Crab Orchard beats Orchard Hill 14-13
By Alex Webbe
Crab Orchard (Kerstin Allen, Facundo Pieres, Inaki Laprida and Magoo Laprida) took early control of the semifinal of the Butler Handicap, the subsidiary of the USPA Piaget Gold Cup, but had to hold off a late rally by Orchard Hill (Steve Van Andel, Santiago Chavanne, Pablo MacDonough and Matias MacDonough) to preserve the 14-13 victory.
With a reshuffled lineup that had team captain watching from the sidelines with a damaged knee, and Paco de Narvaez hoping to recover from an injury to his mallet hand in time for Sunday’s finals, Crab Orchard rode confidently onto the field in the Thursday afternoon contest. Argentine 7-goaler Inaki Laprida replaced de Narvaez (8-goals) and Kirstin Allen rode in place of Rawlings.
Crab Orchard received one goal by handicap from the 26-goal Orchard Hill lineup and wasted no time in adding to it. A goal from the field from Magoo Laprida in the first minute of play was followed up by a pair of goals from Facundo Pieres. At the end of the first chukker Crab Orchard was comfortably ahead, 4-0.
Magoo Laprida took control of the ball from the onset of the second period and scored in the opening seconds of the chukker for a 5-0 Crab Orchard advantage. Matias MacDonough scored Orchard Hill’s first goal of the day midway through the chukker, 5-1. Magoo Laprida added another goal for Crab Orchard for a 6-1 lead. Ten-goaler Pablo MacDonough scored his first goal of the game with 1:17 left in the period and his brother Matias MacDonough converted a 60-yard penalty shot to end the chukker with Orchard Hill trailing by three goals, 6-3.
Crab Orchard owned the third chukker. Inaki Laprida scored a goal in the opening minute of the third to extend the lead to four goals, 7-3, and Pieres added two more goals (one on a 60-yard penalty conversion). Orchard Hill was held scoreless and fell behind by six goals, at the end of the first half, 9-3.
Santiago Chavanne and Inaki Laprida swapped goals in the opening half of the fourth chukker, with Crab Orchard maintaining the six goal lead, 10-4. That was when Orchard Hill got back on track. Matias MacDonough scored at the 2:28 mark, 10-5, and Pablo MacDonough added a goal with just 1:28 left in the chukker. Chavanne scored his second goal of the chukker with just 38 seconds on the clock, and at the end of the fourth chukker Orchard Hill had cut the Crab Orchard lead to a manageable three goals, 10-7.
Pieres scored in the opening 12 seconds of the fifth to stretch the Crab Orchard lead to 11-7 when Orchard Hill rallied once again. Pablo MacDonough scored two goals in the span of a minute and Matias MacDonough added a goal from the field himself. Pieres scored the final goal of the period with 3:03 left to play, and Crab Orchard left the field with one chukker left to play on top of a 12-8 score.
Matias MacDonough converted a penalty shot for a goal in the opening 36 seconds of the sixth chukker, 12-11, and Pablo added a goal from the field just a minute later that tied it at 12-12. Forty-five seconds later Pieres put Crab Orchard back in the lead with a goal from the field, 13-12. Magoo Laprida scored his fourth goal of the game to give Crab Orchard a little breathing room, 14-12, with time running out. Orchard Hill team captain Steve Van Andel scored the final goal of the game with just 48 seconds left to play, and Crab Orchard celebrated the 14-13 win and a trip to the Butler Handicap finals on Sunday against Coca-Cola (Gillian Johnston, Sebastian Merlos, Julio Arellano and Facundo Obregon).
Pieres led the Crab Orchard offense with seven goals. Magoo Laprida scored four times and Inaki Laprida was credited with two scores. Crab Orchard also received one goal by handicap. Pablo MacDonough and Matias MacDonough scored five goals apiece. Chavanne registered two goals and Van Andel scored once in the loss.