• Les Lions and Monterosso Claim Victories on Final Day of Group Play


    The final day of group play in the 2018 Cartier Queen’s Cup saw Les Lions defeat Valiente 8-6 at Les Lions Polo ground, while Monterosso claimed their first victory of the tournament, defeating RH Polo 11-8 on the Castle Ground at Flemish Farm.


    The opening game of the day saw Les Lions put forth a cohesive team effort to defeat a tough Valiente side. An injury to Guillermo Terrera saw Eduardo Novillo Astrada make his debut in the tournament and he was effective pulling Les Lions forward throughout the entire game. Despite doubling up Les Lions in shot attempts 14-4, Valiente shot just 4 for 14 from the field as their missed opportunities kept them from mounting a comeback. Les Lions were accurate from the penalty line as Joaquin Pittaluga converted all three attempts, while the team shot 5 for 7 from the field to gain the victory and claim a spot in the weekend’s quarter-finals.


    Les Lions came out strong in the opening chukka, outscoring Valiente 3-1 behind a balanced offense that saw one goal each from Max Gottschalk, Astrada and Pittaluga. Shooting at goal just once in the 2nd and 3rd chukkas, Les Lions still managed to hold on to their lead, in part due to the perfect penalty shooting from Pittaluga. The clean, open flowing style of play in the game saw the ball change possession numerous times, keeping the Valiente offense in check, giving Les Lions the 5-3 lead at halftime.


    The second half saw the Cartier Queen’s Cup debut of Adolfo Cambiaso Jr, as he substituted for Robert Jornayvaz to play alongside his father. Active throughout the half, Cambiaso Jr scored the lone field goal for Valiente in the second half as he hit a strong shot through the goal from 40 yards out. The story of the game became Les Lions taking advantage of every opportunity they received with all players shooting at a high percentage. Converting their first three shot attempts of the second half, gave Les Lions a lead they wouldn’t give up as they finished with the important 8-6 victory.


    The second game of the day saw Monterosso put forth their best performance of the tournament to defeat the previously unbeaten RH Polo 11-8. The duo of Ignacio and Santiago Toccalino were effective throughout the day as they combined for 10 of their team’s 11 goals, with substitute Stephen Hutchinson accounting for the additional goal. With both teams capitalising on their chances from the field at approximately the same rate, the difference in the game was on the penalty line, with RH Polo converting just one of their three attempts, while Monterosso converted three of their four to gain the advantage. Despite an even foul count of six for both teams, the ability of Santiago Toccalino to convert from the penalty line carried his team to the victory.


    The first half saw a fired up Monterosso team go head to head with the unbeaten RH Polo outfit, matching them goal for goal in the opening half. RH Polo, with their trademark attacking style of play, created more opportunities in the opening half but shot just 38% compared to a more effective 50% for Monterosso. Sapo Caset scored three consecutive goals for RH to end the half, but missed two penalty attempts, keeping Monterosso even in the match. A penalty 2 conversion from Ignacio Toccalino brought the teams into a 4-4 tie heading into halftime.


    RH Polo displayed their potent attack in the fourth chukka, converting all three shot attempts from the field with Martin Podesta, Rodrigo Andrade and Caset all scoring one goal. Now trailing by one, Monterosso responded with a dominant fifth chukka, keeping RH Polo off the scoresheet, while Santiago Toccalino scored all three goals in the chukka to give Monterosso the two-goal advantage. They extended that further in the final chukka as they kept Caset off the penalty line in the entire second half and used the Toccalino duo to control open play. A final goal from Santiago Toccalino, his seventh of the game sealed the victory 11-8 for Monterosso and handing RH Polo their first loss.