Ellerstina Wins Overtime Classic Over Las Monjitas in Tortugas Open Semi-Final

After a rain-delayed week, the semi-finals of the 2019 Tortugas Open featured a dominant 20-4 victory for La Dolfina over Cria Yatay, while Ellerstina produced a memorable 16-15 victory over Las Monjitas in a game that will be remembered as an instant classic. 

The opening semi-final saw a statement game from La Dolfina, as they overwhelmed Cria Yatay in all aspects of open play, holding their opponents to just four shots in the game. Dominating possession, La Dolfina received contributions from all four 10-goalers with an accurate passing attack that consistently led to open runs downfield. Led by an impressive 10-goal performance from Adolfo Cambiaso, La Dolfina shot 67% from the field to advance to the final with the convincing 20-4 victory. 

In the opening seconds of the game, Ignacio Laprida found Magoo Laprida to give Cria Yatay a quick one-goal lead, but that was the only advantage they held as La Dolfina responded with an unyielding counterattack. Scoring four goals in four minutes to end the first chukka, Cambiaso contributed on all four goals with two goals and two assists in an impressive stretch to give his tema the 4-1 lead. The remainder of the first half was all La Dolfina, completing a 13-1 run behind accurate 12 for 17 shooting. With all four La Dolfina players scoring at least two goals in the opening half, Cria Yatay was unable to contain the elite play in all four positions, trailing 13-2 at halftime. 

With a large double-digit lead, La Dolfina removed any doubt of the outcome, scoring the first four goals of the half to extend their lead to 15. Cambiaso continued to pace La Dolfina’s offense with accurate passing and completing accurate runs to goal, bringing his goal total to eight by the end of the fifth chukka. Despite being on the defensive for most of the game, Cria Yatay was unable to match La Dolfina, converting zero of the four penalty attempts and managing just four goals from the field in the overwhelming 20-4 defeat. 

All attention turned to the second semi-final with Ellerstina and Las Monjitas fighting into overtime to join La Dolfina in the Tortugas Open final. A thrilling match saw Las Monjitas hold the advantage in open play, with an organized strategy that frustrated Ellerstina throughout most of the game. Santiago Toccalino was steady defensively, while Sapo Caset, Hilario Ulloa and Facundo Sola played a high pressure, fast-paced attack that led to a 10-6 goal advantage from the field. Facing a deficit most of the game, Ellerstina’s Facundo Pieres shot 10 for 11 from the penalty line in what proved to be the difference in the thrilling 16-15 victory. 

Las Monjitas raced out of the gate with three consecutive goals to open the game, behind a goal each from Caset, Sola and Ulloa, leaving Ellerstina up against a determined Las Monjitas side. After his second Penalty 2 conversion of the game, Caset helped extend las Monjitas’ lead to 5-1, controlling possession and keeping Ellerstina in their own half due to a large 7-1 shot advantage from the field. Las Monjitas’ momentum slowed due to three fouls resulting in two penalty goals for Facundo Pieres in the third chukka, but it was short-lived, as Las Monjitas was relentless in maintaining their lead. Finishing the half with perfect 4 for 4 shooting from the field, including one goal from each player, Las Monjitas completed a dominant first half with a commanding 10-5 advantage, in large part due to holding Ellerstina to just four shots.

Maintaining their lead, Sola and Ulloa continued to frustrate Ellerstina’s attack with consistent on ball pressure, leaving just two chukkas between them and a spot in the final. Trailing throughout the entire game, Ellerstina began to close the deficit on the penalty line as Facundo Pieres converted three penalties as part of a four-goal sixth chukka that brought Ellerstina within one-goal. Excitement rose around the field with a back and forth final chukka that saw seven combined goals. After conceding the first two goals of the chukka, Ellerstina continued to force Las Monjitas into fouls, scoring three straight goals from the penalty line to take their first lead of the game inside the final minute. Unwilling to concede defeat, Las Monjitas drove downfield and scored with 15 seconds left to send the game into overtime. Chances for both teams to end the game thrilled spectators, with none closer than a bouncing ball missed in front of goal by Polito Pieres, but the end to end action continued until Facundo Pieres’ long pass found Polito Pieres again in front of goal. Capitalizing on his second opportunity, Polito Pieres’ third goal of the game completed the thrilling comeback and a memorable 16-15 victory for Ellerstina. 

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