Coca–Cola wins in overtime to capture Pennell Cup

wins in overtime to capture Pennell Cup

Alex Webbe

Coca-Cola (Gillian Johnston, Sugar Erskine, Julio
Arellano and Tommy Collingwood) scored a 13-12 win over Villa Del Lago (Jim
Zenni, Augustin Obregon, Polito Pieres and Magoo Laprida) in the International
Polo Club’s opening Sunday match to defend their 2012 title, but it wasn’t

Tommy Collingwood scored the first goal of the game in the
opening 45 seconds of play to give Coca-Cola the early 1-0 lead, but Polito
Pieres responded with a goal for Villa Del Lago less than a minute later, 1-1.   Julio
Arellano made it 2-1 on his first goal of the day with Pieres responding in
king for a 2-2 tie.  Sugar Erskine closed
out the chukker with a goal to put Coca-Cola on top, 3-2.

A pair of penalty conversions by Arellano had Coca-Cola
ahead by three goals midway through the second period when Pieres went back to
work.  Scoring a pair of goals from the field
in the next two minutes, Pieres kept Villa Del Lago in the game, trailing by a
single goal, 5-4.

Things got no easier for either team in the third.  Arellano and Gillian Johnston scored goals
for Coca-Cola and Pieres added a pair of scores for Villa Del Lago.  At the end of the first half Coca-Cola continued
to lead, 7-6.

Pieres tied it up at 7-7 in the fourth chukker on his
seventh goal of the match.  Arellano
answered with a penalty conversion for a score and gave the lead back to
Coca-Cola, 8-7.  Magoo Laprida’s first
goal of the day knotted it up again at 8-8, but Coca-Cola wasn’t through.  A penalty goal from Arellano and a goal from
the field from Johnston ended the chukker with Coca-Cola in front, 10-8.

Three minutes into the fifth chukker Pieres cut the lead
to a single goal, 10-9 but Coca-Cola continued to press the attack.  With 50 seconds on the clock, Villa Del Lago
committed a foul that send Arellano to the penalty lien where he scored on his
fifth penalty shot of the day.  Coca-Cola
rode off the field with an 11-9, two goal lead.

Laprida converted a penalty shot in the opening 30
seconds of the sixth chukker, but Johnston responded with a goal from the field
just over a minute later, 12-10.  Laprida
scored on another penalty shot, 12-11, and the Villa Del Lago offense continued
to pressure Coca-Cola.  Halfway through
the chukker, Obregon tied it up at 12-12 as the game seemed to be slipping away
the Coca-Cola team.  A final breakaway toward
the Villa Del Lago goal had Johnston just missing the winning goal.  The horn sounded signaling the end of
regulation play and a brief recess before both teams would return to the field
for sudden-death overtime.

The ball was thrown in and both teams struggled for
control of the ball,  Erskine managed to
break free and send the ball out of the pack to a streaking Arellano and
seconds later he drove the ball through the goal posts for the win.

“I don’t know what happened,” said a bewildered Pieres.  “First we had possession of the ball and then
we didn’t.”

Arellano denied that they had changed their tactics for
the final throw-in, “I just told everyone to get a man and if you got to the
ball, hit it,” he said.

“The ball bounced around in the lineup,” said Villa Del
Lago’s Obregon.  “It was out and then it
was over,” he said.

Coca-Cola’s young Back, Tommy Collingwood admitted that
he had some trouble when they shifted to zone defense, and Erskine agreed.

“They made some strange moves off of the play,” admitted
Erskine, “they changed things around a lot and used a lot of screens,” he
added.  “We just kept after them and
managed to come out on top.”

Pieres led the Villa Del Lago offense with eight goals
and was named MVP for his efforts. 
Laprida scored three times and Obregon added a goal in the loss.  Arellano recorded eight goals for Coca-Cola
(five on penalty conversions).  Johnston
added three goals and Erskine and Collingwood scored single goals for the

Johnston’s 10-year-old gray Thoroughbred mare, Perk, was honored as Best Playing Pony.


Tomas Goti was the big story earlier in the day as he
scored ten times in leading Lechuza Caracas (Victor Vargas, Adam Snow, Agustin
Nero and Tomas Goti) to a 13-10 win over Memo Gracida and his La Herradura
teammates (Jose Donoso, Carlos Gracida, Memo Gracida and Alvaro Fernandez).

Nero scored twice in the opening chukker (on by penalty)
but was countered by single goals from Jose Donoso and Memo Gracida for a 3-3

Goals from Adam Snow and Goti accounted for the only
scoring in the second frame as the La Herradura offense was muted by hard
riding and great defensive plays by Lechuza Caracas.  After two chukkers of play Lechuza Caracas
held a 4-2 advantage.

Snow added a single goal in the third chukker and Goti
chipped in two more from the field for a 7-2 edge.  Donoso and Carlos Gracida managed to get on
the scoreboard for La Herradura, but Lechuza Caracas rode off the field at the
end at the end of the first half with a 7-4 lead.

The two teams exchanged goals in the fourth.  Carlos Gracida converted a penalty shot for a
goal and added another from the field. 
The red-hot Goti scored two more and Nero notched his first of the
afternoon.  After four chukkers of play
Lechuza Caracas had extended its lead to four goals, 10-6.

Carlos Gracida scored one from the field in the fifth
chukker and once on a penalty shot but Goti added two more goals to the Lechuza
Caracas total and La Herradura continued to trail by four goals, 12-8.

A penalty on Lechuza Caracas in the opening minute of the
final chukker allowed Carlos Gracida to convert a penalty shot for a goal.  Once again, however, Goti responded with a
goal for Lechuza Caracas.  With less than
two minutes left in Carlos Gracida made a run at the Lechuza Caracas goal from
over a hundred yards out, leaving the ball in the goal mouth where Memo Gracida
tapped it through for the final goal of the game in the 13-10 Lechuza Caracas

Goti led all scoring with ten goals, all from the
field.  Snow accounted for two goals and
Nero scored once.  Carlos Gracida set the
pace for La Herradura, scoring on three penalty shots and adding three goals
from the field for a total of six.  Memo
Gracida and Donoso added two goals apiece in a losing effort.

Twenty-goal action will resume on Thursday, January 10
with Orchard Hill (Steve Van Andel, Jeff Hall, Lucas Criado and Mason Wroe) meeting
La Herradura in the opening game of the 2012 Joe Barry Memorial Cup.