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Bombardier Pacific Coast Open Finals

Lucchese Takes Second Straight Open Title

Story by Alex Webbe and Photography by Alex Pacheco

 

 

The Cinderella Piaget polo team that fought its way into the finals of the 2011Bombardier Pacific Coast Open at the Santa Barbara Polo Club this afternoon had little to apologize for in its 11-9 loss.

Miguel Astrada opened the scoring for Piaget with a 60-yard penalty conversion followed by a goal from the field from team captain Melissa Ganzi. Miguel Astrada drove through another goal for a 3-0 Piaget lead before Lucchese finally answered. A penalty goal from Jeff Blake ended the chukker with Piaget boasting a 3-1 lead.

Astrada scored on another 60-yard penalty shot in the second as Piaget went up 4-1, but that would be the extent of their offense for the rest of the period. Two goals from 10-goaler Adolfo Cambiaso (one from the field and one on a penalty shot) were followed by a pair of goals from Blake, and Lucchese left the field on top of a 5-4 score.

 


“The second chukker killed them,” said polo veteran Steve Crowder. “After jumping out to a three goal lead, and have them come back with four straight goals, it was just awful,” he added.

Cambiaso put Lucchese ahead 6-4 with his third goal of the game when Piaget got its offense back on track. Crowder scored first followed by a goal from Astrada that tied it at 6-6. Crowder’s second goal of the chukker gave Piaget the lead back at 7-6, but the advantage was short-lived. Following a Piaget foul, Blake converted a 40-yard penalty shot to knot it up at 7-7 at the end of the first half.

Ganzi gave Piaget the lead back in the opening minutes of the fourth chukker with a field goal, but Cambiaso and Blake each scored single goals and the period ended with Lucchese holding a one goal, 9-8 edge.

Crowder tied it up again in the fifth, 9-9, as defenses on both sides tightened. A costly Piaget foul put Cambiaso at the penalty line where he made good on a 60-yard shot and Lucchese rode off the field with a narrow 10-9 lead.

Piaget continued to press the attack in the final chukker but couldn’t put the ball through the goal posts. Astrada missed a couple of goal shots as did Crowder. With seconds on the game clock, Julio Gracida picked up the loose ball and carried it the length of the field for the final score in the 11-9 Lucchese win.

 


Cambiaso and Blake led all scoring with five goals apiece for Lucchese. Teammate Gracida added the final goal of the game.

Astrada accounted for four of the Piaget goals. Crowder scored three times and Ganzi added a pair from the field.

Adolfo Cambiaso was named MVP for his efforts while his mount, Chaleco, received Best Playing Pony honors.

Jason Crowder received the Robert Skene Award for season MVP.

 

Photography Alex Pacheco

Photography Alex Pacheco

Photography Alex Pacheco

 
 
 
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