Ellerstina Johor First to Reach the Tortugas Open Final
On the third day of competition at the 2021 Tortugas Open, Ellerstina Johor faced La Ensenada Brubank in the first semifinal match-up as Ellerstina Johor’s consistent offensive push led them to a 12-8 victory and as the defending champions return to the final at Tortugas Country Club. Despite La Ensenada Brubank’s attempts to keep the match close, Facundo Pieres proved to be a formidable factor, accounting for eight of Ellerstina Johor’s total goals, including an impressive six from penalty conversions.
Reaching the scoreboard first, Juan Britos began the chukka scoring two goals from the field on three shots for La Ensenada Burbank. Held from scoring in the first chukka, Facundo Pieres produced back-to-back goals in the second chukka for Ellerstina Johor, with Gonzalo Pieres continuing their momentum by adding the third goal of the chukka and take a one-goal advantage into the third. Continuing his streak, Facundo Pieres would be perfect in the third chukka, converting two penalty attempts and one shot from the field, contributing his fifth goal of the match. Held from scoring in the opening stages of the semifinal, Juan Martin Zubia and Jerónimo del Carril each contributed goals for La Ensenada Brubank to bring their goal deficit to within two. However Ellerstina Johor’s Matias Torres Zavaleta, playing in place of the injured Hilario Ulloa, would keep the pressure on La Ensenada Brubank, scoring two of four goals in the fourth chukka, as Ellerstina Johor would take a 10-5 lead into the half.
Attempting to cut into their deficit, del Carril, Britos and Zubía would each exchange shots but were ultimately unable to find the goal for La Ensenada Brubank, as Facundo Pieres would be the only player to score in the fifth. Despite Facundo Pieres tacking on another goal, it would be the talent from the mallet of Britos and his three goals in the sixth that would outscore Ellerstina Johor 3-1, taking the chukka for the first time in the match. Defense rose in the final chukka and despite trading ten shots in the final chukka, including six from Juan Britos, neither La Ensenada Brubank or Ellerstina Johor would be able to score. Utilizing an efficient and steady offensive approach from the start, Ellerstina Johor were able to take the lead from the second chukka and never look back, finishing with a 12-8 final score and emerging as the first team to advance to the finals.
Alegria Standard Wealth and La Natividad also took to the field in the first subsidiary semifinal of the tournament with La Natividad comfortably securing the victory 18-13. Alegria Standard Wealth would receive a boost to begin the match with nine goals awarded on handicap, however, La Natividad would immediately start the process of chipping away at their nine goal deficit as Bartolomé Castagnola would score the opening goal. Continuing on the success of their opening drive, Camilo Castagnola and Pablo Pieres would each post two goals for La Natividad in the second, as superior defensive tactics would leave Alegria Standard Wealth off the scoreboard. Pedro Zacharías would respond for Alegria Standard Wealth in the third but it would be Camilo Castagnola who would continue the wave of offense for La Natividad. After another successful drive from Camilo Castagnola in the opening of the fourth chukka and two more goals from Ignatius du Plessis, La Natividad would eliminate Alegria Standard Wealth’s once healthy lead, entering halftime on top 11-10.
Finding themselves in need to generate any offensive success, Agustín Merlos was only able to convert one goal on three penalty shots for the now trailing Alegria Standard Wealth. Pablo Pieres would continue his offensive tear, with two additional goals in the fifth chukka. Managing to keep Alegria Standard to only one goal in both the sixth and seventh chukkas, La Natividad would reach the goal four more times in the later stages of the match, including Pieres scoring his final of six goals on the day as La Natividad finished the subsidiary semifinal reigning supreme 18-13.