By US Senior Correspondent Alex Webbe
In the final of the 2015 East Coast Open, Team Audi, including Marc Ganzi (+1), Miguel Novillo Astrada (+9), Nic Roldan (+8) and Juancito Bollini (+2), defeated Team White Birch, consisting of Santino Magrini (0), Hilario Ulloa (+9), Mariano Aguerre (+9) and Peter Brant (+2) by 14-13 in overtime to win the USPA East Coast Open championship at Greenwich Polo Club in Greenwich, CT.
In the final match Audi was looking to make up for an earlier 13-9 loss to White Birch in preliminary tournament but were forced to watch White Birch team captain Peter Brant score on a pass for the early 1-0 lead. Miguel Novillo Astrada tied the game with just 108 on the clock and Astrada’s second goal of the chukks came with less than 30 seconds on the clock and had Audi riding off the field with a 2-1 advantage over the defending East Coast Open champion.
Hilario Ulloa tied the game up in the opening minute of the second chukka, 2-2, on a penalty conversion. Astrada responded with a penalty goal of his own. Audi took the lead back, 3-2. Ulloa leveled the score once again, 3-3, and gave the lead to White birch with his third goal of the game, 4-3. Ulloa made it 5-3 with a 40-yard penalty goal before Astrada got Audi on the scoreboard with a goal at the 2:22 mark. White Birch continued to lead, 5-4. Ulloa’s fourth goal of the chukka came in the final 22 seconds of play and left Audi trailing by two, 6-4.
Marc Ganzi scored on a pass from the throw in as the third chukka got underway and cut the White Birch lead back to a single goal, 6-5. Less than two minutes into the chukka Ulloa scored again, 7-5. Astrada took advantage of a White Birch foul and scored on a penalty shot for the final goal of the first half. White Birch continued to lead but Audi was breathing down their neck, 7-6.
Roldan tied the game less than two minutes into the fourth chukka, converting a backhand pass from Astrada to make it 7-7. Aguerre countered with a goal from the ensuing throw-in as White Birch assumed the lead again, 8-7. Ulloa made it 9-7 on a 60-yard penalty conversion. A dangerous riding call on Audi moved the ball to the 30-yard line where Ulloa converted the penalty shot as White Birch stretched the lead to three goals, 10-7. Audi pressed the attack from the following throw-in and were fouled by White Birch as they approached the goal. The foul sent Astrada to the 30-yard line where he converted the penalty shot for an Audi goal to end the chukka trailing White Birch, 10-8.
Audi took the reins in the fifth chukka. Roldan drove a neck shot through the White Birch goalposts in the opening minute of play, 10-9. White birch fouls were costly as Astrada capitalized a back to back 30-yard penalty shot that tied the game at 10-10 and then gave Audi the lead, 11-10. Ulloa scored on a penalty shot of his own with just 8 seconds on the clock that had White Birch in the lead, 12-11.
Miguel Astrada continued to amaze the spectators scoring his ninth goal of the game in the opening minutes of the sixth chukka, 12-12. Fourteen-year-old Santino Magrini scored his first goal of the game for a 13-12 White Birch advantage with time running down. An Audi foul sent Ulloa to the penalty line where he lined up for a 60-yard attempt. The shot was blocked by Astrada and knocked wide of the goal for a Safety. The re-shoot by Ulloa went wide and Audi knocked in. A drive down the field put the pressure on the White Birch defense, and a well-placed backhander by Astrada had Ganzi streaking for the goal. A White Birch cross gave Audi a penalty shot that Astrada converted to tie it up, 13-13, and force the game into a sudden-death overtime.
After a brief intermission both teams returned to the field with fresh mounts. White Birch was on the attack when Audi reversed the field on them. Ganzi took the ball and sent it down the field, passing it ahead to Roldan who carried it to the White Birch to score the winning goal in the first minute of overtime, 14-13.
Astrada scored ten goals for the Audi win and earned MVP honors for his efforts. Roldan added three goals and Ganzi scored once. Ulloa scored ten goals for White Birch. Brant. Aguerre and Magrini each added single goals in the loss. Mariano Aguerre’s Machitos Avispa was named Best Playing Pony.
About The United States Polo Association®
Founded in 1890, the United States Polo Association (USPA) is the national governing body for the sport of polo in North America and is the second oldest sport governing body in the United States preceded only by the United States Tennis Association. With nearly 300 member clubs and 40 national tournaments, the USPA governs polo handicaps, tournament rules and safety regulations, to ensure the welfare and well being of both horse and player. Funded by sales from the officially licensed consumer brand, U.S. Polo Assn., the USPA purposefully re-invests revenue by underwriting numerous development programs to expand and sustain the sport of polo.
For more information please visit www.uspolo.org
About Greenwich Polo Club
Established in 1981 by Peter Brant, the Greenwich Polo Club is the venue for high-goal polo during the summer season in the U.S. Nestled in the beautiful backcountry of Greenwich, CT and internationally recognized for its rosters of legendary teams and players, Greenwich Polo Club hosts public USPA high-goal polo matches on Sundays throughout the summer.
For more information please visit www.greenwichpoloclub.com
1 – Peter Orthwein (0)
2 – Guillermo Agüero (+6)
3 – Matias Magrini (+8)
4 – Michel Dorignac (+6)
1 – Marc Ganzi (+1)
2 – Miguel Novillo Astrada (+9)
3 – Nic Roldan (+8)
4 – Juancito Bollini (+2)
1 – Bash Kazi (0)
2 – Valerio Zubiaurre (+7)
3 – Mariano Obregon (+7)
4 – Pelon Escapite (+6)
Turkish Airlines (+17)
1 – Bruce Colley / Joseph Meyer (+1)
2 – Joaquin Panelo (+4)
3 – Tomas Garcia del Rio (+8)
4 – Stevie Orthwein (+4)
McLaren Greenwich (+19)
1 – Christopher Brant (+1)
2 – Nick Manifold (+5)
3 – Joao Paulo Ganon (+7)
4 – Tommy Biddle (+6)
White Birch (+20)
1 – Santino Magrini (0)
2 – Hilario Ulloa (+9)
3 – Mariano Aguerre (+9)
4 – Peter Brant (+2)