Ellerstina and Las Monjitas Victorious on Day 4 of 126th Abierto Argentino de Polo
The fourth day of the 126th Abierto Argentino de Polo featured two dominant second halves from the victors with Ellerstina defeating La Natividad 15-8, while Las Monjitas finished strong to defeat La Albertina Abu Dhabi 16-9 at Palermo.
In the opening game of the day, La Natividad pushed Ellerstina throughout the first half in large part due pressuring Ellerstina into fouls. Scoring four penalty goals, all in the first half, La Natividad kept pace with Ellerstina despite conceding 11 goals on handicap, but ultimately were unable to produce enough offense in open play where they were outplayed by Ellerstina. Finishing with 26 shots in the game, Ellerstina’s additional scoring opportunities led them to convincing seven-goal victory.
A slow start to the game saw all three goals in the first chukka come from the penalty line leaving Ellerstina narrowly ahead by one, but a dominant second chukka gave them a significant advantage. Consecutive field goals from Polito Pieres along with Facundo Pieres’ third penalty goal of the game extended Ellerstina’s lead to four with La Natividad yet to find the goal from the field. A revitalized effort from La Natividad provided numerous opportunities at goal, including their first field goal from Camilo Castagnola, but two missed penalty attempts kept Ellerstina ahead by three. Despite scoring just one field goal in the half, La Natividad pulled within two in the fourth chukka after two more penalty conversions with Ellerstina pushing the lead back to three, holding the 8-5 advantage on the scoreboard.
Improving their discipline, Ellerstina took away La Natividad’s main source of offense to give them the advantage over the final four chukkas. Two crucial goals from Facundo Pieres to end the sixth chukka left La Natividad facing a four-goal deficit as Ellerstina began to utilize their horsepower to run away with the game. Completing a run of six unanswered goals, Ellerstina overwhelmed La Natividad with a flurry of goals, led by two goals and an assist from Facundo Pieres. A defensive final chukka saw Ellerstina cruise to the 15-8 victory in their tournament debut.
The second game displayed a relentless Las Monjitas attack, producing 31 shots against La Albertina Abu Dhabi, but converted just 35% of their attempts. A spirited La Albertina Abu Dhabi defence stood strong throughout the first half with multiple goal-saving stops but were unable to slow down an impressive 11-goal, 2-assist performance from Sapo Caset as Las Monjitas finished with the 16-9 victory.
A quick pace was set in the opening minutes with the two teams scoreless over the first five minutes until Caset opened the scoring on a penalty 2 conversion. Alfredo Cappella quickly responded with a neckshot goal from nearly 100 yards out to restore the tie. A low-scoring opening half was a result of inaccurate 3 for 15 shooting from Las Monjitas, while La Albertina’s offense was mostly limited to the penalty line. Tied at 3-3, Las Monjitas were able to narrowly separate themselves in the fourth chukka, receiving one field goal each from Caset, Facundo Sola and Santiago Toccalino to hold a 6-4 lead.
Taking control of the play, Caset was seemingly everywhere to begin the second half, scoring three consecutive goals on accurate passes to goal from Sola and Toccalino in a complete team effort. Often in their own half, La Albertina Abu Dhabi faced a five-goal deficit and continued to struggle scoring from the field, with two penalty conversions from Cappella accounting for their only offense in the fifth and sixth chukkas. Las Monjitas ran away with the game in a dominant sixth chukka, outscoring La Albertina Abu Dhabi 4-1, with all four goals coming off the mallet of Caset. A final penalty conversion for Caset completed his outstanding game, but all four Las Monjitas players contributed with at least a goal and an assist in what proved to be an overwhelming team performance.