La Dolfina and Cria Yatay Victorious on Day 2 of Tortugas Open
The second day of play in the 2019 Tortugas Open began with a continuation of Tuesday’s opening game, as Cria Yatay survived a late comeback from La Dolfina Polo Ranch to claim the 13-11 victory, while La Dolfina made their debut in a dominant 15-8 win over La Albertina Abu Dhabi.
Beginning with a 5-1 advantage carried over from the first chukka and a half from Tuesday, Cria Yatay fought to maintain and extend their lead thanks to the duo of Lerin Zubiaurre and Ignacio Laprida, who rotated from back to front effectively to catch the La Dolfina Polo Ranch defense a step behind. Efficiency ultimately decided the game with Cria Yatay shooting 64% from the field and a perfect 4 for 4 from the penalty line, while La Dolfina Polo Ranch’s struggles from the penalty line, converting just 1 of 5 attempts led to the 13-11 defeat.
Racing out of the gate, Cria Yatay took advantage of each opportunity from the field as part of a 7-2 run over the second and third chukkas. Three goals each from Ignacio Laprida and Zubiaurre ignited the Cria Yatay defense, with La Dolfina Polo Ranch unable to slow the spread-out attack of Cria Yatay. Facing a 9-3 deficit, La Dolfina Polo Ranch needed quick offense, pressuring Cria Yatay into foul trouble to receive three penalty attempts, but Diego Cavanagh converted just one to leave his team trailing 10-5 at halftime.
Reducing their shots at goal, Cria Yatay sought to maintain their lead, protecting against a La Dolfina Polo Ranch counterattack and content to trade goals in the fifth chukka. With just two chukkas remaining, the La Dolfina Polo Ranch offense came to life behind newcomer Juan Britos, who joined the team after a successful 2018 season with La Ensenada. Consecutive field goals from Britos to end the sixth chukka reduced the lead to three, leaving hope of a late game comeback. Excitement surrounded the field after back-to-back goals from Guillermo Terrara ended a run of four straight goals to pull La Dolfina Polo Ranch within one, but the comeback was unable to be completed as Cria Yatay responded with a late goal to capture the thrilling 13-11 victory.
The final game featured the debut of the remaining two teams in the Tortugas Open, highlighted by 40-goal La Dolfina, who utilized their fast-paced passing attack to overwhelm La Albertina Abu Dhabi. Holding the possession advantage, La Dolfina outshot La Albertina Abu Dhabi 24-11, with the additional shot attempts and seven-goal performance from Pablo MacDonough leading la Dolfina to victory. Scoring inside the first 30 seconds, La Albertina Abu Dhabi’s Agustin Merlos made an early impact, but La Dolfina quickly asserted themselves from the penalty line. Passing the mallet, La Dolfina converted 4 of 5 penalty attempts in the opening two chukkas, with Adolfo Cambiaso, MacDonough and Juan Martin Nero all contributing from the penalty line. Their quick, rotating attack gave La Albertina Abu Dhabi difficulties as La Dolfina completed a dominant 10-1 run to end the third chukka. Maintaining their eight-goal lead to end the half, La Dolfina was in full control leading into the second half.
With Alfredo Cappella manning the #4 position, Francisco Elizalde and Ignacio Toccalino drove forward to generate offense for La Albertina Abu Dhabi, but their inability to consistently get behind Nero and David Stirling left little hope for a comeback. Sat down for the final chukka, Adolfo Cambiaso was replaced by young, up and coming star Camilo Castagnola in his first Triple Crown appearance with La Dolfina. With the outcome secured, La Dolfina sat back to protect the lead, completing the convincing 15-8 victory to begin their Triple Crown defense.