Following a rain-delayed semifinal, Ellerstina and Alegria met in a rematch of last year’s semifinal showdown, a game which was won by Alegria in upset fashion, sending them to their first Argentine Open final.
While team captain Fred Mannix returned to the Alegria lineup after sitting out since the Tortugas Open, Ellerstina wasn’t as lucky. Argentine Open veteran Mariano Aguerre remained sidelined with a shoulder injury with South African 8-goaler Nachi du Plessis taking his place on the field.
In a tentative opening chukker by teams, Nico Pieres and cousin Polito Pieres exchanged goals for a 1-1 finish.
Facundo Pieres converted a 30-yard penalty shot to give Ellerstina a 2-1 edge. Alegria responded with a 30-yard penalty conversion from Polito Pieres and a goal from the field on a fine individual effort from Hilario Ulloa for a 3-2 advantage for Alegria.
Polito Pieres tapped the ball in from 25-yards out, 4-2, but Ellerstina responded in spades. Nico Pieres put the ball through the goal posts from about five yards out, 4-2, followed by a cut shot from 10-yards out from Nachi du Plessis that had it all even at 4-4. Facundo Pieres put Ellerstina in the lead, 5-4, with his second goal of the game and Gonzalito Pieres blasted the ball through the goal at the bell for a 6-4 lead.
Fourth chukker play saw Polito Pieres cut the Ellerstina lead to a single goal, 6-5. Facundo Pieres carried the ball between and through two opponents, scoring his third goal of the game, putting Ellerstina on top by two goals at the end of the first half, 7-5.
Both teams concentrated on their defensive efforts as the second half began. Facundo Pieres converted another penalty shot to extend their lead to three goals, 8-5. Hilario Ulloa matched his goal with a score of his own. With just three chukkers left to be played, Ellerstina held on to a two goal lead, 8-6.
Facundo Pieres scored two of his three sixth chukker goals from the field while Polito Pieres fourth to keep Alegria in the game. Polito scored once on a penalty shot and once from the field. With two periods left to play, Ellerstina held on to their two goal lead, 11-9.
Ellerstina looked more and more comfortable with their makeshift lineup as the game wore on. A pair of goals from Gonzalito Pieres and a single goal from Nico Pieres in the opening minutes of the seventh had Ellerstina in the lead by five goals, 14-9. Polito Pieres converted a penalty shot while teammate Hilario Ulloa added their second goal of the chukker with Facundo Pieres on his hip to end the chukker trailing 14-11.
Ellerstina cut loose in the final chukker, racing out to a five goals lead, 17-12. A final goal from Polito Pieres cut the lead to four goals, but it was Ellerstina that got revenge from last year’s “upset”, 17-13.
The victory puts Ellerstina back into the Argentine Open final after being absent for a year, scheduled to play their old nemesis, La Dolfina.
Facundo Pieres was credited with nine goals on the day (three on penalty shots). Gonzalito Pieres scored five times; Nico Pieres added three goals and du Plessis added a goal for the win. Polito Pieres scored six of his team high nine goals on penalty shots. Hilario Ulloa scored Alegria’s other four goals in the loss.
Chapaleufú 11, La Aguada/Las Monjitas 10 OT
In an earlier game Chapaleufú needed a goal in overtime but managed to beat La Aguada/Las Monjitas 11-10.
Pepe Heguy tied it up at 9-9 in the waning moments of the game, allowing Eduardo Heguy to score the winning goal in the overtime period.
Thanks a lot: Alex Webbe
Prof. Paola A Maldonado Maquin