WELLINGTON, FL – January 18, 2013 – After a halftime adjustment, Piaget looked like a different team for two chukkers of the Joe Barry Memorial Cup Tournament.
Despite holding Valiente scoreless in the fourth chukker and coming within one goal in the fifth chukker (10-9), Piaget was unable to shut down 10-goaler Adolfo Cambiaso and Alfredo Cappella Barabucci.
As a result, Piaget dropped a 16-10 decision to undefeated Valiente Thursday at International Polo Club Palm Beach.
Cambiaso, arguably the best player in the world, and Barabucci combined for 14 goals, each scoring seven.
Dominated by five of Cambiaso’s seven goals, Piaget trailed 10-6 at the half and regrouped at the break.
“We wanted to go after Cappella more and changed up what we were doing on our knock-ins,” said Piaget coach Joey Casey. “The team executed everything we talked about at halftime in the fourth chukker. We scored two and they didn’t score any. They came back in the fifth chukker and we had some issues.
“The sixth chukker was all Cambiaso,” Casey said. “What are you going to do? The guy is amazing. The best thing to do is I would invite him over for dinner and give him some bad food the night before the game, maybe bad fish.”
Ten-goaler Miguel Astrada led Piaget with eight goals, seven of them on penalty shots. The Argentine has been amazing at the penalty line in Piaget’s first two games of the season. In Piaget’s season-opening 14-10 loss to Zacara , Astrada scored five of his six goals on penalty shots.
Piaget’s 18-year-old 4-goaler Joaquin Panelo, still adjusting to competing at the 20-goal level in the U.S. after growing up in the sport in Argentina, was undaunted by Cambiaso and Barabucci, fearlessly defending both throughout the game.
“Joaquin played very well today, he improved a lot since our first game,” Casey said. “He did a great job. Juan Bollini and Melissa did, too. Everyone played good today.”
Piaget, one of the top teams in the 20- and 26-goal tournaments this season, and 2012 Ylvisaker Cup champion, is winless (0-2) in the Joe Barry Memorial Cup.
Player-sponsor Melissa Ganzi, who scored a goal in the second chukker and played well defensively, remained optimistic about the team’s play. It was only the second time the new 19-goal team has competed together in tournament play.
“We did turn it around in the second half,” Ganzi said. “We just lost our momentum. When you are playing against a team that’s so strong you have to do everything perfectly and it’s really hard to do that all the time. We came out and had a plan in the fourth and fifth but it’s hard to keep up that intensity for so long.
“We have some young talent on our team and we are trying to develop Joaquin as a player,” Ganzi said.
Added 5-goaler Juan Bollini, “Joaquin is developing, he is getting there. The team just had some bad momentum. At one point we almost caught them by one goal and then we just lost. I have to look at the tape and see what happened.
“We made a few stupid fouls and against Cambiaso you cannot make a mistake,” Bollini said. “Any mistake you make is one goal against you. You are watching Cambiaso who is Michael Jordan in polo and then Barabucci comes up with a goal. We did expect that from Barabucci. He is seven goals in Argentina and only six here, only God knows why.”
Grand Champions Polo Club’s other elite polo team, Audi, will next face La Herradura on Saturday at 3 p.m. La Herradura leads their bracket at 2-0 and Audi is 1-1 in the same bracket, making for one of the best games of the tournament. Audi’s young sensation Carlitos Gracida will play against his father Memo and uncle Carlos, both former 10-goalers.
On Sunday, Piaget will return to the field against Lucchese at 10 a.m. Call the IPC’s polo hotline for field assignments at 561-282-5290 .
IPC, polo’s winter capital of the world, is celebrating its tenth anniversary with four 20-goal tournaments and three 26-goal tournaments including the 109th annual Maserati U.S. Open. Audi and Piaget will compete in every tournament.
Among other season highlights are the Feb. 15 Polo Hall of Fame Inductions at the National Museum of Polo in Lake Worth and Outback 40-Goal Challenge on Saturday, Feb. 16 at 3 p.m. to benefit the Polo Players Support Group, Inc.
January 19, Saturday: Audi vs. La Herradura, 3 p.m.; January 20, Sunday: Piaget vs. Lucchese, 10 a.m.; January 23, Wednesday, 1 and 3 p.m., Joe Barry Cup Semifinals; January 24, Thursday, 1 and 3 p.m., Bobby Barry Cup Subsidiary Semifinals; January 27, Sunday: Bobby Barry Cup Final, noon; Joe Barry Cup Final, 3 p.m.
Jan. 8-27, Joe Barry Memorial Cup
Jan. 29-Feb. 24, Ylvisaker Cup
Feb. 20-March 3, Iglehart Cup
Feb. 20-March 3, CV Whitney Cup
March 5-March 24, USPA Piaget Gold Cup
March 26-April 21, 109th Maserati U.S. Open Polo Championship
INTERNATIONAL POLO CLUB PALM BEACH
3667 129th Avenue South, Wellington
Polo Hotline: 561-282-5290 (For field assignments and scores)
Ticket Office: 561-282-5334
$10 General Admission Bleacher Seating
$20 North and South Stadium Lawn Seating
$30 Center Stadium Lawn Seating
$120 Boxed seats