Coca-Cola defeats Lechuza Caracas 10-8, at the Piaget USPA Gold Cup

SugarErskine_JuanMartinNero_NicoPieres_USPAGoldCup_2015Coca-Cola – 10
Gillian Johnston (2), Sugar Erskine (6),
Pelon Sterling (10), Julio Arellano (8)

Lechuza Caracas – 8
Victor Vargas (1), Nico Pieres (8),
Agustin Garcia Grossi (7), Juan Martin Nero (10)

Coca-Cola scored right away, with a conversion by Julio Arellano. With lightning speed and accuracy, Gillian Johnston accelerated into a breakaway and shot a pass to Pelon Sterling, who sent it to Sugar Erskine. Erskine drove it in to pull Coca-Cola ahead of Lechuza Caracas 2-0. A penalty conversion by Juan Martin Nero put Lechuza Caracas into contender status. Arellano took charge and scored his second goal of the match, making the score 3-1 at the end of the first chukker.

Johnston took off flat-out from the bowl-in, scoring again for Coca-Cola. Agustin Garcia Grossi dodged defenders to begin closing the gap 4-2. Sterling hit a strong backshot to Erskine, who sealed the deal with a neck shot. Victor Vargas scored his first goal of the game, swiftly pulling Lechuza Caracas along to make the score 5-3. Sterling hit a penalty five from the point of the infraction, shooting a pass to Arellano, who maneuvered through traffic to score. Garcia Grossi ran the ball into the goal mouth to score the last point of the second chukker and make the score 6-4.

The third chukker was a battle of wills, with both teams making numerous wide attempts on goal. A challenge by Coca-Cola on ball placement awarded resulted in a penalty four, which Arellano converted with a lofted shot to make the score 7-4. Arellano continued his streak from the penalty line in the fourth chukker, trotting up to take the penalty shot and doubling Coca-Cola’s lead to 8-4. Garcia Grossi followed up his cutshot by tapping the ball in to chip away for Lechuza Caracas.

Nico Pieres followed up Garcia Grossi’s efforts with a penalty conversion, walking up to the ball in his signature style. Garcia Grossi once again put the ball through the uprights in traffic, ending the fourth chukker 8-7. Coca-Cola came out guns blazing in the fifth chukker, with every member of the team touching the ball before Erskine put it into the goal. Erskine won the bowl-in and made a beautiful run down field to score, with Johnston assisting by taking out the defender.

Nero took advantage of a Coca-Cola miscue, shooting a pass to Vargas, who drove it in for a goal. The sixth chukker was fraught with big runs and goal attempts, but no points were scored. Coca-Cola ultimately got the better of Lechuza Caracas, and the match ended 10-8.

Erskine said he considered the game a close call but said it still had the element of fun that Coca-Cola’s play is known for. “We had fun, and obviously it was close enough to where it could have gone either way,” he said.

Arellano attributed Coca-Cola’s success to solid teamwork by each of its players. “Everybody played really, really well, especially Sugar,” he said. “He came out and played great defense today right off the bat, and that was key. Everybody else did their part, and did what they were supposed to do.”