June 9, 2018 — After a thrilling OT loss to San Francisco the previous week, the Growlers needed to get on track versus the Spiders in San Jose. The bay area teams and San Diego were locked in a 3 way tie for second, so the winner of this game would create important playoff separation in the West Division.
San Diego received to start the game, scored, San Jose answered, and the teams traded once more. The Growlers seemed to struggle with the wind over the next several offensive possessions, and the Spiders made them pay with three breaks in a row to take the lead 5-3. Michael Tran stopped the bleeding with a backhand huck to Jake Gutkowski, but the Spiders bit right back with a hold. San Jose took advantage of another Growlers’ turnover and somehow managed to score on a buzzer beater for a 7-3 lead.
Dom Leggio’s block prevented a Spiders score to start the second quarter, then Josh Kohl assisted to a diving Marcel Osborne for the break, 7-4. The Growlers backed it up with another break when Sean Ham scored against his former team, but the Spiders held on offense next. The teams traded twice, then a Growlers’ first throw turn resulted in a Spiders’ break, 11-7. San Diego had another first throw turn, but held on O after Wes Groth got the disc back with a layout block, then Will Griffin fed Osborne for a break, 11-9. Both teams traded and San Jose took a 13-11 lead into halftime.
The Growlers began the third quarter with a floaty throw that was blocked in the endzone, and the Spiders proceeded to rattle off 5 breaks in a row for an 18-11 lead. After a timeout, San Diego finally got a hold and then Mark Slader got a block and assisted to Kyle Rubin for a late break, 18-13. The Growlers barely missed another break score at the end of the quarter on a deflected hammer as two players got tangled up.
In the fourth quarter, Will Turner fired the Growlers up with a huge layout block, then Travis Dunn hit Wes Groth for the break score. The Growlers followed up with another break before SJ held, and SD answered, 19-16. The teams traded, then a SJ turnover led to a Dunn to Aidan Hall connection for another SD break, 20-18. More trading ensued as time wound down and San Diego broke again to pull within 1 point, 21-20 with just 14 seconds remaining. The Spiders were able to complete a hammer over the top of the Growlers’ sideline double team and executed a couple more passes to run out the clock to hold on for the victory.
The Growlers were led by Wes Groth (3 assists, 3 goals, 1 defensive block, 2 turnovers) and Sam Fontaine (3 assists, 2 goals, 0 turnovers) with +5 performances, and Travis Dunn had a strong +4 game as well.
San Diego’s next home game is this Sunday, June 17, versus the Seattle Cascades at Mission Bay High School at 1:00 pm. At 4-6, the Growlers will likely need to win their next 4 games to qualify for the playoffs.