By Alex Webbe
Six time’s a charm for Villa Del Lago (Jim Zenni, Carlucho Arellano, Hilario Ulloa and Agustin Obregon) as they captured their first 20-goal Herbie Pennell Cup in six final appearances in a 12-9 win over Postage Stamp Farm (Annabelle Gundlach, Brandon Phillips, Mariano Aguerre and Kris Kampsen) Sunday afternoon at the International Polo Club.
“Is this our sixth time, seventh,” asked Jim Zenni, the elated Villa Del Lago team captain.
For the previous five years, Villa Del Lago fought their way into the club’s opening tournament final only to go away with a loss, but not this year.
In a sluggish opening chukker the two teams plodded through a defensively-oriented period, following a goal from Villa Del Lago 10-goaler Hilario Ulloa. Agustin Obregon made it 2-0 with the only other goal in the chukker as Villa Del Lago took the early lead.
A 30-yard penalty conversion from Ulloa at the 6:11 mark of the second chukker put Villa Del Lago on top 3-0 before Postage Stamp Farm got on the scoreboard. Kris Kampsen connected on a pair of 40-yard penalty shots that had Postage Stamp Farm trailing by a single goal, 3-2. Carlucho Arellano scored on a pass from teammate Ulloa on the ensuing throw-in, 4-2. Brandon Phillips converted a 30-yard penalty shot for the final goal of the chukker and a 4-3 score.
Nine-goaler Mariano Aguerre opened the third period with a tying goal, but Ulloa responded with force. Consecutive goals from the field had Villa Del Lago in front by two goals, 6-4. Phillips scored on a pass from Annabelle Gundlach for the final goal of the chukker and a 6-5 score
Villa Del Lago owned the fourth period. Arellano gave Villa Del Lago a 7-5 lead in the first twenty seconds of the chukker. Ulloa added two more goals while a miserly defense held Postage Stamp Farm scoreless. After four periods of play, Villa Del Lago sat on top of a four-goal, 9-5 score.
The two teams exchanged goals in the fifth with Phillips opening the scoring on a well-executed nearside shot through the Villa Del Lago goalposts, 9-6. Goals from Ulloa and Obregon had Villa Del Lago in front, 11-6. Phillips cut the Villa Del Lago lead back to four goals, 11-7, on a 30-yard penalty goal.
Ulloa stretched the Villa Del Lago lead to five goals, 12-7, in the sixth with a 40-yard penalty conversion. The clock continued to run as Postage Stamp Farm tried to claw their way back into the game. Kampsen followed up a run by Aguerre with just 2:31 left in the game, and Aguerre scored on an impressive 90-yard shot for the final goal of the game in a 12-9 Villa Del Lago victory.
“The horses went great for me today,” smiled a satisfied Carlucho Arellano.
“Julio always says (Carlucho’s older brother) that he would rather have his horses at their best than the player,” said Margarita Arellano after the trophies were awarded.
Ulloa led all scoring with eight goals (three on penalty shots) and was named MVP. Arellano and Obregon scored two goals apiece for the win. Philips led the Postage Stamp Farm attack with four goals (two on penalty conversions). Kampsen scored two of his three goals from the penalty line and Aguerre added two goals in a losing effort.
Aguerre’s 10-year-old mare, Machitas Manitoba earned Best Playing Pony honors. Machitas Manitoba was played by Aguerre in the fifth chukker.
Postage Stamp Farm team captain Annabelle Gundlach admitted to a being a little nervous in her 20-goal debut on IPC’s stadium field.
“I was really pleased with my horses today but can’t help but think of all of the things that I need to improve in my game. I had a great time today.” Surrounded by her mother and daughters, a smile crossed her face despite the loss.
Villa Del Lago and Postage Stamp Farm will have a short week as they are scheduled to play in the opening games of the Joe Barry Memorial Cup on Wednesday, January 4th. Villa Del Lago is slated to face La Indiana (Michael Bickford, Jeff Hall, Mike Azzaro and Ruki Baillieu) in a noon contest with Postage Stamp Farm taking the field against Coca-Cola (Gillian Johnston, Julian de Lusarreta, Julio Arellano and Del Walton) at 3pm.