INDIO Following Fish Creek’s second-place finish in January’s 12-goal league, patron Fred Mannix retooled his green machine to up the ante, holding on to quarterback Julio Zavaleta and trading away Julie Roenish and Diego Cossio for Ashton Wolf and Augustin Zavaleta in his bid for February’s 14-goal title at Eldorado Polo Club.
His lineup paid off in Sunday’s match on the clubhouse field as the Zavaleta brothers paired up for four goals apiece to overtake Antelope Windsor 11-9.
Trailing 4-3 in the second chukker and tied at the half, Fish Creek jumped ahead by three in the first three minutes of the fourth. Augustin converted a penalty two shot on a right-of-way foul in the first 45 seconds. He bumped Antelope’s Mariano Fassetta following his No. 2 Diego Cossio, then connected with his backshot, sending the bouncing ball 60 yards through the uprights with 5:20 remaining. Out of the lineup at midfield, Fish Creek’s Mannix tapped the ball toward goal and Julio ran for the break hitting the mark on a 90-yard high-flyer.
Fish Creek’s defenseman Wolf put three goals on the board in the match and allowed no goals for Antelope in the fourth chukker. He scored back-to-back goals in the first, then threaded through the pack in the last minute of the sixth for a short offside bullet widening the Fish Creek lead to 11-8.
A surprise move by Antelope’s Geoff Palmer in the final three seconds narrowed the gap. He connected with Fassetta’s offside strike, averted Augustin’s hook attempt and scored on a short shot.
Antelope/Windsor’s lineup mirrored Fish Creek’s strategic mix. Both teams feature seven-goalers at No. 3, one-goalers at front and back, and strong ball handlers in the middle, though Cossio, rated at four goals, is bested by Augustin at five.
Diane Hensley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fish Creek 11, Antelope/Windsor 9
FISH CREEK: Julio Zavaleta 4, Augustin Zavaleta 4, Ashton Wolfe 3, Fred Mannix.
ANTELOPE/WINDSOR: Mariano Fassetta 4, Diego Cossio 2, Geoff Palmer 1, Pat Nesbitt 1, by handicap 1.