La Dolfina Polo Ranch Survives Scare on Day 6 of Argentine Open
The sixth day of play in the 2018 Abierto Argentino de Polo saw La Dolfina Polo Ranch need a strong second half to defeat La Ensenada 12-10, while La Dolfina handled Alegria-La Irenita easily in the 16-6 victory at Palermo.
The opening game of the day saw an upbeat La Ensenada team come out firing early, taking advantage of each opportunity presented to them to shoot 5 for 6 from the field in the first half. An increased pressure from the La Dolfina Polo Ranch defense in the second half kept La Ensenada off the scoreboard for three straight chukkas, while creating numerous turnovers leading to scoring chances of their own. All four La Dolfina Polo Ranch players contributed on both sides of the ball, with the balanced attack ultimately proving too much for La Ensenada to contain in the second half.
Just three minutes into the game, La Ensenada had already raced out to a 3-0 lead with one goal each from Juan Martin Zubia, Facundo Fernandez Llorente and Juan Britos. La Dolfina Polo Ranch quickly responded with a three-goal run of their own, led by two goals from Ignatius Du Plessis, who was a standout player in the game. While La Dolfina Polo Ranch kept La Ensenada pinned in their own half for stretches of the game, they were unable to grab control of the game due to accurate shooting from La Ensenada while missing opportunities of their own, awarding La Ensenada with nine knock-ins before the end of the half. Trailing by one, time was expiring in the fourth chukka when a long hit from La Dolfina Polo Ranch’s Du Plessis bounced in front of goal and in one of the most impressive goals to date in the Triple Crown, Guillermo Terrera hit the ball out of the air on the nearside through the goal to tie the score at 6-6.
The second half saw La Dolfina Polo Ranch continue to apply their relentless defensive pressure with Julian de Lusarreta and Du Plessis leading the way. La Ensenada’s offense went cold as they went scoreless in the fifth and sixth chukkas, making it three consecutive chukkas without a goal, allowing La Dolfina Polo Ranch to grab the four-goal lead during a stretch of six consecutive goals. Zubia finally ended the run in the seventh chukka off a nice pass from Britos as La Ensenada looked to close the deficit. Trailing by four heading into the final chukka, La Ensenada made a late push led by two goals and an assist from Juan Britos, but in direct contrast to the first half, La Ensenada struggled with their accuracy late in the game, converting just two of their final nine shots in the 12-10 defeat.
The second game of the day saw a dominant performance from La Dolfina as they utilized their eight-goal advantage on handicap to overwhelm Alegria-La Irenita. Outshooting their opponents 27-6, La Dolfina controlled the ball throughout much of the match, jumping on every Alegria-La Irenita pass for quick counter-attacks. Settling for shots from distance, La Dolfina finished just 11 for 27 from the field, but their ability to stop any Alegria-La Irenita possession was the story of the game in the convincing double-digit victory.
Alegria-La Irenita came out swinging in the opening chukka, surprising the 40-goal La Dolfina side to claim the early 2-1 lead behind a field goal from Juan Martin Zavaleta and penalty goal from Matias MacDonough. La Dolfina abruptly showed why they are the defending champions, swarming Alegria-La Irenita over the following two chukkas, holding their opponents to zero shots while adding ten shots of their own. Despite converting just three of those ten shots, La Dolfina grabbed a two-goal advantage and didn’t look back for the remainder of the first half, stretching that lead to four behind three goals each from Adolfo Cambiaso and David Stirling.
Any doubt of the outcome was put to rest at the beginning of the second half as Alegria-La Irenita was unable to maintain consistent possession, going scoreless in the fifth and sixth chukkas, while Cambiaso scored the first four goals of the second half to double his team’s lead to eight. Alegria-La Irenita struggled with foul trouble throughout the final four chukkas, committing nine fouls compared to just two for La Dolfina. Finishing with a game-high nine goals, Cambiaso pushed La Dolfina to the resounding 16-6 victory to remain undefeated.