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By Alex Webbe The murky lineup for the quarterfinals of the 2012 Nespresso US Open championship at the International Polo Club in Wellington came into focus Thursday evening after the final four games of the initial rounds of play were concluded. Victories by Lechuza, Zacara, ERG and Orchard Hill defined the playoff positions for Sunday's Nespresso US Open quarterfinals, with four high-goal matches slated for the day. The opening match of the day saw the return to the field of Valiente II's injured 10-goal superstar, Adolfo Cambiaso (fractured bone in the back of his mallet hand), who scored a goal in the first chukker but left after the first two periods of play. The match was an opportunity for Cambiaso to play a couple of chukkers of match play before returning to the lineup for Sunday's quarterfinal competition. Pelon Stirling got Valiente II on the scoreboard with a goal from the field in the first thirty seconds of play, 1-0. Sapo Caset retaliated with a pair of goals to put Lechuza Caracas on top, 2-1, but Valiente II wasn't thru yet. With just over three minutes left in the chukker, Cambiaso scored to tie it up at 2-2, and two minutes later team captain Robert Jornayvaz scored to end the chukker with Valiente in front, 3-2. The pace was languid, even with four of the world's eight 10-goal players on the field (Cambiaso, Stirling, Nero and Caset), as Lechuza Caracas shut out the Valiente II offense in the second period. Victor Vargas tied it up at 3-3 with his first goal of the game followed by another goal from the field by Juan Martin Nero. The second period ended with Lechuza Caracas holding a 4-3 advantage as Cambiaso slid out of the saddle for the Duration of the contest. With 6-goaler Pablo Spinacci joining the Valiente II lineup, the blue-shirted Denver based team went on the attack. Disciplined defense kept Lechuza off of the scoreboard while well-orchestrated teamwork saw Jornayvaz score three unanswered goals to put Valiente II ahead at the end of the first half, 6-4. Three goals from Lechuza Caracas in the fourth chukker tied it up at 7-7. Facundo Obregon scored the first goal of the period for Lechuza Caracas 6-5, with Alejo Taranco registering a goal for Valiente II, 7-5. Consecutive goals from Vargas ended the chukker with the score knotted up at 7-7. Caset opened the fifth period with a go-ahead goal, 8-7, for Lechuza Caracas in the opening minute of play, but Valiente II fought back. Taranco tied it up at 8-8 before teammate Spinacci gave them a one goals lead, 9-8 to end the chukker. Caset tied it up, 9-9, in the opening seconds of the final chukker on a goal from the field, and Vargas put them in front, 10-9 with his fourth goal of the game. Stirling converted a 40-yard penalty shot for a tying goal, 10-10, for Valiente II. With three minutes left in the game, Caset broke through the Valiente II defense to put Lechuza on top, 11-10. With a minute left to play, Caset converted a penalty shot for the final score of the match in a 12-10 Lechuza Caracas victory. Caset and Vargas led all scoring with five goals apiece. Teammates Obregon and Nero added single goals in the win. Jornayvaz set the pace for the Valiente II team with four goals. Stirling and Taranco scored two goals apiece and Cambiaso and Spinacci each scored a goal in the loss. Only two penalty goals were scored in the match, with Caset and Stirling each notching one for their respective teams. ZACARA 11, VALIENTE I 9 Valiente I needed a win over Zacara to avoid playing stable-mate Valiente II in the quarterfinals of the 2012 Nespresso US Open, but that wouldn't happen. Zacara rode out to an early 3-1 lead in the 1pm contest, and never trailed. Miguel Astrada led an early Valiente I attack, scoring the opening goal and putting his team ahead, 1-0, and leading his teammates up and down the field in hopes of growing an early lead that would carry them to victory, but Zacara had other plans. Ten-goaler Facundo Pieres scored three consecutive goals (two from the field and one on a penalty conversion) to end the chukker with Zacara in possession of a 3-1 advantage. Both defenses tightened, but Valiente I continued to display more drive as attack after attack was turned aside by the Zacara defenders. Two minutes into the game, Miguel Astrada converted a penalty shot for a Valiente I goal, 3-2. Facundo Pieres answered back with a 40-yard penalty shot just before the end of the second chukker for a 4-2 lead. Mike Azzaro extended the Zacara lead to three goals, 5-3, in the third, and a goal from teammate Magoo Laprida had Valiente I trailing by four goals, 6-3. Back-to-back goals from Polito Pieres in the final two minutes of play ended the chukker with Zacara ahead, 6-4 at halftime. Facundo Pieres opened the second half with a quick goal from the field, 7-4, but Valiente I was getting its offense back on track. Consecutive goals from Nacho Astrada Miguel Astrada cut the Zacara lead to a single goal, 7-6. Laprida and Miguel Astrada traded goals in the final minutes of the chukker with Zacara guarding a fragile 8-7 edge. The Zacara defense denied wave after wave of Valiente I offense while nabbing single goals from Azzaro and Facundo Pieres. The fifth period ended with Zacara leading by three goals, 10-7. Polito Pieres go Valiente I on the scoreboard in the opening minute of action with a goal from the field, 10-8, but that was where it effective ended. Valiente I struggled to find a successful scoring combination and a rarely awarded Penalty 1 (a free goal) was awarded to Zacara when they were fouled in the mouth of the Valiente I goal while attempting to score, 11-8. Polito Pieres managed a face-saving goal in the final minute of the game for an 11-9 Zacara win. Facundo Pieres was credited with six goals (one by penalty) on the day. Laprida and Azzaro added two goals apiece and the team received one goal by penalty. Polito Pieres and Miguel Astrada scored four goals each for Valiente I. One of Miguel's goals came on a penalty shot. Nacho Astrada added one goal in the loss. ERG 13, ALEGRIA 10 In a choppy first chukker that witnessed missed penalty shots by both teams, Alegria managed to ride out to a 7-6 halftime lead before collapsing in the second half that allowed a 13-10 ERG victory and their elimination from the field in the 2012 Nespresso US Open tournament. With a healthy lineup and Marcos Alberdi filling in for Scott Wood at the Number 1 position, ERG moved out in front, 2-1, on a pair of penalty goals from Agustin Merlos. Tomas Garcia Del Rio managed a single goal from the field for Alegria. Three more goals from Agustin Merlos were countered by three goals from Alegria in the second period with Del Rio converting a penalty shot for a goal and Julian Mannix and Mariano Aguerre scoring single goals from the field. The ERG lead held at a single goal, 5-4. Del Rio opened the third chukker with a 60-yard penalty conversion to tie it up at 5-5. ERG's Paco de Narvaez responded with a goal from the field just a minute later, 6-5. Julian Mannix and Fred Mannix chipped in single goals, and Alegria left the field after the first half with a 7-6 lead. The ERG offense exploded in the fourth, with Sebastian Merlos leading the hit parade with a pair of goals from the field and brother Agustin Merlos adding a pair of goals on penalty shots. De Narvaez scored once from the field as they sat on top of an 11-8 score. Del Rio accounted for the only Alegria, converting a 40-yard penalty shot. Two more goals from Agustin Merlos in the fifth were answered by a single goal from Fred Mannix as ERG stretched its lead to four goals, 13-9. ERG was in total control of the game in the final chukker as they contained nearly every Alegria scoring effort. A final goal from the field from Del Rio ended the game with ERG celebrating a 13-10 victory, eliminating Alegria from play. Agustin Merlos led all scoring with nine goals (four on penalty shots). Sebastian Merlos and de Narvaez each scored a pair of goals. Del Rio set the pace for Alegria with five goals (three on penalty shots). Fred Mannix scored three times and Julian Mannix and Aguerre scored single goals ORCHARD HILL 7, LAS MONJITAS 5 Orchard Hill scored a 7-5 win over Las Monjitas in a low-scoring game that launched Orchard Hill into Sunday's 2012 Nespresso US Open quarterfinal play and eliminated Las Monjitas from this hears competition. Lucas Criado gave Orchard Hill the first goal of the game from the field, but Inaki Laprida managed to tie it up before the end of the first chukker, 1-1. Orchard hill added three unanswered goals in the second chukker with 10-goaler Pablo MacDonough, team captain Steve Van Andel and Mariano Gonzalez adding single goals for the 4-1 lead. A scoreless third period had both teams missing shots at goal and on passes to teammates. After three chukkers of action, Alegria limped to the sidelines, trailing by three goals and having only one goal of offense to show for three periods of play. Las Monjitas team captain, Camilo Bautista, scored the team's first goal of the second half, 4-2. Criado added his second goal of the game, but a final goal from Javier Astrada cut the Orchard Hill to two goals, 5-3. The two teams exchanged goals in the fifth with Criado scoring for Orchard Hill and Laprida registering a goal for Las Monjitas. Orchard Hill continued to lead, 6-4. Las Monjitas couldn't get anything working for them in the final period of play until 10-goaler Eduardo Astrada finally broke through the Orchard Hill defense to score. MacDonough ended the scoring with a goal from the field for the 7-5 win. Criado registered three goals for Orchard Hill. Macdonough scored twice and Van Andel and Gonzalez added single goals in the victory. Laprida led the feeble Las Monjitas attack with two goals. Bautista, Eduardo Astrada and Javier Astrada added single goals in the loss. Quarterfinal play is scheduled for Sunday, April 15 with Audi (3-1) opening with ERG (2- 1) at 10 am; followed by a match between Lechuza Caracas (3-1) and Orchard Hill (1- 2). Valiente I will face-off with Valiente II at 2 pm; and Zacara (3-0) will meet Coca-Cola (2-2) at 4 pm.