La Herradura to bace FMB in finals

La Herradura to face FMB in USPA Piaget Silver
Cup finals on Sunday

By Alex Webbe

FMB (Dan Walker, Inaki Laprida, Lucas Criado and Henry
Walker) entered the late afternoon game needing a victory to have a chance of
making their way into the finals of the 2013 USPA Piaget Silver Cup at the
Santa Barbara Polo Club, and on the strength of a 9-6 win over previously
undefeated Restoration Hardware (Ben Soleimani, Hilario Ulloa, Adam Snow and
Santi Von Wernich), did just that.

In a tightly-contested opening chukker FMB’s Lucas Criado
scored the only goal of the period as Restoration Hardware was unable to score.
 FMB left the field with a humble 1-0
advantage, but took the early lead.

A resilient FMB defense held Restoration Hardware scoreless
for the second consecutive chukker.  FMB
picked up a pair of goals from the field from Inaki Laprida ad a penalty
conversion from Criado.  After two
periods FMB was in front 4-0.

Restoration Hardware finally showed up in the third.  Pitching a defensive shutout of their own,
they took advantage of some FMB fouls. 
Hilario Ulloa converted a pair of penalty shots for goals and Adam Snow
added another from the field.  Restoration
Hardware cut the FMB lead to a single goal, 4-3.

FMB took control of the match again as second half play got
underway.  Criado scored three
consecutive goals for FMB as a struggling Restoration Hardware was blanked for
the third time in four chukkers.  With
two periods left, FMB held a 7-3, four goals lead.

Restoration Hardware picked up two goals in the fifth with
Snow converting a 60-yard penalty shot while Ulloa scored from the field.  Criado converted a penalty shot from 40-yards
to keep FMB in the lead, 8-5. 

FMB continued to press but were extremely foul
conscious.  Single goals were scored by
Criado and Ulloa as FMB celebrated the win and a berth in the tournament finals
on Sunday.

Criado led all scoring with seven goals.  Laprida added two goals for the win.  Ulloa scored four times (twice on penalties)
for Restoration Hardware.  Snow added two
in a losing effort.

The game was played on the ERG field.


Earlier in the day La Herradura (Alvaro Fernandez, Marianito
Obregon, Memo Gracida, Carlos Gracida) remained undefeated and earned the other
finalist berth by defeating Lucchese (Andres Weisz, Tavi Usandizaga, Pelon
Stirling and John Muse) 11-10.

Lucchese got on the scoreboard first on a pair of goals from
the field from Tavi Usandizaga, 2-0. 
Carlos Gracida kept La Herradura from being shut out with a goal, 2-1.

Carlos Gracida added two more goals in the second and
Marianito Obregon scored his first goal of the game.  Lucchese 10-goaler Pelon Stirling converted
two 60-yard penalty shots and it was all even at 4-4.

The third chukker belonged to La Herradura on both offense
and defense.  Carlos Gracida scored three
goals (one on a penalty shot) and Memo Gracida got on the scoreboard with his
first goal of the day.  A miserly defense
held Lucchese scoreless as La Herradura left the field with a four goals lead,

Defense was the byword of the fourth chukker.  Memo Gracida managed to break through the
Lucchese defense to score the only goal of the period as Lucchese was held
scoreless for the second consecutive chukker. 
The La Herradura lead had been extended to five goals, 9-4.

Stirling opened the fifth chukker with a pair goals (one on
a penalty shot), cutting the La Herradura lead to three goals, 9-6.  Andres Weisz scored the final goal of the
chukker.  La Herradura continued to lead,
but the margin had been cut to two manageable goals with a final chukker to

Memo Gracida stretched the La Herradura lead back to three
goals, 10-7, for his third goal of the match. 
Stirling countered with a goal from the field, 10-8.  Memo Gracida scored again for La Herradura,
11-8.  Usandizaga and Stirling (60-yard
penalty conversion) scored the final two goals of the game, but there wasn’t
enough time left as La Herradura celebrated the 11-10 victory.

Carlos Gracida was credited with six goals for La Herradura
(one on a penalty shot).  Memo Gracida
scored four times and Obregon added a goal for the win.  Stirling scored four of his six goals on
penalty shots.   Usandizaga added three
goals from the field and Weisz scored once in the loss.


Sugar Erskine had a career day as ERG (Scott Wood, Sugar
Erskine, Jeff Blake and Paco de Narvaez) broke open a hotly-contested first
half to score an impressive 18-11 win over Catamount (Scott Devon, Brandon
Phillips, Julio Gracida and Mike Azzaro) in a morning contest that saw Catamount
lose their third consecutive game in as many outings.

Catamount received one goal by handicap and added three more
to it in open chukker play for a 5-3 lead. 
Catamount got a pair of goals from both Brandon Phillips and Mie Azzaro
while limiting ERG to three goals from Sugar Erskine (one on a penalty shot).

The two teams exchanged goals in the second period.  Erskine converted another penalty shot for a
goal and Paco de Narvaez scored from the field for a 5-5 tie.  Phillips closed out the chukker with a
penalty goal and a goal from the field. 
After two chukkers Catamount held a 7-5 advantage.

Julio Gracida’s 60-yard penalty conversion extended the
Catamount lead to three goals in the third, 8-5, when the ERG offense came
alive.  Five consecutive ERG goals (four
from Erskine and one from Jeff Blake) ended the first half with Catamount
finding themselves trailing, 10-8.

A pair of goals from de Narvaez stretched the ERG lead to
four goals, 12-8 before Catamount responded. 
A single 40-yard penalty conversion from Phillips was all the offense
Catamount could muster as they fell behind, 12-9 with two chukkers left to

There was no let-up in ERG in the fifth, with de Narvaez
adding two more goals and Blake and Erskine chipping in single goals.  Catamount team captain Scott Devon scored his
first goal of the game in the fifth and Azzaro added another, but with one
chukker remaining ERG was in front by five goals.

Erskine and de Narvaez scored the only goals of the final
chukker in an 18-11 romp over Catamount.

Erskine’s hot hand resulted in a game high ten goals (two on
penalty shots).  De Narvaez scored six times
and Blake added a pair of goals.  Phillips
scored five times for Catamount.  Azzaro
added three goals while Gracida and Devon each scored once.

ERG, FMB and Restoration Hardware were all tied with a 2-1
record, relegating them to play a shoot-out to decide the second Silver Cup finalist.  FMB won the shootout and will play La
Herradura in Sunday’s final.