Zacara, ERG and Valiente I score US Open Wins

Zacara, ERG and Valiente I score US Open Wins

By Alex Webbe


In a match that was very much a defensive battle-at speed,
Valiente I, outlasted Las Monjitas 8-6. 
The contest saw no less than four Astrada brothers on the field between
the two teams Saturday afternoon in the 2012 Nespresso US Open tournament at
the International Polo Club in Wellington.

Scoring came easy in the opening minutes of play with
Javier Astrada scoring for Las Monjitas less than 30 seconds into the game, and
Bob Jornayvaz getting his Valiente I team on the scoreboard with a goal from
the field.  Eduardo Astrada scored his
first goal of the game to put Las Monjitas back on top, 2-1.  Miguel Astrada knotted it up at 2-2 with a
penalty conversion in the last minute for the final score of the period.

Nacho Astrada opened the second chukker with a
beautifully executed nearside neck shot that gave Valiente I its first lead of
the game.  Inaki Laprida tied it up at
3-3 with a goal from the field less than a minute later in what would be the
last goal of the chukker.

Consecutive goals from Javier Astrada and Eduardo Astrada
had Las Monjitas ahead, 5-3 in the third period.  Both teams fought for control of the ball
until Polito Pieres scored with 1:37 left in the first half.  A second goal from Pieres came with 12
seconds on the clock for a 5-5 halftime score.

Resolute defensive work by Valiente I kept Las Monjitas
from scoring in the fourth chukker as Nacho Astrada and Miguel Astrada tallied
single goals.  After four chukkers of
play, Valiente led, 7-5.

Horse races from one end of the field to the other
characterized the fifth chukker.  Missed
shots at goal and great defensive work resulted in Miguel Astrada scoring the
only goal of the chukker.  Valiente I
extended its lead to three goals, 8-5.

The pace never slowed down in the final chukker, but
goals were hard to come by.  With 44
seconds left in regulation time, Eduardo Astrada scored the only second half
goal for Las Monjitas as they fell to Valiente I, 8-6.

A balanced Valiente attack had Miguel Astrada scoring
three times.  Pieres and Nacho Astrada
added two goals apiece and team captain, Bob Jornayvaz, scored once in the win.

Javier Astrada led the Las Monjitas attack with three
goals.  Eduardo Astrada scored twice and Laprida
added a single goal in the loss.


After battling back and forth for the first five chukkers
of play, ERG turned it on in the final chukker to record a 13-10 win over
Orchard Hill as first round play continues in the US Open.

Mariano Gonzalez got Orchard Hill on the scoreboard early
with a penalty conversion, but Agustin Merlos responded just a minute later with
a penalty goal for ERG, 1-1.  Gonzalez
closed out the scoring in the first chukker with his second penalty conversion
for a 2-1 Orchard Hill lead.

Two minutes into the second chukker Gonzalez scored again
from the penalty line for a 3-1 Orchard Hill advantage, but that was when ERG
came alive.  Agustin Merlos pushed the
ball through the Orchard Hill goalposts while galloping parallel to the end
line and then scored his second goal from the field just a minute later to tie
the game at 3-3.  Agustin Merlos scored the
final goal of the chukker on another penalty shot, and ERG left the field on
top of a 4-3 score.

The third chukker was defensive in nature with choppy
play and errant passes.  Paco de Narvaez
scored the only goal of the chukker in the last 36 seconds as ERG ended the
first half up by two goals, 5-3.

Orchard Hill took the reins in the second half, with an
opening goal from Gonzalez from the throw-in followed by a goal from the field
from Lucas Criado to tie it up at 5-5. 
Agustin Merlos responded with a penalty goal from Agustin Merlos to put
ERG back on top, 6-5.  A centering pass
from Agustin Merlos three minutes later caught a streaking de Narvaez who drove
it through the goal posts for a score, 7-5. 
Ten-goaler Pablo MacDonough broke through the ERG defense to score his
first goal of the game, 7-6.  A penalty
goal from Agustin Merlos ended the chukker with ERG ahead, 8-6.

Goals from Criado and MacDonough (penalty shot) tied it
up again at 8-8 as the fifth chukker got underway.  De Narvaez answered with a goal for ERG, 9-8
Criado countered with another goal from the field, 9-9.  Sebastian Merlos closed out the scoring in
the fifth period with a well-executed scoring effort for a 10-9 ERG lead.

Agustin Merlos scored the first goal of the final chukker
on a penalty conversion, extending the ERG lead to 11-9.  Criado finally got Orchard Hill on the right
track again with his fourth goal of the game, but the rally fell short.  Agustin Merlos scored the final goal of the
game in a 13-10ERG victory.

Agustin Merlos led all scoring with nine goals (five on
penalty shots).  De Narvaez added three
goals and Sebastian Merlos scored once in the win.

Criado and Gonzalez scored four goals apiece for Orchard
Hill (three goals from Gonzalez were on penalty shots).  MacDonough added two goals (one by penalty) in
the loss.

15, ALEGRIA 10

On the strength of nine goals from Facundo Pieres, Zacara
opened the day with a 15-10 win over Alegria as US Open play continued into the

In a slow-starting game, Mike Azzaro scored the first
goal of the game to put Zacara ahead, 1-0, on a goal from the field.  Tomas Garcia del Rio responded with a penalty
conversion for a tying goal, 1-1, for the only other score of the chukker.

Fred Mannix jumped all over the ball on the ensuing
throw-in in the second chukker, carrying it right down the field for a go-ahead
goal, 2-1.  Pieres tied it up with a
penalty goal, 2-2, but Alegria was ready. 
Consecutive goals from Mariano Aguerre and Del Rio had Alegria ahead,
6-5.  Pieres ended the chukker with a
goal in the last 13 seconds for a 6-6 halftime deadlock.

Fourth chukker goals from Pieres and Azzaro were
countered by a single goal from Alegria’s Aguerre.  Zacara left the field at the end of the chukker
with an 8-7 edge.

Laprida was on the receiving end of a well-placed
centering pass from Azzaro to open the fifth, 9-7.  Del Rio responded with a goal from the field,
cutting the Valiente I lead to a single goal, 9-8.  Three consecutive goals from Valiente I saw
Pieres convert a 40-yard penalty shot while Azzaro added two goals from the
field in the last 1:34 of the chukker for a comfortable 12-8 lead.

Laprida took a long pass from Pieres to score the opening
goal of the sixth chukker just 20 seconds into play.  Aguerre converted a 60-yard penalty shot,
13-9, followed by a steal by Pieres who carried the ball at a full clip 280
yards down the field to score, 14-9. 
Aguerre converted a Safety (60-yard penalty conversion), 14-10, but
Pieres closed out the game with his ninth goal of the match for a 15-10 win.

Aguerre scored four goals for Alegria (two by penalty).  Del Rio was credited with three goals (two by
penalty).  Julian Mannix scored twice and
Fred Mannix added a goal in the loss.

Pieres lit them up with nine goals (four by
penalty).  Azzaro added four goals and
Laprida scored twice.