Orchard Hill (Steve Van Andel, Gallego Ferrario, Polito Pieres and Facundo Pieres) led the game for the first five and one-half chukkers but a sixth chukker rally by Las Monjitas (Camilo Bautista, Facundo Sola, Sebastian Merlos and Eduardo Novillo Astrada) carried them to a 14-13 win in US Open play Sunday morning at the International Polo Club..

Orchard Hill was looking for their second straight win after downing Valiente in overtime in their US Open debut, and looked to be in control of the game from the outset. Orchard Hill got on the scoreboard first with a goal from the field from Polito Pieres, 1-0. A minute later a Las Monjitas foul resulted in a Penalty 1, awarding Orchard Hill a goal for the 2-0 lead. Facundo Sola converted a 30-yard penalty shot, 2-1, but Facundo Pieres scored the final goal of the opening frame to put Orchard Hill on top, 3-1.

A penalty riddled second period had Sola and Facundo Pieres scoring on two penalty shots apiece. Gallego Ferrario scored the only goal from the field in the chukker as Orchard Hill stretched their lead to three goals, 6-3.

Las Monjitas slowed down the Orchard Hill attack in the third chukker, scoring the first two goals of the chukker. Sola scored on a penalty shot followed by a goal from the field from Eduardo Novillo Astrada, cutting the Orchard Hill lead to a single goal, 6-5. Polito Pieres closed out the scoring with a goal from the field for a 7-5 halftime lead for Orchard Hill.

Facundo Pieres scored on a 30-yard penalty shot early in the fourth period, 8-5, with Sola countering with a goal from the field, 8-6. Facundo Pieres scored his second goal of the chukker from the field, 9-6, but Sola answered back with a 60-yard penalty goal, 9-7. Facundo Pieres converted a 40-yard penalty shot for another Orchard Hill goal, 10-7, and Polito Pieres took the ensuing throw-in down the field for a score and an 11-7 lead.

Sebastian Merlos and Facundo Pieres exchanged goals in the fifth chukker, 12-8, but penalty goals were costly for Orchard Hill. Sola converted back-to-back penalty shots for goals bringing Las Monjitas to within two goals of the lead, 12-10.

Coca-Cola took advantage of the shift of momentum in the sixth chukker with Astrada scoring a goal from the field at the 5:27 mark to trail, 12-11. Penalties continued to be the bane of the Orchard Hill team with sola scoring on consecutive 30-yard penalty shots that tied, 12-12, and then gave the lead to Las Monjitas, 13-12. With 2:28 left in regulation time, Astrada broke through the Orchard Hill defense for his second goal of the game and a two goal, 14-12 lead. Orchard Hill tried clawing their way back into the game but time was on the side of Las Monjitas. Following a missed shot at the Orchard Hill goal, Facundo Pieres took control of the ball and raced down the field for the final score. With little to no resistance and 14 seconds on the clock, Facundo Pieres blasted the ball through the goalposts for the 14-13 Las Monjitas victory.

Sola scored a game-high eleven goals (ten on penalty conversions). Astrada added two goals and Merlos scored once for the win. Five of Facundo Pieres’ eight goals came on penalty shots. Polito Pieres was credited with three goals; one goal from Ferrario and one goal on a Penalty 1.

The win evened the Las Monjitas record at 1-1 while giving Orchard Hill their first loss of the tournament, 1-1.

Coca-Cola 12, Valiente 11 in OT

Valiente (Tommy Beresford, Guillermo Terrera, Alejo Taranco and Sapo Caset) dropped their second loss of the 2015 US Open Championship in a 12-11 overtime loss to Coca-Cola (Gillian Johnston, Sugar Erskine, Pelon Stirling and Julio Arellano) Sunday afternoon.

Valiente took the field without either team captain Bob Jornayvaz (fractured tailbone) or the number one ranked player in the world, 10-goaler Adolfo Cambiaso (abductor muscle injury)l English 2-goaler Tommy Beresford was filling in for Jornayvaz while Argentine 10-goaler Sapo Caset filled Cambiaso’s boots.

An aggressive Coca-Cola team drew first blood with goals from the field from Sugar Erskine and Pelon Stirling. Guillermo Terrera kept Valiente from getting shut out with his first goal of the game. After the first chukker of play, Coca-Cola led, 2-1.

Julio Arellano converted a 60-yard penalty shot for Coca-Cola in the second period to extend their lead to two goals, 3-1. Caset fired back for Valiente with a pair of 30-yard penalty conversions that leveled the score at 3-3.

The two teams continued to battle evenly through the third chukker. Caset got Valiente on the scoreboard first with an 80-yard penalty conversion, 4-3. Coca-Cola responded with goals from Stirling and Arellano, 5-4. Terrera tied the game at 5-5 with his second goal of the game in the final seconds of the period to end the first half.

Terrera opened the fourth chukker with a goal from the field that had Valiente on top, 6-5. Arellano tied it a minute later with 40-yard penalty shot, 6-6 and gave Coca-Cola the lead back with a 30-yard penalty conversion, 7-6.

Arellano gave Coca-Cola a two goal lead with a 30-yard penalty shot in the opening minute of the fifth, but Valiente galloped right back into the game with goals from Terrera and Alejo Taranco, 8-8. Caset scored a go-ahead goal on a 60-yard penalty shot, 9-8but a final goal from Stirling ended the period in a 9-9 tie.

The two teams continued to match one another goal for goal as the sixth chukker got started. A goal from Taranco was countered by a goal from Gillian Johnston for a 10-10 tie. Terrera gave Valiente the lead, 11-10 with under two minutes left in the period. Arellano‘s sixth goal of the day came with one second on the clock and ended regulation time in an 11-11 deadlock, forcing a sudden-death overtime.

After a brief intermission that allowed both teams to regroup and return with fresh mounts, the overtime chukker commenced. Valiente had the first run at the winning goal but it was a foul that sent Arellano to the penalty line with 5:44 on the clock where he converted from 40-yards out for the winning goal, 12-11.

Arellano scored a game high seven goals for Coca-Cola (five on penalty conversions). Stirling was credited with three goals with Erskine and Johnston adding single goals for the win. Terrera scored five times for Valiente. Caset scored three of his four goals on penalty shots and Taranco added two goals in a losing effort.

Erskine was named MVP for his efforts while Stirling’s “Renato” was honored as Best Playing Pony.

US Open competition continues on Wednesday, April 8th three games slated to be played. In a 10am contest Orchard Hill (1-1) takes on Coca-Cola (2-0). Audi (2-0) will face Alegria (0-2) at 2:30pm, while Lechuza (1-1) is scheduled to meet FlexJet (1-1) at 5pm.

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