Ellerstina and RS Murus Sanctus Advance to Semi-Finals of Tortugas Open
The much-anticipated start to the 2020 Triple Crown began at Tortugas Country Club on Sunday, November 1st with the single-elimination Tortugas Open. Reigning champions Ellerstina captured a 21-8 statement victory, while RS Murus Sanctus produced an impressive showing, defeating La Natividad/Las Monjitas 13-10 to advance to the semi-finals.
In the opening game of the season, Ellerstina overwhelmed La Irenita behind 10-goaler Facundo Pieres and newcomer Hilario Ulloa, replacing Polito Pieres in the Ellerstina line-up. Playing at a lightning quick pace, Ellerstina remained a step ahead, producing a run of ten unanswered goals to build a large lead. La Irenita struggled to generate a counterattack with half their goals coming from the penalty line. Behind 18 field goals, Ellerstina cruised to the double-digit victory.
Just over a minute and a half into the match, Facundo Pieres opened the scoring, converting from distance, while Ulloa quickly followed with his first goal to give Ellerstina the early 2-0 lead. Extending the lead further to three, Ellerstina looked to run away early, but foul trouble resulted in back-to-back penalty conversions for Juan Martin Zubia to leave La Irenita trailing 3-2 at the end of the first chukka. Attacking La Irenita from all four positions, Ellerstina dominated throughout the rest of the first half, scoring ten consecutive goals. Scoring five goals and adding an assist during the stretch, Facundo Pieres continued to be the decisive player in the game, leaving La Irenita facing a large nine-goal deficit. Facundo Fernandez Llorente gave La Irenita a bit of hope with consecutive goals, but a 14-4 lead for Ellerstina at halftime left the 2019 champions firmly in control.
Finding chemistry with his new team, Ulloa pushed forward in the second half, bringing his goal total to six, accounting for three of Ellerstina’s first five goals in the second half. Effectively distributing the ball with accurate passes, Facundo Pieres directed the Ellerstina offense with three second half assists, resulting in La Irenita struggling to slow the potent Ellerstina offense. Zubia finished 4 for 5 from the penalty line to lead La Irenita, but it was not enough to contain Ellerstina, who cruised into the semi-finals with the commanding 21-8 victory.
An evenly-matched second quarter-final featured rising stars Camilo and Bartolome Castagnola, joined by Polito Pieres and Ignatius Du Plessis on La Natividad/Las Monjitas, facing a new RS Murus Sanctus side that added Alfredo Cappella and Francisco Elizalde to a continually improving duo of Sapo Caset and Facundo Sola. In a game that came down to efficiency, RS Murus Sanctus shot 9 for 16 from the field, while also converting 80% of their penalty attempts to take the victory. Camilo Castagnola’s five penalty goals kept La Natividad/Las Monjitas within reach, but they did not produce enough chances from the field to advance to the semi-finals.
Facundo Sola emerged as the story early in the game, scoring on the opening throw-in and continuing to attack relentlessly to score RS Murus Sanctus’ first five goals into the third chukka. Cappella and Caset protected the back of the game, but Camilo Castagnola broke through from the field, while also adding a Penalty 2 conversion to bring La Natividad/Las Monjitas within two goals at 5-3. The game tightened over the third and fourth chukkas, pushing the offense to the penalty line. Caset and Camilo Castagnola traded penalty conversions that resulted in RS Murus Sanctus holding a narrow 8-6 lead at halftime.
That lead quickly evaporated at the beginning of the second half as La Natividad/Las Monjitas used their defence to build a counterattack. Du Plessis and Camilo Castagnola scored in the fifth chukka, tying the score at 8-8, until Caset’s third penalty conversion pushed RS Murus Sanctus back into the lead. Held to zero goals through five chukkas, Bartolome Castagnola scored two goals in quick succession at a crucial moment, bringing La Natividad/Las Monjitas into a 10-10 tie at the start of the seventh chukka. Relying on their efficiency, RS Murus Sanctus took advantage of each opportunity in the final stages, receiving field goals from Cappella and Sola, along with a penalty conversion from Caset to secure the 13-10 victory.
Photo : Matías Callejo