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The semifinals of the CV Whitney Cup are set

By Alex Webbe
Friday saw three more games take place at the International Polo Club in Wellington in the 26-goal CV Whitney Cup with Alegria pummeling Piaget 14-6 in the morning contest while Lechuza Caracas needed an overtime goal to defeat Orchard Hill 10-9. In the final CV Whitney match of the day, Coca-Cola scored an 11-7 win over Audi. Julian Mannix took the field for the first time this season at the International Polo Club with his 26-goal Alegria team (Julian Mannix, Hilario Ulloa, Mariano Aguerre and Facundo Obregon) and gave up one goal by handicap to the 25-goal Piaget entry (Melissa Ganzi, Sapo Caset, Miguel Astrada and Juan Bollini).
Melissa Ganzi scored the first goal of the game on a pin-point pass from 10-goaler Sapo Caset from the field. Caset showed great form as he added a first chukker goal of his own, but three goals from Mannix were enough to draw Alegria even with Piaget at 3-3 after the opening period of play. Mannix scored his third consecutive goal and fourth of the game to open the second chukker, giving Alegria its first lead of the game, 4-3. Facundo Obregon and Caset exchanged penalty goals followed by a goal from Alegria’s Hilario Ulloa. Two chukkers into the game, Alegria had built a two goal lead, 6-4.
Third chukker goals from the field from Ulloa and Obregon had Alegria on top, 8-4, but a late foul allowed Caset to convert a 60-yard penalty shot, cutting the Alegria lead to three goals, 8-5 at the end of the first half. Both defenses tightened in the fourth chukker, with Alegria shutting down a Piaget offense that struggled to get out of their own half of the field. Ulloa scored the only goal of the period, extending the Alegria lead to four goals, 9-5. The fifth period found Piaget unable to find an answer to Alegria’s defense as they were blanked for a second consecutive chukker. Mariano Aguerre scored his first goal of the game and Obregon converted another penalty shot. Alegria rode off the field on top of an 11-5 score with one chukker left to play. Alegria rang up three straight goals in the final chukker of play, with Aguerre adding his second of the day and Ulloa scoring back-to-back goals to take a commanding 14-5 advantage. Melissa Ganzi scored Piaget’s final goal of the match, but it was Alegria who celebrated the 14-6 victory. Ulloa led the pack by scoring five times for Alegria. Mannix added four goals to the mix with Obregon registering three goals and Aguerre accounting for a pair of goals in the win. Caset scored two of his three goals for Piaget on penalty shots. Ganzi added two goals from the field and the team received one goal by handicap.
A realigned Lechuza Caracas team (Victor Vargas, Francisco Elizalde, Polito Pieres and Juan Martin Nero) got all they could handle in Friday’s noon contest with an invigorated Orchard Hill lineup (Steve Van Andel, Rodrigo Andrade, Pablo MacDonough and Matias MacDonough) before scoring the winning goal in overtime for the 10-9 win. Brazilian 8-goaler Rodrigo Andrade got Orchard Hill on the scoreboard first with a pair of goals from the field to account for all of the first chukker scoring. After seven minutes of play Orchard Hill owned a 2-0 lead. Lechuza’s new 7-goaler, Francisco Elizalde opened the second with a goal from the field followed by a penalty conversion from 10-goaler Juan Martin Nero for a 2-2 tie. A closing goal from 10-goaler Pablo Macdonough had Orchard Hill holding a narrow lead, 3-2. Third period action saw Lechuza’s Polito Pieres score his first goal of the day to knot it up at 3-3. Steve Van Andel and Andrade scored consecutive goals to put Orchard Hill ahead 5-3. Elizalde and Pieres closed out the chukker with a gal from the field and a penalty goal, respectively. At the end of the first half it was all even at 5-5.
Lechuza took control of the game in the fourth chukker, picking up a 60-yard penalty conversion from Pieres and Elizalde’s third goal of the game. Orchard Hill was unable to produce any effective offense and fell behind, 7-5. Fifth chukker action was limited to a single goal from Pablo MacDonough with Lechuza getting shutout for the first time since the opening chukker. Lechuza continued to lead, but the lead was shaved to a single goal, 7-6. All holds were barred in the final chukker of the match with Pablo MacDonough tying it up with the opening goal of the sixth, 7-7. Back-to-back goals from Elizalde stretched the Lechuza lead to two goals, 9-7, with time running out. Pablo MacDonough scored from the field and his brother, Matias MacDonough, converted a 60-yard penalty shot in the final seconds of the chukker for a 9-9 deadlock and sudden death overtime. After a brief recess both teams returned to the field. Initial movement took the ball into the Orchard Hill end of the field where Elizalde scored the winning goal with his sixth score of the day. Elizalde led all scoring with six goals on the day, including the winner in overtime. Pieres scored three times, twice on penalty shots and Nero added a goal for the win. Pablo MacDonough and Andrade scored three goals each. Matias Macdonough scored twice and Van Andel added a goal in the loss.
A determined Coca-Cola team scored the first three chukkers of the game in the opening chukker for an early 3-0 lead as 7-goaler Sugar Erskine accounted for two of the goals and team captain Gillian Johnston added a goal in the early goings. Audi got back into the game in the second with Audi’s Nico Pieres and Coca-Cola 9-goaler Julio Arellano exchanging penalty goals. Nico Pieres ended the scoring in the chukker with an 80-yard scoring shot through the Coca-Cola goalposts. After two periods of play Coca-Cola guarded a 4-2 advantage. Gonzalito Pieres opened the third chukker with a penalty goal. Sebastian Merlos responded with a goal for Coca-Cola and Nico Pieres was credited with the final goal of the chukker with Coca-Cola ahead, 5-4 at halftime.
Coca-Cola’s defense did its job in the fourth period, blanking Audi and adding goals from Erskine and Johnston. With just two chukkers to play Coca-Cola had expanded its lead to three goals, 7-4. Arellano scored the opening goal of the fifth chukker, but was countered by a pair of goals from Nico Pieres. Ganzi was struck in the hand on a penalty shot from Merlos and had to be replaced by Manual Villa mil for the sixth chukker. Coca-Cola continued to lead, but Audi was now within two goals of Coca-Cola, 8-6. Jeff Hall scored Audi’s only goal of the final chukker with Coca-Cola supplying a pair of goals from Merlos and a single goal from Arellano for the 11-7 win. Arellano, Erskine and Merlos scored three goals apiece in the win. Johnston scored twice for the victory. Nico Pieres scored a team high five goals for Audi. Gonzalito Pieres and Hall scored single goals in a losing effort.
Zacara scored a 9-8 win over ERG in the final preliminary round of play in the 2013 CV Whitney Cup, securing a berth I the semifinals of the International Polo Club’s first 26-goal tournament of the season. ERG took control of the game early on, and kept Zacara off balance, charging out to a one-sided 6-1 halftime lead. Agustin Merlos scored the opening goal of the game on a penalty shot for the only score in the chukker and an early 1-0 advantage. Zacara had an opportunity to score on a 60-yard penalty shot that Facundo Pieres sailed wide. Two more penalty goals from Merlos were answered by a goal from the field from Pieres, but two more 60-yard penalty shots were missed. ERG extended its lead to two goals, 3-1. Three more third chukker goals went unanswered with Eduardo Novillo Astrada getting on the scoreboard for ERG with a goal from the field and Merlos adding two more goals to establish the five goal, 6-1 lead after the opening half of play. Pieres converted a penalty shot for a goal in the fourth and teammate Mike Azzaro added a goal from the field for Zacara. ERG was held to a single 60-yard penalty conversion, but remained on top, 7-3.
Zacara came alive in the fifth with Pieres converting three penalty shots for goals and adding a goal from the field. Merlos managed a single goal from Merlos. Azzaro added another goal in the final minute of play for an 8-8 tie Zacara continued to press in the sixth with fouls getting ERG into trouble. Pieres missed his fourth penalty shot of the game before making good on a 60-yard shot that gave the victory to Zacara, 9-8. Pieres scored five of his seven goals on penalty shots. Azzaro scored twice in the win. Merlos scored seven times for ERG (five times on penalty conversions). Astrada was credited with a single goal in a losing effort.
The CV Whitney Cup semifinals are slated to be played on Wednesday, February 27 with Lechuza meeting Coca-Cola at 3pm while Alegria will play the winner of Sunday’s noon contest between ERG and Zacara in the 1pm semifinal.

The Teams:
Alegria (+26)
Julian Mannix (+2)
Hilario Ulloa (+9)
Mariano Aguerre (+9)
Facundo Obregon (+6)
Audi (+26)
Marc Ganzi (+1)
Nico Pieres (+8)
Gonzalito Pieres (+10)
Jeff Hall (+7)
Coca-Cola (+26)
Gillian Johnston (+1)
Sugar Erskine (+7)
Julio Arellano (+9)
Sebastian Merlos (+9)
ERG (+26)
Scott Wood (0)
Tincho Merlos (+9)
Eduardo N. Astrada (+9)
Paco de Navaez (+8)
Lechuza Caracas (+26)
Victor Vargas (+1)
Polito Pieres (+8)
Juan Martin Nero (+10)
Francisco Elizalde (+7)
Orchard Hill (+26)
Steve van Andel (0)
Rodrigo Andrade (+8)
Pablo MacDonough (+10)
Matias MacDonough (+8)
Alt – Nic Roldan (+8)
Piaget (+25/+26)
Melissa Ganzi (0)
Alt Juan Bollini (+5) / Nacho Badila (+6)
Sapo Casset (+10)
Miguel Astrada (+10)
Valiente (+26)
Bob Jornayvaz (0)
Pelon Stirling (+10)
Adolfo Cambiaso (+10)
Santi Torres (+6)
Zacara (+26)
Facundo Pieres (+10)
Lyndon Lea (+1)
Magoo Laprida (+8)
Mike Azzaro (+7)

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