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Press Release


Magoo Laprida

Gillian Johnston

Pelon Stirling, Julio Arellano, Magoo Laprida and Nic Roldan

Pelon Stirling and Nic Roldan

Adolfo Cambiaso, Juan Martin Nero, Agustin Garcia Grossi, Guillermo Terrera

Guillermo Terrera and Agustin Garcia Grossi

Adolfo Cambiaso, Juan Martin Nero, Agustin Garcia Grossi, Guillermo Terrera

Alejo Taranco

Adolfo Cambiaso

Click on the above photos for details and a high resolution version.

Photographs may be used free of charge only in relation to the PMG press releases they pertain to.

Coca-Cola and Valiente Speed Toward Semifinals in 111th US Open

Written by: Alannah Castro & Darlene Ricker
Client: International Polo Club Palm Beach
Release Date: 2015-04-12

Wellington, FL – April 12, 2015 - Coca-Cola and Valiente will advance to the semifinals of the 111th U.S. Open Polo Championship on Wednesday, having won their respective quarterfinal matches Sunday at the International Polo Club Palm Beach (IPC).

In the featured match on Engel & Völkers field, Coca-Cola trounced FlexJet 15-10. Julio Arellano was named MVP, and the Best-Playing Pony award went to Prima, played by Nic Roldan. Earlier in the day, Valiente defeated Lechuza Caracas 13-12.

Coca-Cola                            FlexJet
Gillian Johnston   2               Melissa Ganzi   A
Sugar Erskine   6                  Nic Roldan   8                        
Julio Arellano   8                   Miguel Astrada   9                                    
Pelon Sterling   10                Magoo Laprida   8                  

Coca-Cola played a classic game of “eyes on the prize,” ending the day one step closer to the coveted U.S. Open Polo Championship Final by securing a spot in the semis.

In the opening minutes of the game FlexJet took a brief lead with two field goals, but Coca-Cola promptly touched down like a tornado. Before the first chukker ended, Julio Arellano made three points on penalty shots, and teammates Sugar Erskine and Gillian Johnston each scored from the field. Erskine’s goal started with his save in the danger zone, continued with a pass from Arellano and finished with a trademark Erskine breakaway run to goal. Johnston, on a pickup, scored from 83 yards out.
After its jump-start Coca-Cola stayed in the groove, playing a solid 42 minutes of power polo and never letting FlexJet regain the lead. Stirling outmaneuvered his defenders in the second chukker, breaking free from a five-horse scramble to run the ball into goal. By the middle of the chukker, all four Coca-Cola players had scored at least once in the game. The team led 8-4 at the end of the first half.

As tight as a rock band in sync, Coca-Cola scored at the top of the fourth on a three-way play. Arellano took the knock-in and sent the ball to Erskine, who made a long pass to Johnston. She was out ahead, waiting in the wings. Alternating from one side of her pony to the other, she worked the ball toward goal. When her angle of approach looked like a shot on goal could go wide, she put the right touch of backspin on the ball and sent it straight between the goalposts.

On a pass from Stirling, Erskine closed the fourth chukker with one of his four field goals in the game. In what looked like a madcap dash – but was a study in agility – Erskine kept the wraps on a ball that was bouncing knee-high and shepherded it into goal.

Still, FlexJet could not be written off. As Erskine observed, “They are very technically sound, so we had to make sure we didn’t make mistakes. Every time we made a mistake, they scored a goal. That’s their system. They’re very well organized.”

With two eight-goalers and a nine in its lineup, FlexJet was packing a lot of firepower and pulled the trigger whenever a door opened. It almost crossed the threshold in the fifth chukker when Nic Roldan pulled off a turbo-charged hat trick. In just three-and-a-half minutes, he galloped up and down the field to make three consecutive goals (on top of his previous three).

FlexJet’s power surge put a huge dent in the five-point lead Coca-Cola had going into the fifth chukker, tightening the point spread from 11-6 to 11-9. For a time it appeared that FlexJet may be about to catch up or maybe even turn the tide. Coca-Cola was not about to let that happen, however. It promptly nipped Roldan’s scoring rampage, with Sugar Erskine and Julio Arellano each answering one of his goals.

Arellano slammed in two more goals in the sixth chukker, and Magoo Laprida had the final word before the game ended 15-10 for Coca-Cola.

“We came out really up for the game, really focused,” said Stirling, the sole 10-goaler on the field. “The four of us know exactly what our weapon is, and that’s our number one. So we use her, she helps us, we use Sugar and Julio to open the game up and play our way. It’s all team effort. If we win, we win as a team, and when we lose, we lose as a team.”

Arellano said that the game plan was to try to open the game up. “I got the ball to Gillian, and she did what she had to do with it,” he said. “That puts a lot of pressure on most teams. When the sponsor can get a few goals in like that early, it makes it very difficult. She’s been working very hard, and Pelon’s been controlling the ball when he needs to, which has been phenomenal, and Sugar and I just try to do our part.”

Erskine concurred. “We tried to use Gillian all we could all day,” he said. “We managed to get the ball down to her a lot easier today than we did in the last game. That’s what our plan was, and she pulled us ahead all day long.”

Jet Propelled Valiente Roars by Lechuza Caracas in US Open Quarterfinal Action

Adolfo Cambiaso and Bob Jornayvaz triumphantly returned from injury to the Valiente starting lineup to lead their team past Lechuza Caracas 13-12 in a high flying U.S. Open quarterfinal. Cambiaso switched horses an incredible four times in the sixth chukker, starting with Boeing and then playing Boeing’s full sister Lufthansa, to propel Valiente to the win and advance the team to the U.S. Open semifinals.

Lechuza Caracas              Valiente
Victor Vargas   1                Bob Jornayvaz   2
Nico Pieres   8                   Alejo Taranco   6
Agustin Garcia Grossi   7    Guillermo Terrara   8
Juan Martin Nero   10        Adolfo Cambiaso   10

After the game Cambiaso said with pride about the stallion Boeing, “He is my best one right now! We ran a lot that game, I knew I would have to go a lot and then come back so I played a lot of horses.” Cambiaso was equally complimentary about super substitute Sapo Caset who played for him throughout bracket play in the Open, “Luckily we have Sapo, what a substitute! He found the route for us (to the quarterfinal).”

A beaming Bob Jornayvaz said about returning from injury, “It was great to have everybody back and have the starting team play. We had a lot of energy. Finally we are getting healthy and hopefully by Wednesday (for the semifinal) we will be a lot healthier.”

Jornayvaz and Cambiaso made an immediate impact in the game. Cambiaso won the first bowl in and passed the ball to Jornayvaz. Jornayvaz drove down to the north goal, Lechuza briefly cleared the ball but Guillermo Terrara drove the ball in to goal for first blood to Valiente.

In the second chukker, a fired up Valiente team continued to score and jumped out to a 3-1 lead. Lechuza dug in and went on a four-goal scoring spree, capped by the nimble Juan Martin Nero riding an equally nimble blaze faced chestnut dancing around the defenders to score as the warning horn sounded.

The third chukker was a sublime example of spectacular teamwork on the part of both teams. They played wide-open, shooting at goal from a distance and using quick passes and unselfish team play to create opportunities for their teammates. Terrara scored a quick goal for Valiente that was followed by a Cambiaso penalty 4 conversion. Then Nero cleared the ball out of his own goal to send a pass to a Victor Vargas, Vargas charged down the field carrying the ball and Nero passed him and held the defender wide. Vargas passed the ball to Nero on the run and Nero shot for goal on the near side. Terrara and Cambiaso immediately retaliated on a series of play that mirrored the Lechuza series, Terrara drove the ball down the field and then left the ball while holding out the defender to allow Cambiaso to blast through to goal. Cambiaso added one more goal to close out the third chukker with Valiente holding a slim one goal lead 7-6 over Lechuza.

Valiente took advantage of a costly penalty one called against Lechuza in the start of the fourth chukker to capitalize on the ensuing bowl in for another goal. Lechuza was shut out of goal for most of the chukker but just before the warning horn blew Nero dribbled around the defenders to score to keep Lechuza within striking distance of Valiente.

Down by two goals to Valiente, the Lechuza team brought the hustle to the fifth chukker and went on the attack. Nico Pieres contributed a pair of penalty three conversions, but Cambiaso countered with his own penalty three conversions to hold the lead. But yet again, Lechuza drove the ball down field just as the warning horn sounded, Augustin Garcia Grossi scored on the south end to bring Lechuza within one while Cambiaso threw his hands in the air in frustration.

Cambiaso only had one practice post injury coming into the semifinal, and a lesser player might have been exhibiting fatigue about sixth chukker of a hard fought match with the opponent changing the momentum. But Cambiaso was riding the supernaturally quick Boeing in the sixth and the muscular stallion brought him to every play. Cambiaso converted a penalty four to put Valiente ahead by two goals, only to see Nero outhustle his defender down field and set up Pieres for another penalty three conversion. Attacking the south goal, Cambiaso cut a neck shot to goal and then Boeing banked the turn to bring him back to the ball, forcing the Lechuza defender to ride off Cambiaso at a bad angle and giving the foul shot to Valiente. Taranco converted the penalty two to give Valiente the insurance goal. Lechuza threw everything they had at Valiente in the closing minutes of the sixth chukker and made one more penalty four to close within one goal, but Cambiaso switched to Lufthansa, then OneTip, then Sugar to outrun the Lechuza players and seal the deal for Valiente.

The 111th U.S. Open Polo Championship continues Wednesday with the semifinals at IPC. Coca-Cola will play Orchard Hill at 2:30 p.m., and Valiente will contest Audi at 5 p.m.


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