by U.S. Correspondent Alex Webbe

Wins by El Cabure (Scott Wood, Sugar Erskine, Agustin Merlos and Carlucho Arellano) and Valiente (Bob Jornayvaz, Santi Torres, Sapo Caset and Tomas Garbarini) in the semifinals Wednesday afternoon at the International Polo Club set up Sunday’s finals of the 20-goal Ylvisaker Cup.

The opening match of the day between El Cabure and Lechuza Caracas (Victor Vargas, Mariano Gracida, Juan Martin Nero and Martin Espain) was tied six times in the course of the game before El Cabure exploded with three unanswered goals in the final chukker of the game for the win.

Juan Martin Nero scored the first goal of the game to give Lechuza Caracas the early 1-0 lead, but that was when El Cabure took control of the match. A 40-yard penalty conversion for a goal from Agustin Merlos was followed by a goal from the field from the former 10-goaler. Sugar Erskine scored the final goal of the chukker with just 43 seconds on the clock for a 3-1 advantage. After just a minute into the second period Merlos extended the El Cabure lead to three goals, 4-1. Nero responded with a penalty goal, 4-2, but Carlucho Arellano scored El Cabure’s fifth goal of the game for a 5-2 lead.

A visibly shaken Lechuza Caracas team got their legs back under them in the third. Nero opened the chukker with three consecutive goals to tie it up at 5-5. A goal from team captain Victor Vargas gave Lechuza Caracas their first lead since the opening goal of the match, 6-5. Merlos tied it up on a 60-yard penalty shot with just 17 seconds on the clock for a 6-6 halftime tie. Merlos and Nero exchanged goals to open the second half, 7-7. Vargas added a go-ahead goal for Lechuza Caracas, but a goal from Erskine had it all even at 8-8 with two chukkers left to play.

Goals were hard to come by in the fifth as both teams struggled to put together a successful attack. Merlos and Nero traded penalty goals, but the chukker ended with the two deadlocked at 9-9. Lechuza committed a couple of crucial fouls that resulted in two penalty goals for Lechuza Caracas that were converted by Merlos. Merlos added a goal from the field while the Lechuza Caracas offense disappeared. When the final horn sounded, El Cabure found themselves boosted into the finals of the 2014 Ylvisaker Cup on the strength of the 12-9 victory.

Merlos led all scoring with nine goals (five on penalty conversions). Erskine added two goals and Arellano had the game of his life while adding another goal to the El Cabure total.

VALIENTE 8, LAS MONJITAS 7
Valiente (Bob Jornayvaz, Santi Torres, Sapo Caset and Tomas Garbarini) struggled to an 8-7 win over Las Monjitas (Camilo Bautista, Geronimo Obregon, Eduardo Astrada and Alejandro Astrada) in the second Ylvisaker Cup semifinal of the day.

Las Monjitas received one goal by handicap from the 21-goal Valiente team, but fouled and sent Sapo Caset to the penalty line with just 12 seconds left in the opening chukker. Caset converted the shot and the two teams left the field at the end of the first chukker in a 1-1 tie. Penalties continued to set the course for the day in second chukker. Alejandro Astrada converted a penalty shot for Las Monjitas in the opening minute of play and added a 60-yard conversion with 32 seconds left on the clock in the second period for a 3-1 lead.

Geronimo Obregon scored his first goal of the day for a 4-1 Las Monjitas lead. Caset answered back with two penalty goals, cutting the Las Monjitas lead to one goal, 4-3 halftime lead. Caset converted a pair of 60-yard penalty shots for goals in the fourth that went unanswered, giving Valiente a 5-4 edge. A penalty conversion by Alejandro Astrada was countered by a goal from Caset. The fifth chukker ended with Valiente guarding a narrow 6-5 advantage. With both teams struggling to mount an attack Caset converted a penalty shot and scored Valiente’s first goal from the field. Las Monjitas ended the period with a pair of penalty conversions in the 8-7 loss.

Caset led all scoring with seven goals. Torres added a goal for the victory. Las Monjitas received one gal by handicap and got five goals from Alejandro Astrada. Obregon added a goal in the loss.

Final action is scheduled to be played on Sunday on the stadium field at 3pm.