> MORE NEWS > Newport Captures Fall Plates Tournament At Grand Champions; Gene Goldstein MVP

Newport Captures Fall Plates Tournament At Grand Champions; Gene Goldstein MVP

On a perfect day for polo, Newport captured its first tournament title of the fall season Sunday at Grand Champions Polo Club.

Fall Plates champion Newport with happy teammates Juan Bollini, Gene Goldstein, Jason Crowder and Kris Kampsen.
By: Sharon Robb

After dominating Friday’s opening round robin, Newport (Gene Goldstein, 1, Jason Crowder, 6, Kris Kampsen, 6, Juan Bollini, 5) came back to defeat two-time defending champion Sebucan (Pablo Pulido, 2, Brandon Phillips, 4, Pablo Spinacci, 6, Sugar Erskine, 6), 11-7, and tied Casablanca (Santos Bollini, 1, Grant Ganzi, 3, Juancito Bollini, 4, Nic Roldan, 8), 11-11, to clinch the title. In the other game, Casablanca defeated Sebucan, 10-7.

Juancito Bollini of Casablanca closely defends Brandon Phillips of Sebucan.

The scores carried over from Friday’s action where Newport defeated Casablanca, 4-3, and Sebucan, 3-2, and Casablanca topped Sebucan, 6-3.

Gene Goldstein, playing well above his one-goal handicap, was named Most Valuable Player after scoring four goals.

Casablanca brothers Santos and Juancito Bollini double team Pablo Pulido of Sebucan.

“We had a very balanced team, those three guys are very strong pros,” said Goldstein, playing his horses for only the third time on a polo field. “The horses are doing better and this was much better than last Sunday and better than Friday. It’s going well.

Pablo Pulido of Sebucan and Grant Ganzi of Casablanca both stretch for the ball.

“I’m surprised we beat that Casablanca team,” Goldstein said. “Those guys run the whole time. It’s very hard to stop them. The last three chukkers were very hard. Every one of them ran non-stop.”

Molly, a 7-year-old American thoroughbred gray mare played by Nic Roldan in the first and third chukkers and purchased from Kris Kampsen, was selected Best Playing Pony.

MVP Gene Goldstein of Newport prepares to take the field.

The Fall Plates, sponsored by Tato’s Mallets, was the fifth of six medium-goal tournaments of the season.

In the third and decisive game, the seesaw game changed leads eleven times before Crowder won the throw-in and connected with Kampsen who scored with 1:30 remaining in the game to clinch the win.

Newport teammates Juan Bollini, Jason Crowder, Kris Kampsen and Gene Goldstein scouting their competition.

Kampsen scored four goals, including a penalty conversion and Crowder had three goals. Roldan also had four goals, Santos Bollini two goals and Ganzi and Juancito Bollini each had one goal.

Gene Goldstein of Newport scores one of his four goals with a neck shot.

“This was a great win honestly,” Kampsen said. “I played with Bollini a lot, I played with Jason since we were kids and I played with Gene, so there’s a lot of fun and chemistry.

“I thought for sure it was going to be that tight a game. That’s a really good team. Nic is the most well-organized here right now as far as with horse flesh and obviously being a great player. I knew it was going to be a tough game to play against him and he proved it every time he beats you on a throw-in, he scores.”

Santos Bollini of Casablanca stretches to beat Kris Kampsen of Newport for the ball.

Kampsen is enjoying one of his finest years in polo including the fall season at Grand Champions. “I am loving it, I am having a great season,” Kampsen said. “I tried to come better organized with horses. It’s been really good.”

In the opening three-chukker game, Casablanca extended its lead against Sebucan, 8-4, after the first chukker and never let Sebucan into the game with its stingy defense. Sebucan had its share of scoring opportunities but could not capitalize.

Family portrait of Casablanca teammates Juancito Bollini hitting the ball with support from brother Santos and defense from Papa Juan.

Juancito Bollini had two goals and Ganzi and Roldan each had one. Phillips had three goals including a penalty conversion and Spinacci added one.

In the second game, Newport flexed its muscles with great chemistry and teamwork. Newport jumped out to an 8-2 lead after the first chukker and continued its offensive barrage with a 4-3 second chukker for a 10-5 advantage and 3-2 output in the final chukker.

Nic Roldan of Casablanca follows up his hit with Gene Goldstein of Newport defending.

Goldstein scored a game-high four goals, Crowder had two and Kampsen and Bollini each had one goal including a 120-yarder from Bollini.

“I knew we had the better team,” Bollini said. “I thought from the beginning they were the tougher team but I believed in my team. I like my team very much. We knew we were strong. I play a lot with Kris and Jason and we are three very experienced players. And Gene is good, he played his best game of the season. He scored a lot of goals.

Juancito Bollini of Casablanca attempts to hook Juan Bollini of Newport.

“I loved the polo today, it was clean, fast runs and back shots. It was good for polo and good for the club.”

The winners of the first three 2019 tournaments at Grand Champions were: Sebucan (Santos Bollini, Pablo Pulido, Nic Roldan, Kris Kampsen), Fall Classic; Flexjet (Melissa Ganzi, Kris Kampsen, Pablo Spinacci, Juan Bollini), Tackeria Invitational; and Casablanca (Grant Ganzi, Juancito Bollini, Brandon Phillips, Jason Crowder), US Trust Cup. The Polo Gear Challenge final, postponed by rain, is yet to be played.

Nic Roldan of Casablanca gets ready to hit the ball as Kris Kampsen of Newport readies his hook attempt.

During the 2019 fall season, the nation’s largest polo club is hosting both medium and high goal polo featuring six medium goal tournaments and two 20-goal tournaments.

The fall season serves as a tuneup for the winter season for players and green horses. The winter season will feature the second season of the highly-successful 26-goal World Polo League at Grand Champions and Valiente Polo Farm with the best polo players in the world.

Grant Ganzi of Casablanca works the near side back shot with Juan Bollini of Newport defending.

The 2019 fall season is highlighted by the International Cup featuring Team USA against France; Legends of Polo Carlos Gracida Memorial, inaugural Wellington Open 20 and USPA National 20.

Best Playing Pony Molly, a 7-year-old American thoroughbred played by Nic Roldan.

The well-organized fall tournaments attract players from all over the United States and world including Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Ecuador, England, France, India, Mexico, New Zealand, Nigeria, Uruguay, Switzerland, Nigeria and South Africa.

Gene Goldstein of Newport with his Most Valuable Player plaque.

Grand Champions had its finest fall season in club history last year. It was the only club in the nation to stage two USPA-sanctioned 20-goal fall tournaments and again is hosting 20-goal tournaments this season.

The Grand Champions Fall Invitational League is geared toward improving a player’s polo skills at every level. Roster lineups change from tournament to tournament with evenly-matched teams featuring pro and amateur players.

Club owners Marc and Melissa Ganzi, both accomplished players, take pride in teaching and sharing the exciting sport of polo with anyone interested in learning. The husband and wife are coming off their most successful and historical summer season at Grand Champions’ sister club Aspen Valley Polo Club.

The fall league features: stick-and-ball sessions during the week; two tournament games every weekend; ambulance and umpires for all tournament games; world-class polo fields; club-sponsored social events every weekend for all players; and top-of-the-line trophies for all teams every weekend. Food and refreshments are available for players and fans after the finals.

Grand Champions Polo Club and Santa Rita Polo Farm cater to men, women and youth polo players at all levels. Its’ expert staff can customize a complete playing experience including horses, pros and certified umpires in addition to lessons and practice sessions as part of its’ Polo On Demand program at the turnkey facility.
The Polo School, a 501c3 organization and stand-alone USPA club, is dedicated to teaching polo to all ages, particularly grass roots youth. Its’ mission is to provide individuals opportunities in polo at every economic and ability level. Scholarships are available. The Polo School, a stand-alone USPA club, operates in Wellington January through May and September through November. For more information on the Fall Leagues or Polo School contact Juan Bollini at  561-346-1099.

Grand Champions trophy table for the Fall Plates sponsored by Tato’s Mallets.

2019 Grand Champions Fall Schedule

Medium Goal:
Nov. 15-17, Pedro Morrison Memorial
High Goal:
Nov. 16-23, Wellington Open 20
Nov. 18-27, USPA National 20
Nov. 30 1 p.m.
Legends of Polo Carlos Gracida Memorial
Nov. 30 3 p.m.

2019 International Cup, USA vs. France

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