Ellerstina Qualifies for Tortugas Open Final

               The first semi-final in the 2020 Tortugas Open featured 39-goal Ellerstina against 35-goal RS Murus Sanctus in the highly anticipated match-up. Facing a late challenge from RS Murus Sanctus, Ellerstina was led by Facundo and Nico Pieres over the final moments to capture the 15-13 victory and secure the first spot in the finals at Tortugas Country Club.

               A match of two halves, Ellerstina built a lead behind their defensive effort, conceding zero field goals to RS Murus Sanctus in the third and fourth chukkas. Facundo Pieres played a pivotal role scoring four goals in that stretch to extend Ellerstina’s lead, but a determined RS Murus Sanctus team fought back throughout the second half. The consistent pressure of the RS Murus Sanctus attack resulted Ellerstina foul trouble and perfect 5 for 5 penalty shooting from Sapo Caset. In the tense final two chukkas, Ellerstina’s efficiency from the field, converting their final four shot attempts secured the close victory.

               An elite level of polo was on full display in the opening chukka, evident by the fast pace that was set and the only offense coming from one penalty 3 conversion each for Facundo Pieres and Caset. Before the end of the chukka, Facundo Sola broke through for his first goal, giving RS Murus Sanctus the early 2-1 edge. Finding their footing, Ellerstina received a significant contribution from Nico Pieres, who scored one field goal, while assisting on two others to pull Ellerstina even at 4-4. Carrying their momentum into the remainder of the half, Ellerstina frustrated RS Murus Sanctus by adding three penalty conversions from Facundo Pieres. Finishing the half on an 8-3 run, Ellerstina held the 9-6 advantage, leaving RS Murus Sanctus to focus on slowing the potent Ellerstina attack over the final three chukkas.

               Despite conceding possession on all four throw-ins in the fourth chukka, a reorganized RS Murus Sanctus defence kept Ellerstina off the scoreboard from the field. Caset cut the deficit to one, scoring consecutive goals, but the deficit quickly extended back to two on Facundo Pieres’ fifth penalty conversion. In the most exciting moments of the match, end-to-end action produced six goals in the high-pressure environment of the sixth chukka. Sola ignited a run of three unanswered goals, giving RS Murus Sanctus their first lead since the start of the third chukka. Scoring in the final seconds of the chukka, Nico Pieres restored the tie, leaving the teams deadlocked at 12-12 entering the seventh chukka. Wasting zero time, Nico Pieres continued his exceptional play, scoring his third straight goal for Ellerstina inside the first minute. Pressing to tie the score, RS Murus Sanctus fell victim to a foul that resulted in a penalty conversion for Facundo Pieres and a two-goal lead in favour of Ellerstina. Despite a late goal from Francisco Elizalde, RS Murus Sanctus couldn’t defeat the reigning champions as Facundo Pieres sealed the victory, scoring his ninth and final goal, capturing the 15-13 victory.

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