Patagones Rallies to Top Lucchese
By Alex Webbe
If any of you think that super star Carlos Gracidaâ€™s career is on the downslope you werenâ€™t at Saturday afternoonâ€™s Joe Barry Memorial Cup match. Gracida led all scoring with ten goals on the day to lead Patagones to an exciting come-from-behind 14-13 win over an impressive Lucchese team.
Making its high-goal debut at the International Polo Club this season, Lucchese rolled into town with top talent of its own, but it was enough to stave off a last Chukker rally by Gracida and company.
â€œIt was the horse,â€ said Carlos Gracida of the 6-year-old mare, so aptly named Legend that allowed him to score three goals in the final Chukker. â€œWith her, I could do anything.â€
It was Lucchese, however, who took the opening lead of the game on the strength of two goals from Shane Rice and a penalty goal from Mike Azzaro. Carlos Gracida kept Patagones from being blanked in the first Chukker with a single goal from the field.
Luccheseâ€™s Mike Azzaro showed why he carried a 10-goal handicap for thirteen years in the second period as he demonstrated impressive stick work while scoring two goals, but Carlos Gracida countered with two more goals of his own. Lucchese left the field with a 5-3 advantage.
Carlos Gracida converted a penalty shot for the first goal of the third Chukker followed by a goal from nephew Julio Gracida, and the game was tied at 6-6. Carlos Gracida notched his fifth goal of the game to give Patagones its first lead of the game, 7-6, but Lucchese stormed back.
Andres Weisz scored once from the field, to tie the game, and added a go-ahead goal on a penalty shot to end the first half with a 7-6 Lucchese advantage.
Azzaro led a Lucchese charge onto the field to open the fourth Chukker. Azzaro converted a penalty shot for a goal and then moments later carried the ball through opposing players for his second goal of the Chukker and a 9-6 lead. Carlos Gracida added another goal for Patagones but Azzaroâ€™s third score of the Chukker kept Lucchese on top 10-7.
Azzaro opened the fifth period with a well-placed shot through the goal posts for a comfortable 11-7 lead, but Patagones wasnâ€™t nearly done. Consecutive goals from Carlos Gracida, Julio Gracida and Carlos Avendano went unanswered, and the Chukker ended with Patagones trailing Lucchese by a single goal, 11-10.
Lucchese returned to the field in the final Chukker with a vengeance. Andres Weiszâ€™s goal was followed by a goal from Shane Rice for a 13-10 lead, but the Chukker belonged to Patagones, or more accurately Carlos Gracida. Carrying the ball from one end of the field to the other Carlos scored three unanswered goals to tie the score at 13-13. Following another drive toward the Lucchese goal, a penalty whistle was heard and Patagones was awarded a penalty shot.
Carlos Gracidaâ€™s shot was low enough for an extended mallet from Weisz to deflect the ball, but an alert Carlos Avendano also got a stick on the ball and sent it through the goal post for the score.
Lucchese tried valiantly to stage a last minute rally, but time expired with Patagones holding the 14-13 lead.
Carlos Gracida led all scoring with ten goals. Teammates Julio Gracida and Carlos Avendano added two goals apiece for the win.
Mike Azzaro led the Lucchese attack with seven goals. Andres Weisz and Shane Rice each scored three goals.
Play continues on Sunday, January 11 with a noon game between Mt. Brilliant and BTA followed by a 3pm contest featuring Isla Carroll and Tommy Lee Jonesâ€™ San Saba team.