Valiente (left) and Tonkawa (right) line up for trophy presentations in the final of the Mount Sopris Cup, won by Valiente

Valiente (left) and Tonkawa (right) line up for trophy presentations in the final of the Mount Sopris Cup, won by Valiente

In a neck-and-neck game, Valiente (Bob Jornayvaz, Roberto Zedda, Augustine Nero and Marc Ganzi) edged a talented Tonkawa (Jeff Hildebrand, Jimmy Seward, Pablo Spinacci and Carlitos Gracida) team 12-10 to capture the 2015 Mount Sopris Cup Sunday afternoon at the Aspen Valley Polo Club.

Tonkawa team captain Jeff Hildebrand converted a 30-yard penalty shot for the first goal of the game, but Valiente’s Marc Ganzi quickly leveled the score at 1-1 with a goal from the field. Carlitos Gracida and Jimmy Seward scored consecutive goals for Tonkawa for a two goal advantage, 3-1. Bob Jornayvaz scored the final goal of the first chukker with Tonkawa leading 3-2.

The two teams traded goals in the second period with Pablo Spinacci and Jeff Hildebrand extending the Tonkawa lead to two goals, 4-2. Agustin Nero and Roberto Zedda each scored to stay close, but the lead belonged to Tonkawa, 5-4.

Jeff Hildebrand’s third goal of the game had them in front by two goals, 6-4, when Valiente responded. Marc Ganzi converted a penalty shot for a goal, 6-5, and Roberto Zedda tied the game at 6-6 to end the first half.

Marc Ganzi gave Valiente their first lead of the game, 7-6, with the opening goal of the second half. Tonkawa struck back with goals from Pablo Spinacci and Carlitos Gracida. After four chukkers of play, Tonkawa clung to one goal lead, 8-7.

Agustin Nero tied the game at 8-8 as the fifth chukker got underway. A pair of goals from Marc Ganzi gave Valiente their largest lead of the game, 10-8. Jeff Hildebrand cut the Valiente lead back to a single goal, 10-9, to end the period.

Marc Ganzi converted a penalty shot for Valiente to give them a two goal lead, 11-9. Jimmy Seward cut the lead back to a single goal, 11-10, when the Tonkawa rally stalled. A foul by Tonkawa in their own goalmouth resulted in a Penalty 1, awarding Valiente a goal for the 12-10 final victory.

Marc Ganzi led all scoring with six goals (two on penalty shots). Agustin Nero scored three times and earned MVP honors while Bob Jornayvaz and Roberto Zedda added single goals for the win. Jeff Hildebrand’s four goals set the pace for Tonkawa with teammates Carlitos Gracida, Pablo Spinacci and Jimmy Seward scoring two goals apiece in a losing effort.

Valiente’s Dolfina Barata received Best Playing Pony honors. Dolfina Barata (out of Chippendale/Chimento) was played by Roberto Zedda.

La Karina rides past Los Amigos and FlexJet to win subsidiary

La Karina (Riley Ganzi, Brian Boyd, Juan Bollini, and Nic Roldan) scored wins over Los Amigos (Alejandra Foster, Gabriel Gracida, Mariano Gracida and Paul Foster) and FlexJet (Grant Ganzi, Juancito Bollini, Lucas Lalor and Stewart Armstrong) earlier in the day in round-robin competition to take the tournament subsidiary.

A strong start by Los Amigos had them in front 2-0 on goals from Paul Foster and Alejandra Foster before La Karina could respond. Riley Ganzi scored La Karina’s first goal of the day followed by a goal from teammate Brian Boyd to tie it at 2-2. Alejandra Foster’s second goal of the game ended the first chukker with Los Amigos in the lead, 3-2.

Brian Boyd tied the game with his second goal of the day, 3-3, in second period action. Alejandra Foster countered with a goal for Los Amigos for the 4-3 advantage.

The final chukker of the three period mini-match went to La Karina. A penalty goal from Brian Boyd and a goal from the field from Nic Roldan proved to be the difference in the 5-4 La Karina win.

La Karina 4, FlexJet 1

There was no let up from the La Karina foursome as they faced FlexJet in the second three chukker mini-match. Brian Boyd took advantage of early fouls by FlexJet to convert a pair of penalty shots for goals and a 2-0 lead. Shutout defense kept FlexJet from scoring and had them trailing by two goals.

Former 7-goaler Stewart Armstrong finally got FlexJet on the scoreboard with the opening goal of the second period. Nic Roldan answered with a goal of his own as La Karina preserved their lead, 3-1.

Nic Roldan scored the only goal of the final chukker as La Karina celebrated their second consecutive win.

Los Amigos 6, FlexJet 4

The final three chukkers of the round-robin were played for pride along with both Los Amigos and FlexJet taking the field with 0-1 records.

Grant Ganzi put FlexJet on top with the first goal of the game, but Los Amigos fired right back. Goals from Paul Foster and Mariano Gracida ended the first chukker with Los Amigos protecting a one goal lead, 2-1.

Grant Ganzi and Lucas Lalor scored consecutive goals in the second period to move in front3-2. Los Amigos countered with single goals from Gabriel Gracida and Alejandro Foster. Los Amigos reclaimed the lead to end the period on top, 4-3.

Alejandra Foster’s second goal of the game and fifth of the day extended the Los Amigos lead to two goals, 5-3. Gabriel Gracida converted a penalty shot for a goal and a three goal, 6-3 advantage. FlexJet attempted a last chukker rally. Powered by goals from Lucas Lalor and Stewart Armstrong, FlexJet came to within two goals of the lead when the Los Amigos defense dug in. Holding them scoreless for the balance of the game, Los Amigos rode of the field with a 6-4 win, a 1-1 record and a second place finish.

Action continues on Sunday at the Aspen Valley Polo Club next weekend’s season finale, the Rocky Mountain Open.

The Aspen Valley Polo Club is located at 3275 County Road 100, Carbondale, CO 81623. The games are free of charge and spectators are welcome. The Polo Hotline, (970-710-1663) will be available to offer game times and locations. E-mail correspondence should be sent to aspenvalleypolo@bellsouth.net.

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