Alegria stops Valiente’s Triple Crown bid; wins US Open in OT, 11–10

Alegria stops Valiente’s Triple Crown bid; winsMaserati US Open in OT, 11-10

ByAlex Webbe

Six-and-a-half chukkers ofall-out polo were punctuated by a penalty call that sent Alegria’s Hilario Ulloato the 40-yard penalty line where he converted the shot for an 11-10 overtimewin over Valiente (Bob Jornayvaz, Santi Torres, Sapo
Caset and Juan Martin Nero).

Alegria (Julian Mannix, HilarioUlloa, Mariano Aguerre and Clemente Zavaleta) scored first on a shot from thefield for the 1-0 lead just 35 seconds into the opening chukker.  Santi Torres responded with consecutive goalsfrom the field at 5:03 and 3:09.  JuanMartin Nero made it 3-1 with the closing goal of the chukker.

Alegria got right back into thegame in the second.  A stellar defensiveeffort that shutout Valiente was supported by goals from Hilario Ulloa andJulian Mannix.  After two chukkers it wasall even at 3-3.

Valiente demonstrated theirdefensive prowess in the third as they blanked Alegria while adding a gal on a threefoot penalty shot (Penalty 2, from the spot of the infraction) from Caset.  After three chukkers of play, Valiente leftthe field at the end of the first half with a narrow 4-3 edge.

Ulloa and Caset swapped penaltyshots to open the fourth period.  Ulloatied it up at 4-4 with a 30-yard penalty conversion.  Caset answered back by scoring on a 40-yardpenalty shot, 5-4, but the rest of the chukker belonged to Alegria.  Ulloa scored on three consecutive 30-yardpenalty shots as Alegria moved in front of Valiente by two goals, 7-5.

Caset cut the Alegria lead to asingle goal, 7-6, with a 60-yard penalty conversion at 6:19 of the fifth.  Three minutes later Alegria team captain JulianMannix took back the two goals lead with his second goal on the day, 8-6.  Caset cut the lead back to a single goal on apenalty shot with just 44 seconds on the clock.   After five periods of play, Alegria was ontop, 8-7.

Torres scored in the opening 30seconds of the sixth for an 8-8 tie.  Withjust under five minutes left in regulation play, Caset hit the ball downfield tohimself, and carried it in for a 9-8 lead. Mannix raced down the field with the ball but left it on the doorstepwhere Aguerre converted to even the score at 9-9.  An Alegria foul resulted in a penalty thatallowed Caset convert from 60-yards out for a 10-9 Valiente lead.

Alegria continued to press the attackfrom the ensuing throw-in had moved the ball down into the Valiente end of the field.  A melee in front of the goal allowed Zavaletaan opportunity and he drove the ball through the goalposts to end regulationplay all even at 10-10.

After a brief intermission bothteams returned to the field for the sudden-death overtime period.  Both Alegria and Valiente had opportunitiesto score in the early going, with a Valiente foul putting Ulloa on the penaltyline some 60-yards out from the goal for a penalty shot 24 seconds into theovertime period.  The shot went wide, andValiente tried to regroup and create some momentum.  Three minutes later Valiente fouled along theboards in their own end of the field and Alegria was awarded another penaltyattempt, this one from 40-yards out. Ulloa made good on this attempt and Alegria celebrated the 11-10Maserati US Open Championship. 

Caset scored five of hisgame-high six goals on penalty shots. Torres added three goals and Nero scored once for Valiente.  Ulloa scored five times (four on penaltyshots).  Mannix and Aguerre each scored twicewith Zavaleta adding a goal for the win.

Zavaleta was awarded the MVP awardwhile Ulloa’s Mia received Best Playing Pony honors.