The day saw all three patronas of the 20-goal tournament in action: Gillian Johnston (Coca-Cola), Maureen Brennan (Goose Creek) and Annabelle Gundlach (Postage Stamp).
Grand Champions Polo Club started off strong, holding the Coca-Cola offense at bay. While keeping the team in red from creating any scoring opportunities, Grand Champions turned their defense into offense. Ignacio Laprida led the way for Grand Champions early on, finishing off a couple long runs for goal. Meanwhile, Coca-Cola won 5 of the first 6 throw-ins but were only able to produce one shot on goal during the first two chukkers.
Throughout the game, Grand Champions had more scoring chances with 15 shots at goal. Yet they were only able to convert 5 of them, keeping their opponent in the game. Coca-Cola was limited to 7 attempts at goal, converting 4 for the game, which didn’t prove to be enough.
Any difficulty Grand Champions had from the field didn’t translate to the penalty line, as once again, team captain Nic Roldan maintained his trademark consistency. He was 5 of 7 on his penalty shots, bringing his tournament record to 10 of 13 (77%).
Constant pressure from Laprida, Roldan and Bollini, as Ganzi pushed Grand Champions forward, made it a difficult day for Julio Arellano and Julian de Lusarreta. Grand Champions Polo Club left the field with a 10-6 win in their pocket and a 2-0 record in the Joe Barry Memorial.
“We played well and made a lot of improvements from our last game. Grant played a very solid game, and we kept organized. We have a fun young team, and we’re all hitting the ball and keeping things moving,” said Roldan. “It’s always tough to play Coca-Cola; they’re always a super-competitive team and one of the best teams in the tournament. It was just more our day. We kept putting on pressure and stuck to our system, and it worked out really well.”
Grand Champions patron Grant Ganzi was selected as MVP. “Cubana,” played by Roldan, was named Best Playing Pony.
Having won an exciting overtime game last week, Postage Stamp Farm was looking for another victory Sunday. However, they ran into a tough Goose Creek team paced by the powerful father-son duo of Mariano and Peke Gonzalez. Goose Creek got off to a quick start and a 3-0 lead by capitalizing on 4 fouls by Postage Stamp in the first chukker. Although those fouls only resulted in a single penalty shot, Mariano Gonzalez initiated Goose Creek’s spot hits and found Peke, who converted two goals from the field.
Goose Creek finished off a strong first half leading 6-3, with Mariano Gonzalez scoring one goal from the field and one from the penalty line. The second half saw more of the same. Mariano ran in a goal off a throw-in, while Peke made an amazing run with Brandon Phillips on his hip to finish with a slick nearside neck shot.
Dominant in his first game of the tournament, Kris Kampsen made an impressive debut but was contained by the Goose Creek defense, which limited his chance to hit penalty shots. Only committing 6 fouls throughout the game, Goose Creek gave Kampsen 4 penalty attempts. He converted 3 of them and added one more goal from the field to lead the Postage Stamp Farm team with 5 goals.
Ultimately, however, Goose Creek controlled open play and converted 10 of 13 shots (77%) while limiting the opportunities for Postage Stamp throughout the game. Goose Creek came out with an 11-7 victory to put both teams at 1 win and 1 loss leading into a crucial final bracket game.
The Joe Barry Memorial resumes Wednesday with a faceoff between powerhouses Villa del Lago and Tonkawa at noon. La Indiana takes on Mt. Brilliant at 3 p.m.
Prof. Paola Maldonado
News: Kayla Anderson, IPC Press
PH: David Lominska