Valiente Victorious as 26-Goal Play Begins with 2018 C.V. Whitney Cup
The much anticipated debut of Valiente, featuring Adolfo Cambiaso and Facundo Pieres playing side-by-side, lived up to the hype as Valiente defeated The Racing Form- DRF Bets (DRF) 13-10 behind an impressive 10-goal performance from Pieres. A back and forth game that was slowed by a combined 24 fouls was ultimately won by a Valiente team that excelled with Pieres attacking downfield while Cambiaso and Tommy Beresford provided support. DRF countered with a 10-goaler of their own in Hilario Ulloa but his seven goal performance wasn’t enough to overcome the attack of a Valiente team that won the possession battle in the second half.
The elite duo of Cambiaso and Pieres started slowly in the game with a visible adjustment period occurring as they adjusted to each other’s playing style. DRF was able to take advantage early as they grabbed an early 3-2 lead with Ulloa converting both of his penalty attempts. The momentum in the game turned in the third chukka as Valiente found their rhythm, with Pieres increasing his attacks while Cambiaso stayed behind in support. The increased activity of Pieres on the offensive end placed pressure on the DRF defense and the result was foul trouble for a DRF team that struggled to contain the Valiente attack throughout the second half of the game. Allowing three goals in each of the third, fourth and fifth chukkas, DRF’s early one goal lead turned into a one goal deficit by the end of the fourth chukka, yet they were still within reach as Valiente found themselves in foul trouble as well.
After staying within one goal throughout the entire game, DRF was unable to prevent Valiente from extending their lead in the fifth chukka as they committed five fouls in the chukka, resulting in three more goals from Pieres, one from the field and two from the penalty line. Despite Cambiaso being held to just one goal in the game, he was able to manage the game from the #4 position, preventing DRF from completing passes downfield and making Ulloa carry the ball individually. Ulloa’s seven goals in the game, along with a strong performance from Jared Zenni was able to keep DRF in the game through the opening four chukkas but ultimately they committed too many fouls in key areas as Valiente’s attack put relentless pressure on the DRF defense to take hold of the game over the final two chukkas. Maintaining their three goal lead in the final chukka, Valiente finished with the convincing 13-10 victory to advance to Sunday’s C.V. Whitney final.
The first game of the day saw Coca-Cola defeat Prestige Worldwide in the opening game of the 20-goal Iglehart Cup. In an open flowing game that saw just five fouls, both teams produced multiple long runs to goal but were unable to convert their opportunities as the game remained close. Replacing the injured Julio Arellano, Ignacio Novillo Astrada matched up against brother Miguel, and was able to get the better of him in the game as his Coca-Cola team used a strong fifth chukka and a goal in the final seconds from Gillian Johnston to finish with the 9-8 victory.
Will Johnston led the way for Prestige Worldwide with five goals in the game, finishing effectively around goal in the #1 position, but it was the inability of Prestige Worldwide to generate offense late in the game that ended up being the difference. Steve Kruger was effective throughout the game to disrupt the Prestige Worldwide offense, while also contributing three goals, one of which came from the penalty line. Outshooting their opponents 11-6 in the second half, Coca-Cola was able to complete their comeback by finishing their chances around goal, none more important than in the final seconds of the 6th chukka, as an approach shot to goal from Sugar Erskine was put through by Gillian Johnston, giving Coca-Cola the first win in the Iglehart Cup.