ELG to face Casablanca in USPA Kay Colee Memorial final
By Alex Webbe
ELG (Melissa Ganzi, Kris Kampsen, Juan Bollini and Avery Chapman) scored wins over
Newport (Gene Goldstein, Michel Dorignac, Luis Escobar and Kaisser Maakar) and
Beluga (Misha Rodzianko, Leo Mandelbaum, Brandon Phillips and Joey Casey) Friday
morning in the opening round-robin competition of the Grand Champions Polo Club’s
USPA Kay Colee Memorial presented by The Tackeria.
Newport’s Kaiser Maakar scored the opening goal of the match, but with the aid of one
goal by handicap and two goals from the field (one from Avery Chapman and one from
Juan Bollini, who scored from the throw-in), ELG took the early 3-1 lead.
Kris Kampsen scored his only goal of the match in the second while Newport 7-goaler,
Michel Dorignac, converted two penalty shots for goals, ELG continued to lead, but
Newport cut the margin to one goal, 4-3.
Melissa Ganzi scored ELG’s fifth goal of the morning to give ELG a two goal lead, 5-3,
but a final penalty goal by Dorignac would decide the final score in a 5-4 ELG victory.
BELUGA 4, NEWPORT 2
The Beluga polo team (Misha Rodzianko, Leo Mandelbaum, Joey Casey and Brandon
Phillips) took the field for the next three chukkers, handing Newport its second
consecutive defeat of the day, 4-2.
In a defensive-oriented opening chukker, Beluga’s Misha Rodzianko scored the only
goal of the first chukker for a 1-0 lead.
Three more goals in the second chukker had Beluga in front, 4-0 as Leo Mandelbaum,
Joey Casey and Brandon Phillips each scored a goal for the team. At the 3:35 mark of
the chukker Casey suffered a fall and was forced to retire from the game. Juan Diaz
replaced him, and the game proceeded.
Luis Escobar scored from the field in the final period while Dorignac converted a penalty
shot for Newport’s only other goal in the 4-2 loss. The defeat set up the final match
of the day with ELG (1-0) and Beluga (1-0) facing one another to decide one of the
ELG 6, BELUGA 3
After a three-chukker rest, a refreshed ELG team returned to the field to face Beluga.
Opening goals from Juan Bollini and Kris Kampsen were combined with one goal by
handicap. Beluga responded with a goal from the field from Leo Mandelbaum.
Second period action saw Juan Bollini and Misha Rodzianko exchange goals for the
only scores of the chukker. Joey Casey’s horse went down throwing Casey to the
ground and forcing him to be replaced by Juan Diaz. The chukker ended with ELG in
the lead, 4-2.
Kris Kampsen scored his second goal of the game and Avery Chapman scored to
extend the ELG lead to four goals, 6-2. Brandon Phillips scored the final goal of the
game for Beluga, but it was ELG that rode off with the 60-3 victory and an invitation to
the tournament finals.
CASABLANCA 11, PALM HOUSE 9
The tournament action continued at 5PM on the Grand Champion fields with
Casablanca (Grant Ganzi, Juancito Bollini, Mike Azzaro and Wes Finlayson) battling
with Palm House (Johnny Lavin, Marc Ganzi, Nic Roldan and Carlitos Gracida) for the
last finals berth.
Casablanca received two goals by handicap from the 13-goal Palm House contingent
and went up, 3-0, as Wes Finlayson scored the first goal of the game. Nic Roldan fired
back for Palm House, scoring his team’s only goal with just 1:37 left in the chukker.
Casablanca continued to lead, 3-1.
Second chukker goals from Johnny Lavine and Nic Roldan had the game all even at 3-
3, but Casablanca wasn’t quite through. A great individual effort by Grant Ganzi in the
final minute of play gave the goal and the lead to Casablanca, 4-3.
Roldan and Ganzi exchanged goals in the third. Ganzi scored once from the field and
once on a penalty shot. Roldan scored twice from the field as Casablanca continued to
lead at the end of the first half, 6-5.
Casablanca ran the lead up to two goals in the fourth chukker. While Nic Roldan scored
the first goal of the period, Casablanca got a pair of goals from former 10-goaler, Mike
Azzaro. Casablanca ended the fourth period with a two goal, 8-6 advantage.
Palm House continued to chase Casablanca in the fifth. Goals from Carlitos Gracida
and Nic Roldan (60-yard penalty conversion) cut the Casablanca lead down to a single
digit while getting a single goal from Mike Azzaro. With one chukker left in regulation
time, Casablanca held on to the lead, 9-8.
Casablanca took early control of the sixth chukker. Goals from Mike Azzaro (at 3:31)
and Wes Finlayson (on a beautifully executed nearside fore-shot) had Casablanca on
top, 11-8 with less than three minutes left in the game. With time running out, Carlitos
Gracida scored the final goal of the match, but it was Casablanca with the win and a
date in the tournament finals at 10AM, Sunday morning.