Get ready for a rematch next weekend of the 2017 Hurlingham Open final. Ellerstina defeated Cría Yatay 14-6 Sunday in Palermo, setting up yet another high-stakes faceoff against Alegría in the Argentine Open semi-finals.
Ellerstina was a demon of the highest order, both on defense and offense. Cría Yatay found themselves slamming headfirst into a cement wall, and then seeing stars as the blocks reassembled into a charging bull. An unpredictable Ellerstina kept their opponent guessing all afternoon, which was crazymaking for Cría Yatay.
The game didn’t open all that great for the Zeta, though. A foul-ridden first half (in which Ellerstina made 9 of their total 11 fouls) kept Cría Yatay in the running. Cría Yatay was down just a single goal as the fourth chukker started to wind down. Then out came Nico Pieres to score on a nearly 120-yard slammer, giving Ellerstina led a two-goal lead at the end of the first half (6-4).
A team that tends to perform best under pressure—which makes them a blast to watch—saw a transformed Ellerstina come back after the half. Although the game overall was not as strong a performance as they are capable of, once Ellerstina began to control play they didn’t stop. Nico Pieres was super strong defensively, which allowed Gonzalito Pieres and Polito Pieres to stay forward a bit more than usual. That made for a balanced offense and resulted in enough scoring chances for Ellerstina to eventually run away with the game.
Magoo Laprida and Valerio Zubiaurre were active up front for Cría Yatay, but they couldn't keep possession long enough to set up viable shot attempts. Cría Yatay was scoreless in two chukkers in the middle, when the game was still winnable. Ellerstina kept them to only two shots in the second half for 2/9 shooting (22 percent) on the day.
All the while Ellerstina gathered strength, stretching their advantage in the last four chukkers. They led by three goals at the end of the fourth (7-4), then five (10-5), six (11-5) and finally eight (14-6). The Zeta ended the game on perfect 3-for-3 shooting in the final chukker. Facundo, Nico and Gonzalito each contributed one of those goals, ending the contest 14-6 for Ellerstina.
-Balanced Ellerstina scoring: Polito (5), Facundo (4), Gonzalito (3), Nico (2)
-Ellerstina shoots uncharacteristically low 4/9 on penalties, Cría Yatay 4/6
-Cría Yatay dominates throw-in wins (13), Ellerstina 9
-Field shot conversions: Cría Yatay 2/9, Ellerstina 10/19
-Penalty conversions: Cría Yatay 4/6, Ellerstina 4/9
-Almost equal number of fouls: Cría Yatay 10, Ellerstina 11
Photos by Katerina Morgan