiaso and Caset led the Valiente attack with five goals each. Torres added a pair of goals for the victory and was named MVP. The MacDonough brothers scored three goals apiece. Van Andel and Chavanne each added a goal in a losing effort. Bob Jornayvaz’s horse, Boeing, (played by Cambiaso) received Best Playing Pony honors.

FLIGHT OPTIONS WINS
A confident Audi team (Marc Ganzi, Gonzalito Pieres, Rodrigo Andrade and Gonzalo Del Tour) took the field against Flight Options (Grant Ganzi, Eduardo Astrada, Miguel Astrada and Alejandro Astrada) in a lineup that had Grant Ganzi replacing his mother, Melissa Ganzi, but came up short, 11-10, in the finals of the 2014 Les Armour Memorial Cup (the subsidiary of the C. V. Whitney Cup) earlier in the day.

A pair of first chukker goals from 10-goaler Gonzalito Pieres went unanswered as Audi left the field after the first seven minutes of play with a 2-0 lead. The two teams exchanged goals in the second period with Miguel Astrada scoring from the field while his brother Alejandro Astrada scored on a 30-yard penalty shot. Audi picked up a 60-yard penalty goal from Pieres and a goal from the field from Gonzalo Del Tour. Audi remained on top, 4-2. Flight Options cut into the Audi lead in the third. Following a goal from Rodrigo Andrade, 5-2, Flight Options answered back with two goals from Alejandro Astrada (one on a penalty shot). Audi’s lead had been pared down to a single goal at the end of the first half, 5-4.

Eduardo Astrada exploded for three goals in the fourth chukker and Miguel Astrada added another while holding Audi scoreless. Flight Options blasted ahead of a bewildered Audi foursome by three goals, 8-5. Pieres scored three consecutive goals to open the fifth chukker, tying Flight Options, 8-8. Alejandro Astrada converted a penalty shot for a 9-8 Flight Options lead followed by a single goal from Eduardo Astrada that ended the chukker with Audi behind by two goals, 10-8. Del tour opened the sixth with a pair of goals from the field that deadlocked it at 10-10, but Flight Options wasn’t willing to let the game slip away. Alejandro Astrada’s fifth goal of the game carried the day and delivered the Les Armour Memorial Cup to Flight Options, 11-10. Pieres led all scoring with six goals. Del Tour scored three goals and Andrade added a goal in the loss. Alejandro Astrada scored three of his team-high five goals on penalty shots. Eduardo Astrada added four goals and Miguel Astrada was credited with two goals in the win.
Audi’s Rodrigo Andrade was named MVP while Pieres‘s Consagrada received Best Playing Pony honors.

High-goal action will continue on Wednesday, March 5th with Faraway (Hutton Goodman, Martin Pepa, Santiago Chavanne and Mariano Gonzalez) meeting Los Machitos/Heathcote (Steve Lefkowitz, sterling Giannico, Matias Magrini and Hilario Ulloa).