Audi, Bendabout remain unbeaten
By Alex Webbe
In a defensive oriented showdown between Bendabout and Las Monjitas, Julio Arellano scored the winning goal in a 9-8 overtime thriller that kept the Bendabout team undefeated (2-0) while Las Monjitas (1-1) suffered its first setback in the US Open competition at the International Polo club in Wellington.
Probably one of the most significant factors in Bendaboutâ€™s victory was the fact that they held the high-scoring Agustin Merlos to a mere two goals. Merlos had been averaging over eight goals a game in Piaget Gold Cup play and scored nine goals in his last Open match.
Las Monjitas shutout the Bendabout team for the first two chukkers on its way to a 4-2 halftime score. First chukker goals from Agustin Merlos, Eduardo Astrada and Santiago Toccalino posted Las Monjitas to an early 3-0 lead.
Bendabout finally got on the scoreboard in the third chukker with a pair of goals from Arellano (one from the field the other on a penalty shot). Astradaâ€™s second goal of the match in the third was the only offense it could muster through the second and third periods.
Arellano converted two more penalty shots in the fourth with Magoo Laprida scoring from the field. Merlos kept Las Monjitas alive with his second goal of the game for a 5-5 tie.
Bendaboutâ€™s Laprida opened the fifth chukker with a go-ahead goal, but Toccalino scored for Las Monjitas, and the period ended in another tie, 6-6.
Laprida put Bendabout ahead with the first goal of the sixth chukker, but Astrada countered with a goal from the field for Las Monjitas. Lapridaâ€™s second goal of the chukker had Las Monjitas on top, 8-7, but Bendabout fought its way back with Arellanoâ€™s fifth goal of the match, as time expired.
Arellano scored the game winning overtime goal after scooping up the ball and racing 240 yards down the field to score the winning goal, and the Bendabout team rode off the field with the 9-8 victory.
Audi beats Orchard Hill, 15-9 to stay perfect
Audi (2-0) got off to another slow start but took control in its afternoon game with Orchard Hill (0-2) as it rolled to a comfortable 15-9 win in its second round of play in the 2011 US Open.
After two near misses, Audiâ€™s Nico Pieres drove the ball through the Orchard Hill goal posts for the first goal of the game. Pablo MacDonough responded with a goal for Orchard Hill, with Gonzalito Pieres closing out the chukker with a penalty goal for a 2-1 lead.
Nico Pieres and MacDonough traded goals in the second chukker as Audi maintained its one goal lead, 2-1, but seemed to be taking control of the game.
Gonzalito Pieres added two more goals to the Audi total in the third chukker, and younger brother Nico scored for the third time. Orchard Hill got goals from MacDonough (penalty shot) and Hector Galindo but continued to trail at the end of the first half, 6-4.
MacDonough cut the lead to a single goal with a penalty conversion to open the fourth, but Gonzalito Pieres took advantage of a midfield penalty shot to drive the ball half of the length of the field for a score. MacDonough responded again with a well-placed shot for a goal, 7-6, and cut the Audi lead to a single goal once again. This time it was the adept stickwork of Brazilian 8-goaler, Rodrigo Andrade, that took center stage. Two well-deserved goals ended the period with Audi boasting a three goal lead, 9-6.
Lucas Criado scored in the fifth chukker for Orchard Hill, but a dominating Audi team answered with goals from Gonzalito Pieres and a beautifully cut backhander by Marc Ganzi that seemed to curve around the goal post for the score. The Audi momentum continued to build as they rode off the field with an 11-7 lead.
Macdonough converted a penalty shot for a goal in the sixth and added a goal from the field, but the Audi train continued to run. A pair of goals from Gonzalito Pieres was complimented by goals from Nico Pieres and Andrade for the 15-9 victory.
â€œWe got started a bit slowly,â€ smiled Gonzalito Pieres following the match. â€œBut I thought we played well in the second half,â€ he added.
After leading 6-4 at the half, Audi outscored Orchard Hill nine goals to five for the remainder of the contest.
â€œIt was a very physical game,â€ offered Audi team captain, Marc Ganzi. â€œWe really needed this win.â€
The win gives Audi a 2-0 record, and puts them in an advantageous position for the quarter finals. The loss was Orchard Hills second, and will make it tough sledding for Steve Van Andelâ€™s foursome for the remainder of the tournament.
VALIENTE 14, PONY EXPRESS 7
It was a cautious start to the early game, with Pony Express 9-goaler Bautista Heguy scoring the first goal of the game on a 60-yard penalty shot (Safety). Valiente bounced back, getting a well-played goal from Polito Pieres. The first chukker ended in a 1-1 tie.
Pieres scored his second goal of the game to open the second chukker. Heguy tied it up again at 2-2. Valiente continued to press the Pony Express throughout the period forcing fouls which they capitalized on. A pair of penalty conversions from Nacho Astrada closed out the chukker with Valiente holding to a 4-2 lead.
The Valiente attack picked up speed in the third. Three goals from Nacho Astrada and another goal from Pieres had them up by four, 8-4. Pony Express picked up penalty goals from Santiago Chavanne and Heguy as the half ended.
Pieres and Nacho Astrada each scored a goal for Valiente in the fourth, with Heguyâ€™s single goal from the field keeping Pony Express from being shutout in the fourth chukker. Valiente rode into the fifth with a heady 10-5 advantage.
Pieres scored his fifth goal of the match to put Valiente up, 11-5, but it was Heguyâ€™s penalty goal that got them on the scoreboard. The Valiente lead held at five goals, 11-6.
Miguel Astrada came to life in the final chukker, scoring three goals from the field, including a well hit 120 yard shot from the right side of the field for the 14-7 final. Once again, it was Heguyâ€™s lone goal that kept Pony Express from being blanked.
US Open play continues on Thursday with Crab Orchard meeting Faraway at 10 am; Lechuza facing Piaget (Piki Alberdi will be replacing the injured Juan Bollini) at 2 pm; and the Hawks playing Zacara at 5 pm.