Originally created 09/22/05

Skeeterville moves closer to semifinals



AIKEN - Skeeterville scored early and often Wednesday morning as it defeated New Bridge, 9-5, to remain undefeated in the U.S. Polo Association's Gold Cup.

Lucas Monteverde scored four goals and Julio Arellano added three more as Skeeterville improved to 2-0 in the 26-goal tournament. New Bridge dropped to 1-1 in the event that features six teams battling for one of the top prizes in polo.

Skeeterville raced to a 7-1 halftime lead as it took advantage of a weakened New Bridge team that was missing Adolfo Cambiaso, considered the best player in the world.

Cambiaso flew home to Argentina to be with his brother, who suffered a serious injury while practicing for the Argentine Open. Cambiaso was replaced by Facundo Castagnola, who was held scoreless in Wednesday's match. New Bridge co-owner Russ McCall also stepped aside in favor of a professional, but the new players could not make up the difference.

"Obviously, not having the greatest player in the world doesn't help,'' said Skeeter Johnston, who scored two goals for the winning team. "But on the other hand, when they reconstituted their team they had four professionals against three pros and an amateur. I'm sure it's a different style of polo that they had to play.''

New Bridge was led by Matias Magrini, who scored four goals. Guille Aguero added one goal for the losing team. Cambiaso's status for Monday's game against Millarville is up in the air.

In Wednesday's second game, Miguel Novillo Astrada scored nine goals to lead Bendabout (1-1) to an 11-10 victory over Detroit Blues (0-2). Adan Snow scored six goals in the losing effort.

For Skeeterville, the key Wednesday was to attack early.

"We had a mediocre game the other day that kind of woke us up and we came out firing,'' Skeeterville's Owen Rinehart said. "We never really let up until we seemed to have control of the game.''

Skeeterville, which defeated Chukkerage 14-11 in its opener last weekend, is now in a good position to make the semifinals of the event. Each team plays three games in the event that is split into two brackets, and four teams will advance to the semifinals on Sept. 29. The championship game will be held at New Bridge Polo and Country Club on Oct. 2.

"I think mathematically anything can still happen. We'll have to wait and see,'' Johnston said. "We're certainly in a good position.''

Reach John Boyette at (706) 823-3337 or john.boyette@augustachronicle.com.