April 30, 2016 — After a brutal loss a week ago to the first place SF FlameThrowers on April 23rd, the San Diego Growlers looked to get back on track as they hosted the Seattle Cascades at Balboa Stadium.
The Growlers were missing their head coach, assistant coach, plus 5 players due to College Regionals, but the next man up mentality was shared amongst the players on the field.
Seattle started the game on offense, and despite two highlight reel layout blocks by Pete Overright and Ben Clark, the Growlers could not possess the disc on the turn and the Cascades eventually struck first, 1-0. The Growlers turned it over on their next possession, which led to a Seattle goal, then finally managed to punch in their first offensive point, 2-1. Both teams traded offensive scores until the Growlers were broken twice in a row, 6-2 in Seattle’s favor. The Growlers held on their next O point, and Overright came up with another defensive block, quickly followed by a timeout to set up the last play of the 1st quarter. Just like it was drawn up on the sideline, Jesse Cohen threw to Travis Dunn in the end zone, who needed two attempts after the first deflection, but came down with the goal at the buzzer, 6-4.
The Growlers received the second quarter pull and scored with some nice offensive flow, then both teams traded several points until the Cascades broke again to pull ahead 10-7. San Diego scored on their next point with a great layout grab by Nate Bridges who dished to Kory Helms (out of retirement for 1 game) for the goal, 10-8. The teams would trade scores until an uncharacteristic drop (which started to become a theme) led to an easy Seattle score, 14-10. San Diego struck back with a Will Griffin forehand huck to Steven Milardovich to pull within 3 points, and avoided a last second threat by the Cascades to score before halftime, 14-11.
The Seattle Cascades were pulled to in the third quarter, and this marathon style point was probably one of the turning points in the game. The Growlers were unable to score the break point despite forcing multiple turnovers and wasted a huge Milardovich layout block, and were now down 15-11. Another costly drop on the next point led to yet another break by Seattle and they extended their lead to 5 goals. After both teams traded offensive points, Seattle broke the Growlers 4 times in a row to close out the quarter with a 21-12 advantage.
San Diego needed to make a big play to have any chance at coming back, and Jesse Cohen obliged with a great leaping grab plus dish to Brian Zid for the score, 21-13. The teams traded several scores but the clock was ticking and the Growlers were running out of time. San Diego never seemed to get in the flow of the game and were plagued by drops and throwaways, and eventually succumbed to the Cascades, 25-17.
The Growlers were led by Nate Bridges (1 assist, 3 goals, 1 turnover), Ben Eto (1 assist, 1 goal, 1 defensive block), and Steven Milardovich (1 assist, 1 goal, 2 turnovers, 3 defensive blocks), each with +3 performances.
San Diego will look to get revenge in the Pacific NW this weekend when they play the Seattle Cascades on Friday night at Memorial Stadium and the Vancouver Riptide on Saturday night at Swanguard Stadium. The Growlers next home game is Saturday, May 21st against their SoCal rival, the Los Angeles Aviators.