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USPA Piaget Silver Cup finals set

La Herradura to face FMB in USPA Piaget Silver Cup finals on Sunday

By Alex Webbe

FMB (Dan Walker, Inaki Laprida, Lucas Criado and Henry Walker) entered the late

afternoon game needing a victory to have a chance of making their way into the finals of

the 2013 USPA Piaget Silver Cup at the Santa Barbara Polo Club, and on the strength

of a 9-6 win over previously undefeated Restoration Hardware (Ben Soleimani, Hilario

Ulloa, Adam Snow and Santi Von Wernich), did just that.

In a tightly-contested opening chukker FMB’s Lucas Criado scored the only goal of the

period as Restoration Hardware was unable to score.  FMB left the field with a humble

1-0 advantage, but took the early lead.

A resilient FMB defense held Restoration Hardware scoreless for the second

consecutive chukker.  FMB picked up a pair of goals from the field from Inaki Laprida ad

a penalty conversion from Criado.  After two periods FMB was in front 4-0.

Restoration Hardware finally showed up in the third.  Pitching a defensive shutout of

their own, they took advantage of some FMB fouls.  Hilario Ulloa converted a pair of

penalty shots for goals and Adam Snow added another from the field.  Restoration

Hardware cut the FMB lead to a single goal, 4-3.

FMB took control of the match again as second half play got underway.  Criado scored

three consecutive goals for FMB as a struggling Restoration Hardware was blanked for

the third time in four chukkers.  With two periods left, FMB held a 7-3, four goals lead.

Restoration Hardware picked up two goals in the fifth with Snow converting a 60-yard

penalty shot while Ulloa scored from the field.  Criado converted a penalty shot from 40-

yards to keep FMB in the lead, 8-5.  

FMB continued to press but were extremely foul conscious.  Single goals were scored

by Criado and Ulloa as FMB celebrated the win and a berth in the tournament finals on

Sunday.

Criado led all scoring with seven goals.  Laprida added two goals for the win.  Ulloa

scored four times (twice on penalties) for Restoration Hardware.  Snow added two in a

losing effort.

The game was played on the ERG field.

LA HERRADURA 11, LUCCHESE 10

Earlier in the day La Herradura (Alvaro Fernandez, Marianito Obregon, Memo Gracida,

Carlos Gracida) remained undefeated and earned the other finalist berth by defeating

Lucchese (Andres Weisz, Tavi Usandizaga, Pelon Stirling and John Muse) 11-10.

Lucchese got on the scoreboard first on a pair of goals from the field from Tavi

Usandizaga, 2-0.  Carlos Gracida kept La Herradura from being shut out with a goal, 2-

1.

Carlos Gracida added two more goals in the second and Marianito Obregon scored his

first goal of the game.  Lucchese 10-goaler Pelon Stirling converted two 60-yard penalty

shots and it was all even at 4-4.

The third chukker belonged to La Herradura on both offense and defense.  Carlos

Gracida scored three goals (one on a penalty shot) and Memo Gracida got on the

scoreboard with his first goal of the day.  A miserly defense held Lucchese scoreless as

La Herradura left the field with a four goals lead, 8-4.

Defense was the byword of the fourth chukker.  Memo Gracida managed to break

through the Lucchese defense to score the only goal of the period as Lucchese was

held scoreless for the second consecutive chukker.  The La Herradura lead had been

extended to five goals, 9-4.

Stirling opened the fifth chukker with a pair goals (one on a penalty shot), cutting the La

Herradura lead to three goals, 9-6.  Andres Weisz scored the final goal of the chukker.  

La Herradura continued to lead, but the margin had been cut to two manageable goals

with a final chukker to play.

Memo Gracida stretched the La Herradura lead back to three goals, 10-7, for his

third goal of the match.  Stirling countered with a goal from the field, 10-8.  Memo

Gracida scored again for La Herradura, 11-8.  Usandizaga and Stirling (60-yard penalty

conversion) scored the final two goals of the game, but there wasn’t enough time left as

La Herradura celebrated the 11-10 victory.

Carlos Gracida was credited with six goals for La Herradura (one on a penalty shot).  

Memo Gracida scored four times and Obregon added a goal for the win.  Stirling scored

four of his six goals on penalty shots.   Usandizaga added three goals from the field and

Weisz scored once in the loss.

ERG 18, CATAMOUNT 11

Sugar Erskine had a career day as ERG (Scott Wood, Sugar Erskine, Jeff Blake and

Paco de Narvaez) broke open a hotly-contested first half to score an impressive 18-11

win over Catamount (Scott Devon, Brandon Phillips, Julio Gracida and Mike Azzaro)

in a morning contest that saw Catamount lose their third consecutive game in as many

outings.

Catamount received one goal by handicap and added three more to it in open chukker

play for a 5-3 lead.  Catamount got a pair of goals from both Brandon Phillips and Mie

Azzaro while limiting ERG to three goals from Sugar Erskine (one on a penalty shot).

The two teams exchanged goals in the second period.  Erskine converted another

penalty shot for a goal and Paco de Narvaez scored from the field for a 5-5 tie.  Phillips

closed out the chukker with a penalty goal and a goal from the field.  After two chukkers

Catamount held a 7-5 advantage.

Julio Gracida’s 60-yard penalty conversion extended the Catamount lead to three

goals in the third, 8-5, when the ERG offense came alive.  Five consecutive ERG goals

(four from Erskine and one from Jeff Blake) ended the first half with Catamount finding

themselves trailing, 10-8.

A pair of goals from de Narvaez stretched the ERG lead to four goals, 12-8 before

Catamount responded.  A single 40-yard penalty conversion from Phillips was all the

offense Catamount could muster as they fell behind, 12-9 with two chukkers left to play.

There was no let-up in ERG in the fifth, with de Narvaez adding two more goals and

Blake and Erskine chipping in single goals.  Catamount team captain Scott Devon

scored his first goal of the game in the fifth and Azzaro added another, but with one

chukker remaining ERG was in front by five goals.

Erskine and de Narvaez scored the only goals of the final chukker in an 18-11 romp

over Catamount.

Erskine’s hot hand resulted in a game high ten goals (two on penalty shots).  De

Narvaez scored six times and Blake added a pair of goals.  Phillips scored five times for

Catamount.  Azzaro added three goals while Gracida and Devon each scored once.

ERG, FMB and Restoration Hardware were all tied with a 2-1 record, relegating them

to play a shoot-out to decide the second Silver Cup finalist.  FMB won the shootout and

will play La Herradura in Sunday’s final.