June 17, 2017 — In the midst of a heat-wave on Saturday, fans from around the region made the trip south to Balboa Stadium to watch the SoCal Women’s Showcase game: Team Surf vs Team Sand. This Showcase game featured 36 talented athletes, mostly from San Diego and Los Angeles, to help unite the SoCal scene and bring more visibility to women in ultimate.
Team Sand started the scoring when Shar Stuht threw her patented hammer to Stephanie Pritchard for the goal, but Team Surf equalized with a nice huck from Shira Klane to Alyssa Perez, 1-1. Dena Elimelech earned Surf the first break of the day with bookends, Sand countered, but Surf pulled ahead on the next point, 3-2. The teams traded scores before Surf took command with 2 breaks in a row, highlighted by Vivi Mai’s inside laser throw to Kristen Pojunis, 6-3. Brenda Stevens assisted to Jorie Moore to get Sand back in the game, but some quick offensive Surf flow and another break sent it to halftime, 8-4.
The second half began with Sand and Surf trading offensive scores, but after a turn, Surf surged ahead with a sweet backhand assist from Julia Johnson, 10-5. Brittany Cabriales assisted on a score for Team Sand, but Surf was relentless, and Sharon Tseng scored to remain ahead 11-6. Team Sand struck back with a goal from Melissa Archer and a great layout block from Lindsay Lang, but Dena Elimelech somehow grabbed the disc before it hit the turf, and Samantha Zyck hucked to Alexa Cohen for the 12-7 lead. Cynthia Thomas connected with Jenny Morris for an offensive goal, and after a Surf turnover, Maggie Morrison found Myisha Tarvin, who made a terrific second effort toe drag catch, Sand down 12-9. Not to be outdone by her teammates (after another Surf turnover), Erin Crider toed the line and eventually Annie Ngo converted the break with a layout catch, 12-10. Team Surf and Team Sand traded scores, and Surf closed out the game with 2 more breaks, ending the game on a hammer throw for the goal, 15-11. Highlights can be seen here or you can watch the entire game here.
After the Showcase game concluded, San Diego looked to keep their scorching win streak alive against the second place San Jose Spiders. The Growlers came out of the gates hot with a break to start and had a great chance for another, but just barely missed out, 1-1. Each offense took over and traded several scores until San Diego had a couple more golden break opportunities only to fall short. The first quarter came to an end knotted up at 5’s.
San Jose turned the tables and started the second quarter with their first break, the teams traded 2 scores, and then the Spiders broke again to take the lead 9-7. Patient offense from both sides resulted in several trades and a 14-12 San Jose lead going into halftime.
Maintaining the first half theme, the Growlers pulled the disc and converted a break to inch within 1 score, 14-13. The back and forth offensive trading resumed until late in the third quarter when the Spiders broke on a marathon point to pull ahead by 3 scores, 20-17.
Bucking an earlier trend, San Diego scored on O to open the 4th quarter, but San Jose held despite a great layout block from Steven Milardovich on the next point, 21-18. The Growlers and Spiders both held on O before San Jose registered a critical break to take the biggest lead of the game, 23-19. Josh Kohl fed Jesse Cohen for an offensive hold, then after a SJ turn, Sam Fontaine dished to Nate Bridges for the break with 5 minutes remaining, 23-21. After a couple more trades and a Spiders stall, San Diego called timeout and Milardovich’s hammer to Travis Dunn was true and brought the Growlers within one, 25-24. Unfortunately, the Spiders next score ran the clock down to a minute left, leaving the Growlers no choice but to take quick, risky chances that didn’t work out and resulted in a 28-24 loss.
With a pair of +6 performances, Matt Parisi (3 assists, 2 goals, 1 defensive block) and Steven Milardovich (3 assists, 3 defensive blocks) led the Growlers in a losing effort. Sean Ham (3 assists, 3 goals, 1 turnover) was solid as ever with a +5 game as well. Click here to watch the game highlights!
San Diego will host their SoCal rival, the Los Angeles Aviators, on Saturday, July 8th in yet another crucial game with huge playoff implications. The Growlers will likely need to win their last 3 games in order to qualify for the West Division playoffs, so they will need even more support and another big fan turnout.