The transition plays with the horses were the defining factor.
Bottega came into Friday afternoon’s semifinal against High Ground with an unblemished record in the New Bridge USPA Knox Cup 12 goal. A victory would mean a rematch with Sonny Hill on Sunday in the finals of the tournament, a team they had defeated previously, escaping with an 11-10 win. Bottega would defeat High Ground 14-9.
Friday’s game would be a physical battle, both teams playing agressively, with an appearance in the finals at stake. High Ground, a roster featuring Joe Meyer, Sayyu Dantata, Nick Snow and Will Tankard, started the game with a goal because of the handicap differential. Bottega’s lineup was composed of Frank Stitt, Agustin Arellano, Whistle Uys and Adam Snow.
Joe Meyer would score the game’s opening goal, putting Bottega in an unfamiliar position, but for a team that had not lost coming into the semifinals, they were more than up to the challenge of finding ways to create scoring opportunities. Bottega’s response, three consecutive goals, Adam Snow shedding two defenders to score from the field, and then consecutive goals from Whistle Uys, the first from the field, the other on a successful penalty no. 2 conversion.
The second chukker provided Bottega the opportunity to showcase their offensive talents, and goals by Agustin Arellano and Whistle Uys created some breathing room, before Nick Snow answered back for High Ground with a successful 30-yard penalty conversion.
Joe Meyer’s second goal of the game allowed High Ground to get within one goal, but that was as close as they would get as Adam Snow would score from the ensuing bowl-in. Arellano and Snow would score on successive ensuing bowl-ins. Uys would cap the first half’s scoring with consecutive successful penalty shots. Bottega would hold a commanding 10-4 lead at the half.
“They played well, and they were scrappy,” said Adam Snow. Bottega. “They got the first goal out of the box, and they started with a goal on the board. It’s not fun being two or three in the hole. I think we did well in the transition plays with the horses.”
The second half would find Bottega altering their main focus from offense to defense, but they would strike first in the fourth chukker as Agustin Arellano scored from the opening bowl-in. Will Tankard would answer with a 60-yard penalty shot. It was a game of frustration for High Ground. They routinely attacked the offensive zone, only to have their shots go wide of the goal mouth and at times hit the uprights. Adam Snow increased Bottega’s lead to seven goals as he successfully converted a 60-yard penalty shot.
It was a team effort for Bottega, and their game plan was conducive to the players chipping in offensively, as they found themselves carrying a 13-5 lead early in the fifth chukker. High Ground made a mild rally as Nick Snow scored a natural hat trick. The teams traded goals in the final chukker.
Sunday’s final features two well-mounted teams, said Adam Snow.
“We’ve played them already,” said Snow. “They’re a very good team. The last time we played, we did very well in the first half, and they did well in the second half. It should be a good game.”