Grand Champions Blue Wins ProKidz Tournament At Grand Champions Polo Club


 


 

MVP Mia Astrada (3) of Grand Champions Blue drives downfield with Matias MacDonough Jr. (3) of Grand Champions White defending. Photo by Scott Fisher

WELLINGTON, FL (Phelps) – The third installment of the ProKidz Tournament Saturday at Grand Champions at Palm Beach Polo Club featured a battle of the sexes.

Grand Champions Blue’s all-girls team of Jacqui Casey, Mia Astrada and Riley Ganzi along with former 8-goal pro Juan Bollini defeated Grand Champions White (Landen Daniels, Juanse Olivera, Matias MacDonough Jr. and pro Matias MacDonough won with a hardfought 4-3 victory.

Grand Champions Blue’s Mia Astrada, 13, won the ProKidz Most Valuable Player Award. Astrada scored three goals and played well throughout the game. Ganzi scored one goal.

Grand Champions Blue player Riley Ganzi (2) all smiles while racing downfield with Matias MacDonough defending. Photo by Scott Fisher

Matias MacDonough Jr., playing alongside his father, Matias Sr., scored all three of his team’s goals.

It was an evenly-matched game with Grand Champions White taking a 2-1 lead after the first 10-minute chukker. Grand Champions Blue roared back with team work and wide open field play to outscore Grand Champions White, 3-1 in the second and final 10-minute chukker to clinch the win.

Pro polo announcer Toby Wayman gave Grand Champions Blue the nickname “Juan’s Angels” during the game.

Mia Astrada (3) of Grand Champions Blue waits to hit the ball downfield.
Photo by Scott Fisher

“It was fun playing the boys team,” said Astrada, oldest daughter of Argentine 10-goaler Miguel Novillo Astrada.

“I am very happy, the game was fun playing with girls,” Astrada said. “I have played with both Riley and Jacqui. Playing helps me every week. I haven’t been playing that much because my horses aren’t here and I use my father’s horses and he needs them to play in his games.”

Astrada said she liked playing with Bollini more than her dad because “he passes me the ball more. My father thinks if he passes it more to me it’s not fair because he’s my father. Juan saw me and always passed me the ball.”

Most Valuable Player Mia Astrada of Grand Champions Blue showing off her awards. Photo by Scott Fisher

Casey, daughter of pro player and coach Joey Casey, also enjoyed the idea of an all-girls team. Casey has grown up playing polo with Ganzi, both top junior players.

“It was a lot of fun,” Casey said. “It’s better than when I go fast because the ball is more out there and you’re not all bunched up.

“When it’s an all-girls team we work together so we all know what to do,” Casey said. “I have played with Mia and Riley a lot before so we knew the plays and where to go. We talked a lot so it helped. Juan helped a lot talking to us.”

Landen Daniels (1) of Grand Champions White has his eye on the ball while driving downfield. Photo by Scott Fisher

It was the third ProKidz event hosted at Grand Champions at PB Polo. Grand Champions is enjoying its role in helping to develop and promote youth polo by hosting a variety of junior tournaments throughout the year.

The concept of pairing a pro with juniors is to have some of the game’s best players mentor and nurture up-and-coming future boys and girls players. The junior players’ ages vary and the teams are matched evenly. The pros coach the players during the game.

Grand Champions Blue player Riley Ganzi (2) reaches for the shot despite pressure from Landen Daniels (1) of Grand Champions Whilte. Photo by Scott Fisher

The game was live-streamed by Florida-based PoloNow Network which is also pioneering instant replay and team challenges.

For game recaps, news, features and photos of Grand Champions Polo Club-related events, go to www.grandchampionspoloclub.org.

Game video and live webcasts can also be seen at PoloNow Network at http://www.polonow.tv/.

Grand Champions Blue pro Juan Bollini (4) passes to teammate Mia Astrada (3). Photo by Scott Fisher

2014 HIGH GOAL SEASON

MARCH 30-APRIL 20: 110th Maserati U.S. Open Polo Championships: TUESDAY: Flight Options vs. Coca-Cola, 1:30 p.m.; Audi vs. Alegria, 4:30 p.m.; APRIL 6: Audi vs. Coca-Cola, noon; Alegria vs. Flight Options, 3 p.m.; APRIL 10: Audi vs. Flight Options 4 p.m.; APRIL 13: Quarterfinals; APRIL 16: Semifinals; APRIL 20: Hall of Fame Cup Final, U.S. Open final.

GRAND CHAMPIONS AT PALM BEACH POLO 2014 TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE (HOTLINE 561-373-0073)

APRIL: $50,000 National 12-Goal Tournament; 6-17, USPA The National President’s Cup, 16-17, Las Acacias (5-goal); Museum of Polo & Hall of Fame Challenge Cup (12-goal); John T. Oxley Memorial Trophy (16-goal).

Riley Ganzi (2) of Grand Champions Blue works the sideboards with pro teammate Juan Bollini backing her up. Photo by Scott Fisher

THIS WEEK’S SCHEDULE

TUESDAY: $50,000 National 12-Goal Tournament semifinals, Palm Beach Equine vs. Flight Options/Newport, 11 a.m.; Valiente vs. Casablanca, 4 p.m.

GRAND CHAMPIONS POLO CLUB SCHEDULE (561-644-5050)

SATURDAYS: ProKidz Tournament, 2 p.m.

APRIL 4-5: Fifth annual Gay Polo League International Tournament

APRIL 8-12: Women’s Championship Tournament

ProKidz awards ceremony with Grand Champions White players Juanse Olivera, Matias MacDonough Jr., Jacqui Casey, Mia Astrada, pro Juan Bollini, umpire Horton Schwartz and awards presenter Glenn Straub. Photo by Scott Fisher

GRAND CHAMPIONS 2014 SPRING SCHEDULE (561-644-5050)

APRIL 17-19: Grand Champions Cup

APRIL 24-27: The USPA Spring Challenge

MAY 1-4: The USPA Sun Cup

MAY 8-11: The USPA Eastern Challenge

MAY 15-18: The Polo Gear Challenge Cup

MAY 22-26: The Memorial

GRAND CHAMPIONS POLO CLUB

WHERE: 13444 Southfields Road, on the corner of South Shore Boulevard and Lake Worth Road, Wellington, 33414.

INFORMATION: There are great field side views for tournament action at the home base of pro teams Audi and Flight Options. Everyone is welcome to watch high, medium and low goal polo in a relaxed atmosphere during the winter, spring and fall tournament season and other special events including International Cup in November, Buzz Welker Memorial Junior Tournament in March, ProKidz Tournaments in the spring and fall, Women’s Championship Tournament and Gay Polo League International Tournament, both in April.

 

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