By Darlene Ricker
In typical turbo style, La Dolfina Sancor Seguros sent La Aguada Las Monjitas packing with a 12-5 victory in the first semifinal match of the 2016 Tortugas Open at Tortugas Country Club. The commanding 7-goal win came on the heels of La Dolfina’s 15-5 smackdown of El Paraíso in last weekend’s quarterfinals.
The semifinal marked the second consecutive time in the tournament that the 40-goal behemoth plastered a 35-goal team. Numbers aside, that wasn’t an easy thing to do, given that the four guys in the orange jerseys were all named Novillo Astrada. The brothers played in the no-mercy mode that once prompted one of them to quip: “We can be deadly when we play like that.”
This time, however, La Dolfina were the ones dishing out the punishment. Although both teams got off to a slow start, with the score tied at 1 at the end of the first chukka, the parity didn’t last long. Aldolfo Cambiaso, David Stirling and Juan Martín Nero came on in the second with a one-two-three punch, systematically swatting in one goal apiece.
Cambiaso, half of the Crestview Genetics cloning partnership with Alan Meeker, came closer to his ultimate dream of playing only clones in a match. Saturday’s contest was a flat-out “Cuartetera fest,” with Cambiaso swarming the field with five clones of the great mare he has piloted to numerous championship titles over the years. (Sapo Caset, who is playing for Alegría in the Open, recently said he considers Cuartetera to be the best-playing mare he has ever seen.)
Cambiaso scored once in each of the third and fourth chukkas, with La Dolfina stopping La Aguada in their tracks and keeping them off the scoreboard. With a three-goal advantage going into the fifth, La Dolfina ratcheted up a six-goal lead by the end of the sixth (10-4). Ignacio (“Nacho”) Novillo Astrada contributed a goal, but Nero slammed the door shut with two in the final chukka.
To no one’s surprise Nero and Cambiaso led the scoring for the day, respectively making five and four goals, all but two from the field. Miguel Novillo Astrada carried the scoring for La Aguada with three goals from the line.
The semifinals continue Sunday, with Ellerstina vying against Alegría.