By Alex Webbe
Aspen Valley Polo Club (Marc Ganzi, Nic Roldan, Carlitos Gracida and Charles Armstrong) wins the Mt. Sopris Cup in round-robin action at the Aspen Valley Polo Club Sunday afternoon in one of polo’s most picturesque settings.
The first three chukkers of competition featured Flight Options (Melissa Ganzi, Lucas Lalor, Juan Bollini and Hannah Buchan) and Audi (Daren Tamplin, Grant Ganzi, Miguel Novillo Astrada and Juancito Bollini).
Miguel Novillo Astrada scored the first goal of the game for a 1-0 Audi lead. Flight Options responded with a penalty conversion from Lucas Lalor to end the first period all even at 1-1.
A defensive second chukker saw Astrada account for the only goal of the mini-match. The lead went to Audi, 2-1, with one chukker left to play.
Neither team’s offense was in rhythm as they battled through the final chukker. A goal from Melissa Ganzi tied the game at 2-2 for the final chukker of play.
Aspen Valley 6, Flight Options 5
Flight Options held the field for the second set of chukkers with a fresh Aspen Valley Polo team riding onto the field. Juan Bollini scored the first goal from the field for Flight Options, but an invigorated Aspen Valley team roared back. Consecutive goals from Carlitos Gracida had Flight Options trailing 2-1 at the end of the opening chukker.
Bollini tied it at 2-2 with a goal in the second. Marc Ganzi converted a penalty shot for a 3-2 Aspen Valley lead. Lucas Lalor scored on a penalty shot moments later to deadlock it at 3-3. Marc Ganzi’s second penalty goal was followed by a goal from the field from American 8-goaler Nic Roldan. With one chukker left to play Aspen Valley was in front by two goals, 5-3.
Flight Options got single goals from Lalor and Melissa Ganzi, but a goal from the field from Marc Ganzi provided the cushion as Aspen Valley rode on to a 6-5 win.
Aspen Valley 6, Audi 6
In the final three chukkers of the tournament Aspen Valley would face Audi, with the winner winning the cup. Marc Ganzi scored from the field for an early 1-0 Aspen Valley lead. Juancito Bollini converted a penalty shot to tie it at 1-1.
The two teams erupted with goals in the second period with Aspen Valley getting single goals from Nic Roldan, Marc Ganzi (penalty goal) and Gracida. With one chukker left to play, Aspen Valley was riding a narrow 4-3, one goal lead.
Consecutive goals from Marc Ganzi and Gracida extended the Aspen Valley lead to three goals, 6-3 with time running out on Audi. A determined last ditch effort saw Audi pick up goals from Astrada (penalty conversion), Daren Tamplin and Juancito Bollini to end the game in a 6-6 tie.
After nine chukkers of fast and furious polo, Aspen Valley emerged the victor with one win and one tie. Marc Ganzi led all scoring on the day with six goals. Nic Roldan was named MVP and Monarca, five-year-old gray Thoroughbred mare earned Best Playing Pony honors. Monarca is owned by Halo Polo and was played by Miguel Novillo Astrada.