Communication and patience were the key variables Saturday afternoon for Las Chiquitas as they defeated Hotlanta 16-9 to win the Aiken Polo Club's Ladies Arena Tournament at Hilltop Farm Arena.
Las Chiquitas came out strong applying the pressure against Hotlanta as they were down 2 goals because of the handicap differential. Meaghan Scanlon opened the game's scoring with the first of her 6 goals. Tess Pimsner who had scored 16 goals in the tournament's first two games, scored consecutive goals on penalty shots, and Courtney Asdourian gave Las Chiquitas a 4-2 lead with the first of her two goals. But, Las Chiquitas was not without their problems as they gave back a goal having a penalty no. 1 called against them late in the period, with the goal being awarded to Lacey Safonous.
"The whole game, I was trying to think patience and communication," said Asdourian. "That kind of helped Meaghan and I play well off of each other today. We had a lot more plays where I could call it off or back it to her, or where she could back it to me. Tess is obviously our driving force offensively. We need her for our penalty shots. I thought the whole team did their job in playing their role."
The second chukker was no different as Las Chiquitas created and capitalized on a series of opportunities, playing as a team and taking advantage of the openings. And just as she did in the first chukker, Scanlon opened the scoring in the 2nd period, picking up her second goal of the game. Tess Pimsner added her 3rd goal of the afternoon, again on a successful penalty conversion, and Asdourian continued her strong play with consecutive goals to give Las Chiquitas an 8-3 lead. Hotlanta would finally answer late in the period on a goal by Jolie Liston, who had to work to beat several defenders, but would score on a near side shot to reduce the deficit to 4 goals going into the half.
"I kind of wanted to hang in the back playing defense, being patient, being the eyes of the field and talking to everybody," said Asdourian.
However, the momentum did shift in the 3rd chukker, and it was Hotlanta who was on fire, scoring 5 times, and they would go onto tie the game at 9-9 late in the chukker on a goal by Lacey Safanous. Liz Holson scored the chukker's first goal to reduce the deficit to 3 goals, Jolie Liston would score from the field to continue the offensive frenzy, a penalty no. 1 was awarded to Hotlanta's Safanous to reduce the lead to 1 goal. A successful penalty conversion by Pimsner would give Las Chiquitas a momentary lead, but a goal from the field by Safanous would even the score between the two teams. Scanlon broke the tie with her 3rd goal in the game heading into the final chukker. Safanous' horse Peloosa was selected as the game's Best Playing Pony.
The momentum quickly changed as Las Chiquitas made several adjustments during the final chukker including lining up differently on penalty shots allowing the team to get to the rebounds off the boards more quickly, said Asdourian. Las Chiquitas scored six goals from the field while holding their opponents scoreless. Scanlon scored 3 times, Pimsner twice and Asdourian added her 4th goal.
"We spread out, so we weren't sucked into plays," said Asdourian. "Overall, I think we needed to keep our heads on, and not get so clumped in."
Asdourian was selected as the game's Most Valuable Player, but thought one of her teammates was very deserving.
"I think Meaghan did the most offensively and defensively," she said.