Maserati US Open semifinals set

Four high goal games
decide Maserati US Open semifinalists

Alex Webbe

Overnight rains forced the rescheduling of quarterfinal
action in the 2013 Maserati US Polo Championship, but at the end of the day,
all four games were played and the four semifinalists emerged.

In a noon contest that was originally slated to be played
at 10am, Zacara rebounded from an ineffective first half to send Audi packing
in a 12-8 win.

It was an announcer’s nightmare, with three Pieres
brothers on the field (Nico and Gonzalito for Audi; and Facundo for Zacara) and
non-stop action, but a subdues first chukker had Nico Pieres scoring the first
gal of the game in the first two minutes of play followed by a pair of goals
from Facundo Pieres for an early 2-1 Zacara advantage.

The second chukker belonged to Facundo’s older brother Gonzalito
Pieres and the Audi defense.  Gonzalito Pieres
opened the chukker with a goal from the field in the first 30 seconds of the
period for a 2-2 tie.  Two minutes later Gonzalito
Pieres made it 3-2 while Zacara struggled to score a goal.  A final goal from Gonzalito Pieres crossed
the goal line with 13 seconds on the clock as Audi drove out to a 4-2 lead.

Nico Pieres and Facundo Pieres exchanged goals in the
third chukker, with Audi maintaining the lead, 5-3 to end the first half of the

Facundo Pieres scored a goal from the field in the
opening seconds of the fourth, with Nico Pieres responding with a goal just a
minute later, 6-4, but that was when Zacara took control of the game.  Facundo Pieres scored a pair of goals (one on
a penalty shot) to knot it up at 6-6.  Mike
Azzaro and Magoo Laprida registered single goals from the field in the final 90
seconds of the chukker for an 8-6 advantage.

“We just weren’t getting the goals in the first half,”
said Facundo Pieres.  “We had plenty of
opportunities, but just couldn’t put the ball through the goalposts.”

Teammate Magoo Laprida agreed.  “We had our opportunities in the first half,”
he said, “but we just weren’t making our shots. 
We got stronger in the second half and made up for it,” he smiled.

Consecutive goals from Azzaro and Pieres were recorded in
the first minute of the fifth period as Zacara extended its lead to four goals,
10-6.  Nico Pieres tried to stay close by
converting a pair of penalty shots for goals, but Zacara continued to hold the
lead, 10-8.

Facundo Pieres opened the final chukker by converting a
60-yard Safety for a goal, and added another from the field just a minute later
while Audi struggled to stay in the game. 
Airtight defense kept Audi off of the scoreboard as Zacara rode off with
the 12-8 victory and an appointment in Wednesday’s semifinals.

Facundo Pieres led the field with nine goals on the
day.  Azzaro scored twice while
exhibiting his Hall of Fame form with Laprida scoring once in the win.  Nico Pieres scored three of his five goals
from the field.  Gonzalito added three
goals in the loss.


ERG turned the table on Alegria by outscoring them in the
second half and racking up a hard-fought 10-9 win.

In a fast-paced opening chukker, Alegria and ERG
exchanged goals for a 2-2 tie.  ERG’s
Paco de Narvaez scored the first goal of the day on a 60-yard penalty shot for
a goal and an early 1-0 lead.  Alegria
8-goaler Hilario Ulloa responded with a like penalty conversion and teammate
Facundo Obregon scored a goal from the field for a 2-1 edge.  Eduardo Novillo Astrada closed out the
chukker with a goal from the field for ERG in a 2-2 tie.

Alegria took advantage of second chukker let down by the
ERG offense, and added goals from Ulloa and Mariano Aguerre.  After two, Alegria move in front, 4-2.

Both teams had their attacks on track in the third.  Aguerre scored two more goals from the field
and Ulloa scored his third goal of the game. 
Astrada scored twice from the field and Agustin Merlos added a penalty
goal.   At the end of the first half,
Alegria maintained a two goal, 7-5 lead.

The ERG offense continued to impress in the fourth
chukker.  Two more goals from the field
from Astrada and another penalty conversion from Merlos had ERG tying it up,
8-8.  Alegria was limited to a single goal
on a Safety (60-yard penalty shot) by Merlos in the period.

Both defenses tightened up in the fifth.  Astrada managed the only goal in the period,
and ERG finally took and held the led, 9-8.

The final minutes of the sixth chukker were played at
break-neck speed.  Paco de Narvaez put
ERG in front, 10-8, with his second goal of the day. A penalty conversion from
Obregon cut the lead to a single goal, once again, 10-9.  De Narvaez hit the ball over the sideboards
in the final seconds of the game, but in so doing, received an unsportsmanlike
conduct foul, giving Alegria a final opportunity to tie it up and force
overtime.  Alegria 9-goaler Ulloa’s shot
at goal went wide, and the game ended with ERG celebrating a 10-9 win and a
berth in the 2013 Maserati US Open semifinal on Wednesday.

Astrada led the game with six goals on the day.  Merlos and de Narvaez added two goals apiece
for the victory.  Ulloa’s four goals led
the Alegria offense.  Aguerre added three
more goals and Obregon scored twice.


Sunday’s feature match of the day was a high-scoring
affair that had Valiente taking the day with a 15-12 win over a spirited and
determined Orchard Hill lineup.

Valiente 10-goaler Pelon Stirling scored the opening goal
in the first sixteen seconds of the match for a 1-0 advantage, but couldn’t seem
to build on it as Orchard Hill put up an impressive defense in first chukker
action.  Brazilian 8-goaler Rodrigo
Andrade tied it at 1-1 with a goal from the field.  After the first seven minutes of play, the
teams were all even at 1-1.

Orchard Hill’s Pablo Macdonough and Valiente’s Adolfo
Cambiaso exchanged goals in the opening minutes of the second chukker,
2-2.  The Orchard Hill attack stepped it
up with a well-executed nearside neck sot from Andrade and a 40-yard penalty shot
from Matias MacDonough.  After two
periods of play, Orchard Hill held a surprising 4-2 advantage. 

Valiente regrouped and exploded for five unanswered goals
in the third.  Torres converted a penalty
shot for a goal and added two more goals from the field, the last coming on a
beautiful combination play that had Cambiaso passing ahead to Stirling whose
shot on goal was tapped in by a streaking Torres.  Cambiaso scored on a Safety and added a
40-yard penalty shot for a goal and a 7-4 halftime lead.

Penalty goals from Torres and Cambiaso kept Valiente in
front in the fourth, but Orchard Hill cut into the lead, picking up single
goals from Andrade, Pablo MacDonough and Matias Macdonough (penalty goal).  The chukker ended with Valiente on top of a
9-7 score.

In spite of an opening goal from Torres that put Valiente
ahead, 10-7, in the opening minute of the chukker, Orchard Hill brought the
game to Valiente in the fifth.  Picking
up a pair of goals from Andrade and single goals from Pablo MacDonough and
Matias MacDonough (penalty conversion), Orchard Hill took a brief 11-10
lead.  Cambiaso scored a tying goal,
11-11, with 1:55 left in the period, and a goal from Torres in the final 20
seconds put Valiente back in the lead, 12-11 with one chukker left in
regulation time.

In one of the most spectacular plays of the game,
Cambiaso intercepted an Orchard Hill pass at full speed, and drove it over 120
yards down the field.  A racing Stirling
was there, and drove it through the goalposts for the score, 13-11.  Ten-goaler Pablo Macdonough responded with a
goal from the field less than a minute later, 13-12.  A cut shot by Torres carried through the
goalposts at the 3:50 mark, 14-12 with a final goal from the nineteen-year-old
Torres ending the game in a 15-12 Valiente win.

Torres registered eight goals on the day, with only two
of them coming on penalty shots.  He was
named MVP for his efforts.  Cambiaso was
credited with five goals (there from penalty conversions), and Stirling scored
twice.  Andrade and Pablo MacDonough
scored five goals each in the loss. 
Matias MacDonough converted two penalty shots.

Cambiaso’s black 10-year-old mare, Gatita was honored as
Best Playing Pony.


A balanced Coca-Cola attack managed to sneak past a
powerful Lechuza Caracas lineup 11-10 in the last quarterfinal of the day.

Sebastian scored Coca-Cola’s first goal of the game, and
Julio Arellano converted a penalty shot, but a pair of goals from the field
from Lechuza Caracas had it all even at the end of the first chukker, 2-2.

A second goal from Merlos opened the second chukker, but
ensuing goals from Francisco Elizalde and Pieres gave Lechuza Caracas a fragile
4-3, one goal lead.

Lechuza Caracas extended the lead to two goals in the
third in spite of a pair of goals from Coca-Cola team captain, Gillian
Johnston.  Lechuza Caracas responded with
two more goals from Pieres and a single goal from team captain, Victor Vargas.  At the end of the first half, Lechuza Caracas
was on top, 7-5.

Arellano tied it up at 7-7 with a pair of goals in the
fourth period.  Lechuza Caracas
10-goaler, Juan Martin Nero scored his first goal of the match, and managed to
hold onto the lead, 8-7. 

Pieres scored his sixth and seventh goals of the day in
the fifth period.  Coca-Cola kept from
being shutout with a single goal from Arellano, but Lechuza Caracas continued
to lead10-8.

The leadership of Arellano in the final chukker was
credited with the victory as teammates Johnston and Sugar Erskine scored single
goals to tie it at 10-10.  A final Coca-Cola
effort had Merlos scoring the winning goal with just over 30 seconds in the game
for an exciting, come-from-behind 11-10 win.

Pieres set the pace on the day with seven goals for
Lechuza Caracas.  Vargas, Nero and
Elizalde added single goals in a losing effort. 
Arellano scored four times in the win (twice on penalty shots).  Merlos and Johnston scored three goals apiece
and Erskine added a goal in the victory that would send Coca-Cola to Wednesday’s
Maserati US Open semifinals. 

Wednesday’s semifinal pairings have Valiente playing
Coca-Cola at 2pm followed by a game between Zacara and ERG to decide the
finalists of the 2013 Maserati US Open championship.