By Alex Webbe
Casablanca (Grant Ganzi, Juancito Bollini, Nic Roldan and Miguel Novillo Astrada) scored a win in the opening match of the 20-goal 2015 Herbie Pennell Cup with a resounding 14-6 thumping of a talented Coca-Cola lineup (Gillian Johnston, Kris Kampsen, Julio Arellano and Mason Wroe) in morning play at the International Polo Club in Wellington.
Nic Roldan scored the first goal of the game at the 4:57 mark and Casablanca never looked back again. A goal from Juancito Bollini a minute later had Coca-Cola trailing, 2-0. Kris Kampsen finally got Coca-Cola on the scoreboard with less than three minutes left in the chukker, 2-1. Miguel Astrada converted a 30-yrd penalty shot, 3-1. Kampsen scored his second goal of the chukker to cut the Casablanca lead to a single goal, 3-2 with 1:02 in the period. Astrada closed out the scoring with a goal from the field in the final 15 seconds of the chukker for the early 4-2 Casablanca lead.
Grant Ganzi carried the ball to yards from the Coca-Cola goal, leaving it for Roldan who scored for a 5-2 edge in the opening minute of play. Kampsen responded a minute later with an impressive scoring shot from over 100-yards out, 5-3. Astrada made it 6-3 with a goal from the field. Julio Arellano scored his first goal of the game on a 40-yard penalty conversion, 6-4, for the final goal of the period.
Both defenses stepped it up in the third chukker, with Casablanca coming out on top. While neither team scored a goal from the field, Casablanca got penalty goals from Astrada and Roldan for an 8-4 halftime advantage.
For the second consecutive chukker neither team was able to score from the field. With 5:06 left in the period, Arellano converted a 60-yard penalty shot, cutting the lead to three goals, 8-5. Astrada answered back with penalty conversion just minutes later for the 9-5 Casablanca lead.
The fifth chukker belonged to Casablanca, shutting down the Coca-Cola offense while scoring three goals of their own. Roldan opened the scoring with a 30-yard penalty conversion, 10-5. Goals from the field from Astrada and Bollini ended the period in a12-5, seven goal lead.
Arellano scored on a 40-yard penalty shot, cutting the lead to six goals, 12-6, but that was where it ended. Two final goals from Roldan put an exclamation mark at the end of the game as Casablanca rode off the field with a commanding 14-6 win.
Roldan and Astrada scored six goals apiece for Casablanca. Juancito Bollini added a pair of goals for the win. Kampsen and Arellano each scored three times. All three of Arellano’s goals came on penalty conversions.
Villa Del Lago 10, Lechuza Caracas 8
Martin Espain scored the first goal of the game for the defending championship Lechuza Caracas team (Victor Vargas, Marcos Alberdi, Juan Martin Nero and Martin Espain) but Villa Del Lago (Jim Zenni, Agustin Obregon, Polito Pieres and Julian de Lusarreta) controlled the balance of the first half.
Following the goal from Espain, Agustin Obregon tied it for Villa Del Lago, 1-1, with just 1:27 left in the first chukker.
A foul by a Villa Del Lago player in the mouth of their own goal resulted in a Penalty 1, awarding a goal to Lechuza Caracas who took the 2-1 lead in the opening two minutes of the chukker. Obregon’s second goal of the game tied it at 2-2, and Polito Pieres closed out the scoring with a goal that had Villa Del Lago on top of a 3-2 score.
Three Villa Del Lago goals in the third went unanswered as Lechuza Caracas fell behind, 6-2. Julian de Lusarreta scored the first goal of the third followed by a pair of goals from Pieres (one on a penalty shot). Lechuza Caracas trailed by four goals.
The two teams traded goas in the fourth. Juan Martin Nero scored twice from the field while de Lusarreta scored on an80-yard neck shot and Pieres scored his fourth of the day with eight seconds on the clock.
Lechuza Caracas came alive in the fifth with three consecutive goals. Nero scored twice and Marcos Alberdi added a goal. The Villa Del Lago lead fell to a single goal, 8-77, as Villa Del Lago was held scoreless.
De Lusarreta continued to impress with a 65-yard cut shot for Vila Del Lago, 9-7. Nero countered with a goal for Lechuza Caracas, 9-8. With both teams struggling for control of the ball, Pieres scored for the fifth time on the day for the 10-8win.
Nero led all scoring with six goals (two on penalty shots). Alberdi scored once and the team was awarded a goal on a Penalty 1. Pieres scored five times for Villa Del Lago (one penalty goal). Obregon was credited with three goals and de Lusarreta added two goals for the victory.
The win boosted Villa Del Lago into Sunday’s 3PM final against Casablanca while Coca-Cola and Lechuza Caracas will meet in a 10AM consolation match.