By Alex Webbe
Valiente (Bob Jornayvaz, Matias Torres Zavaleta, Diego Cavanagh and Adolfo Cambiaso) kept the door open on their run at the Triple Crown of American polo Sunday with a resounding 17-12 win over Coca-Cola (Gillian Johnston, Julian de Lusarreta, Julio Arellano and Miguel Novillo Astrada) in the second round of play in the United States Open Championship at the International Polo Club.
Valiente had already won the C. V. Whitney Cup (a 14-11 victory over Orchard Hill0 and the USPA Gold Cup (a 9-6 win against Coca-Cola), and would become only the second team to achieve that honor I American polo.
Other US Open wins on Sunday included Orchard Hill’s (Polito Pieres, Juan Chavanne, Facundo Pieres and Steve Van Andel) 12-8 defeat of Audi (Marc Ganzi, Nic Roldan, Alejandro Novillo Astrada and Magoo Laprida) and the 11-9 Flex Jet (Melissa Ganzi, Rodrigo Andrade, Gonzalito Pieres and Nico Pieres) win at the expense of Travieso (Teo Calle, Alfredo Capella, Sebastian Merlos and Mariano Gonzalez).
Diego Cavanagh and Adolfo Cambiaso scored three goals apiece in the first two chukkers as Valiente vaulted out to a 7-2 lead. The two teams traded goals in the third, with Valiente maintaining their five-goal advantage, 10-5, after the first half of play.
Julio Arellano scored three of his team high seven goals for Coca-Cola in the fourth with Matias Torres Zavaleta scoring twice for Valiente. After four periods of play Valiente led by four goals, 12-8.
Valiente put Coca-Cola away in the fifth with Zavaleta and Cambiaso adding two goals each and Cavanagh converting a 30-yard penalty shot. Coca-Cola was unable to break through the Valiente defenses, and fell behind by nine goals, 17-8, with one chukker left in regulation time.
Valiente was content to coast through the final seven minutes of play with Coca-Cola taking advantage of the relaxed defense. Julian de Lusarreta scored his first two goals of the day with Gillian Johnston and Arellano adding single goals in the 17-12 loss.
Zavaleta and Cavanagh scored six goals apiece for Valiente with Cambiaso adding five goals for the victory. Arellano’s game-leading seven goals (three on penalty conversions), led the Coca-Cola attack. Johnston and de Lusarreta each scored twice with Miguel Novillo Astrada scoring once in the loss.
Orchard Hill 12, Audi 8
In a morning game, Orchard Hill handed Audi their second consecutive loss on the strength of a 12-8 win.
Orchard Hill raced out to a 3-1 first chukker lead, and held on to a 7-6 halftime advantage as Audi 8-goaler Nic Roldan scored four times to keep his team in the game.
Audi was held to a single goal over the next two chukkers to trail, 10-7, after the fifth.
Orchard Hill added two more goals in the sixth while holding Audi to a single tally from Roldan in their 12-8 win.
Flexjet 11, Travieso 9
Travieso took the early lead with Mariano Gonzalez scoring for of the team’s six first half goals for a 6-4 lead. Nico Pieres scored three of Flexjet’s four goals in the opening three periods.
Travieso lost the lead in the fifth period as Brazilian 9-goaler Rodrigo Andrade scored his first two goals of the game. Travieso team captain Teo Calle got his team on the scoreboard with a goal from the field, but a goal from Gonzalito Pieres gave Flexjet the lead, 9-8.
Sebastian Merlos tied the game at 9-9 with the opening goal of the sixth chukker but it was Flexjet 9-goalers Gonzalito Pieres and Andrade with consecutive goals for the 11-9 victory.
Three Wednesday US Open game will determine the playoff for the tournament with Valiente (2-0) facing Flexjet in an 11am contest. Coca-Cola (1-1) will look to improve on their record as they battle Audi (0-2) at 12:30pm. Orchard Hill (2-0) and Travieso (0-2) will round out the competition on the day with a 5pm game.
Photos by Alex Pacheco