Ellerstina and Estancia Grande win, set up next Sunday’s semifinals

and Estancia Grande win, set up Sunday’s semifinals

By Alex


A realigned
Ellerstina polo team seemed to have finally found its new identity as it
stomped on Chapaleufu Indios II, 21-14, at Palermo this afternoon in the second
round of play of the 2011 Argentine Open.   

By elevating
young Nico Pieres to the “varsity” team, Ellerstina lost 10-goalers Pablo
MacDonough and Juan Martin Nero to La Dolfina, and needed a talented and
veteran teammate to compliment the play of Facundo and Gonzalito Pieres if they
were going to stand any chance of defending their 2010 Open title.  That’s where Nachi Heguy entered the scene,
and if there were ever any doubts about his ability to fit in with the Pieres
brothers, they were erased today.

Nachi’s six
goals today were complimented by seamless defensive play and offensive passes
that set up scoring shots from teammates Nico and Facundo Pieres in the course
of the match.

opened with a penalty goal from Facundo Pieres that was countered by a goal
from the field from Chapa II 9-goaler Julio Arellano.  Goals from Nachi Heguy and Gonzalito Pieres
closed out the first period with Ellerstina holding a 3-1 advantage over Chapa

Following another
goal from Arellano to open the second period, Nachi Heguy followed up a drive
to the goal that had Facundo, Gonzalito and even Nico missing the scoring shot
with Nachi making good for the goal.  Two
minutes later Nachi Heguy scored his third goal of the game with Nico Pieres
scoring on a pass from Facundo Pieres to end the chukker with Ellerstina up,

inter-play of the Ellerstina team continued to unfold as in the third chukker,
with Nachi Heguy scoring his fourth goal of the game midway through the chukker
for a 7-2 lead.   Eduardo Heguy converted a penalty shot for
Chapa II before Facundo Pieres closed out the scoring in the period with a goal
from the field.  Ellerstina held a five
goal, 8-3 lead, and everyone in the stands was witness to the gelling of the 2011
Ellerstina lineup.

penalty conversion from Eduardo Heguy cut into the Ellerstina lead, 8-4, but
Nico Pieres found himself on the scoring end of a pass from Facundo just over a
minute into the chukker, and tapped it in for a 9-4 edge.  Whistles continued to make for choppy play,
with over a half dozen penalties being called in the fourth chukker alone.  Eduardo Heguy converted another penalty shot
for Chapa II, 9-5.  Facundo Pieres and
Arellano exchanged goals before a Nachi Heguy pass found a streaking Nico
Pieres who made good on his shot for an 11-6 lead after the first half.

The Ellerstina
pace quickened in the fifth, with Facundo Pieres taking a long pass from Nachi
Heguy and scoring.  Two minutes later
Facundo stole the ball from the Ellerstina end of the field and raced 250 yards
down the field for another tally.  His
third consecutive goal of the period would come on another pass that led him
right past Chapa II’s Alejandro Astrada for a 14-6 lead.  Nachi Heguy then took a long shot on goal,
and while Eduardo Heguy attempted to clear the ball from in front of the Chapa
II goal, Nico Pieres jabbed his mallet into the ball and sent it through the
goal posts.  Gonzalito Pieres ended the
scoring on a great individual effort that saw him weave his way through the
entire Chapa II lineup with seconds left on the clock.  At the end of five chukkers of play, Ellerstina
had total control of the game and sat on top of a commanding 16-6 score.

There was no
let-up in the speed or effort exerted in the sixth, with near misses by both
Facundo and Nico Pieres.  A blocked
penalty shot from Eduardo Heguy was countered by a single goal from Arellano
and the chukker ended with Ellerstina on top of a 16-7 score.

Nachi Heguy
scored on a pass from Nico Pieres in the opening minute of the seventh.  Eduardo Heguy answered the goal with a penalty
conversion before Ellerstina went on a run.  Goals from Nachi Heguy and Nico Pieres were
joined by goals from Gonzalito (a beautifully executed backhand shot through
the goal posts) and Facundo Pieres for a thirteen goal, 21-8 advantage after
seven chukkers of play. 

There was no
give-up in mind for Chapa II, as Eduardo Heguy opened the final chukker with a
run for goal.  Alejandro Astrada scored
his first two goals of the day and Eduardo Heguy added three more (two on
penalty shots and one from the field) goals as time expired.  Ellerstina seemed content to ride with the play
but be aware of saving the horses for another day when the final horn sounded
in their 21-14 victory and a spot in next Sunday’s semifinals.


In earlier
action on Palermo’s Number 2 field, Estancia Grande gave up an early lead to
bounce back and capture a hard-fought 19-17 win over Alegria.  The victory was Estancia Grande’s second, and
sets up a showdown with the 2010 defending championship Ellerstina (2-0) in
next Sunday’s semifinals.

Estancia Grande’s 9-goaler Sebastian Merlos sidelined for disciplinary reasons
(he received four yellow cards in the course of the Tortugas Open, the
Hurlingham Open and the Argentine Open) for the game, older brother Pite Merlos
(8) would fill in for him.

building up an early 3-1 lead on a pair of goals from Agustin Merlos and a single
goal from Lolo Castagnola (Mariano Aguerre scored the lone Alegria goal),
Estancia Grande found themselves with a real battle on their hands. 

Merlos ran the score to 4-1 with his third goal of the game and Castagnola made
it 5-1 with his second scoring effort of the game, but the action just seemed
to provoke Mariano Aguerre and company.  Two
goals from Fred Mannix, Jr. and a pair of goals from Paco de Narvaez had it all
even at 5-5 after two.

Goals from
de Narvaez and Aguerre were answered by a pair of penalty goals from Agustin
Merlos, and the third period ended in a 7-7 deadlock.

Pite Merlos
scored a goal from the field in the opening minute of play before Mannix
converted a penalty shot to tie it up at 8-8 just two minutes later.  An Alegria foul put Agustin Merlos back at
the penalty line with just over a minute left in the chukker.  The shot was converted and the first half
ended with Estancia Grande having a narrow 9-8 advantage.

An explosive
Alegria team flooded onto the field in the fifth chukker scoring five
unanswered goals to first tie and then lead Estancia Grande by the score of
13-9 after five chukkers.  Two goals from
Francisco Bensadon opened the rush followed by back to back goals from Mannix.  A final goal in the period was credited to
Bensadon as Alegria left the field with a four goal, 13-9 lead.

extended its lead over Estancia Grande to five goals in the sixth as Bensadon
added two more goals and de Narvaez converted a penalty goal.  Agustin Merlos kept Estancia Grande in it with
a penalty conversion and a goal from the field. 
With just two chukkers left to play, Alegria was five goals ahead,

Fouls got
Alegria in trouble in the seventh period, with Agustin Merlos converting two of
them to open play.  A final goal from
Agustin Merlos and shutout defense from the entire Estancia Grande team cut the
Alegria lead to just two goals.

Bensadon scored
the opening goal of the final chukker, but that would be the last we would see
of the Alegria offense.  Two penalty
goals from Agustin Merlos were followed by a great scoring effort from Pite
Merlos in which he carried the ball over 200 yards down the field, four-and-a-half
minutes into the period.  The score was
tied at 17-17, and the momentum had definitely swung in favor of Estancia
Grande.  Agustin Merlos scored to give Estancia
Grande an 18017 lead with less than three minutes left to play as Alegria
fought to clear the ball from its end off the field.  With less than a minute in regulation time,
Castagnola jumped on a miscue by an Alegria player and scored the insurance
goal as Estancia Grande rallied for the 19-17 come-from-behind win.

Merlos led all scoring with thirteen goals. 
Castagnola and Pite Merlos added three goals apiece.

Bensadon led
the Alegria attack with six goals. 
Mannix added five; de Narvaez scored four times and Aguerre added two.

The victory
gives Estancia Grande a perfect 2-0 record and will pit them against Ellerstina
(2-0) next Sunday with the winner qualifying for the 2011 Argentine Open