Villa Del Lago (Jim Zenni, Agustin Obregon, Polito Pieres and Julian de Lusarreta) spotted Merchant Hub (Scott Swerdlin, Marianito Obregon, Facundo Obregon and Luis Escobar) one goal by handicap before routing them 18-10 in their 20-goal debut in Joe Barry Memorial Cup play at the International Polo Club Wednesday afternoon.
To be fair, it must be understood that the Villa Del Lago operation has been in place for years while the Merchant Hub team played their first game as a unit on Wednesday.
“We’ve got to play harder,” said veteran Luis Escobar who served as the field general for Merchant Hub. “This was our first time playing together,” he added. “It’s going to take a little while before we define our roles on the field.”
Villa Del Lago, still stinging from their loss in Sunday’s Herbie Pennell Cup final after leading by five goals, had their game faces on, and Polito Pieres was on fire.
Pieres scored the first goal of the game on a 60-yard penalty shot to tie it at 1-1 (Merchant Hub got one goal by handicap). Facundo Obregon responded for Merchant Hub with a goal from the field on a great individual effort, 2-1. Agustin Obregon (cousin of Marianito and Facundo Obregon) scored consecutive goals to put Villa Del Lago in front, 3-2, and from then on it was all Villa Del Lago. Villa Del Lago continued to press the Merchant Hub defenders, giving up a pair of penalty goals to Pieres to end the first chukker on top of a 5-2 score.
Escobar scored the opening goal of the second period on a 60-yard penalty shot, 5-3, but the rally was short-lived. Agustin Obregon scored another goal from the field, sandwiched between penalty conversions from Pieres. After two periods of play Villa Del Lago led by five goals, 8-3.
Villa Del Lago added three more goals in the third on shots from Agustin Obregon, Pieres and Julian de Lusarreta. Scott Swerdlin scored the only goal of the chukker for Merchant Hub as the Villa Del Lago lead swelled to seven goals, 11-4.
Pieres added three more goals from the field in the fourth chukker as Merchant Hub struggled to find an answer. Facundo Obregon kept his team from getting blanked with the team’s only goal of the chukker. With two periods left in regulation time, Villa Del Lago was cruising along with a nine goal, 14-5 advantage.
Fifth chukker goals from Marianito Obregon and Escobar (who executed an impressive backhanded cut shot through the goalposts) pared the lead back to seven goals, 14-7, but Villa Del Lago continued to press. Pieres scored his tenth goal of the game on a 40-yard penalty shot and de Lusarreta added a goal from the field. At the end of the fifth chukker, Villa Del Lago enjoyed a16-7 lead.
Escobar seemed to find the range in the sixth, scoring three times for Merchant Hub (once on a 40-yard penalty conversion), but Villa Del Lago still had fire in the oven. Agustin Obregon scored his fifth goal of the match from the field while Pieres converted another 60-yard penalty shot for the 18-10 win.
Pieres led all scoring with eleven goals (seven on penalty conversions). Agustin Obregon added five goals and de Lusarreta scored twice in the win. Escobar’s five goals (two on penalty shots) set the pace for Merchant Hub. Facundo Obregon scored twice while teammates Swerdlin and Marianito Obregon added single goals in the loss.
Play continues in the Joe Barry Memorial Cup on Thursday with Coca-Cola (Gillian Johnston, Sugar Erskine, Julio Arellano and Mason Wroe) facing Orchard Hill (Steve Van Andel, Lucas Criado, Facundo Pieres and Remy Muller) at 10AM followed by a 1PM contest between Lechuza Caracas (Victor Vargas, Marcos Alberdi, Juan Martin Nero and Martin Espain) and Enigma (Jerome Wirth, Jeff Hall, Matias MacDonough and Carlucho Arellano).