By Alex Webbe
Goose Creek (Maureen Brennan, Marcos Garcia del Rio, Tomas Garcia del Rio and Mariano Gonzalez) edged Faraway (Hutton Goodman, Inaki Laprida, Julian Daniels and Pelon Escapite) Sunday afternoon 6-5 in a defensive, low scoring contest that boosted their record to 2-1 and earned them a spot in Wednesday’s semifinals of the 2016 East Coast Open against Audi (Marc Ganzi, Leo Mandelbaum, Nic Roldan and Sebastian Merlos) at the Greenwich Polo Club.
The 19-goal Faraway team received one goal by handicap and increased their lead to 2-0 with the opening goal from the field from Inaki Laprida. Mariano Gonzalez scored Goose Creek’s only goal of the first chukker as they trailed. 2-1.
Goals were scarce in a fast-paced second period with neither side being able to take control of the game. Marcos Garcia Del Rio accounted for the only goal in the chukker, leveling the score at 2-2 at the end of the period.
Solid defenses were the theme in third period play. Neither team was able to score from the field with Gonzalez converting a short Penalty 2 shot for the final goal of the first half. After three chukkers of play, Goose Creek found themselves defending a fragile one goal, 3-2 lead.
Gonzales stretched the Goose Creek lead to two goals by converting a 30-yard penalty shot in the fourth period. Julian Daniels made a run down the field with the ball, leaving it on the goal mouth for a trailing Hutton Goodman to push through for the score. The chukker ended with Faraway within a goal of the lead, 4-3.
Another Faraway foul proved costly in fifth period action as Gonzalez converted another short penalty shot for a goal and a 5-3 Goose Creek advantage. Tomas Garcia Del Rio’s first goal of the day stretched the Goose Creek lead to three goals. Daniels scored from the field, cutting the Goose Creek back to two goals, 6-4. With time running out in the period, Escapite drove the ball toward the Goose Creek goal but the final hors ended play with the ball just feet from the goal line. Goose Creek left the field with a two goal advantage intact, 6-4.
The sixth chukker began with a throw-in in front of the Goose Creek goal, but the ball was quickly cleared and play continued. Faraway continued to press the attack and Goose Creek concentrated on defense. Laprida brought Faraway to within a goal of the lead, 6-5, with a 40-yard penalty conversion, but time was on the side of Goose Creek. Daniels led final charge at the Goose Creek goal, coming within feet of a score when the horn sounded, giving the win to Goose Creek, 6-5.
Goose Creek’s Gonzalez led the field with four goals (three on penalty conversions). Tomas Garcia Del Rio and Marcos Garcia Del Rio each added a goal for the win. Laprida scored two goals for Faraway with Daniels and Goodman adding single goals in the loss. The team also received one goal by handicap.
White Birch 15, Beluga 10
Earlier in the day Beluga (Chris Brant, Nick Manifold, Francisco Elizalde and Tommy Biddle) took advantage of three goals by handicap to take a 4-2 first chukker lead over previously undefeated White Birch (Santino Magrini, Hilario Ulloa, Mariano Aguerre and Peter Brant) but couldn’t manage to tame the high-scoring home team, coming up on the short end of a 15-10 score.
White Birch team captain Peter Brant scored the first goal from the field followed by a goal from teammate Hilario Ulloa. Francisco Elizalde scored Beluga’s only goal of the first chukker but left the field leading 4-2 on the strength of three goals by handicap.
Beluga kept the pressure on White Birch in the second period. Elizalde scored his second goal of the day to make it 5-2 and a goal from teammate Tommy Biddle had Beluga in the lead by four goals, 6-2. White Birch fought back with Ulloa scoring his second goal of the game followed by a 30-yard penalty goal from Mariano Aguerre. Beluga continued to hold the lead, however, 6-4.
Shaking off the first two chukkers, White Birch took early control of the third period. Consecutive goals from Ulloa, Peter Brant and Aguerre gave them the lead, 7-6. Beluga’s Elizalde leveled the score at 7-7 on a 40-yard penalty conversion. Ulloa closed out the first half with his fourth goal of the morning, giving White Birch the lead, 8-7.
Biddle converted a 60-yard penalty shot to open the scoring in the second d half, and tying the game at eight goals apiece. A disciplined White Birch offense roared back into the game with goals from Aguerre, Ulloa and Peter Brant. The White Birch lead stood at three goals, 11-8, with two chukkers left to be played.
Elizalde cut into the White Birch lead with the opening goal of the fifth period, 11-9. Aguerre countered with a goal of his own, 12-9. Biddle added a penalty goal for Beluga, 12-10, but White Birch responded with single goals from Ulloa and Peter Brant that ended the chukker with Beluga trailing by four goals, 14-10.
Beluga continued to attempt a final chukker rally, but White Birch wasn’t having any of it. An oppressive White Birch defense and a final penalty goal from Peter Brant ended the game with a 15-10 White Birch win.
Ulloa scored six times in the White Birch win. Peter Brant was credited with five goals and Aguerre scored four times. Elizalde set the offensive pace for Beluga with four goals. Biddle scored three times (twice on penalty shots) in the loss.
The win keeps White Birch undefeated at 3-0 and sends them into Wednesday’s East Coast Open semifinal against Airstream (Agustin Bottaro, Guille Aguero, Matias Magrini and Kris Kampsen).
Photos M Bianchi