By: Rebecca Baldridge
Photos by: ChukkerTV
WELLINGTON, FL, May 17, 2021— Catamount defeated Seminole Creek Coconut Casino by 10-8 to capture the Grand Champion’s Spring Challenge title, while Newport bested Sebucan by 9-8 in the “Just for the Love of It” subsidiary when the game went into an overtime shoot-out.
On Sunday morning Seminole Casino Coconut Creek (Melissa Ganzi, Horacio Heguy, Alejandro Novillo Astrada, and Juan Bollini) met Catamount (Grant Ganzi, Marc Ganzi, Nic Roldan, and Scott Devon) in the final match of the Spring Challenge. Seminole Casino Coconut Creek, a 17-goal team, ceded three goals on handicap to 14-goal rated Catamount.
Scott Devon and Melissa Ganzi battle for possession of the ball
The final pitted Mother Melissa Ganzi against son Grant and husband Marc, making for some particularly competitive action on the field. Indeed, the first chukker was dominated by the family. Marc drew first blood by successfully converting a Penalty 2 early on, and just over two minutes into play Melissa tapped the ball through the posts on her third touch after she got out in front. With two minutes left on the clock, son Grant got his piece of the action, scoring on a pass from Nic Roldan. The chukker ended with Catamount in the lead by 5-1. Alejandro Novillo Astrada jumped out in front to score quickly at the beginning of the second period, with an answer from Roldan. The third chukker began with another goal from Roldan, who made an easy neck shot 30 seconds into play. Back-to-back goals from Melissa took Seminole Casino up to 4 on the board but a final goal from Grant ended the half with Seminole Casino down by 4, at 4-8.
Catamount‘s Marc Ganzi attempts to ride off Alejandro Novillo Astrada
Seminole Casino poured on the power in the fourth chukker, keeping Catamount off the board while Melissa scored another pair of back-to-back goals and Horacio Heguy knocked the ball through with 36 seconds left on the clock. Catamount’s frustration continued in the pentultimate chukker as Seminole Casino kept them off the goal and with 2:30 left on the clock, Alejandro Novillo Astrada passed the ball to Melissa, who tied the score at 8 all.
Grand Champions Best Playing Pony Pepa owned by Nic Roldan
With a tie going into the final chukker, Nic Roldan wasted no time and found the posts 30 seconds in. Playing a strong defense as well as offense, he was instrumental in keeping Seminole Casino from scoring again, and a spectacular play he started on the near side and finished on the offside put the icing on the cake. Catamount took the title with a final score of 10-8.
Pepa, played by Nic Roldan in the first half of the final chukker, was the Best Playing Pony. Roldan took the honors as MVP.
Spring Challenge Cup MVP Nic Roldan with awards presenter Olexa Celine
In earlier action, Sebucan (Leo Mandelbaum, Pablo Pulido, Tomacho Pieres, and Nacho Figueras) faced Newport (Gene Goldstein, Sugar Erskine, Justin Daniels, and Pablo Spinacci) in the “Just for the Love of It” subsidiary. Sebucan ceded one goal to Newport on handicap.
Newport’s Gene Goldstein was determined to capitalize on his team’s handicap advantage right out of the gate and scored a goal from the field before converting a Penalty 3. Pablo Pulido found the posts for Sebucan as the clock counted down under two minutes and the first period ended with Newport leading 3-1. Unfortunately for the team in white, they lost the momentum in the second period and failed to score, although a stong defense ensured that Sebucan’s only goal came from a Penalty 3 conversion by Pablo Pulido. The drought continued for Newport in the third period, while Leo Mandelbaum successfully shot from the penalty line and Nacho Figueras followed up with a goal from the field. A final goal from Pulido ended the half with Sebucan leading 5-3.
Sebucan‘s Pablo Pulido reaches for the ball with Pablo Spinacci defending
With 2:20 on the clock, Pablo Pulido found Leo Mandelbaum with a pass, leaving it to Mandelbaum to put the ball through the posts. Sugar Erskine ran the ball downfield, where Justin Daniels picked it up to score Newport’s first goal since Chukker One and end the period 6-4 with Sebucan in the lead. Although Newport wasn’t scoring, they were playing a highly effective defense. In the fifth chukker, two consecutive goals by Daniels tied the game up, but a Penalty 6 from Figueras put Sebucan back in front.
Leo Mandelbaum and Sugar Erskine racing down the field
In the final chukker, after Tomacho Pieres’ ball bounced off the post, Mandelbaum picked it up for the goal. Newport, down by two, roared to life with Daniels and Goldstein scoring to end the final chukker in an 8-8 tie. The game was decided with a shoot-out. Goldstein took the first shot , putting a goal on the board, but Pablo Pulido missed his shot. Newport won with a final score of 9-8.