Triple Crown Begins with Opening Games in Tortugas Open
After games were suspended on Tuesday’s opening day of play after just one and a half chukkas, the 2019 Tortugas Open truly began with two strong performances from Las Monjitas and Ellerstina in convincing victories. Las Monjitas opened the tournament with an exceptional defensive performance in the 13-2 victory, while Ellerstina captured the 17-6 victory, displaying the potent offense they are known for.
The finalist of last year’s Argentine Open, Las Monjitas built on their success in a dominating victory over La Aguada. Despite shooting just 37% from the field, Las Monjitas overwhelmed La Aguada on every area of the field, generating an unrelenting counterattack that resulted in them outshooting their opponents 27-8. La Aguada struggled to get in behind the Las Monjitas defence that was headlined by Santiago Toccalino, who played a steady #4 position. The heavy advantage in possession led to Las Monjitas conceding just two goals in the 13-2 victory.
Sapo Caset displayed his 10-goal status in the early stages, accounting for the first five goals of the game, giving Las Monjitas a quick 5-0 lead. Scoring on all his three penalty attempts in the opening two chukkas, Caset paced Las Monjitas offensively, while Hilario Ulloa and Toccalino were effective in thwarting any chances for La Aguada. Finishing the first half 0 for 5 from the field and 0 for 2 from the penalty line, La Aguada was held scoreless in the first half, while consecutive goals for Facundo Sola gave Las Monjitas the commanding 7-0 lead.
Continuing their torrid pace from the first half, Las Monjitas produced six shots at goal in the fifth chukka, keeping La Aguada pinned in their own half of the field, but converted just one of the attempts to increase their lead to eight. After an Ulloa goal from distance extended the lead to nine, La Aguada finally found the scoreboard with back-to-back goals from Alejandro Novillo Astrada and Lucas Diaz Alberdi, but it was not enough to overcome an organized Las Monjitas team that completed the impressive 13-2 victory, behind the seven-goal performance of Caset.
The second game featured a dominant Ellerstina team that found their stride in the middle chukkas of the game, completing a 12-2 run from the third to the sixth chukka. Behind five penalty goals, Facundo Pieres led the Ellerstina attack with eight goals, while effectively starting the play from the back of the game. Despite Nico Pieres being forced from the game in the third chukka, Lucas James stepped in admirably, adding a goal and assist of his own in Ellerstina’s convincing 11-goal victory.
La Ensenada looked to make a statement in the early stages of the game, opening the scoring on a safety conversion from Jeronimo del Carril, but were met by a swift response from Ellerstina on an impressive goal from Facundo Pieres. Finishing the first chukka leading 2-1, Ellerstina began to pull away from La Ensenada in the third chukka thanks to the duo of Facundo and Polito Pieres, who scored two goals each in a dominant chukka that extended their lead to five. Without the impact of Nico Pieres, Ellerstina began to utilize a balanced offense to stretch the field and overmatch La Ensenada in each position. By the end of the half, Ellerstina held an 11-4 lead, with two of La Ensenada’s four goals coming from the penalty line.
With a renewed focus on a balanced attack, Ellerstina had three different goal scorers from the field to complete a run of eight unanswered goals. The catalyst of the Ellerstina attack was Facundo Pieres who adeptly contained La Ensenada’s Juan Martin Zubia while passing with accuracy on the counterattack. An insurmountable lead of 16-4 for Ellerstina after the sixth chukka was easily managed to finish with the commanding 17-6 victory.