May 6, 2016 — Looking to exact some revenge after a loss at home to the Cascades on Apr 30, the San Diego Growlers traveled to Seattle for their first ever Friday night game under the lights of Memorial Stadium.
The Seattle Cascades received the opening pull and completed several passes before being forced into a turnover, but San Diego failed to capitalize and surrendered the first score of the game, 1-0. The Growlers evened the count on their next offensive possession, and each team went on to trade 4 goals for a score of 5-5. San Diego earned the first break point of the game after forcing a turnover then going the length of the field with a couple highlight catches from Milardovich and Dunn to go ahead 6-5 at the end of the first quarter.
The second quarter saw San Diego catch the pull and complete several passes before Nate Bridges had a great layout catch, then eventually threw the up-line strike goal to Dom Leggio, 7-5. The Cascades struck right back by scoring on offense then battled to get their first and second break of the game to take back the lead, 8-7. The Growlers were up to the challenge as they scored on offense then forced a Seattle turnover, called timeout, and converted on their break opportunity to take back the lead, 9-8. The heavyweight boxing match continued when Seattle countered with another offensive score plus 2 breaks to go up 11-9. The second quarter expired before the Growlers had chance to score on their last offensive possession.
The Growlers pulled to the Cascades to start the third quarter, and after patient offense, they scored to go up three, 12-9. San Diego held on offense, then rattled off two defensive break points to tie the game once again at 12’s. Seattle answered back by scoring on offense and securing another break with a highlight reel catch in the corner of the end zone, 14-12. San Diego countered in the same exact fashion to tie the game at 14’s. The third quarter came to a close at 15 all after both offenses scores one last time.
The pivotal fourth quarter saw San Diego and Seattle trade offensive scores, then the Cascades changed the momentum with two breaks to pull ahead 18-16. The Growlers scored next and Milardovich got the leaping defensive block on the next possession, but a lucky bounce went Seattle’s way and they scored instead, 19-17. Both teams traded points, then Seattle got a huge layout defensive block in the end zone and went the length of the field to secure the backbreaker, 21-18, with only several minutes remaining. The Cascades added 1 more break to their tally and after the teams traded goals, the scoreboard showed 23-19 loss for the Growlers, a much closer contest than the final score reflected.
The Growlers were led by Dom Leggio at +9 (4 assists, 4 goals, 3 defensive blocks, 2 turnovers) and Nate Bridges at +5 (4 assists, 3 goals, 2 turnovers). San Diego will play the Vancouver Riptide at Swanguard Stadium on Saturday, May 7th.
May 7, 2016 — The Growlers made the 3 hour drive north across the Canadian border to take on the Vancouver Riptide on Saturday, May 7th on the grass at Swanguard Stadium.
The Riptide started the game with the disc, and they did what good offensive teams do, score first. The Growlers started strong as well, and after a couple offensive trades, San Diego had the first hiccup and Vancouver took the early lead 4-2. Both teams traded, then the Riptide took advantage of another turnover to break again, 6-3. San Diego scored next on a deep huck from Milardovich to Benton, then Will Griffin soared through the air to get the highlight layout defensive block on the next point. The Growlers worked the disc all the way to the end zone before a high stall turnover led to a Riptide goal the other way, 7-4. Dom Leggio stopped the early bleeding a bit when he found fast Max Hume on a long forehand, 7-5, and the first quarter ended before the Riptide could score on the next point.
The Growlers received the pull in the second quarter, but a questionable no call on the mark led to a Riptide break, 8-5. The teams traded scores, then 2 straight costly throwaways yielded 2 more Vancouver goals, 11-6. San Diego got back on the scoreboard after a long point with a couple turnovers and stoppages from each team, 11-7. The Growlers had a chance to get back in the game after defending a deep huck, but a careless turnover resulted in the Riptide holding on offense, 12-7. San Diego was unable to score on offense before the end of the second quarter, and some adjustments were needed during our halftime discussion.
To start the third quarter, Vancouver came out firing and scored on offense, and San Diego followed suit, 13-8. The teams traded again, and the Growlers earned a long awaited break score to pull within four, 14-10. One step forward, two steps back though, as the Riptide scored on offense then broke again to go up 16-10. The teams traded several scores, and Max Hume gained confidence as an unstoppable deep threat, but the Growlers were still down 18-13 at the end of the third quarter (despite an almost miraculous buzzer beater deflection).
The Vancouver Riptide started the fourth quarter with two straight scores, and the Growlers fought back with a goal of their own, 20-14. The teams would go on to trade several more offensive points, but this was definitely in the home team’s favor given their lead was so large. The point total for each team grew as the clock continued to tick down, but the margin always stayed at either 6 or 7 scores. The Growlers continued to put forth great effort but could not stop the Riptide on defense, and their offense had to work extra hard to score on offense (highlighted by Nate Bridges leaping over 3 Vancouver defenders for a goal). The final score was a 27-19 loss, a tough way to end the two game road trip.
The Growlers were led by Will Griffin (4 assists, 1 goal, 3 defensive blocks, 2 turnovers) and Max Hume (2 assists, 4 goals) with +6 each, and Jesse Cohen with a +5 performance (3 assists, 3 goals, 1 turnover).
San Diego will enjoy their first bye of the season then look to save their season when they host the Los Angeles at Balboa Stadium on Saturday, May 21st. If past games are any indicator of how this rivalry game will end, it’s sure to be close and full of drama and excitement!