Opening win for Pilará Piaget
Narrow victory against La Natividad: Hilario Ulloa scored the winning goal in OT
If Tuesdays opening match of the 2012 Tortugas Open was any indication, it is going to be a very competitive field in the first leg of Argentina’s Triple Crown of polo.
The 35-goal Pilará Piaget lineup (Hilario Ulloa 9, Francisco Bensadon 9, Sebastian Merlos 9, and Paco de Narvaez 8) took control early, going up 2-1 after the first chukker of play.
La Natividad took the field with a 33-goal handicap (Polito Pieres 8, Nachi Heguy 9, Rodrigo Andrade 8, and Lolo Castagnola 9) and gave little ground, matching Pilará Piaget goal for goal in the second period.
After two chukkers of action Pilará Piaget held on to a narrow one goal lead, 5-4.
La Natividad pressed the attack in the third, scoring twice while holding Pilará Piaget to a single goal. The game was all even at 6-6 after three chukkers. Pilará Piaget quickly responded in the fourth chukker.
This time it was Merlos, Bensadon and Ulloa who pressured the La Natividad defense, scoring twice and limiting their opponent to a single goal. Pilará Piaget took the lead back, 8-7.
Pablo Pieres and company weren’t going away, however. Outscoring Pilará Piaget 3-1 in the fifth, La Natividad ended the fifth chukker with a 10-9 advantage.
De Narvaez displayed effortless defensive play in the sixth as teammates broke through to the La Natividad goal. Two goals from Ulloa and one from Merlos had Pilará Piaget on top of a 12-10 score. Seventh period play was interrupted about two minutes into play when Nachi Heguy took a tumble. After a brief delay, however, he remounted and action resumed. La Natividad picked up single goals from Andrade and Pieres to tie it at 12-12 and force overtime.
Ulloa provided the tie-breaker with the winning goal for Swiss watchmaker and jeweler Piaget team quartet in sudden-death for the 13-12 victory. Pieres led all scoring with eight goals. Andrade and Castagnola added two goals apiece for La Natividad. Ulloa scored four times for Pilará Piaget. Bensadon, Merlos and de Narvaez scored three goals each.
Score Pilará Piaget: 2-1, 5-4, 6-6, 8-7, 9-10, 12-10, 12-12, 13-12.
Play is slated to continue on Wednesday when we get a look at Sapo Caset’s return to action with La Aguada (Sapo Caset 9, Javier Novillo Astrada 9, Miguel Novillo Astrada 9 and Ignacio Novillo Astrada 9) meeting Alegria (Agustin Merlos 9, Lucas Monteverde 9, Pite Merlos 8, and Fred Mannix 8).
The big guns will come into play on Saturday and Sunday when 38-goal Ellerstina (0-0), the defending 2011 Tortugas Open champion, plays La Natividad (0-1). The 40-goal La Dolfina four will take the field on Sunday to face the loser of Wednesday’s match.