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Piaget Polo Team Wins Ylvisaker Final.

Piaget scores the first and last goals of a closely contested match against rival Audi to bring home the trophy.

 Match Report by Alex Webbe
Photos by Gregory Ratner - Photo Gallery


Piaget Polo Team - 20

Melissa Ganzi - A
Jason Crowder - 6
  Miguel Astrada - 9
Juan Bollini - 5

Audi Polo Team - 20

Marc Ganzi - 1
Lucas Lalor - 4
  Nic Roldan - 7
Rodrigo Andrade - 8

Sunday’s finals of the 2012 20-goal Ylvisaker Cup was a family affair with Marc Ganzi’s Audi Polo Team team taking on wife Melissa Ganzi’s Piaget foursome, but the fast-paced action on the field had all eyes riveted on the play until Miguel Astrada’s seventh goal of the game resulted in a 13-12 Piaget victory.

Miguel Novilla-Astrada for Piaget Polo in traffic with Marc Ganzi and Lucas Lalor for Audi Polo

The Piaget and Audi teams maneuvered their way through a field of 16 teams, the largest number of 20-goal teams ever assembled for play in the Ylvisaker Cup competition.

Jason Crowder got Piaget rolling in the opening chukker of play with a goal from the field followed by a penalty conversion from teammate Miguel Astrada for a 2-0 lead. Lucas Lalor responded for Audi with a well-placed shot through the Piaget goalposts. Astrada scored his second goal of the chukker, as Piaget moved out to a 3-1 advantage, but a final goal from Nic Roldan kept Audi on their heels, trailing 3-2.

Audi cranked it up a notch in the second chukker, picking up a pair of goals from Roldan (one from the field and one on a penalty shot) as they took their first lead of the game, 4-3. Astrada kept it all even at 4-4 with a goal from the field to end the period.

Lucas Lalor, left for Audi Polo and Jason Crowder for Piaget Polo - 2012 Ylvisaker Cup final

Crowder scored his second goal of the game to open the third to give Piaget a 5-4 edge, but Audi struck back. Three straight goals from Roldan (two on penalty shots and one from the field) turned the game back around, giving Audi the lead back, 7-5. Juan Bollini scored the final goal of the chukker, but Piaget trailed, 7-6 at the end of the first half of the game.

Piaget took control of the pace and the ball in the fourth period. A penalty goal from Astrada was followed by two more goals from Crowder. As impressive as the Piaget offense was, the defense was better. For the first timer all day the Audi attack was shut down as Piaget took a 9-7 lead into the fifth period of play.

A 60-yard penalty conversion from Astrada had Piaget ahead, 10-7 with a goal in the fifth, but Audi rallied. Two goals from Roldan cut the lead to a single goal,10-9, as the final horn sounded for the chukker.

The final chukker of the game was the most exciting seven minutes of the day. Lalor scored on an impressive shot in the sixth to knot it up at 10-10, but Astrada answered with a 60-yard penalty goal to give the lead back to Piaget, 11-10. Rodrigo Andrade scored from the field for Audi, to make it all even at 11-11. Crowder scored again as Piaget moved out to a 12-11 lead, but Audi wasn’t through. Roldan scored a penalty goal from 60-yards away to make it 12-12 with less than two minutes left in regulation time. With less than a minute to play, Piaget drew a foul from an opposing player and Astrada connected on his fifth successful penalty shot for the 13-12 win.

Nic Roldan set the pace for Audi with nine goals. Lalor accounted for two goals and Andrade scored once in the loss.

Astrada was credited with seven goals for Piaget. Crowder scored five times and was named MVP for his efforts and Bollini added a goal in the win.

Crowder’s nine-year-old brown mare, Ruby, was named Best Playing Pony.


Polo Fan Notes:  Having been to nearly every match that Piaget played this season, we can attest that this is a team that simply got better. Better at scoring. Better on defense. Better at reading the play. Better as a team. Today's match included everything that a tournament final should. Talented teams. Lead changes. Setbacks. Comebacks. Amazing goals. Brilliant teamwork. "Could have gone either way" was a familiar refrain afterward. A strong Audi team made it a true final which provided for very exciting polo.

Jason Crowder of Piaget Polo Team awarded MVP of the 2012 Ylvisaker Cup finalNoted: Piaget was defeated by Lucchese in their first 20-goal match this season. To get to today's final, the Piaget Polo Team defeated Lucchese in overtime 12 - 11.

In that first match with Lucchese, Piaget's Jason Crowder was shut out on offense. Today he scored five goals, all of them thrilling displays of horsemanship and stick work. There was no more deserving a player for MVP. His horse Ruby played her best polo today.

For the Ylvisaker Cup Piaget and Audi started in the same bracket. They battled to overtime in their first match back on February 3rd. Audi was victorious in that game. Grant Ganzi played in place of his mother Melissa for that contest making this Ylvisaker Cup a true family affair.

Miguel Novillo-Astrada has scored 45 goals in the Ylvisaker Cup tournament for Piaget. He has averaged an incredible 7.5 goals per match.

Piaget's Team Captain Melissa Ganzi is one of only a handful of women who play polo at this level. She was the first woman to win the Monty Waterbury Cup and she recently lead her team to the finals of the 2011 Pacific Coast Open.

Piaget's #4, Juan Bollini, has played some of his best polo this year both in this tournament and this past summer at Santa Barbara.  He was Melissa Ganzi's first polo teacher and now is Piaget's rock solid back.