Flight Options and CT Energia in Pedro Morrison Memorial final
By Alex Webbe
After wins over Team USPA (Jared Sheldon, Jesse Bray, Patrick Uretz and Mason Wroe) and Casablanca (Grant Ganzi, Juancito Bollini, Jeff Hall and Julio Gracida), CT Energia (Marc Ganzi, Jared Zenni, Nic Roldan and Carlitos Gracida) locked up a berth in Sunday’s 3PM final of the 2014 Pedro Morrison Memorial Cup Friday afternoon at the Grand Champions Polo Club in Wellington.
It was Casablanca that won the opening three chukkers of the second tournament round-robin in a hotly contested 5-4 win over Team USPA.
Casablanca received one goal by handicap from the 14-goal Team USPA, but it was Team USPA who opened the game with a flourish behind two goals from an aggressive Jared Sheldon at the Number 1 position. Sheldon took a pass from the opening throw-in and streaked down the field to score the first goal of the game. His second goal came in the final minute of play. Casablanca was unable to score from the field in the opening seven minutes and fell behind 2-1.
A penalty conversion by Grant Ganzi at the 4:04 mark of the second period finally got Casablanca on the scoreboard, 2-1. Julio Gracida tied it up with his first goal of the day with just 51 seconds left on the clock. At the end of the second chukker Casablanca had taken the lead, 3-2.
Patrick Uretz tried it up at 3-3 in the opening minute of the third period followed by a go-ahead goal from teammate Sheldon at 5:49. Ganzi’s second penalty conversion of the mini-match tied it at 4-4 just a minute later with Gracida scoring the game winner on a beautifully executed nearside neck-shot from 90-yards out.
CT Energia 7, Team USPA 6
Team USPA remained on the field for the second round of play against CT Energia and the tempo increased. Once again it was Sheldon scoring the opening goal, but CT Energia fought back with consecutive goals from American 8-goaler Nic Roldan. Team USPA trailed 2-1 at the end of the opening chukker.
Roldan converted a penalty shot in the opening seconds of the second period followed by a goal from the field from Jared Zenni (substituting for Alessandro Bazzoni) who scored from the ensuing throw-in, 4-1. Jesse Bray got Team USPA on the scoreboard with a penalty goal, but Zenni scored his second goal of the day to extend the CT Energia lead back to three goals, 5-2. Patrick Uretz scored the final goal of the chukker to cut the CT Energia lead back to two goals, 5-3, to close out the period.
An impressive goal from Bray at the 5:53 mark opened the third and final chukker for Team USPA, cutting the CT Energia lead to a single goal, 5-4. Two minutes later Zenni responded with a goal for CT Energia, 6-4. Bray buried a well-executed neck-shot at 2:41, 6-5, but it was countered by Carlitos Gracida on a tail-shot just a minute later, 7-5. Sheldon scored the final goal of the game with just 24 seconds on the clock as CT Energia registered the 7-6 win.
CT Energia 8, Casablanca 5
The final three chukkers of the day pitted CT Energia against a youthful Casablanca lineup. The winner would earn a spot in Sunday’s Pedro Morrison Memorial Cup final against Flight Options (Melissa Ganzi, Guille Aguero, Juan Bollini and Wes Finlayson), the winners of Thursday’s round-robin.
Casablanca received one goal by handicap from the 14-goal CT Energia team, with Carlitos Gracida tying it up, 1-1, at 6:20 with a goal from the field. Julio Gracida gave the lead back to Casablanca, 2-1, with a 60-yard penalty conversion just a minute later. Consecutive goals from Nic Roldan had CT Energia leading, 3-2 with 1:30 left in the period, but a foul send Ganzi to the penalty line where he converted the shot to tie it up at three goals apiece.
Goals were hard to come by in the second period with Carlitos Gracida finally getting CT Energia on the scoreboard with just 2:29 left in the chukker. Jared Zenni scored with just 40 seconds remaining to put CT Energia on top, 5-3.
Roldan opened the final chukker with a goal from the field (6:03) for a three goals lead, 6-3. Ganzi countered with a goal of his own (5:09), 6-4. Roldan converted a 40-yard penalty shot for a goal followed by a goal from the field from Zenni as CT Energia stretched their lead to four goals, 8-4, with less than two minutes remaining in the game. With just 29 seconds on the clock, Ganzi scored the final goal of the game, but it was CT Energia that rode off the field with the 8-5 victory and a date with Flight Options in Sunday’s tournament final.