GREENWICH, Ct., September 1, 2016---With a “that’s more like it attitude,” defending champion Audi remained undefeated in the USPA East Coast Open Wednesday at Greenwich Polo Club.
The foursome of Marc Ganzi, Leo Mandelbaum, Nic Roldan and Sebastian Merlos played textbook polo to defeat Tupungato, 13-7, in front of a worldwide ChukkerTV audience.
After escaping with an 11-10 win over Airstreamon Sunday, Audi took charge early and dominated Tupungato in the first half with a strong offensive attack, building an 8-1 lead after three chukkers.
Audi’s aggressive defense held Tupungato (Luis Rinaldini, Santi Torres, Gaston Lisioli, Naco Taverna) scoreless in the first half. The only Tupungato first-half goal was awarded on handicap for the 19-goal team.
Audi (2-0) is the only undefeated team in Bracket I play. Postage Stamp and Airstream are 1-1 and Tupungato is 0-2. Audi plays Postage Stamp Farmon Sunday at 3 p.m. at the polo grounds at Bethpage State Park in the heart of Nassau County.
Audi’s new-look lineup worked well as a team for most of the game. Audi led 4-1, 6-1 and 8-1 in the first three chukkers.
Tupungato got its first goal from the field at the 4:45 mark in the fourth chukker when Torres scored. Audi continued to stretch its lead in the second half, 9-3 and 12-5 before Tupungato outscored Audi, 2-1, in the final chukker.
“We knew we didn’t play well that first game and were lucky to get a win, but we needed a game to adjust to each other,” Roldan said. “Today was so much better in every way. We know the teams are going to get tougher but this was a huge confidence-builder for us as a new team.”
The teamwork between Ganzi and Mandelbaum bringing the team forward and Merlos and Roldan playing off each other gave Audi the upper hand in every chukker. Audi won 95 percent of the bowl-ins, moved the ball, rotated players well and converted its penalty shots.
“With every game hopefully we will get better and peak at the right time,” Roldan said.
Audi got balanced scoring from Roldan who led with five goals followed by Merlos with four, Ganzi with three and Mandelbaum with one. Merlos and Mandelbaum are making their Audi ECO debut and finding the chemistry with mainstays Ganzi and Roldan that was missing in the first game.
Taverna led Tupungato with three goals.
In Wednesday’s second game, Postage Stamp Farm, making its ECO debut, suffered its first loss in the eight-team tournament to Airstream, 13-7, at Mashomack Polo Club.
Audi of America and its’ 29 Tri-State Audi dealers is presenting sponsor. Audi and its’ U.S. dealers offer a full line of German-engineered luxury cars. AUDI AG is among the most successful luxury automotive brands globally. Audi broke all-time company sales records for the sixth straight year in the U.S.
ChukkerTV is live streaming every preliminary, semifinal and final game. U.S. Polo Assn. is sponsoring the ECO broadcast. U.S. Polo Assn. is the official global apparel brand of the USPA, the governing body for the sport in the U.S. since 1890.
The U.S. Polo Assn. brand carries an extensive collection of classically styled, high quality, casual clothing from polo shirts and tees to khakis and hoodies for men, women and children.
ChukkerTV, an independent media company based in Wellington, was the first to introduce state-of-the-art live streaming technology in January 2014 at Grand Champions Polo Club. One of the biggest highlights for polo players is the use of technology in live streaming, instant replays and team reviews.
NBC Sports Network will air a 60-minute taped broadcast on Sept. 17 at 3 p.m. with drone aerials and instant replays for team challenges also provided by ChukkerTV.
The East Coast Open began in 1905 in Rhode Island and was played until World War I. It was resurrected in 1978 by former USPA President Donald Little at the Myopia Polo Club in South Hamilton, Mass. White Birch padron Peter Brant started hosting the tournament in the early 2000’s at Greenwich Polo Club.
The USPA was organized and exists for the purpose of promoting the game of polo, coordinating the activities of its member clubs and registered players, arranging and supervising polo tournaments, competitions, and games and providing rules, handicaps, and conditions for those tournaments, competitions, and games including the safety and welfare of participants and mounts.
2016 EAST COAST OPEN RESULTS/SCHEDULE
SATURDAY, AUG. 27: Goose Creek 15, Beluga 11; White Birch 12, Faraway 6.
SUNDAY, AUG. 28: Audi 11, Airstream 10; Postage Stamp Farm 12, Tupungato 7.
TUESDAY, AUG. 30: White Birch 14, Goose Creek 9.
WEDNESDAY, AUG. 31: Audi 13, Tupungato 7; Airstream 13, Postage Stamp Farm 7.
THURSDAY, SEPT. 1: 5 p.m., Faraway vs. Beluga.
SATURDAY, SEPT. 3: 10 a.m., Beluga vs. White Birch; 4 p.m., Airstream vs. Tupungato.
SUNDAY, SEPT. 4: 3 p.m., Goose Creek vs. Faraway at Greenwich; 3 p.m.; Audi vs. Postage Stamp Farm at Bethpage.
TUESDAY, SEPT. 6: TBD, Tommy B. Glynn Semifinal Game 1.
WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 7: TBD, ECO Semifinal Game 1, ECO Semifinal Game 2.
THURSDAY, SEPT. 8: TBD, Tommy B. Glynn Semifinal Game 2.
SATURDAY, SEPT. 10: TBD, Tommy B. Glynn Final; 4 p.m., Governor’s Cup.
SUNDAY, Sept. 11: 3 p.m., ECO Finals.
By Arianna Delin, Sharon Robb