Semi Finals take shape

USThe US Open continues in Florida with just ten days remaining
Fast, open play on the number two ground at the International Polo Club Palm Beach, between Orchard Hill and Coca-Cola produced the first Semi Finalist for the 11th US Open Polo Championship.

Orchard Hill had a fight on their hands for their place after a tight game against Coca-Cola with tied scores plaguing each chukka. Failed attempts at goal hindered both teams, but Orchard Hill lagged behind as Erskine and Stirling set up goals for patron, Gillian Johnston. Scoring back-to-back goals in the first chukka, Johnston and her teammates left Van Andel’s side behind by two goals. Video replay took an important part in the game as Facundo Pieres went to block a goal from Johnston and was blown for a foul, which was then upheld following review of the footage.

Coca-Cola’s game plan to have Arellano take out Facundo Pieres, didn’t work as well as they might have liked as his penalty prowess couldn’t be prevented by marking. He may’ve converted not one, but three penalties to add to his team’s goal tally, but Orchard Hill didn’t move into the lead until the fourth chukka, which ended in their favour 7-6. Coca-Cola tried to revive the scores with a further two goals in the fifth from Arellano, both answered by Orchard Hill to make 9-8 before the sixth chukka saw the Pieres cousin’s seal the deal for Orchard Hill’s place in the Semi Final, 11-10.

Audi were the second team of the day in yesterday’s Open polo to secure their place in the second of the two Semi Finals despite losing to Alegria Assist Card. Marc Ganzi’s Audi have won two out of their three games so far in the tournament so this loss still allowed them to take a spot in the Semi Finals as they rank top in Bracket II. Lechuza Caracas also played to defeat FlexJet 10-9 in overtime in the same bracket.

The Quarter Finals of The US Open will be held Sunday 12 April with Lechuza Caracas playing Valiente followed by Coca-Cola taking on FlexJet. The Semi Finals will be played on Wednesday 15 and the Final is scheduled for Sunday 19 April.

Coca-Cola Orchard Hill

Gillian Johnston 2 Steve Van Andel 0

Sugar Erskine 6 Eziquiel Ferrario 7

Julio Arellano 8 Polito Pieres 9

Pelon Sterling 10 Facundo Pieres 10

Orchard Hill defeated Coca-Cola 11-10

Audi Alegria Assist Card

Marc Ganzi 1 Julian Mannix 4

Rodrigo Andrade 9 Hilario Ulloa 9

Gonzalito Pieres 9 Mariano Aguerre 9

Freddie Mannix 6 Sterling Giannico 4

Alegria Assist Card defeated Audi 10-5

Lechuza Caracas FlexJet

Victor Vargas 0 Melissa Ganzi 0

Agustin Garcia Grossi 7 Magoo Laprida 8

Nico Pieres 8 Miguel Novillo Astrada 9

Juan Martin Nero 10 Nic Roldan 8

Lechuza Caracas defeated FlexJet 10-9

Photograph: Hilario Ulloa for Alegria Assist Card & Rodrigo Andrade for Audi. By Alex Pacheco.