The highly anticipated final of the 2017 Tortugas Open saw La Dolfina use exceptional team defense to defeat Ellerstina 12-5 on Palermo Field 1.
Holding Ellerstina to 2 for 11 (18%) shooting from the field, La Dolfina rarely allowed scoring chances around their goal, forcing Ellerstina to shoot low percentage shots from distance. Averaging eight goals per game entering the final, Facundo Pieres was held to only three shots from the field, as a combination of Adolfo Cambiaso and Pablo MacDonough limited his time and space throughout the entire game, forcing turnovers that resulted in offensive chances of their own as they shot at goal twice as many times on their way to victory.
The first two chukkas displayed a defensive, methodical style of polo as both teams kept their opponents in front of them and limited the passing opportunities. MacDonough opened the scoring for La Dolfina in the first chukka, but was quickly answered by Facundo Pieres’ first goal of the game; one of the few chances Ellerstina had close to goal. With both teams scoring zero field goals in chukka 2, it was a penalty 2 conversion for Juan Martin Nero that gave La Dolfina the 2-1 lead.
La Dolfina fell back on their passing attack as they increased the pace of the game in the 3rd and 4thchukkas, spreading the field, allowing the passing precision of Nero and MacDonough to direct the offense. Two goals each from Cambiaso and Nero extended La Dolfina’s lead to 6-2 at halftime as La Dolfina continued to control open play thanks to the extra possessions from winning 9 of 12 throw-ins in the opening four chukkas.
The inability of Ellerstina to generate offense in the second half was evident as they were held without a field goal, missing their three shot attempts, while La Dolfina had nine shots over that same span. Two more goals from Cambiaso, one from the field and one from the penalty line, increased their lead to five as Ellerstina was only able to score via the penalty line late in the game.
The few offensive chances for Ellerstina, pressured the La Dolfina defence, resulting in five fouls for La Dolfina over the final three chukkas. Facundo Pieres added three penalty goals for Ellerstina to bring his total up to five goals for the game, but La Dolfina added three penalty goals of their own. Nico, Gonzalito and Polito Pieres finished the game shooting a combined 0 for 8, as Ellerstina was unable to match the scoring output of La Dolfina.
Led by Cambiaso’s seven goals, and an exceptional defensive performance, La Dolfina finished with the convincing 12-5 victory, to capture their fifth consecutive Tortugas Open title.