Alegria and Coca-Cola register Open wins
By Alex Webbe
Maserati US Open play continued on Tuesday with a noon match in which Flight Options (Melissa Ganzi, Eduardo Astrada, Miguel Astrada and Alejandro Astrada) and Coca-Cola (Gillian Johnston, Sebastian Merlos, Julio Arellano and Facundo Obregon) battled one another right down to the final chukker when a goal from Sebastian Merlos won the day for Coca-Cola, 10-9.
Coca-Cola 9-goaler Julio Arellano scored the opening goal of the game on a 30-yard penalty conversion just two minutes into the game for the early 1-0 lead. Flight Options responded with a pair of goals from Alejandro Astrada to end the chukker with Coca-Cola trailing, 2-1.
The two teams traded goals in second period play as the offenses got on track. Flight Options got two goals from Miguel Astrada (one on a 40-yard penalty shot) and a goal from the field from his brother Alejandro Astrada. Arellano scored all three of Coca-Cola’s second chukker goals (two from the field). At the end of the chukker Flight Options was able to hold on to their one goal advantage, 5-4.
Arellano tied the game in the opening seconds of the third chukker on a 60-yard penalty conversion, 5-5, and then put his team ahead on another penalty goal just a minute later, 6-5. Alejandro Astrada leveled the score at the 2:13 mark, 6-6, and Miguel Astrada put Flight Options back in the lead with 1:34 left to play. The first half ended with Flight Options in possession of the 7-6 lead.
Alejandro Astrada extended the Coca-Cola lead to two goals, 8-6, with a goal from the field just 12 seconds into the fourth period. At 6:18 Sebastian Merlos cut the Flight Options lead back to a single goal, 8-7, with his first goal of the day. Another goal from Merlos tied it up at 8-8 three minutes later, and a final goal from Arellano ended the chukker with Coca-Cola on top of a 9-8 score.
Both defensive units were at their best in the fifth. Neither team was able to break through the opposing defense for a score until the final minute-and-a-half of play. Alejandro Astrada tied it up with a goal from the field, 9-9.
Goals were hard to come by in the sixth as both teams measured their opposing number and tried to keep them from mounting an effective attack. With 1:02 left in regulation play Merlos broke free and scored what would be the winning goal in a 10-9 Coca-Cola victory.
Arellano scored five of his game-high seven goals on penalty conversions. Merlos added three goals including the game winner. Alejandro Astrada scored five times for Flight Options. Miguel Astrada added three goals and Eduardo Astrada scored once in the loss.
ALEGRIA 10, AUDI 8
Alegria (Julian Mannix, Clemente Zavaleta, Mariano Aguerre and Hilario Ulloa). Made a bid to be a solid challenger for the 2014 Maserati US Open with an impressive 10-8 win over a powerful and talented Audi foursome (Marc Ganzi, Gonzalito Pieres, Rodrigo Andrade and Gonzalo Del Tour) in the final first round match of the prestigious tournament.
Audi opened with a pair of goals from 10-goaler Gonzalito Pieres (one on a 60-yard penalty shot). Alegria picked up a penalty goal from Hilario Ulloa but trailed at the end of the first chukker, 2-1.
Defense was the byword of the second period as both teams struggled to mount an effective attack as the speed continued to escalate. With just over two minutes left in the chukker Audi team captain Marc Ganzi put the ball through the goalposts for a 3-1 edge.
Impressive horsepower and great runs at goal were the highlights of the third chukker. Julian Mannix scored the first goal of the period at 5:55 to cut the lead back to a single goal, 3-2. Pieres responded with a pair of goals from the field that had Audi riding on top of a 5-2 lead. Veteran 9-goaler Mariano Aguerre scored for Alegria at the 1:02 mark, 5-3, and team captain Mannix raced down the field to score the final goal of the chukker with just 14 seconds on the clock for a 5-4 halftime score.
Ulloa tied the game a 5-5 in the opening 90 seconds of the fourth period. Rodrigo Andrade gave the lead back to Audi with a goal at 5:24. Mannix wasted no time in answering, scoring his third goal of the match, 6-6, at 4:29. Ulloa gave the lead back to Alegria, 7-6, halfway through the chukker, but Audi wasn’t going to go easily. A 40-yard penalty conversion from Pieres had it all tie d up at 7-7 with two chukkers left in regulation time.
Alegria dominated the fifth, with Ulloa taking advantage of Audi fouls to convert a pair of penalty shots for goals. Audi was unable to score and fell behind, 9-7.
Pieres sparked the Audi hopes with a goal, 9-8, in the opening 30 seconds of the sixth, but that would be where it ended. With Audi pressing and Alegria burning up the clock, Mannix put an exclamation mark on the match with a brilliant goal to go up by two goals, 10-8. Alegria played keep away in the final four minutes of the game and managed to hold on for a 10-8 win.
Pieres led all scoring with six goals (Three on penalty conversions). Andrade and Ganzi added single goals in the loss. Ulloa set the pace for Alegria with five goals. Mannix scored four times and Aguerre added a goal for the win.
Maserati US Open play continues on Friday with a 3pm contest between Crab Orchard (Peke Gonzalez, Magoo Laprida, Facundo Pieres and Paco de Narvaez) and Lechuza Caracas (Victor Vargas, Nico Pieres, Juan Martin Nero and Nico Espain). Crab Orchard will be looking to go to 2-0 while Lechuza Caracas (0-1) will be looking for their first win of the tournament.