July 15, 2017 — Having just been eliminated from playoff contention a week before, the Growlers looked to play spoiler as they traveled north to Occidental College to face the Aviators. LA needed just one more win to become playoff eligible, but San Diego was ready for this rivalry game.
The Aviators came out of the gates firing with an offensive hold and a break, San Diego recovered, but LA scored on O and broke again to take a 4-1 lead. After a Growler hold, ex-Aviators Dan Bellinger and Jeff Silverman had layout blocks which led to San Diego’s first break, 4-3. Both teams traded twice before the Growlers registered their second break to tie the game at 6-6. With one possession left in the 1st quarter, LA’s last second Hail Mary huck was caught in the end zone after a deflection, 7-6.
After a San Diego score to start the 2nd quarter, the Growlers secured another break (thanks to Casey Wu’s interception) to take their first lead 8-7. LA tied the game, but the Jesse Cohen to Travis Dunn connection worked for the third time as the Growlers regained the lead. The Aviators battled back by holding, SD did the same, and LA once again found some magic at the end of the quarter with another goal as time expired, 10-10!
LA started with the disc in the 3rd as both teams traded two scores, the last of which was highlighted by Sean Ham’s layout catch in the end zone, 12-12. The Growlers broke on the next possession as Kyle Rubin caught his first score as a Growler, but the Aviators tied it up again. After a SD hold and break, LA countered with the same combination, 15-15. With time winding down, San Diego held on O, then Jeff Silverman launched for another layout block, which led to a great toe drag catch from Mark Slader as time expired, 17-15.
The score at the end of 3rd was a huge momentum shift, especially since San Diego started with the disc in the 4th quarter and scored to extend their lead to 18-15. Both teams traded, then the Growlers took control by capitalizing on three straight break chances, the last of which saw Will Turner find Dave Ritchie for the 22-16 lead with just 3:49 remaining. The Aviators inched back and scored two straight, but the possessions took too long and there just wasn’t enough time. No buzzer beater was needed as the game ended 22-18 in the Growlers favor as they split the season series with LA (2-2). Highlights from the game can be seen here.
Travis Dunn led the Growlers with a +7 night (5 assists, 5 goals, 1 defensive block, 4 turnovers) and Jesse Cohen also had a huge game with +6 (4 assists, 3 goals, 1 turnover). Special recognition goes to Jeff Silverman who dialed in the defensive launch codes with 4 tremendous blocks (3 coming by way of highlight worthy layouts)!
The Growlers final home game of the season is this Friday, July 21st versus the San Jose Spiders at Mission Bay High School. San Jose is still fighting for a playoff spot so come join us at 7 pm as we aim to play spoiler again!