By Alex Webbe
La Indiana scored the first two goals of the game and led for the first five chukkers before allowing Horseware/5Star/Tackeria to score a game-winning goal in overtime for an 11-10 win.
La Indiana took control of the game early behind a pair of penalty goals from Brazilian 7-goaler Joao Ganon, 2-0. Matt Coppola got Horseware/5Star/Tackeria on the scoreboard with just 1:22 in the period to trail 2-1. Ruki Baillieu scored the final goal of the period for a 3-1 lead.
South Africa’s Brad Mallet cut the lead to a single goal, 3-2, with the opening goal of the second chukker, but Horseware/5Star/Tackeria fouls were costly. Ganon converted penalty shots from the 30-yard line and again from the 60-yard mark to put La Indiana on top by three goals, 5-2.
The third chukker opened with a Penalty 1, awarding a goal to the Horseware/5Star/Tackeria team, 5-3. Baillieu countered with a goal from the field a minute later to make it 6-3. Hugo Lloret cut the La Indiana lead back to two goals, 6-4, with his first goal of the day, but it was a last effort goal by Tommy Collingwood that ended the first half with La Indiana in front by three goals, 7-4.
The two teams exchanged goals in a sticky fourth chukker that was characterized by hard riding and teeth-jarring ride-offs. Ganon converted another penalty goal to put La Indiana on top by four goals, 8-4. Coppola countered with a goal from the field, 8-5. Baillieu responded with a goal a minute later, 9-5. A foul in the goalmouth by La Indiana in the final 47 seconds of the chukker had former 10-goaler Mike Azzaro converting from just yards away on a Penalty 2, cutting the La Indiana lead back to three goals, 9-6.
Sloppy play and rugged defensive play kept the scoring to a minimum in the fifth period. Baillieu scored the only goal of the chukker on a pass from Collingwood with 3:18 on the clock. La Indiana entered the sixth period with a four goal, 10-6 lead.
Just as Horseware/5Star/Tackeria was troubled by goals on fouls in the first half of the game, La Indiana suffered the same fate late in the game. Azzaro scored three consecutive goals on penalty shots from the 30, 40 ad 60-yard lines, cutting the La Indiana lead down to a single goal, 10-9 with only 1:12 on the game clock. La Indiana attempted to run out the clock with a final run at the Horseware/5Star/Tackeria, but the ball was taken away and the field was reversed. Coppola found himself in control of the ball and rushing toward the La Indiana goal with time running out. A strike and a goal from Coppola’s mallet came with :27 seconds showing, 10-10. A cheer went up for the Horseware/5Star/Tackeria supports as the sixth chukker ended and the two teams prepared for the sudden-death overtime period.
Both teams fought for early control of the ball with neither giving way. At the 6:02 mark Collingwood was called for dangerous riding, as he slammed into Azzaro in an effort to slow down a run at goal around midfield. The foul was called and appealed by La Indiana, with the call standing, and Horseware/5Star/Tackeria being awarded a 40-yard penalty shot that was converted by Azzaro for the 11-10. Come-from-behind victory.
Azzaro scored all five of his goals from the penalty line, including the game winner. Coppola added three goals, including the tying goal in the sixth chukker, with Lloret and Mallett scoring single goals for the win. The team also received one goal on a Penalty 1. All five of Ganon’s goals came on penalty shots. Baillieu was credited with four goals and Collingwood scored once in the loss.
Coppola was named MVP for his efforts with Samba, owned by Zacara and played by Baillieu picking up Best Playing Pony honors.