By Alex Webbe
Travieso (Teo Calle, Alfredo Capella, Sebastian Merlos and Mariano Gonzalez) recorded their first win of the 2017 United States Open with a hard-fought 9-8 victory over the highly-touted Orchard Hill lineup (Polito Pieres, Juan Chavanne, Facundo Pieres and Steve Van Andel) Wednesday afternoon at the International Polo Club.
The two teams exchanged goals in the opening chukker with Argentine 10-goalers Facundo Pieres and Polito Pieres scoring single goals for Orchard Hill while Sebastian Merlos and Mariano Gonzalez (60-yard penalty conversion) tallied for Travieso. The first chukker ended all even at 2-2.
Gonzalez added a goal from the field for the first goal of the second period followed by another goal from the field by Travieso team captain, Teo Calle. Complimented by shutout defense, Travieso sailed into the lead, 4-2.
Defenses tightened in the third chukker with Gonzalez scoring the only goal of the period on a 60-yard penalty shot. At the end of the first half of play, Travieso boasted a 5-2 advantage over Orchard Hill.
Merlos stretched the Travieso lead to four goals, 6-2, with the opening score of the second half. The Orchard Hill offense stirred, however, and fought their way back into the game. Two goals from Facundo Pieres (one on a 40-yard penalty conversion) and a goal from the field from Juan Chavanne brought Orchard Hill to within a goal of the lead, 6-5.
Travieso snuffed out the Orchard Hill rally by scoring three consecutive goals in the fifth. Merlos added a pair and Gonzalez scored his fourth of the game for the 9-5 lead. Facundo Pieres scored the final goal of the period but it was Travieso with the 9-6 advantage and only one period left in regulation play.
Orchard Hill made a charge in the sixth chukker, and came within a goal of the lead on a pair of goals from Facundo Pieres, but time was on Travieso’s side. With Orchard Hill struggling for one last rally, time expired and Travieso celebrated the 9-8 win.
Merlos and Gonzalez scored four goals apiece and Calle added a goal for the win. Facundo Pieres led the Orchard Hill attack with six goals. Polito Pieres and Chavanne scored single goals in the loss.
Flexjet 10, Valiente 9
Earlier in the day, Flex Jet (Melissa Ganzi, Rodrigo Andrade, Gonzalito Pieres and Nico Pieres) scored their third straight US Open victory with a narrow 9-8 win over Valiente (Bob Jornayvaz, Matias Torres Zavaleta, Diego Cavanagh and Adolfo Cambiaso).
Flexjet raced out to a 7-4 halftime lead before breaking open a fifth chukker 8-8 tie to secure the win, 10-9.
Flexjet’s Gonzalito Pieres scored five of his game-high six goals on penalty conversions. Teammates Rodrigo Andrade and Nico Pieres added two goals apiece for the win. Diego Cavanagh scored four goals (three on penalty conversions) for Valiente. Adolfo Cambiaso added three goals and Matias Torres Zavaleta was credited with two goals in the loss.
Audi 14, Coca-Cola 8
Audi (Gant Ganzi/Marc Ganzi, Nic Roldan, Alejandro Novillo Astrada and Magoo Laprida) took the early 3-2 lead over Coca-Cola (Gillian Johnston, Julian de Lusarreta, Julio Arellano and Miguel Astrada) on first chukker goals from Magoo Laprida, Nic Roldan (60-yard penalty conversion) and Grant Ganzi, but fell behind, 6-5, at the end of the first half. Coca-Cola 8-goaler Julio Arellano scored a goal from the field and added two penalty shots while teammate Miguel Novillo Astrada scored three times from the field.
Audi controlled the second half, scoring three goals in each of the final three periods while limiting the Coca-Cola offense to just two goals in the 14-8 win.
On Thursday, April 13th, at 9am, four teams (Audi, Coca-Cola, Travieso and Orchard Hill), all with 1-2 records, will participate in a shoot-out to determine Sunday’s quarterfinal match-ups.
Valiente and Flexjet finished in first place in their respective brackets and advance directly to next Wednesday’s semifinals.