Lucchese Rebounds for 10-9 Win
By Alex Webbe
It might not have been pretty,â€ said Lucchese team captain John Muse, â€œbut it was a win.â€ And a hard-fought win at that.
The Chairman of the Lucchese Boot Company and captain of the Lucchese polo team was referring to Sundayâ€™s 10-9 win over a stubborn Patagones team that didnâ€™t give up all day. The play was choppy and physical Sunday afternoon in Ylvisaker Cup competition at the International Polo Club, as Lucchese staged a last chukker rally for the 10-9 win.
Patagones entered the field under the field command of the legendary Memo Gracida, and the team hadnâ€™t forgotten its last meeting with Lucchese, an 18-10 drubbing in the Joe Barry Memorial Cup.
â€œWe made some adjustments to our game plan,â€ said Gracida, â€œwe changed up a few things and played much better, but we let it get away from us at the end.â€
Lucchese received one goal by handicap but couldnâ€™t score from the field in the opening chukker. Martin Donovan scored the only goal of the chukker for Patagones, and the chukker ended in a 1-1 tie.
Second chukker goals from Luis Escobar and Kris Kampsen came on penalty shots, while the Patagones offense was shut down. Lucchese moved out to a 3-1 lead, with neither team dominating play.
â€œThey just smothered us defensively,â€ said Muse. â€œWe had very few open plays. We really didnâ€™t get a chance to play the open style of polo that weâ€™re used to.â€
Gracida added a goal in the third on a penalty shot, followed by a goal from the field from Donovan. Andres Weisz answered for Lucchese with a single goal, and the first half ended with Patagones trailing 4-3.
Both teams battled their way into the second half, with Patagones getting a pair of goals from Gracida and another goal from Donovan. Kampsen scored a goal for Lucchese, and the chukker ended with Patagones holding on to a narrow 6-5 advantage.
Escobar let it rip in the fifth, scoring back to back goals in a burst of speed and an exhibition in stickwork. Patagones countered with a goal from team captain Gonzalo Avendano and a penalty conversion from brother Carlos Avendano. Patagones left the field with a one goal, 8-7, lead.
The Lucchese attack pressured the Patagones defense without mercy in the final chukker, and forced fouls put Lucchese players at the penalty line. Kampsen scored twice in the final minutes and Escobar added a goal for the 10-9 win. Carlos Avendano scored the only goal for Patagones in the sixth, but it was not enough. The win gives Lucchese an early 1-0 record while Patagones (0-1) registered its first loss of the tournament.
ERG 11, Bendabout 9
Paca De Narvaez led the attack with eight goals as ERG fought its way past a scrappy and determined Bendabout lineup, 11-9, in further Ylvisaker Cup action.
De Narvaez scored four goals in the opening two chukkers while the ERG team held Bendabout to goals from Chris Nevins (penalty shot) and team captain Gillian Johnston. ERG led 4-2 after two.
Bendabout took control of the ball in the third, keeping ERG off of the scoreboard while tallying three goals of its own (Johnston, Nevins and Inaki Laprida) for a 5-4 edge.
Another goal from Johnston and a penalty conversion for a goal by Lucas Criado extended the Bendabout lead to two goals, 7-5. Santi Torres supplied the only goal of the period for ERG.
ERG played with abandon in the fifth, getting three goals from De Narvaez and giving up a single goal to Bendabout on a 60-yard penalty shot. Bendabout continued to lead, 9-8, but the ERG tempo continued to increase.
Sixth chukker goals from Torres and De Narvaez had ERG up 11-8 with less than a minute to play, and plenty of hard bumping and animated ride-offs occurring.
Johnston scored the final goal of the game for her Bendabout team as it fell to ERG, 11-9.
Ylvisaker Cup play is scheduled to resume on Wednesday, February 2 with Valiente (0-0) playing Patagones (0-1) at 2pm followed by a3pm contest between Faraway (0-1) and Lucchese (1-0).