Lucchese and ERG in Pacific Coast Open Finals
By Alex Webbe
Wins by Lucchese (3-0) and ERG (3-0) set of the finals of the 2010 Bombardier Pacific Coast Open with Cambiaso looking as a potential second Triple Crown sweep in the United States in the same year.
Earlier this year Argentine 10-goaler Adolfo Cambiaso led the Crab Orchard team to wins in the 26-goal C. V. Whitney Cup, the USPA Piaget Gold Cup and the U. S. Open Championship to mark the first time in history that such a feat had been accomplished.
This summer, as a member of John Museâ€™s Lucchese team, he managed to lead his team to championship wins in the Skene Trophy, the USPA America Cup and is on the brink of sweeping the California 20-goal season on Sunday afternoon in the finals of the , if Scott Woodâ€™s ERG team is agreeable.
But before anyone pops the champagne for a Lucchese victory, the talented ERG team shouldnâ€™t be taken for granted.
In a one-sided romp Thursday morning, s well-orchestrated ERG attack trailed only once in the game, following Jeff Blakeâ€™s first chukker penalty goal. Goals from the field from ERGâ€™s Santi Torres and Silvestre Donovan ended the chukker with Grants Farm trailing 2-1.
Donovan scored his second goal of the game in the second chukker, followed by two goals from the field from Torres, and ERG led 5-1. Sugar Erskine scored the only goal of the period for Grants Farm, and the chukker ended with ERG up, 5-2.
Erskine got Grants Farm on the scoreboard with a penalty goal in the third, followed by two ERG goals from Paco De Narvaez and Torres, and the first half ended with Grants Farm four goals down, 7-3.
Torres opened the fourth chukker with his fifth goal of the game before Grants Farm retaliated with its best chukker of the game. Two goals from Erskine and a penalty goal from Blake cut the ERG lead to two, 8-6, but that would be the last offense that Grants Farm would be able to capitalize on.
De Narvaez added two goals to the ERG total and Donovan ended the scoring in the chukker with his third goal of the morning. ERG had withstood a fourth chukker rally by Grants Farm and had the game fully under control.
A disciplined defense shut out the Grants Farm offense for the second consecutive chukker, and a final goal from De Narvaez gave ERG a comfortable 12-6 win over Grants Farm and a shot at the Pacific Coast Open championship on Sunday afternoon.
LUCCHESE 12, ZACARA 10
With a record Thursday afternoon crowd filling the seats of the venerable polo stadium at Santa Barbara arriving to watch a player many consider to be one of the most talented to ever play the game, Adolfo Cambiaso didnâ€™t disappoint.
Following an opening chukker that saw Zacara and Lucchese leave the field in a 2-2 tie, the â€œgreat oneâ€ showed the assembled spectators what they had come to see.
Brilliant stickwork and accomplished horsemanship pressed Zacara to the breaking point as charge after charge took its toll of the defenders. Two penalty conversions from Cambiaso and a goal from the field from Jason Crowder had Lucchese up 5-3 at the end of the second chukker. Jeff Hall scored the only goal of the second chukker for Zacara.
Lucchese team captain John Muse scored a goal to open the third period but a surging Zacara attack resulted in two penalty shot opportunities with Hall converting both of the 60-yard shots.
Lucchese continued to dominate the game, but led by a single goal, 6-5, at the end of the first half.
â€œWe missed a couple of shots at goal that were right on the line,â€ offered Hall. â€œI thought the team played well, but we just had bad luck on a few shots.â€
Lucchese bounced back in the fourth period, getting single goals from Crowder, Cambiaso and Andres Weisz. Zacara tried to keep pace, falling another goal behind, with Hall scoring on a penalty shot and goal from the field. Lucchese held the lead, 9-7, after four chukkers of play.
Cambiaso showed his brilliance in the fifth, scoring twice, one of them a difficult near-side tail shot while Hall kept pace, scoring twice for Zacara. The two goal lead held with Lucchese holding the reins in an 11-9 contest.
â€œI couldnâ€™t believe the tail shot he (Cambiaso) made,â€ said Pro Chukkerâ€™s Mike Moertl, â€œItâ€™s so exciting to watch him on the field,â€ he added.
Cambiasoâ€™s seventh goal of the game was a beautifully stroked shot from over a hundred yards out, and had Lucchese on top, 12-9 with time running out. A final goal from Hall was all Zacara could muster in the final period, and had Lucchese taking the game, 12-10 and heading into its third tournament final of the 2010 season.
â€œAs fabulous as Cambiaso was,â€ said actor/polo player Grainger Hines, â€œJeff Hall was spectacular.â€
Hall was all over Cambiaso thru the course of the game, limiting the esteemed Argentine to only three goals from the field, but his contribution to the team couldnâ€™t be discounted. Throughout the course of the California high-goal season, Cambiaso continued to get the most out of his teammates as Lucchese campaigned through three tournaments without a loss.
Hall had been the power of the Zacara attack, but it wasnâ€™t enough against this legend of the game.
Hall led all scoring with nine goals for the losing Zacara side. Teammate Hilario Ulloa scored Zacaraâ€™s other goal.
Cambiasoâ€™s seven goals set the foundation for the Lucchese victory. Crowder added three goals and Weisz and Muse scored single goals in the win.
Lucchese and ERG will face-off for the 2010 Bombardier Pacific Coast Open on Sunday afternoon at 2pm.
PIOCHO 13, AUDI 12
Piocho scored a 13-12 win over Audi to earn a spot in the finals of the Western Badge and Trophy, the consolation round of the Pacific Coast Open, setting up a high noon showdown with Mansour on Saturday afternoon.
Audi and Piocho battled to a 3-3 tie after the first chukker and were all even at 4-4 after two.
Three goals apiece from brothers Carlos and Memo Gracida and a single goal from Matias Zavaleta had Piocho ahead 7-4 at halftime.
Lolo Castagnola scored his fourth goal of the game to open the second half before three consecutive penalty goals from Carlos Gracida extended the Piocho teal to 10-5.
Zavaleta added two more goals in the fifth and Carlos Gracidaâ€™s fifth penalty conversion gave him seven goals on the day, but Audi responded with goals from Ulysses Escapite and Castagnola. Piocho rode a 13-7 lead into the final chukker of play.
Audi pulled out all the stops in the last seven minutes of the game, and Piocho might have let up a little early. Five unanswered goals from Audi had Audi breathing down the necks of Tom Barrackâ€™s Piocho lineup, but time ran out on the 2008 winners, and Piocho won the right to play Mansour on Saturday.
Carlos Gracida led the Piocho team with seven goals. Memo Gracida and Matias Zavaleta scored three goals apiece.
Argentine 10-goaler Lolo Castagnola scored seven times for Audi. Juan Bollini added three goals and Escapite accounted for two goals in the loss.