Alegria Assist Card – 9
Julian Mannix (4), Hilario Ulloa (9),
Mariano Aguerre (9), Sterling Giannico (4)
Las Monjitas – 8
Camilo Bautista (A), Facundo Sola (8),
Eduardo Astrada (9), Sebastian Merlos (9)
Alegria overcame a midgame lapse in concentration to outscore Las Monjitas three goals to one in the sixth chukker for the win 9-8 in the second round of the USPA Piaget Gold Cup at International Polo Club. The win for Alegria equalized their record at 1-1 for the tournament.
Alegria lost their first round match in the USPA Piaget Gold Cup in a vocal game against Audi. Mariano Aguerre, who scored the game-winning goal today on a neck shot in the sixth chukker, was all smiles after the win. “We had a bad game against Audi, it is good to see that we are back on track. We enjoyed it today.”
Alegria started the match well, Hilario Ulloa scored with a run dribbling the ball between defenders from midfield. Ulloa looked like a racecar driver weaving around highway cones as he made his way to goal between the neon orange-clad defenders. Aguerre added another goal on a broken play. Multiple players’ mallets shot in the air to appeal for the foul but Aguerre put his mallet down on the ball and scored. Las Monjitas scoreless throughout the first chukker, but Eduardo Novillo Astrada finally got a point on the board for the orange team when he muscled his way past the Alegria defender with a man on his hip trying fruitlessly to ride him off the ball. But despite some moments of brilliance, the first half produced few goals. Alegria led 4-2 at halftime.
Las Monjitas went on a scoring spree after the halftime break. Astrada gave his team a jolt with a high speed run to goal on a long legged gray mare. Facundo Sola kept the momentum flowing with two more field goals, supported by Camilo Bautista blocking out the defenders. Las Monjitas added a penalty two goal in the fourth for a 4-0 scoring run. At the conclusion of the fourth chukker Las Monjitas was in proud possession of a two- goal lead and the Alegria players were looking bewildered at the sudden turn in events.
Ulloa commented after the match, “We just fell asleep! We were playing really well the first half, I think we did a great job, but then in the fourth chukker we just fell asleep and they were scoring easy goals and winning the throw-ins.”
Alegria clawed their way back into contention in the fifth chukker and headed into the sixth chukker only down by one goal with Las Monjitas leading 7-6. With their backs against the wall and facing elimination from the tournament if they lost, Alegria found a spark with a goal by Julian Mannix, assisted by a pinpoint pass from Sterling Giannico. Giannico added another goal to give Alegria the lead at 8-7. With plenty of time left in the chukker, Aguerre solidified the win by adding another goal, a smart move from the Alegria field general as Las Monjitas was awarded a penalty two at the end of the chukker. Final score was 9-8 in favor of Alegria.