Crab orchard beats Orchard Hill 14–13, earns Butler Handicap final berth

Crab Orchard beats
Orchard Hill 14-13

By Alex Webbe

Crab Orchard (Kerstin Allen, Facundo Pieres, Inaki Laprida
and Magoo Laprida) took early control of the semifinal of the Butler Handicap,
the subsidiary of the USPA Piaget Gold Cup, but had to hold off a late rally by
Orchard Hill (Steve Van Andel, Santiago Chavanne, Pablo MacDonough and Matias
MacDonough) to preserve the 14-13 victory.

With a reshuffled lineup that had team captain watching from
the sidelines with a damaged knee, and Paco de Narvaez hoping to recover from
an injury to his mallet hand in time for Sunday’s finals, Crab Orchard rode
confidently onto the field in the Thursday afternoon contest.  Argentine 7-goaler Inaki Laprida replaced de Narvaez
(8-goals) and Kirstin Allen rode in place of Rawlings.

Crab Orchard received one goal by handicap from the 26-goal
Orchard Hill lineup and wasted no time in adding to it.  A goal from the field from Magoo Laprida in
the first minute of play was followed up by a pair of goals from Facundo
Pieres.  At the end of the first chukker
Crab Orchard was comfortably ahead, 4-0.

Magoo Laprida took control of the ball from the onset of the
second period and scored in the opening seconds of the chukker for a 5-0 Crab Orchard
advantage.  Matias MacDonough scored
Orchard Hill’s first goal of the day midway through the chukker, 5-1.  Magoo Laprida added another goal for Crab
Orchard for a 6-1 lead.  Ten-goaler Pablo
MacDonough scored his first goal of the game with 1:17 left in the period and his
brother Matias MacDonough converted a 60-yard penalty shot to end the chukker
with Orchard Hill trailing by three goals, 6-3.

Crab Orchard owned the third chukker.  Inaki Laprida scored a goal in the opening
minute of the third to extend the lead to four goals, 7-3, and Pieres added two
more goals (one on a 60-yard penalty conversion).  Orchard Hill was held scoreless and fell
behind by six goals, at the end of the first half, 9-3. 

Santiago Chavanne and Inaki Laprida swapped goals in the
opening half of the fourth chukker, with Crab Orchard maintaining the six goal
lead, 10-4.  That was when Orchard Hill
got back on track.  Matias MacDonough
scored at the 2:28 mark, 10-5, and Pablo MacDonough added a goal with just 1:28
left in the chukker.  Chavanne scored his
second goal of the chukker with just 38 seconds on the clock, and at the end of
the fourth chukker Orchard Hill had cut the Crab Orchard lead to a manageable
three goals, 10-7.

Pieres scored in the opening 12 seconds of the fifth to
stretch the Crab Orchard lead to 11-7 when Orchard Hill rallied once again.  Pablo MacDonough scored two goals in the span
of a minute and Matias MacDonough added a goal from the field himself.  Pieres scored the final goal of the period
with 3:03 left to play, and Crab Orchard left the field with one chukker left
to play on top of a 12-8 score.

Matias MacDonough converted a penalty shot for a goal in the
opening 36 seconds of the sixth chukker, 12-11, and Pablo added a goal from the
field just a minute later that tied it at 12-12.  Forty-five seconds later Pieres put Crab
Orchard back in the lead with a goal from the field, 13-12.  Magoo Laprida scored his fourth goal of the
game to give Crab Orchard a little breathing room, 14-12, with time running
out.  Orchard Hill team captain Steve Van
Andel scored the final goal of the game with just 48 seconds left to play, and
Crab Orchard celebrated the 14-13 win and a trip to the Butler Handicap finals
on Sunday against Coca-Cola (Gillian Johnston, Sebastian Merlos, Julio Arellano
and Facundo Obregon).

Pieres led the Crab Orchard offense with seven goals.  Magoo Laprida scored four times and Inaki
Laprida was credited with two scores.  Crab
Orchard also received one goal by handicap. 
Pablo MacDonough and Matias MacDonough scored five goals apiece.  Chavanne registered two goals and Van Andel
scored once in the loss.