By Alex Webbe
Trailing through most of the first four chukkers of the final of the 2017 20-goal Ylvisaker Cup at the International Polo club Sunday afternoon, Coca-Cola (Gillian Johnston, Julian de Lusarreta, Julio Arellano and Wes Finlayson) allowed Tonkawa (Jeff Hildebrand, Sapo Caset, Costi Caset and Facundo Obregon) to tie the game in the fifth before scoring the winning goal in overtime for the 9-8 victory.
Argentine 10-goaler Sapo Caset scored the first goal of the game for Tonkawa with Wes Finlayson tying the game for Coca-Cola. The first chukker ended in a 1-1 tie.
Sapo Caset made it 2-1 with a 30-yard penalty conversion in the second. A foul by Coca-Cola in their goalmouth resulted in a Penalty 1, and Tonkawa was awarded a goal to give them a two-goal advantage, 3-1. Julio Arellano got Coca-Cola on the scoreboard before the chukker ended but it was Tonkawa with the 3-2 edge.
Tonkawa took control of the game in the third, outscoring Coca-Cola 3-1. A pair of goals from Sapo Caset (one on a 40-yard penalty shot) and a goal from the field from Costi Caset had Tonkawa on top at the end of the first half, 6-3. Coca-Cola managed just a single goal from Arellano on a 30-yard penalty shot.
A refreshed and re-focused Coca-Cola team charged into battle in the fourth. Arellano converted another 30-yard penalty shot while Finlayson added his second goal of the day and Negro de Lusarreta scored two more that had Coca Cola enjoying their first lead of the game, 7-6.
Tonkawa fought their way back into the game in the fifth. Shutout defense and a goal from the field from Sapo Caset had the game all tied up at 7-7 with one chukker remaining in regulation play.
The sixth period was aggressive and physical in nature. Sapo Caset managed to give the lead back to Tonkawa with his sixth goal of the game as his teammates seemed to have an answer for every Coca-Cola offense probe. With time running out, however, Coca-Cola team captain Gillian Johnston managed to break free of the Tonkawa defenders and slice the ball through the Tonkawa goalposts to level the score at 8-8. The two teams returned to the center of the field for the ensuing throw-in, and with Costi Caset breaking loose with the ball and heading for the Coca-Cola goal, time expired, forcing sudden-death overtime.
Following a brief intermission, both teams returned to the field, and after each had a run at the goal, a Tonkawa foul sent Arellano to the penalty line where he converted the winning goal from 30-yards out, 9-8.
Arellano scored two of his team-high four goals on penalty conversions. Finlayson and de Lusarreta each scored twice and Johnston added a goal for the win. MVP honors went to de Lusarreta for his efforts. Sapo Caset’s six goals led the field. His black mare, Annie Negra, earned Best Playing Pony honors. Costi Caset added a goal and the team was awarded one goal on a Penalty 1.