La Dolfina Advances to Argentine Open Final
The first semi-final of the 2018 Abierto Argentino de Polo saw La Dolfina display one of their strongest performances to date with the 17-7 victory over La Aguada to claim the first spot in the final. Earlier in the day, La Dolfina Polo Ranch defeated Alegria-La Irenita 18-13 at Palermo.
La Dolfina displayed their 40-goal status early in the game, outshooting an injury riddled La Aguada 11-1 over the opening three chukkas to hold an 8-1 lead. Utilizing their defense, La Dolfina quickly transitioned into a potent offense that produced 27 shots on goal with all four players scoring at least three goals in the game. With La Dolfina keeping La Aguada pinned in their end throughout most of the game, La Aguada’s revamped line-up including Alejandro Muzzio and Diego Araya were unable to keep pace with La Dolfina in the 17-7 defeat.
La Dolfina dominated play from the opening throw-in, amassing seven shots in the opening chukka, while keeping La Aguada off the scoresheet. David Stirling ignited the La Dolfina offense early in the game, setting up a Pablo MacDonough goal in the opening chukka, along with scoring back-to-back goals to stretch La Dolfina’s lead to four. La Aguada was unable to slow a potent La Dolfina offense that saw all four players find the scoresheet by the end of the second chukka when Juan Martin Nero scored his first goal of the game. Araya finally got La Aguada on the scoreboard after he converted a penalty 2 in the third chukka, but La Dolfina quickly responded with three consecutive goals to extend their lead to eight. La Aguada made a late push at the half after Alejandro Novillo Astrada scored two goals in quick succession but La Dolfina held a 9-3 advantage after the opening four chukkas.
Managing their lead, La Dolfina limited the shot opportunities of La Aguada, while their own inaccuracy prevented them from extending their lead. La Dolfina and La Aguada added a goal each from the penalty line, but three missed shots from la Dolfina gave La Aguada a glimmer of hope with three chukkas remaining. Two goals from Nero in the sixth chukka pushed La Dolfina’s lead to seven, as La Aguada was unable to turn over La Dolfina in open play. Missing the defensive efforts of Miguel and Ignacio Novillo Astrada, La Aguada was left on their heels as La Dolfina finished strong over the final two chukkas, with MacDonough scoring his fifth goal of the game to seal the 17-7 victory, booking La Dolfina’s spot in next weekend’s final.
The first game of the day saw La Dolfina Polo Ranch overcome a challenge from Alegria-La Irenita to continue their good performance in the tournament. Both teams produced efficient shooting from the field, with La Dolfina Polo Ranch’s extra opportunities proving to be the difference in the game. The eight-goal performance from Diego Cavanagh, five of which came from the penalty line, led La Dolfina Polo Ranch to victory.
The opening half of the game saw a series of runs from both teams, with La Dolfina Polo Ranch’s Julian de Lusarreta scoring the first two goals of the game. Alegria-La Irenita responded with three goals of their own to take their first lead of the game, with a goal each from Fred Mannix, Clemente Zavaleta and Juan Gris Zavaleta. The runs continued with La Dolfina producing three consecutive goals of their own in a back and forth game, that saw numerous offensive opportunities for both teams. La Dolfina Polo Ranch finally took control of the game in the fourth chukka behind the duo of Cavanagh and Ignatius Du Plessis, who combined for three goals and three assists to give La Dolfina Polo Ranch the 10-6 lead at halftime.
The closely matched game became heated in the fifth chukka when Alegria-La Irenita received two yellow cards to give all four players one yellow card in the game. They overcame the adversity behind two goals each from Clemente and Juan Gris Zavaleta to bring their team back within two goals leading into the seventh chukka. The impact of Cavanagh was on full display in the penultimate chukka as he added three goals to his total, two of which came from the penalty line to push his team’s lead to five and seal the victory to improve their record to an impressive 3-1 in the tournament.