By Alex Webbe
La Dolfina (Adolfo Cambiaso, Pelon Stirling, Pablo MacDonough and Juan Martin Nero) racked up their second consecutive sweep of the Argentine high-goal season Saturday afternoon by defeating Ellerstina (Facundo Pieres, Gonzalito Pieres, Nico Pieres and Nachi du Plessis) 14-12 in the final of the 2014 Argentine Open Championship.
Recording their twenty-fourth consecutive high-goal win over the last two years, La Dolfina bowled over the competition in the Tortugas Open, the Hurlingham Open and the Argentine Open, equaling the back-to-back Triple Crown wins won by the legendary Juan Carlos Harriott and his 40-goal Coronel Suarez team in 1974 and 1975.
The win was the fourteenth (tenth consecutive) final in 15 years for Cambiaso, with the win, equaling North Santa Fe and El Trébol in third place for most winning Palermo Open teams, with 8 titles. Only Colonel Suárez (25 titles) and Hurlingham (15) have more.
La Dolfina and Ellerstina played evenly in the first two chukkers, tying it at 2-2 after the first and 4-4 after the second. Adolfo Cambiaso and Facundo Pieres were counted on to do the lion’s share of the scoring for the two sides and they didn’t disappoint.
Pelon got the party started with the opening throw-in, finding himself on the receiving end of a pass that he carried down the field for the first goal of the game, 1-0. Adolfo Cambiaso scored La Dolfina’s second goal of the game with Facundo Pieres converting a pair of penalty goals for Ellerstina for the 2-2 score.
Cambiaso opened the second period with a goal from the field in the opening seconds of play. Consecutive penalty goals from Facundo Pieres put Ellerstina in the lead, 4-3. Stirling closed out the chukker with his second goal of the game for the 4-4 deadlock.
Facundo Pieres added his fifth goal of the game in the third for a 5-4 advantage. La Dolfina responded with a pair of penalty conversions of their own from Cambiaso, 6-5, and ended the period with a goal from Juan Martin Nero that had La Dolfina in the lead by two goals, 7-5.
Gonzalito Pieres scored from 60-yards out midway through the fourth, cutting the La Dolfina lead to a single goal, 7-6, when their offense stalled. Ellerstina fouls sent Cambiaso to the penalty line late in the chukker with Cambiaso converting twice for a 9-6 halftime lead.
The two teams traded goals in the fifth with Cambiaso scoring on two penalty shots for goals. Ellerstina answered back with a goal from the field from Nico Pieres and a penalty goal from Cambiaso. The La Dolfina lead held at three goals, 11-8.
Goals were hard to come by in the sixth. Facundo Pieres scored his first goal from the field to cut the La Dolfina lead to two goals, 11-9. Stirling pushed the La Dolfina lead back to three goals, 12-9, with his third goal of the match.
Facundo Pieres cut the La Dolfina lead back to two goals, 12-10, in the opening seconds of the seventh on a penalty goal, but Stirling responded with a goal less than a minute later, 13-10.Cambiaso and Facundo Pieres traded penalty goals to end the chukker with La Dolfina holding on to the lead, 14-11.
There was no give-up in Ellerstina as they continued to press the attack in the final chukker. Well executed Ellerstina efforts and attacks were followed by missed scoring opportunities as the La Dolfina defense held firm. Facundo Pieres converted a short penalty shot at the 3:22 mark, but that would be the extent of the scoring on the day as La Dolfina rode off the field with the 14-12 win.
Facundo Pieres led all scoring with ten goals (nine on penalty shots). Gonzalito Pieres and Nico Pieres added single goals in the loss. Cambiaso’s nine goals (eight on penalty conversions) set the pace for La Dolfina. Stirling scored four times and was named MVP for his efforts. Nero added a goal for the victory.
Cambiaso’s Dolfina Cuartetera was honored as Best Playing Pony.