A crucial third round of games in Zone B of the 127th Abierto Argentino de Polo began with Ellerstina remaining undefeated with the 19-7 victory over Cria Gété, while La Dolfina Polo Ranch produced a statement 18-8 win over previously undefeated La Ensenada La Aguada on Field 1 at Palermo.

               A fast-paced opening match favoured Ellerstina’s skill and horsepower with the umpires whistle rarely stopping play. Scoring just two penalty goals each, it was Ellerstina that dominated open play behind an accurate four-man passing attack that resulted in assists on 10 of their 17 field goals. Gonzalito Pieres was an offensive force at the front for Ellerstina, leading all players with seven field goals while Cria Gété could not maintain possession against a tough Ellerstina defense in the 19-7 defeat.

               Seconds into the game, a whistle sent Facundo Pieres to the 30-yard line where he converted to give Ellerstina the quick 1-0 lead. The rest of the first chukka produced back and forth action until Gonzalito Pieres took advantage of a Nico Pieres pass to double their lead to two. Held without a shot attempt through the first two chukkas, Cria Gété’s only goal came on a penalty 2 conversion for Joaquin Pittaluga. With Nico Pieres protecting against any counterattack, the trio of Facundo Pieres, Gonzalito Pieres and Hilario Ulloa attacked relentlessly as part of a five-goal stretch that gave Ellerstina a commanding 8-1 advantage. With time expiring in the third chukka, Cria Gété’s Ignacio Laprida ended the run, but Ellerstina finished the half holding a 9-3 lead thanks to an overwhelming 15-3 shot advantage.

               A nearly flawless fifth and sixth chukkas for Ellerstina kept Cria Gété off the scoreboard while they continued to keep their opponent pinned in their own half. After assisting on the first goal of the half, Facundo Pieres scored three consecutive goals of his own, ending a 4-0 chukka for Ellerstina. Continuing their strong play, Ellerstina was led by two goals from Gonzalito Pieres in the sixth chukka, extending the lead to 13 and leaving Cria Gété with just three goals. The final two chukkas saw Ellerstina slow the pace and cruise to the impressive 19-7 victory thanks to seven goals each from Facundo and Gonzalito Pieres.

               Capturing two victories earlier in the tournament, La Ensenada La Aguada ran into a strong La Dolfina Polo Ranch team that utilized an efficient attack, finishing 13 for 17 from the field. Despite producing three more shot attempts at goal, La Ensenada La Aguada converted just 25% of their chances, preventing them from keeping pace with La Dolfina Polo Ranch’s duo of Diego Cavanagh and Juan Britos who combined for 14 goals. Unable to prevent La Dolfina Polo Ranch from running to goal, La Ensenada La Aguada were handed their first loss in the 18-8 defeat.

               An evenly matched first chukka resulted in a tied score at 1-1 after a penalty 2 conversion for Jeronimo Del Carril was matched by a field goal from Diego Cavanagh. The close contest abruptly ended there as La Dolfina Polo Ranch displayed a proficient attack over the second and third chukkas, scoring nine unanswered goals that left La Ensenada La Aguada stunned and facing a nearly insurmountable deficit. During the stretch, Cavanagh and Britos excelled in the two-man game, scoring seven of the nine goals on perfect 100% shooting. Maintaining that lead at halftime, La Dolfina Polo Ranch entered the second half with a near double-digit advantage.

               In urgent need of offense, La Ensenada La Aguada shot at goal five times in the fifth chukka, but their inaccuracy throughout the game kept them from closing the gap. Field goals from Alfredo Bigatti and Segundo Bocchino were matched by Britos and Cavanagh as La Dolfina effectively protected their lead. With slim chances of a comeback, La Ensenada La Aguada pressed forward but found themselves in foul trouble, conceding three penalty goals in the seventh chukka and sealing their first loss of the tournament. Scoring 18 goals in their strongest offensive showing, La Dolfina Polo Ranch is one victory away from a matchup against Ellerstina for a spot in the final.

Photo credit: Matías Callejo / Prensa AAP

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