Pilot and Las Monjitas Secure Places in C.V. Whitney Cup Final
With a spot in the C.V. Whitney Cup final and a chance to compete for $125,000 on the line, Pilot defeated La Indiana 14-9, while Las Monjitas used a strong final chukker to claim victory over Cessna Polo Team 10-8 at the International Polo Club Palm Beach.
After conceding the first goal of the game, Pilot led the rest of the way with Facundo and Gonzalito Pieres executing an effective two-man game. This was possible due to the efforts of Matias Gonzalez, who worked tirelessly off the ball to provide space for his teammates. While La Indiana began the game fighting side-by-side with Pilot, they were unable to finish their attacks with accuracy, leaving Pilot with the advantage in opportunities. Facundo Pieres played the starring role with an impressive eight goals and five assists, failing to contribute on just one of Pilot’s 14 goals in the game to lead his team to the victory.
La Indiana came out with pace in the first chukker, as Tomas Garcia del Rio opened the scoring in the game. Pilot quickly responded to grab control of the game using a possession style attack that saw the ball follow Facundo and Gonzalito Pieres. A run of six consecutive goals over the first and second chukkers gave Pilot a commanding 6-1 lead, as La Indiana was unable to slow the passing efficiency of Pilot. Despite still being in the early moments of the game, La Indiana risked watching Pilot get out of reach before the end of the half but displayed a strong third chukker to fight their way back into the game. One goal each from Jeff Hall, Facundo Obregon and Tomas Garcia del Rio brought La Indiana back within two goals, as they also held Pilot off the scoreboard in the important third chukker to trail 6-4 at the half.
Pilot swarmed La Indiana to begin the second half, outshooting their opponents 5-1 in the fourth chukker, but their inaccuracy towards goal, converting just one of those chances kept La Indiana’s hopes alive. Pilot pushed their lead to three after a safety conversion for Facundo Pieres, when La Indiana’s chances of making a comeback were impacted when Facundo Obregon received his second yellow of the game, forcing him to the sidelines for two minutes. Pilot would score three goals in the fifth chukker, extending their lead to four, as La Indiana found themselves needing a miraculous final chukker. Pilot continued their efficient style of play, preventing La Indiana from getting within reach to claim the first spot in the final with the 14-9 victory.
The second semi-final saw Las Monjitas stuck in another back and forth affair as they traded goals with Cessna Polo Team throughout the game. The two teams were tied after each of the first four chukkers, with neither able to separate themselves on the scoreboard. Continuing to display a tough defense, Cessna Polo Team kept the potent Las Monjitas offense contained until the later stages of the game, when Hilario Ulloa and Francisco Elizalde broke through with strong runs to goal. With little separating the two teams, Cessna Polo Team converted just 4 of their 10 shots from the field in the narrow 10-8 defeat.
Las Monjitas quickly erased the one-goal handicap deficit on an Elizalde field goal with a defensive game between the two sides. While the active defence of Ferrario and Marquez provided difficulties for Las Monjitas, Ulloa broke through for two goals in the second chukker, yet the score remained tied at 3-3. A clean first half concluded with the two teams remaining tied on the scoreboard, with Elizalde scoring the lone penalty goal in the opening three chukkers.
Cessna Polo Team continued to work hard to keep the Las Monjitas team off the scoreboard, but the duo of Ulloa and Elizalde continued to attack downfield and be the source of all Las Monjitas’ goals in the game. After an efficient 3 for 5 from the field in the opening half, the Cessna Polo Team struggled to convert their chances from the field, as their only offense came from the penalty line. Combining to convert three penalty 2 attempts, Felipe Viana and Ezequiel Martinez Ferrario finally broke the tie, giving Cessna Polo Team the 8-7 lead heading into the sixth and deciding chukker. Elizalde and Ulloa proved to be relentless and broke through for runs in the final minutes of the game as Las Monjitas scored three goals in an exciting final chukker to claim victory and set up a final against Pilot for the C.V. Whitney Cup.
Join us for the final match in the C.V. Whitney Cup tournament this Sunday with Pilot and Las Monjitas at 3pm on U.S. Polo Assn. Field 1!