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Valiente holds off Crab Orchard; Lechuza wins in OT
By Alex Webbe
Valiente (Bob Jornayvaz, Santi Torres, Sapo Caset and Adolfo Cambiaso) recorded their third consecutive Maserati US Open victory in a 12-11 win over Crab Orchard (Peke Gonzalez, Magoo Laprida, Facundo Pieres and Paco de Narvaez) Wednesday afternoon at the International Polo club followed by a 12-11 overtime win by Lechuza Caracas (Victor Vargas, Nico Pieres, Juan Martin Nero and Nico Espain) over Orchard Hill (Steve Van Andel, Santiago Chavanne, Pablo MacDonough and Matias MacDonough) to complete preliminary play in Bracket I.
After three games of play Valiente emerged unscathed with a perfect 3-0 record. Lechuza Caracas finished in second place in the bracket at 2-1. Crab Orchard finished at 1-2 while Orchard Hill, a finalist in the high-goal opening tournament, the C. V. Whitney Cup, went winless at 0-3.
Crab orchard opened the scoring on the day with consecutive goals from 10-goaler Facundo Pieres. Playing without team captain George Rawlings, the team looked to make his exit from polo a successful one as he converted a 30-yard penalty shot at 6:01 followed by a goal from the field at the 4:42 mark for a 2-0 start. Sapo Caset stopped the bleeding for Valiente as he converted a pair short penalty shots to close out the chukker in a 2-2 tie.
Crab orchard took a 5-4 lead in the second period with goals from Peke Gonzalez, Magoo Laprida and Pieres (penalty shot). Valiente registered goals from Caset (penalty conversion) and Adolfo Cambiaso. Crab Orchard held a surprising 5-4 lead after two chukkers.
Laprida’s second goal of the game had Crab Orchard up by two, 6-4, but Valiente stormed back. With just over three minutes left in the third period Cambiaso cut the Crab Orchard lead to a single goal, 6-5. Caset leveled the score once again with a goal from the field and a 6-6 halftime score.
Caset opened the second half with a goal from the field for a 7-6 Valiente lead. A goal from Cambiaso stretched the Valiente lead to two goals, 8-6. Caset scored his third goal of the chukker on a 60-yard penalty conversion as Valiente left the field with a convincing 9-6 lead.
Both defenses tightened up in the fifth chukker. Only two goals were scored in the fifth with Pieres accounting for both of the goals (one from the field and one on a penalty shot). The chukker ended with Crab Orchard trailing by a single chukker, 9-8.
Pieres tied it up once again with a penalty conversion in the first 90 seconds of the sixth chukker, 9-9. Valiente responded with three straight goals (two from Caset on penalty shots and one from Cambiaso who drove the ball through the goalposts with a 110-yard shot, 12-9. Laprida scored for Crab Orchard with 2:05 seconds on the clock and Pieres scored the final goal of the match at 1:14. Valiente rode off the field with a perfect 3-0 record, ready to advance to the next level of play.
Caset led the scoring parade for Valiente with eight goals. Cambiaso accounted for the other four gals. Pieres led the Crab Orchard attack with seven goals. Laprida added three goals and Gonzalez accounted for the other goal.
LECHUZA CARACAS 12, ORCHARD HILL 11 IN OT
In the second match of the day Lechuza Caracas bounced back from a 5-3 halftime deficit to tie it up and register a 2-11 overtime win over Orchard Hill.
All three first chukker Lechuza Caracas goals came on penalty shots from Nico Pieres while Orchard Hill relied on 10-goaler Pablo Macdonough who scored once from the field and once on a penalty shot to trail 3-2.
Two second chukker goals from Pablo MacDonough and his brother Matias went unanswered as Orchard Hill took the lead.
A goal from Orchard Hill 10-goaler extended their lead to two goals. For the second consecutive time, Orchard Hill outscored Lechuza Caracas and took a 5-3 halftime lead.
Pablo MacDonough scored his fourth goal of the day in the fourth as the Orchard Hill foursome struggle d to sustain a successful drive. A pair of penalty conversions from Pieres and a goal from the field from Nero had the score all even at the end of the chukker, 6-6.
The two teams traded goals in the fifth with Victor Vargas and Pieres accounting for the only two goals of the chukker. The score remained deadlocked at 8-8.
Once again the two teams exchanged scores in the sixth. Chavanne scored a goal from the field and Pablo MacDonough added two more on penalty shots. Lechuza Caracas responded with single goals from Victor Vargas, Juan Martin Nero and Nico Espain. The chukker ended in another deadlock, 11-11.
After a brief intermission the two teams returned to the field where a costly Orchard Hill foul sent Lechuza Caracas to the penalty line where Pieres converted the shot for the winning goal.