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Valiente 11, Orchard Hill 9
U.S. Open Final

April 19, 2015

Valiente (Bob Jornayvaz, Alejo Taranco, Guillermo Terrera and Adolfo Cambiaso) beat Orchard Hill (Steve Van Andel, Gallego Ferrario, Polito Pieres and Facundo Pieres) 11-9 Sunday afternoon in the 2015 United States Open championship game at the International Polo Club before a record crowd in the final match of the season.

Valiente was making their third straight US Open final appearance, having lost to Zacara Mike Azzaro, Facundo Pieres, Magoo Laprida and Lyndon Lea) in 2013 and Alegria (Julian Mannix, Hilario Ulloa, Mariano Aguerre and Clemente Zavaleta, Jr.) in 2014. They struggled through the 26-goal season with a 6-6 record before battling their way into the 2015 US Open final.

Valiente was facing an Orchard Hill team that had run up an impressive 13-2 record while Valiente's season record going in to the day's US Open final was a mediocre 6-6. Forty-year-old Cambiaso had been playing hurt and had amassed a total of only 27 goals over the course of the three 26 goal tournaments.

Orchard Hill has won the C. V. Whitney Cup, the opening 26-goal tournament without a loss, and recorded four more wins in the second 26-goal tournament of the season, the USPA Piaget Gold Cup before suffering their first loss of the year to Audi in the final. Orchard Hill boasted the talents of 10-goaler Facundo Pieres, the number two ranked player in the world (behind Adolfo Cambiaso) and his cousin, 9-goaler Polito Pieres (rated at 10-goals in Argentina). Facundo Pieres had led the scoring in the C. V. Whitney Cup, the USPA Piaget gold cup and the United States Open, coming into the game, and won't turn 29 until May. Clearly the favorite, but if players around the world have learned anything about the game of polo, they've learned to NEVER count Cambiaso out.

Orchard Hill showed their fangs early with Facundo Pieres scoring the opening goal of the game in the first 30 seconds of play, 1-0. Alejo Taranco took advantage of a Valiente foul by converting a 40-yard penalty shot to tie the game at 1-1 at the 6:10 mark. Facundo Pieres responded with a 40-yard penalty conversion of his own to make it 2-1, and Polito Peres scored the final goal of the chukker with just 37 seconds on the clock. At the end of the first period of play, Orchard Hill led by two goals, 3-1.

Both defenses tightened up in the second period with Orchard Hill pressing the attack. On three separate occasions a Valiente defender knocked the ball over their own end line resulting in a Safety (a 60-yard penalty award), and on three occasions, Orchard Hill missed. A Valiente foul resulted in a Penalty 4, and another 60-yard penalty attempt that Orchard Hill pushed wide. An Orchard Hill foul sent Taranco to the penalty line where he converted from the 30-yard line for the only score of the chukker, cutting the Orchard Hill lead to a single goal, 3-2.

Facundo Pieres converted from 60-yards out to open the third period, 4-2, but an Orchard Hill foul in their own goal mouth resulted in a Penalty 1, awarding Valiente with a goal. Taranco added a 30-yard penalty conversion less than a minute later to tie it at 4-4. Facundo Pieres followed up a run by Polito Pieres and drove the ball through the goalposts to end the first half with Orchard Hill in front, 5-4.

Cambiaso took the field in the fourth chukker with a racehorse, tying the game with the first of his three goals in the opening two minutes of action, 5-5, and the last with 1:36 on the clock. Complimented by shutout defense, Cambiaso lifted Valiente to their first lead of the game, 6-5, and padded it with the final goal of the chukker, 7-5.

Polito Pieres took advantage of Cambiaso leaving the field to change mounts as he raced down the field for a goal at 4:23 of the fifth chukker. Facundo Pieres tied the game at 7-7 on a 40-yard penalty shot at the 2:43 mark, and Polito Pieres put Orchard Hill back on top, 8-7 to end the chukker.

After nearly three scoreless minutes of the sixth chukker, Facundo Pieres rocketed the ball through the Valiente goalposts from over 130 yards out to give Orchard Hill a two goals lead, 9-7.With two minutes and nine seconds left in the period, Orchard Hill committed a foul in their own goal mouth, resulting in a Penalty 1 and the awarding of a goal to Valiente and a throw-in 10-yards in front of their goal. Valiente took control of the throw-in and Guillermo Terrera scored the tying goal with 2:02 on the clock. Another Orchard Hill foul resulted in a 30-yard penalty shot that Taranco converted to put Valiente in front, 10-9, with one minute left in the chukker. Cambiaso put an exclamation mark on the end of the game as he scored his fifth goal of the game for the 11-9 victory.

Cambiaso and Taranco scored four goals apiece (all four of Taranco's goals came on penalty conversions). Terrera scored once and Valiente received two goals on a pair of Penalty 1s. Facundo Pieres scored four of his game high six goals on penalty shots. Polito Pieres added three goals in a losing effort.

Taranco was honored as MVP while Cambiaso's 7-year-old mare, Romana, was named Best Playing Pony. Cambiaso player her in the fourth chukker, scoring three goals and boosting Valiente into a 7-5 lead.


Valiente 11, Audi 10 in OT
April 15, 2015

Valiente was looking for another trip to the US Open final, an opportunity that they had experienced in 2013 and 2014 (losing both times), but a strong Audi team had other ideas.

Valiente had struggled with both their new lineup and injuries, losing the services of Adolfo Cambiaso in the early going and later team captain bob Jornayvaz. A disappointing appearance in the C. V. Whitney Cup and a lackluster showing in the Piaget Gold Cup weren't promising signs, but with the original team back together for the first time in weeks, Valiente was prepared to soldier on.

Alejo Taranco scored the first goal of the game in the opening minute of play when Audi unleashed the strength of their attack. Three consecutive goals from Gonzalito Pieres (two on penalty shots) had Valiente trailing, 3-1. Adolfo Cambiaso scored the final goal of the chukker with 58 seconds on the clock, but it was Audi who left the field with the lead, 3-2.

Fred Mannix scored his first goal of the game as the second chukker got underway, 4-2, and Pieres added another 30-yard penalty shot for a 5-2 Audi lead. Another goal from Mannix extended the Audi lead to four goals, 6-2, before Valiente could answer back. A goal from Cambiaso with 1:48 on the clock, 6-4, was followed by a Penalty 1 assessed against Audi, giving another goal to a surging Valiente attack. Cambiaso added one more goal to the Valiente total with 41 seconds on the clock and at the end of the second chukker Valiente had nearly caught up to Audi, trailing by a single goal, 6-5.

Both defenses stepped it up in the third, and scoring was at a premium. Both teams missed shots and scoring opportunities, but the offenses were limited. A late Audi foul sent Cambiaso to the penalty line with 35 seconds left in the chukker where he converted another 60-yard penalty shot for the tying goal, 6-6, to end the first half.

Cambiaso scored the first goal of the second half in the opening minute of play for a 7-6 Valiente lead. Pieres countered for Audi by scoring on a 0-yard penalty shot that leveled the score at 7-7. Both defenses showed their muscle for the balance of the period and the chukker ended with no further scoring.

Pieres put Audi into the lead at 6:40 of the fifth period as Valiente seemed to struggle to stay with them. A 60-yard penalty conversion from Cambiaso came with 2:20 left on the clock to tie it at 8-8. Cambiaso added another goal from the field a minute later and Valiente left the field with a fragile 9-8 edge.

Sixth chukker play had Valiente putting up a strong defensive front in the opening minutes of the period, but Pieres slipped the ball through the goalposts at the 4:14 mark for a 9-9 tie. Cambiaso took advantage of an Audi foul with 1:16 left in the chukker, converting a penalty shot from 40-yards out for a 10-9 Valiente lead. With time running out, Pieres found his way through the Valiente defense to score the final goal of the chukker, 10-10, and force the seventh sudden-death overtime period of the tournament.

After a brief recess both teams returned to the field with a frantic struggled for control of the ball. In a game that seemed would never end, Taranco took control of the ball and carried it over 150 yards down the field for the winning goal one minute and forty-seven seconds into overtime.

A seemingly healthy Cambiaso had returned to the field for Valiente, leading the team with eight goals on the day (four on penalty conversions). Taranco added two goals and Valiente received one goal on a Penalty 1. Pieres led the Audi attack with eight goals of his won (half on penalty shots). Mannix added the other two goals in a heartbreaking loss.

Coca-Cola 15, FlexJet 10

April 12, 2015


In the second quarterfinal match of the day, FlexJet exploded onto the field with the first two goals of the game. Roldan showed great style as he scored the first goal just 39 seconds in. Miguel Astrada made it 2-0 less than a minute later. Julio Arellano responded with back-to-back 30-yard penalty goals that tied it up, 2-2. Goals from Sugar Erskine, Gillian Johnston and Arellano ended the chukker with FlexJet trailing by three goals, 5-2.

Magoo Laprida scored his first goal of the day cutting the Coca-Cola lead to two goals, 5-3, but Coca-Cola responded. Pelon Stirling scored at the 3:22 mark followed by a goal from Johnston with 27 seconds on the clock for a 7-3 advantage.

Roldan and Erskine exchanged goals in a low-scoring third chukker as Coca-Cola left the field at the end of the first half with a four goal, 8-4 lead.

Johnston scored the first goal of the fourth chukker on a beautifully executed backhander that had Coca-Cola in front by five goals, 9-4. Two minutes later Astrada answered with a goal for FlexJet, 9-5. Roldan cut the Coca-Cola lead to three goals with his third goal of the day, 9-6, but goals from Arellano (60-yard penalty conversion) and Erskine closed out the chukker. With two chukkers left in regulation time, Coca-Cola led by five goals, 11-6.

Roldan's mare, Prima, got FlexJet back into the game in the fifth period as he scored three consecutive goals in three minutes, cutting the Coca-Cola lead to 11-9, but that was where the rally stalled. Erskine scored with 3:16 left in the chukker, 12-9, and Arellano made it 13-9 with his fifth goal of the game and the final goal of the chukker.

Coca-Cola continued to control the game into the sixth chukker. A disciplined defense held FlexJet scoreless as Arellano added two more goals from the field for Coca-Cola for a commanding 15-9 lead. Laprida scored the final goal of the game with less than a minute left, but it was Coca-Cola with the 15-10 victory.

Arellano led all scoring with seven goals (four on penalty shots) and earned MVP honors. Erskine turned in an inspired performance accounting for four goals with Johnston scoring three times and Stirling adding a goal for the win. Roldan set the pace for the FlexJet offense with six goals. Astrada and Laprida scored two goals apiece in the loss.

The 2015 US Open semifinals are scheduled for Wednesday, with Orchard Hill (Steve Van Andel, Gallego Ferrario, Polito Pieres and Facundo Pieres) facing Coca-Cola in a 2:30pm contest followed by a 5pm game between Audi (Marc Ganzi, Rodrigo Andrade, Gonzalito Pieres and Fred Mannix) and Valiente.

Coca-Cola 12, Valiente 11 OT

April 5, 2015

Valiente (Tommy Beresford, Guillermo Terrera, Alejo Taranco and Sapo Caset) dropped their second loss of the 2015 US Open Championship in a 12-11 overtime loss to Coca-Cola (Gillian Johnston, Sugar Erskine, Pelon Stirling and Julio Arellano) Sunday afternoon.

Valiente took the field without either team captain Bob Jornayvaz (fractured tailbone) or the number one ranked player in the world, 10-goaler Adolfo Cambiaso (abductor muscle injury). English 2-goaler Tommy Beresford was filling in for Jornayvaz while Argentine 10-goaler Sapo Caset filled Cambiaso's boots.

An aggressive Coca-Cola team drew first blood with goals from the field from Sugar Erskine and Pelon Stirling. Guillermo Terrera kept Valiente from getting shut out with his first goal of the game. After the first chukker of play, Coca-Cola led, 2-1.

Julio Arellano converted a 60-yard penalty shot for Coca-Cola in the second period to extend their lead to two goals, 3-1. Caset fired back for Valiente with a pair of 30-yard penalty conversions that leveled the score at 3-3.

The two teams continued to battle evenly through the third chukker. Caset got Valiente on the scoreboard first with an 80-yard penalty conversion, 4-3. Coca-Cola responded with goals from Stirling and Arellano, 5-4. Terrera tied the game at 5-5 with his second goal of the game in the final seconds of the period to end the first half.

Terrera opened the fourth chukker with a goal from the field that had Valiente on top, 6-5. Arellano tied it a minute later with 40-yard penalty shot, 6-6 and gave Coca-Cola the lead back with a 30-yard penalty conversion, 7-6.

Arellano gave Coca-Cola a two goal lead with a 30-yard penalty shot in the opening minute of the fifth, but Valiente galloped right back into the game with goals from Terrera and Alejo Taranco, 8-8. Caset scored a go-ahead goal on a 60-yard penalty shot, 9-8but a final goal from Stirling ended the period in a 9-9 tie.

The two teams continued to match one another goal for goal as the sixth chukker got started. A goal from Taranco was countered by a goal from Gillian Johnston for a 10-10 tie. Terrera gave Valiente the lead, 11-10 with under two minutes left in the period. Arellano's sixth goal of the day came with one second on the clock and ended regulation time in an 11-11 deadlock, forcing a sudden-death overtime.

After a brief intermission that allowed both teams to regroup and return with fresh mounts, the overtime chukker commenced. Valiente had the first run at the winning goal but it was a foul that sent Arellano to the penalty line with 5:44 on the clock where he converted from 40-yards out for the winning goal, 12-11.

Arellano scored a game high seven goals for Coca-Cola (five on penalty conversions). Stirling was credited with three goals with Erskine and Johnston adding single goals for the win. Terrera scored five times for Valiente. Caset scored three of his four goals on penalty shots and Taranco added two goals in a losing effort.

Erskine was named MVP for his efforts while Stirling's "Renato" was honored as Best Playing Pony.

US Open competition continues on Wednesday, April 8th three games slated to be played. In a 10am contest Orchard Hill (1-1) takes on Coca-Cola (2-0). Audi (2-0) will face Alegria (0-2) at 2:30pm, while Lechuza (1-1) is scheduled to meet FlexJet (1-1) at 5pm.












Audi defeats Orchard Hill 16-15 OT

March 22, 2015


The final of the 2015 USPA Piaget Gold Cup was truly a tale of two teams. Orchard Hill (Steve Van Andel, Ezequiel Gallego Ferrario, Polito Pieres and Facundo Pieres) rode into the game with a C. V. Whitney Cup title in their pocket and a record of seven consecutive 26-goal wins without a loss this season. Orchard Hill boasted the talented Pieres cousins, 10-goaler Facundo Pieres, who was leading the tournament in scoring with 31 goals in four games, and cousin Polito Pieres with a 9-goal handicap and talents that improve daily. Throw in team patron Steve Van Andel and Gallego Ferrario and you have a winning combination.

Audi was eliminated in their second round C. V. Whitney Cup game against Alegria, a Whitney Cup finalist. They bounced back in the Piaget Gold Cup, registering four consecutive wins to earn a berth in the tournament final. With 9-goaler Gonzalito Pieres (Facundo's older brother), Audi boasted the second highest scorer in Gold Cup competition. Brazilian 9-goaler Rodrigo was solid at Number 2 and 6-goaler Fred Mannix handled the Back position for Audi. The only question mark going into the game with Orchard Hill was the health of team patron Marc Ganzi. Ganzi had suffered a shoulder separation in Wednesday's semifinal win over Las Monjitas and was doubtful to play. His appearance on the Sunday field was a surprise, his performance more than anyone could expect.

Marc credited the miraculous recovery to the work of his trainer, Argentine Daniel Martinez, who had been working with him four to five hours a day since the fall four days ago.

With the talented one-two punch of Facundo and Polito Pieres, most expected that Audi would have their hands full, but it turned out to be the other way around. The first goal that was scored came from Gonzalito Pieres on a 40-yard penalty conversion, 2-0 (the 25-goal Audi team received one goal by handicap to start the game). Less than a minute later, another Orchard Hill foul returned Gonzalito Pieres to the penalty line where he scored on a penalty shot from 60-yards out, 3-0. Facundo Pieres closed out the chukker with a 30-yard penalty shot for a goal to trail Audi, 3-1.

At the 6:30 mark of the second chukker Facundo Pieres scored on a 30-yard penalty shot that cut the Audi lead to a single goal, 3-2. Consecutive goals from Gonzalito Pieres and Fred Mannix extended the Audi lead to three goals, 5-2. Facundo Pieres scored on a 30-yard penalty shot and added another goal from the field to bring orchard Hill to within a goal of the lead, 5-4. Orchard Hill fouled with 35 seconds on the clock, allowing Gonzalito Pieres to score on a 50-yard penalty shot for a 6-4 Audi lead.

The two teams traded goals in the third chukker. Mannix opened the scoring with a goal midway through the chukker, 7-4. Facundo Pieres responded with an Orchard Hill goal, 7-5. Gallego Ferrario cut the Audi lead back to a single goal, 7-6, but with 31 seconds on the clock, Gonzalito Pieres scored for the fifth time for an 8-6 halftime lead.

A determined Orchard Hill team took to the field in the fourth chukker with Facundo Pieres leading the procession. A goal from the field in the first 30 seconds was followed by two penalty goals that first tied the game at 8-8 and then put Orchard Hill in the lead, 9-8. Mannix scored the tying goal for Audi, 9-9, but Facundo Pieres took the lead back, 10-9, with the final goal of the chukker at 1:32.

Polito Pieres scored his first goal of the game in the opening minute of the fifth chukker, 11-9, but Audi fought right back. Audi picked up consecutive goals from Mannix, Gonzalito Pieres and Rodrigo Andrade to regain the lead, 12-11. Facundo Pieres converted a 60-yard penalty shot that tied the game at 12-12, but Audi wasn't through yet. Fouls by orchard Hill had Polito Pieres going to the penalty line where he scored consecutive goals on penalty shots of 60 and 30-goals to give Audi a two goal lead, 14-12 at the end of the chukker.

Polito Pieres scored his second goal of the game to open the sixth, 14-13. Gonzalito Pieres countered with a goal of his own three minutes later, 15-13. Polito Pieres cut the lead back to a single goal at 1:31 and Facundo Pieres carried the ball from one end of the field to the other end of the field to score the tying goal, 15-15, with five seconds left in regulation play.

After a brief intermission that allowed the players to find fresh mounts, they returned to the field. Audi took control of the opening throw-n and drove toward the Orchard Hill goal. After just 29 seconds of play, another Orchard Hill foul sent Gonzalito Pieres to the penalty line where he converted a 40-yard penalty shot for the winning goal, 16-15, in the highest scoring game in Gold Cup history.

Gonzalito Pieres led the Audi attack with ten goals (seven on penalty shots). Mannix added four goals, Andrade scored once and the team received one goal by handicap. Facundo Pieres led the field with eleven goals on the afternoon (six on penalty conversions). Polito Pieres was credited with three goals and Ferrario scored once in the loss.

Gonzalito Pieres was named MVP for his efforts while his mare, Rosparita, picked up Best Playing Pony honors.










Orchard Hill 15, Villa del Lago 13
January 25, 2015


The final of the 2015 20-goal Joe Barry Memorial Cup was just fast-paced, smash-mouth battle it was expected to be with Villa Del Lago (Jim Zenni, Agustin Obregon, Polito Pieres and Julian de Lusarreta) facing Orchard Hill (Steve Van Andel, Lucas Criado, Facundo Pieres and Julian de Lusarreta).

Between Orchard Hill and Villa Del Lago, they had two of the best ball control artists in the game. Orchard Hill boasted the talents of 10-goaler Facundo Pieres while Villa Del Lago saddled up with 9-goaler Polito Pieres (recently elevated to 10-goals in Argentina). The Argentine cousins were high-scoring machines that regularly carried the ball through seemingly impassable defenses to score. The question would be, "Which cousin was going to outscore the other in Sunday's final".

Orchard Hill's Facundo Pieres opened the scoring with the conversion of a 60-yard penalty shot, 1-0, in the first 80 seconds of play. Julian de Lusarreta responded with a goal from the field two minutes later to tie the game at 1-1. Polito Pieres scored ona30-yard penalty shot two minutes later to give the lead to Villa Del Lago, 2-1. Facundo Pieres leveled the score at 2-2 scoring the final goal of the period with just43sweconds on the clock.

The pace continued to heat up as the second chukker got underway. De Lusarreta scored for Villa Del Lago with just 32 seconds off the clock, 3-2, followed by a 40-yard penalty goal from Polito Pieres at the 5:41 mark for a 4-2 lead. Facundo Pieres scored a goal from the field with Polito and Facundo exchanging penalty goals to close the chukker with Villa Del Lago in the lead, 5-4.

Facundo Pieres tied it at 5-5 in the opening 30 seconds of the third chukker with a beautifully-executed neck shot. Polito Pieres took the lead back for Villa Del Lago, 6-5, at the 4:17 mark. Facundo Pieres ended the chukker with consecutive penalty goals from 40-ardsand 60-yards for a 7-6 halftime lead for Orchard Hill.

The pace continued to quicken as the second half of play began. The ball moved up and down the field at breakneck speed with both Facundo and Polito giving an exhibition of ball handling on the polo field. Polito Pieres was the first to score in the fourth chukker with a tying goal, 7-7, in the opening minute of the period. A goal from the field from de Lusarreta was followed by a penalty goal from Polito Pieres as the Villa Del Lago lead grew to two goals, 9-7. Polito Pieres scored a goal from the field as Villa Del Lago continued to beat up on a stagnant Orchard Hill offense. Villa Del Lago led by three goals, 10-7, with time running out. Orchard Hill team captain Steve Van Andel scored the final goal of the chukker with just 38 seconds on the clock. Villa Del Lago rode off the field at the end of the fourth on top of a 10-8 score.

Facundo Pieres went on a tear in the fifth chukker, scoring the opening goal on a 30-yard penalty conversion in the opening seconds of play, 10-9. Facundo followed up less than a minute later with a 130-yard neck shot for a goal and then took the ensuing throw-in and raced 150-yards down the field to score the go-ahead goal, 11-10. Facundo Pieres scored his fourth consecutive goal from a melee in front of the Villa Del Lago goal12-10. Polito Pieres and Lucas Criado traded goals to end the chukker with Orchard Hill in the possession of a 13-11 advantage.

























Merchant Hub defeats FlexJet 11 - 8
January 18, 2015

Merchant Hub (Scott Swerdlin, Marianito Obregon, Facundo Obregon and Luis Escobar) recorded their first win of the season in Joe Barry memorial Cup competition at the International Polo Club Sunday afternoon by downing FlexJet (Melissa Ganzi Guille Aguero, Miguel Novillo Astrada and Juan Bollini), 11-8.

The 19-goal Merchant Hub team received one goal by handicap but FlexJet scored the first goal of the game on a 30-yard penalty conversion from Guille Aguero for a1-1 tie. Miguel Novillo Astrada made it 2-1 on a goal from the field with 1:34 left in the period.

Merchant Hub came alive in the second with goals from Marianito Obregon and his brother Facundo Obregon for a 3-2 edge. Astrada leveled the score at 3-3 with a goal in the final 48 seconds of the chukker.

Luis Escobar scored the go-ahead goal in the opening30 seconds of the third chukker for a 4-3 Merchant Hub advantage. Astrada converted a 40-yard penalty shot for s 4-4 score. Juan Bollini and Marianito Obregon traded goals to end the first half deadlocked at 5-5.

The fourth chukker remained scoreless until Marianito Obregon found Facundo with a pass that he redirected to a streaking Escobar who scored, giving the lead to Merchant Hub, 6-5. With 1:28 on the clock, Marianito Obregon scored to give Merchant Hub a two goal, 7-5 lead.

Fifth chukker action got underway with Marianito Obregon scoring the first goal of the period and Facundo adding the second as Merchant Hub stretched their lead to four goals, 9-5. Astrada got FlexJet on the scoreboard with a 40-yard penalty conversion, 9-6, adding a goal from the field moments later to cut the Merchant Hub lead to two goals, 9-7.Facundo Obregon closed out the chukker by scoring from the field with nine seconds on the clock. With one chukker left to play, Merchant Hub held a three goal, 10-7 advantage.

FlexJet pressed the attack in the sixth, with shots being blocked or going wide of the goal. Astrada converted a 30-yard penalty shot with nearly six minutes left to play, but that was where it ended. Luis Escobar scored on an impressive angle shot from just off the end line that gave Merchant Hub the security goal they needed as they rode on for the 12-8 victory.

Facundo Obregon led the Merchant Hub offense with four goals and earned MVP honors. Escobar and Marianito Obregon scored three goals apiece and the team received one goal by handicap. Astrada scored a game-high six goals (three on penalty shots). Bollini and Aguero scored single goals in the loss. Halo Polo's Oro,played by Juan Bollini in the fifth chukker, was named Best Playing Pony.









Villa Del Lago Conquers Coca-Cola 13 - 12
January 11, 2015


The feature match of the day saw Villa Del Lago (Jim Zenni, Agustin Obregon, Polito Pieres and Julian de Lusarreta) record a 13-11 win over Coca-Cola (Gillian Johnston, Sugar Erskine, Julio Arellano and Mason Wroe) to remain undefeated at 2-0. The loss was the second for Coca-Cola who fell to 0-2.

Argentine 9-goaler Polito Pieres scored the first goal of the game to give Villa Del Lago the early 1-0 lead, but the celebration was short-lived. Less than a minute later Julio Arellano tied it with a 30-yard penalty conversion, 1-1. Pieres responded with60-yard angled shot from the field for his second goal of the game, 2-1. Arellano tied it at 2-2 with 1:35 left in the chukker, and team captain, Gillian Johnston, gave Coca-Cola the lead with the final goal of the period, 3-2, at :52.

Arellano stretched the Coca-Cola lead to two goals, 4-2, with a scoring shot at 5:25 of the second. Pieres responded with a goal from the field just a minute later, 4-3, and teammate Julian de Lusarreta tied it at 4-4 with his first goal of the day. Arellano scored the go-ahead goal with 2:23 on the clock to give the lead to Coca-Cola, 5-4. A penalty and ensuing technical foul called on Pieres allowed Arellano to convert the penalty shot for a goal and watch Pieres get ejected for the remaining 1:23 of the chukker. Playing four on three, Arellano notched another goal to put Coca-Cola on top, 7-4.

Pieres wasted little time redeeming himself for the ejection as he scored the opening goal of the third chukker in the first 25 seconds of play, 7-5. Sugar Erskine scored his first goal of the game to keep Coca-Cola on top by three goals, 8-5. Pieres converted a 40-yard penalty shot to end the scoring in the first half with Villa Del Lago trailing, 8-6.

Goals were hard to come by in the fourth period as Arellano converted a penalty shot with just 3:34 left to play, 9-6. Pieres scored the only goal from the field, but it was Coca-Cola with the 9-7 lead entering the fifth chukker.

Pieres opened the fifth with a penalty goal to cut the Coca-Cola lead to a single goal, 9-8. Arellano converted a penalty shot of his own to push the Coca-Cola lead back to two goals, 10-8. Obregon scored a goal from the field followed by two more goals from Pieres (one on a penalty shot) that gave the lead to Villa Del Lago, 11-10.

Obregon's second goal of the game opened the scoring in the sixth period, giving Villa Del Lago a two goal lead, 12-10. Erskine scored to cut the Villa Del Lago lead back to a single goal, 12-11. With time running out, Pieres scored the final goal of the game for the hard-fought 12-11 victory.

Pieres led all scoring with ten goals. Obregon scored twice and de Lusarreta added a goal for the win. Arellano scored seven of his team high nine goals on penalty conversions. Erskine was credited with two goals and Johnston scored once in a losing effort.
















Casablanca Rallies to Win 2015 Herbie Pennell Cup 13 - 11
January 4, 2015


Casablanca (Grant Ganzi, Juancito Bollini, Miguel Novillo Astrada and Nic Roldan) rallied from a five goal deficit to score a 13-11 win over a powerful Villa Del Lago team (Jim Zenni, Agustin Obregon, Polito Pieres and Julian de Lusarreta) Sunday afternoon in the final of the 20-goal Herbie Pennell Cup at the International Polo Club.

Casablanca made their way to the final by defeating Coca-Cola (Gillian Johnston, Kris Kampsen, Julio Arellano and Mason Wroe) Friday in semifinal action, 14-6. Villa Del Lago had a more difficult time of it as they edged Lechuza Caracas (Victor Vargas, Marcos Alberdi, Juan Martin Nero and Martin Espain, 10-8.

Villa Del Lago struck early, with 9-goaler Polito Pieres taking the opening throw-in 150 yards down the field for the first goal of the game, 1-0. It was nearly five minutes before another goal was scored as Nic Roldan tied it with a shot from the field, 1-1.Roldan's second goal came less than a minute later, putting Casablanca on top, 2-1. Consecutive goals from Pieres (one on a 60-yard penalty conversion) ended the first chukker with Villa Del Lago leading, 3-2.
A second period infraction by Villa Del Lago sent Miguel Novillo Astrada to the foul line where he scored on a 40-yard penalty shot to tie the game at3-3. A pair of goals from Agustin Obregon and another goal from Pieres ended the chukker with Villa Del Lago in command of a 6-3 game.

Pieres made it 7-3 in the opening minute of the third chukker as he carried the ball down the field with Casablanca's Astrada on his hip. Juancito Bollini passed the ball to Astrada and then rode a man out of the play to allow his teammate to score, cutting the Villa Del Lago lead back to three goals, 7-4. Obregon scored on a pass from Pieres with 3:25 left in the period, and Pieres scored his sixth goal of the day for a 9-4 advantage. Astrada answered back with a goal for Casablanca with 45 seconds on the clock but it was Villa Del Lago with the 9-5 halftime lead.

Casablanca returned to the field in the fourth chukker with a new look. A swarming defense kept Villa Del Lago off the scoreboard for the first time all day as Casablanca picked up a goal from Juancito Bollini and a pair of goals from Astrada. With two chukkers to play Casablanca had cut the lead to a single goal, 9-8.

Both defenses tightened in the fifth period with all three goals being scored from the penalty line. Roldan and Pieres traded 30-yard penalty goals, with Astrada converting from 60-yards out for the final goal of the period and a 10-10 tie.

Julian de Lusarreta left the ball on the field for a pouncing Astrada in the opening minute of the sixth as the 9-goal Argentine carried it down the field for a go-ahead goal for Casablanca, 11-10. Ninety seconds later Roldan scored to put Casablanca ahead by two goals, 12-10. Pieres rallied for a goal with three minutes left to bring Villa Del Lago to within a goal, 12-11, but a final goal from Astrada at the 1:24 mark ended the threat as Casablanca registered a 13-11 win in the opening high-goal tournament of the 2015 season.

"We weren't marking Polito (Pieres) in the first half," said Casablanca 8-goaler Nic Roldan. "We were playing too loose, and whenever we had the ball we gave it away."The team made the adjustments at halftime and came back with a renewed focus. "I chewed them out at halftime," said Marc Ganzi, father of Casablanca's Grant Ganzi and captain of the Audi polo team. "I told Miguel (Astrada) to put Nic (Roldan) on Polito in the second half, and it paid off."

In the final three chukkers of the game, Pieres was held to just two goals, one of them on a penalty shot with Roldan shadowing him for the second half, and separating him from the pack.

Pieres had scored six goals in the first half but was held to just a pair of goals in the second half (one on a penalty shot), as the Casablanca team rode on for the victory and the first tournament title of the young season.

Astrada led the Casablanca attack with eight goals (two on penalty shots), and was named MVP for his efforts. His mare, Paulina, received Best Play Pony honors. Roldan added four goals and Bollini scored once for the win. Pieres scored eight times for Villa Del Lago (twice on penalty shots), with Obregon getting credited with three goals on the day.