Pacific Coast Open semifinals set

Pacific Coast Open semifinals set

By Alex Webbe

Action in Santa Barbara Polo Club’s 2013 Bombardier Pacific
Coast Open got underway on Sunday when a re-vamped La Herradura lineup
(Carlitos Gracida, Sterling Giannico, Marianito Obregon and Carlos Gracida) had
to be assembled to work around the injury to Alvaro Fernandez (broken rib), and
the reshuffled combination did the trick. 
Charging out to a powerful 8-3 halftime lead, La Herradura held on to
score a 10-9 win and improve their record to 2-1.  The loss was the first of the tournament for
ERG, dropping them from the ranks of the undefeated with a 2-1 record as well.

Carlos Gracida opened the scoring with the conversion of a
40-yard penalty shot for the early La Herradura lead.  Jeff Blake responded for ERG with a goal from
the field, 1-1.  Marianito Obregon closed
out the scoring in the opening chukker with a goal to put La Herradura ahead,

Second chukker goals from Carlitos Gracida, Carlos Gracida
and Obregon (penalty conversion) had La Herradura leading 5-2.  Sugar Erskine scored ERG’s only goal of the

A pair of goals from Carlos Gracida and a single goal from
Sterling Giannico extended the La Herradura lead to five goals in third period
play.  Erskine accounted for the only
score of the chukker for an anemic ERG offense as they fell behind, 8-3 at the
end of the first half.

A reinvigorated ERG team took the field in the fourth
chukker and dominated play.  Erskine
scored three times (twice on penalty shots) to cut the lead to just two goals,
8-6.  La Herradura fouls gave ERG a
number of additional opportunities to score, but penalty shots went wide, and
La Herradura survived the rally.

Penalty goals from Obregon and Carlos Gracida stretched the
La Herradura to three goals in the fifth. 
ERG managed just a single score on a goal from the field from Paco de
Narvaez.  ERG trailed, 10-7, with one
chukker left in regulation time.

De Narvaez scored the only two goals of the sixth chukker,
but La Herradura managed to survive, registering a 10-9 win.

Carlos Gracida led the La Herradura attack with five
goals.  Obregon scored three times while
Giannico and Carlitos Gracida added single goals for the win.  Erskine’s vie goals set the pace for
ERG.  De Narvaez added three goals and
Blake scored once in the loss.


Catamount (Scott Devon, Brandon Phillips, Mike Azzaro and
Julio Gracida) took it on the chin for the second consecutive week and suffered
their third loss in the Pacific Coast Open in a 17-10 loss to Restoration

Julio Gracida scored the first goal from the field for
Catamount, with Hilario Ulloa responding with a goal form Restoration Hardware,
1-1.  Scott Devon scored from the field
followed by a penalty goal from Gracida for a 1-1 lead.  Ulloa closed out the scoring in the first
chukker on a 30-yard penalty shot. 
Catamount enjoyed a 3-2 advantage going into the second period.

Devon’s second goal of the game put Catamount on top, 4-2,
but Restoration Hardware charged back with goals from Adam Snow and Ulloa
(penalty conversion).  The second chukker
ended in a 4-4 deadlock.

Restoration Hardware scored the first three goals of the
third chukker with Snow leading it off followed by a pair of goals from
teammate Ulloa for a 7-4 lead.  Gracida
converted a penalty shot for a goal, but Ulloa answered back with his third
goal of the chukker, 8-5.  Mike Azzaro
ended the first half with a penalty goal but Catamount now trailed by two
goals, 8-6.

Restoration Hardware team captain Ben Soleimani and Ulloa
opened the second half with consecutive goals, 10-9.  Ulloa added a penalty goal and Santi Von
Wernich scored his first goal of the day for an impressive 12-6 lead.  Phillips scored the final goal of the period on
a penalty conversion but Catamount found themselves in a deep hole, trailing

The two teams exchanged goals in the fifth, with Ulloa and
Soleimani scoring the first two goals of the chukker for a 14-7 lead for
Restoration Hardware.  Azzaro and
Phillips each scored penalty goals as the period ended with Restoration
Hardware firmly in control of a 14-9 game.

Phillips cut the Restoration Hardware lead to four goals in
the opening minutes of the sixth chukker, but that would be where it would
end.  Ulloa added a goal and Snow scored
twice as Restoration Hardware ended preliminary play in the 2013 Bombardier
Pacific Coast Open with a resounding 17-10 win.

Ulloa led all scoring with an impressive ten goals (three on
penalty shots).  Snow scored four times;
Soleimani twice; and Von Wernich added a goal in the rout.  Gracida and Phillips scored three goals
apiece for Catamount while teammates Devon and Azzaro each scored twice in the


After three consecutive Pacific Coast Open Championships,
the 2013 season had to be a disappointing one for Lucchese (Tavi Usandizaga,
Andres Weisz, Pelon Stirling and John Muse). 
The team put it all behind them in the final game of the day, however,
as they scored a 13-12 win over FMB (Dan Walker, Inaki Laprida, Lucas Criado
and Henry Walker) and won a berth in Thursday’s semifinals.

Tavi Usandizaga scored the first goal of the game for a
brief 1-0 Lucchese lead.  A 40-yard
penalty goal from Lucas Criado and two goals from the field from Henry Walker
had FMB leaving the field at the end of the first chukker with a 3-1 lead.

Lucchese lost no time in making up for their opening chukker
shortcomings.  Lucchese 10-goaler Pelon
Stirling connected on penalty shots from 60-yards and 30-yards to tie it up at
3-3.  A goal from the field from the
talented 10-goaler gave Lucchese their second lead of the game, 4-3.  Lucchese fouls sent FMB’s Criado to the
penalty line where he connected on consecutive penalty shots to end the chukker
in a 5-5 deadlock.

Stirling opened the third chukker with a 60-yard penalty
conversion and added a goal from the field for a 7-5 advantage.  Weisz added his second goal of the game while
the Lucchese defense held FMB scoreless. 
At the end of the first half Lucchese sat on top of an 8-5 score.

A penalty goal from Criado and a goal from the field from
Henry Walker shaved the Lucchese lead down to a single goal in fourth chukker
play.  Lucchese continued to press its
attack, however, resulting in FMB fouls. 
Stirling scored consecutive 60-yard penalty shots to end the chukker
with Lucchese leading, 10-7.

Criado and Stirling exchanged goals in the opening minutes
of the fifth period, with Criado converting a penalty shot to end the
chukker.  Lucchese continued to lead, but
FMB trailed by just two goals, 11-9, going into the sixth.

Criado cut the Lucchese lead to a single goal, 11-10.  Stirling answered back with a goal from the
field, 12-10.  Criado scored again,
12-11.  Lucchese pressed their attack and
a penalty allowed Stirling to score on a penalty shot, 13-11.  Criado’s scored for the ninth time to cut the
Lucchese lead to a single goal, 13-12 when time ran out.

The Lucchese win earned them a berth in the Pacific Coast
Open semifinals, and eliminated FMB from the field. 

Stirling scored six of his game high ten goals on penalty
shots, converting six of seven shots. 
Weisz scored twice and Usandizaga added a goal for the win.  Six of Criado’s team-high nine goals came on
penalty shots.  Dan Walker added a pair
of goals with Henri Walker scoring once in a losing effort.

The final results of the early rounds of competition left
Restoration Hardware in the number one position with a perfect 3-0 record.  La Herradura finished second with a 2-1 record.  ERG also had a 2-1 record, but fell to third
place as a result of their loss to La Herradura.   Lucchese snuck into semifinal play on the
strength of their win over FMB.

Semifinal pairings have Restoration Hardware facing Lucchese
while ERG will get a re-match with La Herradura in Thursday’s action.