Ellerstina Wins Argentine Open; Triple Crown
By Alex Webbe
Ellerstina completed its perfect season with a 14-13 win over La Dolfina to capture the 2010 Argentine Open and the countryâ€™s Triple Crown as well, with earlier wins in the Tortugas Open and the Hurlingham Open.
With action slated to be played on Saturday, December 11, heavy rains poured down on the field forcing play to be halted after just three minutes. Two beautifully executed nearside neck shots by Gonzalito Pieres were answered by a 20 yard penalty conversion by Cambiaso before the game was suspended with Ellerstina on top of a 2-1 score.
Less than a minute into Sundayâ€™s continuation of the finals, Lucas Monteverde scored for La Dolfina to knot it up at 2-2, with David â€œPelonâ€ Stirling giving La Dolfina a 3-2 lead as time expired in the first chukker.
Gonzalito Pieres picked up right where he left off Saturday afternoon, tying it up at 3-3 just seventeen seconds into the second frame. Stirlingâ€™s second goal of the game had La Dolfina with a narrow 4-3 lead, but the Pieres brothers werenâ€™t through yet. Just a minute later, Facundo Pieres scored his first goal of the game to even it at 4-4. Gonzalito Pieres ended the scoring in the chukker with his fourth goal of the match giving Ellerstina a 5-4 lead going into the third period.
Facundo Pieres opened the third chukker with a goal at :55, and converted a penalty shot at 4:19 to give Ellerstina its largest lead of the day at 7-4. Less than a minute later, Lolo Castagnola got La Dolfina on the scoreboard, but they continued to trail 7-5 after the first three chukkers of play.
Defenses on both sides tightened in the fourth, with Stirling scoring on a well-executed 90-yard goal shot. Cambiaso got on the scoreboard for only the second time all day, and the first half ended just before the final bell sounded in a 7-7 tie.
The pace of the game continued to quicken, with Facundo Pieres putting Ellerstina up, 8-7, with a goal in the first two minutes of the second half. Cambiaso added two more goals and Stirling scored his fourth goal of the game, and La Dolfina left the field with a 10-8 lead.
A regrouped Ellerstina lineup took the field in the sixth chukker with Pablo MacDonough and Juan Martin Nero each scoring single goals to tie it again at 10-10. Brothers Facundo and Gonzalito Pieres added single goals, and Ellerstina found itself holding a 12-10 lead after the sixth, as its defense held La Dolfina scoreless for the first time all afternoon.
Castagnola scored the first goal of the seventh period at 2:17, and Cambiaso took the ensuing throw-in the distance to even it up again at 12-12. Gonzalito Pieres got the lead back for Ellerstina with his sixth goal, but with less than a minute to play, Cambiaso broke loose to score the tying goal to end the chukker in a 13-13 deadlock.
No strangers to sudden-death overtime play (2005, 2007, 2008 and 2009) La Dolfina was poised to make it another extra-period game as both teams entered the final chukker in a 13-13 tie, but with less than a minute gone, Facundo Pieres put Ellerstina up 14-13. With goals at no premium, it was expected that there would be a few more goals scored before the final bell sounded, but that didnâ€™t prove to be the case. Ellerstina applied a suffocating defensive press that bottled up the La Dolfina attack and kept the usually unstoppable Cambiaso off of his game. Physical ride-offs and good positioning by the entire Ellerstina lineup proved to be the secret as La Dolfina was held scoreless for the entire eighty and final chukker of play, final score, Ellerstina 14, La Dolfina 13.
Gonzalito and Facundo Pieres set the pace for Ellerstina with six goals apiece. Pablo MacDonough scored once, and Juan Martin Nero, who turned in an excellent performance at Back, scoring a goal in the critical sixth chukker, was named MVP.
Adolfo Cambiaso led La Dolfina with six goals; Pelon Stirling added four goals; Lolo Castagnola scored twice; and Lucas Monteverde added a goal in the loss, Cambiasoâ€™s second tournament loss of the entire year!
Castagnolaâ€™s Toro, and Cambiasoâ€™s Cuartetera received Best Play Pony awards.