Pieres shines in IPC opener
By Alex Webbe
It was a heady opening of the 2014 season at the International Polo Club as Villa Del Lago/Casablanca (Jim Zenni, Agustin Obregon, Polito Pieres and Inaki Laprida) beat Palm Beach Illustrated (Jared Zenni, Tommy Collingwood, Magoo Laprida and Facundo Pieres) 12-10 in the Herbie Pennell Cup and earned a berth in the tournament finals at 3PM on Sunday, January 5.
Boasting two of the most successful players in the game in Villa Del Lago/Casablanca’s Argentine Open MVP Polito Pieres and Palm Beach Illustrated’s Magoo Laprida, a member of the last two US Open Championship teams, the opening game of the season promised to be a hard charging, fast-paced event.
Facundo Obregon scored the first goal of the game for the early lead but Villa Del Lago/Casablanca got on track with a goal from Polito Pieres with less than 90 seconds on the clock. In the waning seconds of the period Agustin Obregon took control of the ball and raced over 200 yards down the field to put Villa Del Lago/Casablanca on top, 2-1.
In a defensive-oriented second chukker, scoring was limited to penalty conversions with Villa Del Lago/Casablanca outscoring Palm Beach Illustrated, 3-1. Facundo Obregon opened the period with a penalty shot that tied it up at 2-2 when Villa Del Lago/Casablanca’s Pieres took charge of the game. Three consecutive penalty goals from the Argentine 9-goaler (a safety, a 40-yarder and a 30-yarder) ended the chukker with Villa Del Lago/Casablanca establishing early dominance behind a 5-2 advantage.
Pieres opened the scoring in the third chukker with a neck shot that put Villa Del Lago/Casablanca on top, 6-2. Facundo Obregon converted a 30-yard penalty shot for Palm Beach Illustrated, 6-3. Villa Del Lago/Casablanca responded with three consecutive goals (two from Pieres and one from Inaki Laprida) for a commanding 9-3 halftime lead.
Palm Beach Illustrated regrouped for second half play, and matched Villa Del Lago/Casablanca goal for goal in the fourth. Pieres and Magoo Laprida exchanged goals in the opening minutes of the chukker followed by a penalty goal from Pieres (60-yarder) and a goal from the field on a well-executed effort by Jared Zenni. Villa Del Lago/Casablanca continued to lead but Palm Beach Illustrated was starting to hold their own.
Palm Beach Illustrated took control in the fifth chukker with shutout defense and an offense that netted them three unanswered goals from Facundo Obregon (two on penalty shots and one from the field). Palm Beach Illustrated had cut the lead to three goals with one chukker left in regulation time.
After being shutout for the first time all day, Pieres scored his tenth goal of the game in the sixth period for a 12-8 Villa Del Lago/Casablanca advantage. A pair of penalty goals from Facundo Obregon closed out the scoring in a 12-10 Villa Del Lago/Casablanca victory.
Pieres led all scoring with ten goals (six from the field and four on penalty shots). Agustin Obregon and Inaki Laprida each scored a goal for the win. Facundo Obregon’s eight goals set the pace for Palm Beach Illustrated. Jared Zenni and Magoo Laprida added single goals in a losing effort.
The victory boosts Villa Del Lago/Casablanca into the finals of the 20-goal Herbie Pennell Cup on Sunday, January 5th against the winner of Friday’s Coca-Cola (Gillian Johnston, Jeff Hall, Julio Arellano and Nick Morrison) and Lechuza Caracas (Victor Vargas, Mariano Gracida, Eduardo Novillo Astrada and Nico Espain) game.