Orchard Hill earns C. V. Whitney Cup final berth
By Alex Webbe
It was a neck-and-neck race as Orchard Hill (Peke Gonzalez, Santiago Chavanne, Pablo MacDonough and Matias MacDonough) scored a 14-13 overtime win over Crab Orchard (George Rawlings, Matias Magrini, Facundo Pieres and Magoo Laprida) Wednesday afternoon at the International Polo Club to earn an invitation to the finals of the 2014 C. V. Whitney Cup.
Crab Orchard came out swinging as former 10-goaler Matias Magrini posted his team to an early 2-0 start on the strength of a pair of goals from the field. Orchard Hill’s Pablo MacDonough responded with a couple of goals that were offset by a pair of penalty conversions from Facundo Pieres. At the end of the first chukker Crab Orchard had a 4-2 lead.
Matias MacDonough got Orchard Hill back into the game with consecutive goals from the field to knot it up at 4-4. Magoo Laprida gave the lead back to Orchard Hill, 5-4, at the 1:33 mark. Matias MacDonough closed out the second chukker with a penalty conversion for the tying goal, 5-5.
Third chukker goals from Magrini and Laprida gave Crab Orchard a 7-5, two goals lead. Penalty goals from Matias MacDonough (two 30-yard conversions) ended the first half deadlocked at 7-7.
Matias MacDonough opened the second half with a 150-yard run before cutting the ball through the goal posts to give Orchard Hill a one goal 8-7 advantage. A second goal from Pablo MacDonough came just 51 seconds later putting Orchard Hill on top, 9-7. Facundo Pieres cut the lead to a single goal, 9-8, with a goal at the 4:45 mark. Santiago Chavanne scored his first goal of the game for a 10-8 Orchard Hill edge, with Pieres scoring the final goal of the chukker with under two minutes left to play. Orchard Hill continued to lead, 10-9.
Consecutive penalty goals from Pieres opened the fifth chukker to give Crab Orchard an 11-10 lead. Peke Gonzalez (filling in for team captain Steve Van Andel) scored the tying goal, 11-11; at 2:08 and teammate Matias MacDonough’s seventh goal of the game had Orchard Hill leading. 12-11, with one chukker left to play in regulation time.
Two minutes into the sixth period, Pablo MacDonough gave Orchard Hill a two game cushion, 13-11 with a goal from the field. An ensuing goal from Pieres cut the lead back to a single goal with 3:06 left to play. Magrini scored the tying goal, 13-13, with 2:13 on the clock for the final goal, forcing a sudden-death overtime chukker.
Both teams had early scoring opportunities but to no avail. Finally, with under three minutes to play, Pablo MacDonough took off on a run that carried him 180 yards down the field until he was blocked by the entire Crab orchard defense. Chavanne broke through the scrum and blasted the ball through the goalposts for the winning goal for Orchard Hill, 14-13.
Pieres led all scoring with eight goals (two on penalty shots). Magrini scored four times and Laprida added a goal in the loss. Orchard Hill’s Matias MacDonough scored four of his team high seven goals from the field. Pablo MacDonough added four goals with Chavanne scoring twice and Gonzalez adding a goal for the victory.
The second C. V. Whitney Cup semifinal is scheduled to be played on Thursday afternoon at 3pm between Valiente and Alegria.