By Alex Webbe:
Plenty of high-goal polo was on the menu Thursday at the International Polo Club with competition in the 20-goal Les Armour Cup semifinal; the 20-goal Iglehart Cup semifinals; and the second of the semifinals for the 26-goal C. V. Whitney Cup in play.

An 11am contest kicked off the day with Orchard Hill facing Audi in the Les Armour Cup semifinals. After playing to a 7-7 halftime tie, Orchard Hill exploded for nine second half goals enroute to a decisive 16-12 win and a berth in Sunday’s finals. Audi 10-goaler Gonzalo Pieres scored the first goal of the game less than two minutes into the first chukker as the two teams battled up and down the field. Orchard Hill’s Pablo MacDonough finally got his team on the scoreboard with 48 seconds on the clock in the opening period of play. At the end of the first seven minutes of play, the score was deadlocked at 1-1.

The pace escalated in the second chukker with Pablo MacDonough scoring two goals from the field, the first coming in the opening 30 seconds of the period. Matias Macdonough added a goal on a penalty conversion, but Audi answered every Orchard Hill goal and then some. Nico Pieres scored a goal from the field and brother Gonzalito Pieres scored three times in the period, twice on penalty shots. After two chukkers Audi held a narrow 5-4 advantage. Nico Pieres opened the third with a goal from the field. A penalty goal from Gonzalito Pieres had Audi up, when Orchard Hill fired back. With just 2:40 left in the chukker Orchard Hill rang up a pair of goals from Matias MacDonough and a goal from the field from Pablo MacDonough. It was all even at 7-7 at the end of the first half.

The Orchard Hill attack continued in the opening minutes of the second half with Matias Macdonough converting a pair of penalty shots for goals and Pablo MacDonough adding a goal from the field. The Orchard Hill defense limited Audi to a single penalty goal from Gonzalito Pieres. After four periods of play, Orchard Hill charged out to a 10-8 lead.

The two teams traded goals in the fifth, with Matias Macdonough adding two more penalty shots for goals and Brazilian 8-goaler Rodrigo Andrade scoring a goal from the field. Gonzalito Pieres scored on penalty shots from the 40 and 60-yard lines while teammate Jeff Hall sent the ball through the goal posts for Audi. At the end of the fifth, Orchard continued to lead by two goals, 13-11. Nico Pieres stole an Orchard Hill knock-in for a quick goal in the sixth, cutting the lead to a single goal, 13-12, but that was where it ended. Orchard Hill ran off three straight goals (Andrade, Pablo Macdonough and team captain Steve Van Andel) for the 16-12 victory and a berth in the finals of the Les Armour Cup against the winner of Friday’s game between Piaget and ERG. Gonzalito Pieres led the field in scoring with eight goals (six on penalty shots). Nico Pieres scored three times and Jeff Hall added a goal in a losing effort. Matias Macdonough scored all seven of his goal from the penalty line. Ten-goaler Pablo MacDonough registered six goals, with Andrade adding two to the effort and Van Andel scoring once.

CRAB ORCHARD 8, PORT MAYACA 6
Crab Orchard scored their second semifinal win of the season and will be going to their second finals on the strength of their 8-6 win over a talented Port Mayaca foursome in the semifinals of the Iglehart Cup. Port Mayaca received one goal by handicap from the 20-goal Crab Orchard team and were forced to watch as Mariano Aguerre and Matias Magrini each tallied a goal in the opening chukker for a 2-1 edge. The Crab Orchard defense shut out Port Mayaca for the second consecutive chukker while putting up two more goals of their own. Just two-and-a-half minutes into the second chukker, Magrini converted a 60-yard penalty shot for a goal and Aguerre closed out the scoring in the period with a goal from the field with under three minutes on the clock. Port Mayaca had failed score a single goal and trailed 4-1. Aguerre’s third goal of the day had Crab Orchard on top, 5-1 with Port Mayaca showing little signs of an effective attack. A missed penalty shot from 60-yards didn’t bode well for Port Mayaca, but with 2:20 left in the chukker, Marianito Obregon converted a 40-yard penalty shot for a goal. Felipe Viana and Magrini responded with single goals (Magrini’s came on a 40-yard penalty shot) to end the first half with Crab Orchard on the winning end of a 7-2 score.

Port Mayaca returned to the field in the fourth chukker with renewed determination, but the results changed little. The Port Mayaca defense did step up to the plate and stem the Crab Orchard attack, but were limited to a single penalty goal from Obregon. With two chukkers left in the game, Port Mayaca trailed by four goals, 7-3. Both defenses continued to dominate in the fifth, but Stevie Orthwein managed to score a goal from the field with less than three minutes in the period to account the total combined offense of both teams in the chukker. Port Mayaca was pecking away at the Crab Orchard lead, but Crab Orchard left the field at the end of the chukker ahead by three goals, 7-4. Aguerre finally got Crab Orchard back in the scoring column with a goal from the field to lead 8-4. Port Mayaca battled back, picking up two more goals from Obregon but ended up on the short end of an 8-6 score. Thw win boosts Crab Orchard into the finals of the 2013 Iglehart Cup. Aguerre’s four goals led the Crab Orchard attack. Magrini added three goals, two on penalty shots, and Viana scored once in the win. Obregon scored three of his team-leading four goals on penalty shots. Orthwein added a goal and the team received one goal by handicap.

VILLA DEL LAGO 16, TONKAWA 10
Villa Del Lago ran out to a 10-4 halftime score before registering a 16-10 win over a highly-touted Tonkawa team and earning a berth in Sunday’s 20-goal Iglehart Cup finals. Brandon Phillips got Tonkawa on the scoreboard first with a goal from the field in the opening chukker, and 8-goaler Nic Roldan converted a 60-yard penalty shot, but it wasn’t enough. Villa Del Lago got two first chukker goals from Magoo Laprida (one on a penalty shot) and a single goal from Agustin Obregon for the early 3-2 lead. Villa Del Lago continued to out-perform Tonkawa in the second frame of the game. Villa Del Lago put up three goals (two from Obregon n doe from Guille Aguero) in the period while limiting Tonkawa to a single goal from Roldan. The Villa Del Lago lead had expanded to three goals, 6-3.

Four more Villa Del Lago goals broke the game wide open in the third with Jared Zenni leading the way with three of them. Laprida added a single goal as Villa Del Lago jumped out to a 10-4 halftime advantage. Jeff Hildebrand scored his team’s only goal on a penalty conversion. Villa Del Lago stretched its lead to eight goals, 12-4, in the fourth before Roldan answered with a single goal for Tonkawa. Laprida added a closing goal (penalty conversion) and the fourth chukker ended with Villa Del Lago holding a commanding 13-5 lead. Both defenses tightened in the fifth, with Zenni adding his fifth goal of the game and Roldan adding a goal to the Tonkawa total. With one chukker left to play, Villa Del Lago continued to hold an eight goal lead, 14-6. The Tonkawa attack seemed to have found itself in the final chukker, with Phillips putting up three goals and Roldan converting a 40-yard penalty shot for a goal. Villa Del Lago saw Laprida score on a penalty shot and Obregon add a goal from the field in the 16-10 win. Zenni and Laprida each scored five times for Villa Del Lago. Obregon added four goals and Aguero scored twice. Roldan led the Tonkawa attack with five goals (two on penalty shots). Phillips scored four times and Hildebrand added a goal in a losing effort. The Villa Del Lago victory set s up Sunday’s noon finals in the Iglehart Cup between Villa Del Lago and Crab Orchard.

LECHUZA CARACAS 13, COCA-COLA 12
The final match of the day took place on the stadium field of the International Polo Club with Lechuza Caracas bouncing back from a three goal deficit, 12-9, at the end of the fifth chukker to score an exciting 13-12 win over a powerful and talented Coca-Cola team. Lechuza Caracas scored both first chukker goals for the early 2-0 advantage as Coca-Cola struggled to find its offense. A goal from the field from 10-goaler Juan Martin Nero and a 60-yard penalty conversion from Polito Pieres ended the first chukker with Coca-Cola trailing 2-0. Pieres extended the Lechuza Caracas lead to three goals, 3-0, with his second goal fo the day when Coca-Cola came charging back. Sebastian scored a goal from the field, 3-1, and a Penalty 1 in the Lechuza Caracas goal mouth cut the lead to a single goal, 3-2. Merlos scored again with 1:20 left in the period to knot it up at 3-3. A beautifully executed backhander by Julio Arellano gave Coca-Cola its first lead of the game, 4-3, to end the second period. Lechuza Caracas 7-goaler Francisco Elizalde scored the tying goal on a nearside shot, 4-4 in the opening seconds of the third.

Goals from Merlos and Coca-Cola team captain Gillian Johnston had Lechuza Caracas behind by two, 6-4. Pieres scored twice in the final four minutes (his final goal coming in the final 31 seconds of play on a 150-yard run) of the chukker, but single goals from Arellano and Sugar Erskine kept Coca-Cola in the lead at the end of the first half, 8-6. Arellano scored a goal from the field at the midway mark of the chukker, 9-6, but Lechuza Caracas charged right back into the game. Nero scored his first goal of the chukker with 2:29 left to play, and his second in the final 16 seconds of the period. With two periods left in regulation time, Coca-Cola clung to a narrow 9-8 lead. Arellano converted a penalty shot in the opening minute of the fifth chukker, 10-8, but Lechuza Caracas quickly retaliated.

Pieres stole a knock in and scored a quick goal for Lechuza Caracas at the 4:20 mark.10-9. Coca-Cola closed out the chukker with goals from Arellano (penalty conversion) and Johnston for a 12-9, three goal cushion. Lechuza Caracas got on the scoreboard in the first 11 seconds of the sixth chukker on a penalty conversion from Nero, 12-10. Polito Pieres followed it up with a circus-like act as he carried the ball on his stick for about thirty yards at a gallop before driving it through the Coca-Cola goal posts for another goal, 12-11. Pieres scored the tying goal, 12-12, with 1:50 left in regulation time, and won it on a final goal from Nero. At 1:05,for the win. Pieres led all scoring with six goals. Nero added five goals and Elizalde scored twice in the win. Arellano was credited with four goals in the loss. Merlos and Johnston each scored three times and Erskine added two goals.

The finals will be played on Sunday at 3pm (local time) at the International Polo Club Palm Beach.


The Teams:
Alegria (+26)
Julian Mannix (+2)
Hilario Ulloa (+9)
Mariano Aguerre (+9)
Facundo Obregon (+6)

Audi (+26)
Marc Ganzi (+1)
Nico Pieres (+8)
Gonzalito Pieres (+10)
Jeff Hall (+7)

Coca-Cola (+26)
Gillian Johnston (+1)
Sugar Erskine (+7)
Julio Arellano (+9)
Sebastian Merlos (+9)

ERG (+26)
Scott Wood (0)
Tincho Merlos (+9)
Eduardo N. Astrada (+9)
Paco de Navaez (+8)

Lechuza Caracas (+26)
Victor Vargas (+1)
Polito Pieres (+8)
Juan Martin Nero (+10)
Francisco Elizalde (+7)

Orchard Hill (+26)
Steve van Andel (0)
Rodrigo Andrade (+8)
Pablo MacDonough (+10)
Matias MacDonough (+8)
Alt – Nic Roldan (+8)

Piaget (+25/+26)
Melissa Ganzi (0)
Alt Juan Bollini (+5) / Nacho Badila (+6)
Sapo Casset (+10)
Miguel Astrada (+10)

Valiente (+26)
Bob Jornayvaz (0)
Pelon Stirling (+10)
Adolfo Cambiaso (+10)
Santi Torres (+6)

Zacara (+26)
Facundo Pieres (+10)
Lyndon Lea (+1)
Magoo Laprida (+8)
Mike Azzaro (+7)


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