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MANUEL MAZZOCCHI LAUNCHES LONGMEADOW TO CHAIRMAN’S CUP VICTORY

Aug 06, 2019 4:39 PM

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Longmeadow - CB Scherer, Estanislao Puch, Reed Miller, Manu Mazzocchi ©Jacqueline Miller
2019 Chairman's Cup Champions: Longmeadow - CB Scherer, Estanislao Puch, Reed Miller, Manuel Mazzocchi.

Competing not only against a fierce field of four, but a disruptive series of heat waves and rainy conditions throughout the tournament, Longmeadow and Del Rancho/Black Oak emerged to take their places in the Chairman’s Cup Final at Myopia Polo Club in South Hamilton, Massachusetts. A defeat by Del Rancho/Black Oak the only blemish on their record, Longmeadow made the sixth chukker count, redeeming their previous loss to capture the trophy 11-10.

In a final characterized by power plays resulting from strong offensive strategy, neither team was willing to relinquish the lead by the end of the first half. 4-goaler Manuel Mazzocchi anticipated another competitive match up, scoring two consecutive goals in the first chukker to give Longmeadow the early advantage. Striking twice to open the second, brothers Felipe* and Nachi Viana evened the score briefly, but CB Scherer* quickly regained the lead 4-3 in favor of Longmeadow. Energized by the one-goal margin both teams traded goals in an explosive third, the Viana brothers doubling their previous chukker with four goals to Longmeadow’s three to end the half 7-all.

Felipe Viana
Del Rancho/Black Oak's Felipe Viana.

Starting off the fourth on an even playing field, both teams’ highest-rated players demonstrated their skills in the second half to propel their respective teams forward. Nailing his fourth goal of the game, Mazzocchi was met by Felipe Viana who scored two of his own, securing the lead for Del Rancho/Black Oak for the first time. Both teams sticking to their men, the scoreboard remained unchanged in the fifth as all attempts at goal were deflected by effective defense. Entering the sixth 9-8 with Del Rancho/Black Oak clinging to a narrow lead, Longmeadow’s Mazzocchi came out fast with two powerful goals. As valuable minutes began to run out, Felipe Viana sprang into action, delivering just in time to tie the game yet again 10-all. Refusing to let the game go into overtime, Mazzocchi found a pivotal opportunity to sink the game-winning goal at dusk, ending the final during regulation time 11-10 in favor of Longmeadow.

Longmeadow’s Reed Miller benefitted greatly from his friendship and familiarity with his teammates which allowed the foursome to play well together. “I also have a wonderful groom, Cristian Piedrabuena, and have had great training over the years from Federico Wulff which is now paying off.”

Reflecting on Longmeadow’s narrow win, Estanislao Puch commented on the intensity of the tight game. “It was a really tough game until the end against the Viana brothers who were playing their best, but we fought as a team to win,” Puch said. “With only one minute left in the sixth, Mazzocchi and I worked together to score a 40-yard penalty and move ahead with just 30 seconds left.”

Most Valuable Player, Manuel Mazzocchi.
Most Valuable Player, Manuel Mazzocchi.

Playing together for the first time in a tournament, the Viana brothers were finally able to fulfill a goal they set which has been years in the making. “It’s a dream come true to play with Nachi. It’s been a family objective ever since I started making my first moves to play in the United States,” Viana commented. “He’s eight years younger than I am so as I’ve gotten organized I’m able to provide him with horses and opportunities to play. I want to thank Franz Colloredo-Mansfeld and my teammate David Strouss who were able to make this happen.”

Scoring an impressive seven out of the winning team’s 11 total goals, Manuel Mazzocchi was named Most Valuable Player.

Best Playing Pony, Lady Rose, played by Felipe Viana.
Best Playing Pony, Lady Rose, played by Felipe Viana.

Best Playing Pony honors were awarded to Lady Rose, a 7-year-old Uruguayan Thoroughbred racehorse played by Felipe Viana in the third and sixth chukkers. “She made a difference every single time I played her today. My dad and brother Nachi bought her off the track as a 4 year old at the Maroñas racetrack in Montevideo, Uruguay,” Viana shared. “Since then Nachi has been training her and I’ve played her a little bit whenever I go back to Uruguay. When she was finally made we sent her to the United States and she arrived here in June 2019. She’s a very fast mare, agile, and has a very good mouth.”

*Felipe Viana is a member of Team USPA. CB Scherer is a Team USPA alumnus. Team USPA is a USPA program designed to enhance and grow the sport of polo in the United States by identifying young, talented American players and providing mentored training and playing opportunities leading to a pool of higher rated amateur and pro players and the resultant giveback to the sport of polo.

All photos by ©Jacqueline Miller

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