Amake-shift Valiente II team wins big; Lechuza Caracas manhandles Audi
It was dÃ©jÃ vu for the Audi polo team Sunday afternoon in the feature match of the day in the 2012 Nespresso United States Openchampionships as Lechuza Caracas dominated Audi from start to finish in their14-8 win.
It was just over a year ago that Lechuza Caracas scoredan 8-6 win over Audi in the finals of the 2011 US Open, leading 5-2 at halftime and giving up three goals to Audi in the final chukker.
â€œThe horses really performed magnificently today,â€ said Lechuza Caracas team captain Victor Vargas. â€œThe team went well,â€ he smiled.
Marc Ganzi put Audi in front with the first goal of the game in the opening minute of play. Lechuza Caracas 10-goaler Sapo Caset tied it up about halfway through the chukker with a 60-yard penalty conversion, 1-1. Vargas put Lechuza Caracas ahead, 2-1, with agoal from the field. Audi 10-goaler Gonzalito Pieres tied it up at 2-2 to close out the chukker.
The second period belonged to Lechuza Caracas as they outscored Audi 5-1. Caset opened the scoring with a penalty conversion followed by a goal from the field for Vargas as Lechuza Caracas moved out in front, 4-2. Gonzalito Pieres stopped the bleeding with a 60-yard penalty conversion for a goal with less than two minutes left in the period, 4-3, when Caset took charge. Caset added two goals from the field from throw-ins in under a minute to give Lechuza Caracas a 6-3 advantage.
Lechuza Caracas 10-goaler, Juan Martin Nero, scored the first goal of the third chukker on a spectacular 200-plus yard run down the field, four minutes into the period. A minute later Caset converted a penalty shot for a goal and Lechuza Caracas led,8-3. Gonzalito Pieres scored the final goal of the chukker on a penalty shot, but Audi trailed 8-4 at the end of the first half.
Caset scored from the field early in the fourth period, 9-4,but Audi answered back. A penalty goal from Nico Pieres had it at 9-5 until Caset hammered the ball through thegoal posts with two minutes left in the game for a 10-5 lead.
Gonzalito Pieres scored on a penalty early in the fifth, 10-6, before three consecutive Lechuza Caracas goals (two from Nero and apenalty goal from Caset) ended the chukker with Audi trailing by seven goals, 13-6.
Nero scored a goal from the field in the final period ofplay for a 14-6 Lechuza Caracas lead as Audi continued to struggle with its offense. A pair of penalty goals from Gonzalito Pieres closed out the game in a 14-8 Lechuza Caracas victory.
â€œI think that the horses made the difference today,â€ said Nero, as he agreed with Vargas. â€œThey(Audi) are a very difficult team to play against,â€ he added, but today everything seemed to work for usâ€
Heaping praise on teammate Facundo Obregon, Nero said â€œHeâ€™s going to be a great player. He rides hard and fast and has a very good stick,â€ he said. â€œHe played very well for us today.â€
Sapo Caset was just happy to have won. â€œItâ€™s is so nice to play with a team like this,â€ said Caset. â€œWe have a great team patron, and hard-working teammates. Weare looking forward to a very successful Open this year,â€ he said.
Caset led all scoring with eight goals (three on penalties). Nero added four goals andVargas contributed two goals to the win.
Gonzalito Pieres scored six times (five on penalties). Ganzi scored a goal from the field, while Nico Pieres chipped in a penalty goal in the fourth chukker.
Facundo Obregon, Lechuza Caracasâ€™s hard-charging Number 4 was named MVP while Isabella, a ten-year-oldgrey thoroughbred mare owned by Lechuza Caracas and played by Nero (in the third and the sixth chukkers) was honored as Best Playing Pony.
VALIENTE II 12, COCA-COLA 5
All bets were off on the results of the Valiente II vs. Coca-Colagame when word was received that their 10-goal star, Adolfo Cambiaso would be sidelined for the match with an injured mallet hand (right).
In a creative move to field a competitive team while Cambiaso was on the mend, Bob Jornayvaz (captain of the Valiente I team and patron of both Valiente I and Valiente II) organized a team that had his 19-year-old son watching from the sidelines as Alejo Taranco and Pelon Stirling were joined by Santi Torres and Santi Bottaro on the field.
â€œWe tried to get a variance approved that would allow us to substitute another player for him that might already be on another teamâ€™s roster, but it was turned down,â€ offered the senior Jornayvaz.
Valiente II took the better part of the first chukker with the players getting acclimated to playing together. Pelon Stirling scored the only goal of the period on penalty conversion for an early 1-0 lead.
Valiente II put three more goals on the scoreboard in the second, with Stirling scoring twice from the field and once on a 60-yardpenalty shot. Coca-Cola picked up a goal on a back hander from Luis Escobar but trailed at the end of the second period, 4-1.
Three more Valiente II goals went unanswered in the third chukker with Santi Torres scoring one goal from the field and Stirling converting a pair of 60-yard penalty shots for goals. At the end of the first half of play, ValienteII led by six goals, 7-1.
The two teams exchanged goals in the fourth period withTorres adding another goal from the field while Coca-Cola 9-goaler, JulioArellano, converted a 60-yard penalty shot. The Valiente II lead held at six goals, 8-2.
Goals from Stirling and Torres extended the Valiente IIlead to eight goals, 10-2, just three minutes into the fifth chukker. Coca-Cola responded with three consecutive penalty conversions from Arellano, cutting the Valiente II lead to five goals, 10-5.
Coca-Cola was blanked for the third time on the day as Stirling scored on a penalty shot at the beginning of the last chukker, and Torres scored a goal from the field in the final seconds of play. A make-shift team had destroyed Coca-Cola12-5 while their revered 10-goaler, Adolfo Cambiaso looked on from the teamâ€™stent at the end of the field.
Stirling set the pace for Valiente II with eight goals onthe day (five on penalties). Torres scored the remaining four goals for the win.
Arellano scored four penalty goals and Escobar added agoal from the field in the loss.