It’s something every team searches for, the quest for chemistry, to work well together.
And Sunday afternoon’s victory for Crestview was a direct reflection of that.
Their fifth chukker made the difference, as they scored four goals, a goal by each of the players composing the Crestview roster, providing them with an 11-8 victory over Upatoi Green in the New Bridge USPA Pete Bostwick Memorial 12 goal.
Upatoi Green did open the scoring on a successful penalty conversion by Alan Martinez, but Crestview’s playmakers began to flash their brilliance early, first it was Pelon Escapite tying the game, but it was also the mallet work of Santi Torres, his control of the ball, and the ability to take the ball the preponderance of the field at speed, eventually finishing the play with 38 seconds remaining in the opening chukker.
Each team seemed to give away momentum after a goal was scored, but there was never a sense of collective jitters on either team’s part, as the players didn’t have any problem creating offensive opportunities, and more importantly finishing them. And just as he did in the opening chukker, Alan Martinez scored the period’s first goal. Crestview’s answer was a goal by Alan Meeker, successfully converting a penalty shot from site of the infraction.
Crestview won the opening bowl-in of the third chukker, and Torres picked up his second goal of the game as a result of Escapite coming up with the ball to start the period. The goal just seemed to provide additional motivation for Upatoi Green as Alan Martinez scored from the ensuing bowl-in. There was never any doubt, and just as soon as Eddy Martinez began his swing, the sound of the mallet head against the ball suggested it was going to sail through uprights, and did so from 60 yards out to tie the score at 4-4. The uptempo game seemed to emphasize the teams skill and speed. Upatoi Green’s Tom Uskup scored on a long pass from Eddy Martinez. Pelon Escapite’s penalty shot toward a defended goal went off of several mallets and through the goal posts to make it a 5-5 game at the half.
The second half started innocently enough, but that all changed when Upatoi Green’s Tom Uskup returned the favor, and threaded a pass to Eddy Martinez, who proceeded to score on a breakaway. Crestview through hard work and patience, found Torres tying the game.
However, the fifth chukker was an elevated threshold of preparedness on the part of Crestview. Consecutive goals from Escapite, Pedro Manion, Torres and Meeker, created a four goal cushion. Upatoi Green would eventually answer back with a goal from Alan Martinez.
“We saved our best horses for the end, and that always seems to help,” said Escapite. “We sent Pelito (Manion) to Alan, and he did a good job marking him. He put on a lot more pressure, and opened up the field for us, so we had more scoring chances.”
The Crestview roster not only survived it thrived, and the final chukker saw Escpite and Uskup trade goals.