by U.S. Polo Correspondent Alex Webbe

In a marathon of a polo game that lasted nearly two-and-one-half hours, Alegria managed to slip past Piaget to register an 8-7 win over Piaget (0-2) to remain undefeated in their first two outings. “It was an ugly game to play in,” said 9-goaler Mariano Aguerre, who led the Alegria team to the C. V Whitney Cup just weeks ago. “It was very frustrating all day long,” he added.

Facundo Obregon gave Alegria the early lead on a penalty conversion just two minutes into the game followed by a goal from the field from teammate Hilario Ulloa. An unsportsmanlike conduct foul was whistled on Alegria’s Facundo Obregon for dangerous use of the mallet. The penalty sent him off the field for the final 43 seconds of the first chukker, and the entire second chukker as well. Piaget was unable to break through the Alegria defense successfully, however, and trailed 2-0 after the first period of play.

Playing four against three, Nacho Badiola got Piaget on the scoreboard a minute into the second period. He followed it up with a second goal just 90 seconds later and it was all even at 2-2. Julian Mannix picked up a short-handed goal at the 2:48 mark to close out the scoring in the second. Alegria remained in the lead, 3-2.

Miguel Novillo Astrada got Piaget right back into the game with a goal in the first 30 seconds of the third to tie it up at 3-3. A pair of penalty conversions from Obregon put Alegria in front by two goals, 5-3. With 1:27 left in the chukker Badiola scored on a beautifully executed nearside tail shot, 5-4. An Alegria foul sent Sapo Caset to the penalty line with 34 seconds on the clock. Caset converted the penalty shot and at the end of the first half it was all even at 5-5.

The two teams jockeyed for position throughout the fourth period. Ulloa scored the first goal of the chukker for a 6-5 Alegria, but Astrada answered back with a goal to make it 6-6. A goal from Caset with 4:22 left in the period gave Piaget their first lead of the game, 7-6, but Alegria was up for the challenge, and Mariano Aguerre scored the tying goal with 52 seconds left in regulation play.

Three minutes into the fifth chukker Piaget 10-goaler Sapo Caset suffered a groin injury and time out was taken. He returned to the field, briefly and tried to continue, but was unable. At 4:07 Caset left the game, and in a double switch, Lucas Lalor and Juan Bollini took the field for Piaget with Matias Sosa (who was substituting for the injured Melissa Ganzi) sitting out with Caset. Aguerre gave the lead back to Alegria on a 100-yard shot through the Piaget goalposts for an 8-7 advantage with just 1:43 left in the chukker. Time expired with no further scoring and Alegria took a narrow 8-7 lead into the final period of the game.

Sixth chukker play was a standoff. While Piaget pressed its attack, Alegria tried to open the game up with long passes down the field to waiting teammates, but neither team was successful. Two missed penalty shots by Alegria kept Piaget in the game, but there were no more goals scored and Alegria rode off the field with the 8-7 win.

A balanced Alegria attack saw Obregon leading the scoring with three goals. Aguerre and Ulloa scored two goals apiece and team captain Mannix added a goal for the victory. Badiola scored three times for Piaget. Caset and Astrada scored two goals apiece in a losing effort.

Maserati U. S. Open play continues on Wednesday with Coca-Cola (1-2) meeting Zorzal (1-2) at 2pm followed by a showdown between ERG (2-1) and Valiente (3-0) at 4pm.


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 Novillo Astrada (+9)
Paco de Navaez (+8)

Faraway Polo (+26 / +25)
Bo / Hutton Goodman (+1 / 0)
Santiago Chavanne (+9)
Nic Roldan (+8)
Matias Magrini (+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)

Piaget (+26)
Melissa Ganzi (0) / Matias Sosa
Nacho Badiola (+6)
Sapo Caset (+10) / Lucas Lalor and Juan Bollini
Miguel Novillo 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)

Zorzal (+26)
Fred Mannix (+6)
Jason Crowder (+6)
Marianito Obregon (+7)
Mariano Gonzalez (+7)