Derry Heir was prepared coming into Wednesday afternoon’s game against Woodlawn.
They had an idea of what their opponent might throw at them. A strong start coupled with speed and skill, allowed them to control the play early, a variable that would factor into the late stages of the game. Derry Heir would go onto post a 6-5 victory in the Wagener Polo Club Fox Nation USPA Masters Cup 6-goal.
The first goal of the game came by the way of a successful penalty conversion by Craig Fraser, with 3:06 remaining in the opening chukker. Derry Heir’s ability to win the majority of the bowl-ins early, provided them with a chance to create offensive opportunities, with consecutive goals by Will Donahey, in front of the goal mouth, and another by Eddy Martinez from the field.
Woodlawn would finally answer, scoring with 1:41 left in the half, on a successful penalty shot by Omar Cepeda.
However, it wasn’t as if Woodlawn was becoming entangled in the offensive zone, when they drove deep into their opponents territory, or didn’t have the necessary vision to create scoring opportunities. Derry Heir played with great confidence, and opened up a 5-1 lead early in the third chukker, with Fraser and Donahey scoring 2:05 seconds apart.
Woodlawn rallied, and it was Omar Cepeda scoring from the ensuing bowl-in. A methodical approach by Woodlawn would cut the margin to two goals as Phillip Staples scored his first goal of the game from the field.
“We went hard, and in the second half, they started getting some momentum,” said Martinez.
But, Derry Heir, whose fast start was redolent of a team making the transformation from solid to superior, wasn’t about to let the game slip away. Eddy Martinez’s goal 1:23 into the final chukker, gave Derry Heir a three goal advantage. Woodlawn would score two late goals, Phillip Staples from the field with 1:01 remaining in the period, and Lucas Arellano converting a penalty shot with 27 seconds left. Martinez went to Cepeda in the second half, marking his good friend, in an effort to try to neutralize Woodlawn’s quarterback.
“We made a couple of changes, and we had a couple of bad bounces,” said Martinez. “They took advantage of the scoring opportunities. They’re a team that can score a lot of goals quickly, and we tried to keep the ball away from them. We were able to maintain our Focus.”