The smart money, as usual, was on Ellerstina and La Dolfina last weekend in the Hurlingham Open. The takeaway from Saturday and Sunday was that the teams that should have won did. Ellerstina took La Ensenada 14-7, and La Dolfina blasted La Canada 22-6, securing their places in the virtual semifinals. The two big guns remain 3-0, as do La Aguada and Las Monjitas.
While impressive as always, the wins by La Dolfina and the “Z” weren’t the most interesting contests of the weekend. That distinction belonged to the Alegria-La Irenita (32 goals) and La Aguada (33) matchup. La Aguada has flourished in Hurlingham Open, playing an effective fast style of play that has given them victories over similarly ranked opponents, and that’s what happened once again Saturday. La Aguada won 12-7, leaving Alegria-La Irenita winless in the tournament.
It was a battle between two teams going in different directions. Early in the game it looked like the opposite scenario might play out, with Alegria-La Irenita controlling the game and using an effective attack. But foul trouble ultimately proved to be their downfall. After an even opening half, La Aguada dominated second half behind six penalty goals. Alejandro Novillo Astrada was the linchpin for La Aguada, with stunningly accurate 7-for-9 penalty shooting. Alfredo Bigatti was also active and provided a blast of energy to La Aguada.
LA ALBERTINA v. LAS MONJITAS
Coming off a strong performance against La Dolfina, La Albertina did a nearly identical encore performance Sunday, providing Las Monjitas with difficulties until late in the game. Las Monjitas started with the same fire that saw them dominate their first two games, but La Albertina showed its ability to hang in, and a 4-0 fourth chuker for La Albertina left the game tied at 6 at the half.
La Albertina produced no shots over the fifth and sixth chukkers. Yet despite the 6-goal handicap difference (Las Monjitas’ team handicap is 37; La Albertina 31), they kept a frustrated Las Monjitas team to 1-for-7 shooting over the same span. Late fouls for La Albertina and an impressive final chuker from Sapo Caset saw him add four goals to his total and carry Las Monjitas to a 13-10 victory.
ELLERSTINA v. LA ENSENADA
A dominant performance from Ellerstina was a bigger difference than the final 14-7 score indicated. Ellerstina led 11-3 at half, and their only slip-up was three fouls in third chukker that resulted in two penalty goals for Juan Britos. La Ensenada was held to just six shots in seven chukkers, while Ellerstina shot 10-for-14 in first half and completely relaxed the remainder of the game with the outcome already decided.
LA DOLFINA v. LA CANADA
Only so much can be said about this game, as La Dolfina dominated from the opening second. La Dolfina scored 11 field goals and 11 penalty goals and were never slowed. La Canada was held to zero shots through three chukkers, while La Dolfina built an 11-0 lead. The speed of La Dolfina left La Canada not just one, but probably two or three steps behind the entire game. La Canada was forced into 16 fouls, resulting in stellar 11-for-12 shooting from the penalty line for La Dolfina. The combo of Pablo MacDonough and Adolfo Cambiaso accounted for 16 of team's 22 goals.
As they head into this weekend’s virtual semis, Ellerstina will face La Aguada, while Las Monjitas gets another crack at La Dolfina after losing to them in the semis of Tortugas.
Photography: Helen Cruden