La Dolfina and Ellerstina Advance to Tortugas Open Final
The semi-finals of the 2018 Tortugas Open saw convincing victories from the 40-goal teams of La Dolfina and Ellerstina, as La Dolfina defeated La Dolfina Polo Ranch 18-9, while Ellerstina defeated Las Monjitas 15-10 at Tortugas Country Club.
The first semi-final saw La Dolfina produce a slow start, finding themselves trailing 2-0 after the opening chukka, with La Dolfina Polo Ranch’s Guillermo Terrera and Ignatius Du Plessis scoring a goal each. La Dolfina quickly answered and asserted themselves in the game by scoring 10 unanswered goals over the next three chukkas to open a large lead. During the 10-goal run, all four La Dolfina players contributed at least two goals, with David Stirling leading the way with four. All but one of the goals during the run came from the field as the potent La Dolfina attack saw quick passes to break away for runs downfield. La Dolfina Polo Ranch finished the half with three consecutive goals to reduce the deficit to five but found themselves unable to slow the quartet of 10-goalers on La Dolfina.
The second half saw La Dolfina quickly increase their lead behind Pablo MacDonough, who scored all three goals in the fifth chukka to extend his team’s lead to eight. Holding a large lead, La Dolfina’s attack slowed as they managed their lead, but were still able to receive two penalty attempts over the final two chukkas that were converted by Juan Martin Nero. Terrera led the way for La Dolfina Polo Ranch with five goals, but ultimately the inability to match La Dolfina’s breakneck pace of play proved to be the difference as La Dolfina finished with the 18-9 victory.
The second semi-final provided an intriguing match-up with Ellerstina facing a tough Las Monjitas team that displayed their potential in an impressive 18-4 victory in their opening game. Facing 40-goal Ellerstina provided a difficult task but over the opening two chukkas, Las Monjitas matched Ellerstina in open play, but foul trouble resulted in two penalty goals, one each for Gonzalito and Facundo Pieres as Ellerstina grabbed the early 3-2 lead. A dominant third chukka proved to be crucial in the game as Ellerstina extended their lead to four, outscoring Las Monjitas 4-1 in the chukka with Facundo Pieres scoring his 3rd and 4th goals of the game. Holding a comfortable lead, Ellerstina was able to manage their advantage and keep Las Monjitas at a distance as they held a 9-4 lead at halftime.
Las Monjitas came out strong to begin the second half as they dominated open play led by the duo of Sapo Caset and Facundo Sola. Scoring two goals each, they brought Las Monjitas back within two goals, as Ellerstina’s only source of offense to begin the second half came via the penalty line. Las Monjitas’ comeback attempt fell short in the sixth chukka as they conceded four more goals, including another Facundo Pieres penalty goal, to increase their deficit to four. Frustration increased late in the game for the Las Monjitas side that actually outscored Ellerstina from the field but provided their opponents with far too many penalty attempts in the game, as they were outscored 7-1 from the penalty line. The six-goal difference from the penalty line proved to be the deciding factor as Ellerstina completed the 15-10 victory to advance to the Tortugas Open final to face fellow 40-goal team La Dolfina.