White Birch Farm (Santino Magrini, Hilario Ulloa, Mariano Aguerre and Peter Brant) became the first finalist in the 2015 East Coast Open with a comfortable 11-7 win over KIG (Bash Kazi, Valerio Zubiaurre, Mariano Obregon and Pelon Escapite) Wednesday morning at the Greenwich Polo Club.
Hilario Ulloa, the tournament’s leading scorer, blew the doors open early with and early goal he scored while eluding defensive efforts by Pelon Escapite, 1-0. A second goal from the field from Ulloa was followed by a goal from fourteen-year-old Santino Magrini on a pass from Mariano Aguerre to make it 3-0. KIG’s sole first chukker goal came on a tap in after Escapite drove a penalty shot from midfield to the apron of the White Birch goal mouth. White Birch overpowered KIN in the early going and held the lead, 3-1.
Mariano Obregon took advantage of a White Birch foul in the opening minutes of the second period and converted a 30-yard penalty shot for a goal, 3-2, but that would be as close as they would get. At the 5:02 mark Aguerre picked up his first goal of the game, 4-2. Ulloa took advantage of a botched KIG knock-in and drove in his third goal of the morning, 5-2, and then added another on a well-executed nearside neck-shot to make it 6-2. White Birch team captain Peter Brant launched an impressive cut shot from 25 yards left of goal that allowed Magrini to tap it in to end the chukker with White Birch riding a five goal lead, 7-2.
Escapite scored the opening goal of the third chukker cutting the lead back to four goals, 7-3. Aguerre came right back to answer the KIG goal with his second on the day for the five goal advantage. A number of blown opportunities kept KIG from closing the gap and White Birch rode off the field at the end of the first half on the winning end of an 8-3 score.
Obregon scored his second goal on the day with a 30-yard penalty goal in the fourth, 8-4, but White Birch answered right back with a goal from Ulloa who converted a 60-yard Safety to make it 9-4. A Penalty 1 was called against White Birch, which awarded KIG a goal and a bowl-in in front of the White Birch goal. White Birch was able to clear the ball from the ensuing throw-in, however, and the period ended with White Birch leading by four goals, 9-5.
Magrini scored the first goal of the fifth chukker on the nearside, 10-5. Valerio Zubiaurre took the following throw-in and raced 150-yards down the field for a KIG goal, 10-6. Magrini countered with his fourth goal on the day on a neck shot as he was galloping parallel to the KIG goal. The White Birch lead was back at five goals, 11-6, to end the chukker.
KIG continued to have offensive difficulties in the sixth with White Birch content to ride out the chukker. For the first time all game long, White Birch was held scoreless. Zubiaurre scored the only goal of the period in an 11-7 White Birch victory.
If there is a bright point to be made in favor of KIG it might be the fact that the tournament’s leading scorer, Ulloa, was held to only five goals after averaging over eight goals per game in his previous three games. Young Magrini scored four times with Aguerre adding a pair of goals for the win. Zubiaurre led the KIG attack with three goals. Obregon scored twice and Escapite was credited with a goal. KIG also received one goal on a Penalty 1.
In the second semifinal of the day Audi (Marc Ganzi, Juancito Bollini, Nic Roldan and Miguel Novillo Astrada) exploded for four first chukker goals. Nic Roldan scored the first goal of the day on a backhand pass from Marc Ganzi to make it 1-0. Miguel Astrada made it 2-0 on another downfield pass from Ganzi, 2-0. Juancito Bollini made his presence known by converting a nearside neck-shot to make it 3-0. Astrada scored the final goal of the chukker as Audi shutout the Airstream (Peter Orthwein, Guille Aguero, Matias Magrini and Michel Dorignac) attack throughout the first seven-and-a-half minutes of play and took a commanding 4-0 lead after just one period of play.
Ganzi scored his first goal of the game in second chukker action on a pass from Roldan, 5-0. An Audi foul gave Airstream their first goal of the game as Matias Magrini converted a 40-yard shot for a goal, 5-1. A foul on Roldan in the Airstream goalmouth resulted in a Penalty 1, awarding Audi an automatic goal, 6-1. Guille Aguero scored Airstream’s first goal from the field to end the second period with Audi in control, 6-2.
Roldan scored on a backhand pass from Bollini in the opening minute of the third for a five goals Audi lead, 7-2. Airstream was awarded a goal on a Penalty 1 following an Audi foul in their own goal mouth to make it 7-3. Roldan gave Audi their five goal lead back with his third goal on the day, 8-3. Penalty goals from Magrini and Michel Dorignac and closed out the chukker with Airstream cutting the Audi lead to three goals, 8-5 at the end of the first half.
American 8-goaler Nic Roldan was on fire when he came out on the field for the fourth chukker, scoring three consecutive goals that put Audi in front by six goals, 11-5. Audi had Airstream on their heels and continued to press the attack. An Airstream foul sent Astrada to the penalty lien with just 12 seconds left in the period where he converted the 30-yard penalty shot for a goal and a seven goal lead, 12-5 after four chukkers.
Airstream got a little offense going in the fifth. Aguero scored the first goal of the chukker followed by a goal from Magrini. Airstream cut the Audi lead back to five goals, 12-7. Roldan scored the final goal of the period on a nearside neck-shot. Audi continued to control the game, leading by six goals, 13-7, with one chukker left to be played.
Sixth period play saw Airstream stage a rally that needed them two straight goals. An Audi foul allowed Michel Dorignac to convert a 30-yard penalty shot followed by a goal from the field from Magrini. Audi continued to lead but Airstream were back to within four goals of the lead, 13-9. Astrada scored on a nearside back shot from Bollini to move Audi in front by five goals with time running out. Guille Aguero scored the final goal of the game as Audi captured a berth in the 2015 East Coast Open final with a 14-10 win.
Roldan led the Audi attack with seven goals. Astrada scored four goals (one on a penalty shot) and Bollini and Ganzi each added a goal. Audi also received one goal on a Penalty 1. Magrini scored four times for Airstream. Aguero was credited with three goals; Dorignac added two penalty goals and the team received one goal on a Penalty 1.
Twenty goal action continues at 10am on Friday, September 4 when McLaren Greenwich (Chris Brant, Nick Manifold, Joao Paulo Ganon and Tommy Biddle) meets Turkish Airlines (Bruce Colley/Joe Meyer, Joaquin Panelo, Tomas Garcia del Rio and Stevie Orthwein) in the Tommy B. Glynn Memorial Cup. The final of the 2015 East Coast Open between defending champion White Birch (Santino Magrini, Hilario Ulloa, Mariano Aguerre and Peter Brant) and Audi (Marc Ganzi, Juancito Bollini, Nic Roldan and Miguel Novillo Astrada) is scheduled to be played on Sunday, September 6 at 3pm. The game will be filmed by NBC Sports and will be broadcast on at 7pm on Sunday, September 13.