November 26th, 2012 Add comment
US team stops the skid, defeats English 81/2-6
By Alex Webbe, US Senior Correspondent
By Ami De La Mer, AmiPoloPhotography.com
A 19-goal United States polo team (Marc Ganzi, Carlitos Gracida, Nic Roldan and Jeff Hall) delivered a knockout punch to an English foursome (Jack Richardson, Max Routledge, Richard Le Poer and Tom Morley) on their way to an 8½-6 International Cup win Sunday afternoon to end a losing streak that dates back to a 1997 Westchester Cup loss.
“It wasn’t pretty, but we won,” exhorted an exuberant Marc Ganzi after the game. “I know we can play so much better than that,” he added, “but at least we won.”
Following the defeat of the American women by the English, the men’s team was anxious to get started. A fast pace was set from the beginning as both teams felt out one another’s offensive capabilities and defensive weaknesses. The USA team received ½ goal by handicap from the 20-goal English team.
An English foul put Marc Ganzi at the penalty line in the opening minutes of play where he converted the shot for a goal. Several shots at goal by both sides went wide and the USA settled for a narrow 1½ -0 lead after the first seven minutes of play.
England continued to press the attack but powerful backhanders from Jeff Hall and Nic Roldan turned defense into offense. Jeff Hall scored the game’s first goal from the field as England was unable to score for the second consecutive chukker. After two periods of play, the United States led, 2½-0.
Roldan’s first goal of the game came in the third, and had the United States ahead, 3½-0. Richard Le Poer finally got England on the scoreboard with a goal from the field. A second Roldan goal ended the scoring for the chukker. The United States left the field after the third period with a 4½-1 lead.
A determined English foursome returned to the field in the fourth with a renewed determination. Single goals from Jack Richardson, Max Routledge and Le Poer got them back into the game, but a pair of penalty conversions from Nic Roldan kept the United States team in front, 6½-4, with one chukker left to play.
“We just kept pushing,” said a dejected Morley after the game. “We seemed to finally get it going in the second half,” he added, “but it was a bit too late.”
Hall opened the fifth and final chukker with a penalty goal. Roldan added his fifth goal of the game for an 8½-4 edge. A late penalty goal from Morley and a goal from the field from Richardson closed the gap, but time ran out with the US team besting England, 8½-6.
Roldan led the scoring with five goals and was named MVP. Hall scored twice and Marc Ganzi added a penalty goal for the win.
Richardson and Le Poer each scored a pair of goals for England. Morley and Routledge added single goals in the loss.