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Valiente, Orchard Hill Clinch Ylvisaker Cup Openers

Valiente, Orchard Hill ClinchYlvisaker Cup Openers
Julio Arellano and Tommy Beresford. Photo: David Lominska/Polographics.com.
Cambiaso Crushes It in Tense 14-13 Win Over Coca-Cola
Adolfo CambiasoPhoto: David Lominska/Polographics.com
WELLINGTON, Fla. - February 5, 2016 - The 20-goal Ylvisaker Cup opened Thursday with a rollicking double-header commandeered by the two top players in the world. Adolfo Cambiaso propelled Valiente to victory over Coca-Cola in a 14-13 nail-biter, and Facundo Pieres led Orchard Hill to a 13-9 win over Tonkawa at the International Polo Club Palm Beach (IPC). Both 10-goal players were making their debut games of the 2016 season, having last opposed each other in the Argentine Open Final in December.
No one could have described how Valiente took down Coca-Cola better than teammate Felipe Viana: "We have the best player in the world, and we rely on that. We just do our share, and he wins the game." Adolfo Cambiaso saved the day repeatedly for Valiente, scoring in every chukker. He made it count big-time in the sixth, when he stampeded through a sea of white jerseys to tie the game at 13 and then sunk the winning goal as the specter of overtime loomed.
All eight players scored, and much of the game was tied. Except for about three minutes in the fourth chukker, the spread was never more than one point. Coca-Cola played in perfect sync. Gillian Johnston blasted ahead on two turbo-breakaways, leaving the ball on the doorstep for Julio Arellano or Sugar Erskine to escort in. While doing so in the second chukker to tie the game at 4, Johnston took out an astounded Cambiaso along the way. Cambiaso, who performs at his peak under increasing pressure, was true to form, at one point slamming the ball straight into goal from a standstill, right out of the throw-in. After the game he noted that Valiente had put its new team together just a week ago and was competing in its first game, while Coca-Cola has been competing together for over a month. "So we were lucky to be tied, and we were lucky to pass through. We had a couple of good plays, and we won," he said. "Now we will get better and better."
Valiente                      Coca Cola
Bob Jornayvaz 2         Gillian Johnston 2
Tommy Beresford 3     Sugar Erskine 7                
Felipe Viana 5             Julio Arellano 8        
Adolfo Cambiaso 10    Steve Krueger 3
Thursday's games were live streamed by ChukkerTV, a partner of the USPA Polo Network, which will broadcast the 20-goal Joe Barry Cup Final (Villa del Lago v. Palm Beach Illustrated/Technogym) on Friday, Feb. 5 at 4 p.m. Continuous live coverage of the Ylvisaker Cup, resumes Saturday, Feb. 6, when Audi/Millarville plays White Birch at 11 a.m.
 
Pieres Power Rules the Day for Orchard Hill, 13-9
Jeff Hildebrand on the ball. Photo: David Lominska Polographics.com.
Gonzalo Deltour and Facundo PieresPhoto: David Lominska/Polographics.com
Except for patron Steve Van Andel holding his customary No. 1 slot, the Orchard Hill lineup for the opening game of the 2016 Ylvisaker Cup looked like someone had been playing a mischievous shell game. Lucas Criado, who usually plays No. 4, moved into the No. 3 position so Facundo Pieres could take the back. Whatever the strategy, it worked. Orchard Hill played a tight, consistent game, coming out of the gate afire with Pieres at the helm. Pieres, who has a penchant for playing "sleeping giant" in the first half and exploding in the second, put that image to rest. He made the first goal of the game and continued to score in every chukker, making all but two of his team's 13 goals. The staunch Tonkawa middle made Orchard Hill work for it. Nine-goaler Sebastian Merlos in No. 2 and Gonzalo Deltour in No. 3 passed the ball seamlessly, a move they have down so pat that it can mesmerize an opponent.
Making his fourth goal in the first chukker, Pieres took the ball on the knock-in from one end of the field straight to the other. He blasted past Deltour on the centerline and proceeded to leave Merlos in the dust, a trick few can do, given Merlos' ability to read plays as though they were sonnets he had written. The first half ended 7-3 for Orchard Hill. Tonkawa seemed to be getting its second wind in the fourth chukker, with Deltour scoring twice and Merlos once, tightening the gap to 8-6. But that was as close as it got, with Pieres diving back into his scoring frenzy. Merlos and Deltour stayed on it, scoring all of Tonkawa's goals in the game, but Orchard Hill kept the step on them and won 13-9.  
Orchard Hill               TonkawaSteve Van Andel A     Jeff Hildebrand APeke Gonzales 2        Gonzalo Deltour 7                Lucas Criado 8           Sebastian Merlos 9           Facundo Pieres 10     Mason Wroe 4
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