The eighth day of play in the 126th Abierto Argentino de Polo resulted in Las Monjitas and Ellerstina remaining undefeated to set up a meeting in the semi-finals. Las Monjitas opened the day winning a difficult match 11-9 against La Natividad, while Ellerstina defeated Cria Yatay 14-9 at Palermo.
A unique opening game featured three storylines with a high-scoring start to the game seeing Las Monjitas take an early lead only to have La Natividad fight back within two. The final three chukkas of the game turned into a defensive battle with La Natividad unable to complete the comeback. A clean game, penalty goals were few and far between, leaving the outcome to open play where Las Monjitas’ balanced attack overcame the seven-goal performance from Camilo Castagnola to capture the 11-9 victory.
Controlling the opening stages of the game, Las Monjitas began with a dominant 4-0 first chukka on an impressive display from Facundo Sola and Sapo Caset, with the duo combining for three goals and two assists. La Natividad was put on their heels from the opening throw-in, unable to slow the potent Las Monjitas attack. Caset continued to play at a high level, contributing on his fourth and fifth goals of the game to extend Las Monjitas’ lead to 6-0 in what was turning into a runaway game. Undeterred by their slow start, La Natividad responded with three unanswered goals, two from Camilo Castagnola, to cut the deficit in half. Outshooting Las Monjitas 10-3 over the third and fourth chukkas, La Natividad’s inaccurate shooting kept them from cutting the deficit further to remain trailing by three.
After conceding a goal to Hilario Ulloa on the opening throw-in, La Natividad fought back once again, this time led by Bartolome Castagnola, who scored his first goal of the game, along with his third assist to pull his team within just two despite the ten goal difference on handicap. A defensive battle emerged over the final three chukkas, with zero field goals scored between the two teams. A penalty conversion from Caset proved to be the lone goal in the sixth chukka, while La Natividad’s Camilo Castagnola converted a Penalty 2 of his own for his team’s only penalty goal of the game. A scoreless final chukka secured the victory for Las Monjitas as they await a match-up against Ellerstina. La Natividad’s debut in the tournament came to an end, with the impressive showing making them a team to watch next year.
The second game saw Ellerstina assert their attack throughout most of the game, outshooting Cria Yatay 29-15, with all four players moving forward in the game at different times. Active at the front of the game, Gonzalito Pieres finished with four goals, all of which were off of assists from his three teammates to overwhelm the Cria Yatay defence. Cria Yatay matched Ellerstina on the scoreboard in the second half, but their large deficit from the first half ultimately was the difference in the 14-9 defeat.
Leading their respective teams with a goal and an assist each during the opening two chukkas, Facundo Pieres and Joaquin Pittaluga were their team’s impactful players, with Ellerstina holding a narrow 3-2 advantage. The game changed in the third chukka when Ellerstina outscored Cria Yatay 4-0 to build a five-goal lead. Perfect 2 for 2 shooting from the field and the penalty line saw Facundo Pieres convert both Penalty 2 attempts, while Polito Pieres accounted for both goals from the field. Gonzalito Pieres ended a run of five unanswered goals for Ellerstina before the end of the half, followed by a goal by Valerio Zubiaurre to restore the five-goal deficit leading into the second half.
Looking to secure the victory, Ellerstina’s Nico and Facundo Pieres scored two goals in quick succession to begin the second half, extending the lead to seven and leaving Cria Yatay facing a tall task with three chukkas remaining. Pittaluga and Valerio Zubiaurre scored and assisted on the other’s goal during a 2-0 seventh chukka that gave them a little life, but a Penalty 4 conversion from Facundo Pieres completed the victory, highlighting Ellerstina’s dominance early in the game for the 14-9 victory.