Audi and Orchard Hill Score Whitney Cup Wins
By Alex Webbe
With a score that looked more like a soccer final than high-goal polo, Audi led Lechuza Caracas 3-0 after the first three chukkers of play on their way to a 9-5 win in the opening round of the C. V. Whitney Cup Thursday afternoon at the International Polo Club in Wellington.
With three of the worldâ€™s dozen 10-goalers in the world on the field, you might expect some high scoring affair, but that was not the case. Audi 10-goaler Facundo Pieres accounted for the only scoring of the first seven-and-a-half minutes of the game with a penalty conversion, and it was his second goal of the game that gave the Audi team a 2-0 lead after two.
The pace continued to escalate in the third chukker, but shots went wide or were blocked by a determined Audi defense. Although Lechuza had difficulty mounting its own attack, it had managed to hold the Audi attack to just two goals in the opening two chukkers of play.
Gonzalito Pieres, 10-goal brother of Facundo, finally stroked the ball through the goal posts in the third period to give Audi a 3-0 lead. Try as they did, Lechuza was shut out for the third consecutive chukker. Audi held a 3-0 halftime lead.
When the teams returned to the field for the fourth chukker, Audi continued to increase the pressure on the Lechuza defense. Single goals from Facundo Pieres, brother Gonzalo and Marc Ganzi had Audi up 6-0 before Lechuza finally got on the scoreboard. A goal from the field from Santiago Toccalino kept Lechuza from being shut out, but the chukker ended with Audi holding a 6-1 lead.
Facundo Pieres gave Audi an 8-1 lead with a penalty goal and a goal from the field while Lechuza continued to struggle with its offense.
Sapo Caset finally Lechuza going with a pair of goals to close out the fifth chukker. Audi continued to lead, 8-3.
With seven-and-a-half minutes left in the game, Lechuza dug in and got a goal from its 10-goaler, Juan Martin Nero. Lechuza cut the lead to four goals, but there wasnâ€™t much time left.
A teammate of the Pieres brothers in the Argentine Open, today he found himself on the other end of the gun, and being held scoreless in the first five chukkers of the game couldnâ€™t have made him comfortable about it.
Before Lechuza could feel too good about itself, Facundo Pieres scored his sixth goal of the game, and Audi stretched its lead to five goals, 9-4. Caset would score the last goal of the game, but it would be Audi who would advance with the 9-5 win.
ORCHARD HILL 12, PIAGET 9
The Piaget polo team made its debut earlier in the day in C. V. Whitney Cup play, and got off to a good start. Behind the offensive combination of 10-goaler Lolo Castagnola and American 9-goaler Nick Roldan, Piaget ran out to an early 3-1 lead before getting bowled over by the talented Orchard Hill foursome.
Piaget had a number of early scoring opportunities, but looked like â€œthe gang that couldnâ€™t shoot straightâ€ missing on five penalty shot attempts.
â€œJust one of those days,â€ said Roldan , after missing three 30-yard penalty shots. â€œI wish I had the answerâ€ he added, â€œbut I donâ€™t.â€
No strangers to the 26-goal competition, this same Orchard Hill lineup lost in overtime in last years United States Open Championship, and look to be even more effective this year.
Orchard Hill got a pair of second chukker goals from its own 10-goaler, Pablo MacDonough, while holding Piaget scoreless, and the score was all even at 3-3.
The third period belonged to Orchard Hill as they put four goals on the scoreboard while blanking the Piaget team for the second consecutive chukker. The Orchard Hill extended its lead to 7-3 at the end of the first half.
Piaget continued to gather its forces in the fourth but could get no more than a single goal from Roldan on a penalty shot. Orchard Hill answered with four more goals, with both MacDonough and Lucas Criado scoring a pair. Orchard Hill began to run away with the game as they led, 12-4.
Lolo Castagnola intercepted a pass for one of three goals he would score for Piaget in the fifth chukker while silencing the Orchard Hill attack. Piaget continued to trail, but the lead was cut to five goals, 12-7.
Orchard Hill coasted through the final seven minutes of play as Piaget got single goals from Roldan (penalty shot) and Castagnola, but the game wasnâ€™t as close as the final 12-9 score might indicate.
â€œYou canâ€™t miss that many penalty shots and expect to win,â€ offered Piaget team captain Melissa Ganzi.
Piaget converted only three of nine penalty shots while Orchard Hill was good on three of five penalty shot attempts.
Pablo MacDonough scored six goals in the win. Teammate Criado added five goals and Hector Galindo converted one penalty shot for a goal. The Piaget scoring was led by Castagnola with five goals. Roldan scored three times and they received one goal by handicap.
High goal action will continue on Saturday with three games in the 20-goal Herbie Pennell Cup. In a 10 am game, Zacara will face EFG Bank (1-0), with Faraway meeting Lechuza Caracas at noon. The 3 pm contest will feature Las Monjitas (1-0) and Mt. Brilliant.
C. V. Whitney Cup competition will resume with two games on Sunday. At noon, Las Monjitas will battle Adolfo Cambiaso and his Crab Orchard team followed by the 3 pm contest between Pony Express and Valiente.