2014 USPA Piaget Gold Cup opener
Alegria wins USPA Piaget Gold Cup opener
By Alex Webbe
Alegria (Julian Mannix, Clemente Zavaleta, Polito Pieres and Hilario Ulloa) won the opening match of the 2014 USPA Piaget Gold Cup at the International Polo Club Friday afternoon in an 11-9 victory over Flight Options (Melissa Ganzi, Eduardo Astrada, Miguel Astrada and Alejandro Astrada).
Alegria 9-goaler Hilario Ulloa scored the first goal of the game less than two minutes into the opening chukker, 1-0. Miguel Astrada evened the score two minutes later, 1-1, for the only other score of the chukker.
Alegria grabbed the early momentum of the second period with Julian Mannix putting his team up 2-1, and teammate Ulloa adding another goal to the Alegria total less than a minute later, 3-1. Eduardo Astrada cut the lead back to a single goal, 3-2, with his first goal of the day. Polito Pieres (replacing the sidelined Mariano Aguerre) converted a 40-yard penalty shot for a goal to give Alegria a two goals lead, 4-2. Eduardo Astrada and Alejandro Astrada scored consecutive goals in the last 1:20 of the chukker to knot it up at 4-4.
The game remained tight throughout the third. Alejandro Astrada scored first to put Flight Options on top, 5-4. It was nearly four minutes later before Pieres tied it up on a goal from the field. Miguel Astrada put flight Options back in the lead at 2:10 on a 60-yard penalty shot. A late foul sent Pieres to the penalty line where he evened it up at 6-6 on a short penalty conversion to end the first half.
Alegria charged into the second half as Mannix and Pieres scored two goals apiece while holding Flight Options scoreless. With two chukkers left to play Alegria owned a 10-6 edge.
Both defenses put the clamps on in the fifth. Nearly four minutes had passed before Miguel Astrada scored the only goal of the chukker. Alegria continued to lead, however, 10-7.
Miguel Astrada scored on a short penalty shot for flight Options in the sixth, 10-8, when the Alegria defense stepped it up. It was nearly five minutes until Pieres scored from the field for Alegria, 11-8. Miguel Astrada scored the final goal of the game on a 60-yard penalty conversion with 51 seconds left to play. The final horn sounded and Alegria celebrated the 11-8 victory.
Pieres was credited with a game high six goals (three on penalty shots). Mannix added three goals and Ulloa scored twice. Miguel Astrada’s five goals (three on penalty conversions) led the Flight Options attack. Eduardo Astrada and Alejandro Astrada scored two goals each in the loss.
USPA Piaget Gold Cup action continues at the International Polo Club on Saturday with a 10am contest between Orchard Hill (Steve Van Andel, Santiago Chavanne, Pablo MacDonough and Matias MacDonough) and Audi (Marc Ganzi, Gonzalo Del Tour, Gonzalito Pieres and Rodrigo Andrade).