California VS the ‘Tide: the story of our season
This weekend is a busy one for the Riptide, with a game in Califorinia on Saturday followed by their final home game tomorrow at Swangard. As the Riptide warms up for their final contest against the Flamethrowers this afternoon in San Francisco, I have a moment to reflect on last weekend’s game. The Riptide’s penultimate home game was bright and sunny, and there was a great crowd out to host the San Jose Spiders last Saturday evening.
Always the underdog in this matchup, hopes were still high after their last 25-26 loss against the Spiders, in which the Riptide led most of the game. Additionally, this game was do-or-die for the Riptide’s playoff hopes, so fans were hoping for a show of home team heart. San Jose brought their top squad up for the match, with their top line completely healthy and present unlike many of their games this season. Vancouver, on the other hand, was missing some of their biggest stats leaders in Fenton and Guo, and arguably the core of their offence in Ryan Lee. With these three players off the roster, Vancouver would have to put out a perfect game to beat the Spiders.
As the first quarter started, the speed of the San Jose offense was immediately evident. The Spiders put four points on the board before Vancouver had a chance to react, looking fast and strong. However, it was popular Richie Tam who started to turn the tide, putting Riptide on the scoreboard after some patient offence.
The first four points aside, it was not a bad first half for the Riptide. There were moments of brilliance on offence and defense, with Gyorgy Aponte playing excellent defense and Max Hunter gaining a couple ‘double happiness’ points in which he got the D and threw the assist. Points were traded for the remainder of the 1st quarter, and though San Jose gained a couple more breaks before half, the six point lead did not seem insurmountable. Kevin ‘Krock’ Lore, though playing without his usual handling partner Ryan Lee, still managed to help Riptide get their offence moving and competitive with the Spiders. He was supported by ‘PY’ Lavertu, who kept the game exciting with some well-placed, sharply angled hucks and solid bids for up-line throws.
After half, though the Spiders began to run away with the game, Riptide never gave up pushing. Stunners were thrown, with one notable stellar bid by Ryan Sun for a cross-field hammer which had the crowd pumped. Additionally, this game we were finally treated to some serious chemistry between captain Graham Landon and Matt Harvey. Harvey had his best game of the season thus far, second in plus-minus only to Darren Wu, and receiving two points in the end zone from Landon in the second half. His second catch was a show-stopper on top of two Spiders defenders which made this week’s highlight reel, much to the excitement of the kids he coaches, who were in the stands.
Despite these exciting plays, the Spider’s lead was decisive and almost incontestable by the time the 3rd Quarter ended, and the Riptide never tightened their bench. However, both teams maintained their intensity, making the game exciting to watch until the very end. The final score was 25-37, nearly contesting their own league record of most points scored in a game earned in early April. Though this meant an end to the Riptide’s playoff hopes, spirits are still high this weekend as the boys get pumped for their final double-header weekend.
Follow @riptidegameday later this afternoon to see if the Riptide can upset the Flamethrowers in their last hurrah in Califorina. Every game between these two teams has been close, and with nothing to lose, the Riptide may pull out a victory for some California redemption. Let’s get pumped for tomorrow afternoon, as the Riptide face Seattle in what should be an exciting game at 3pm at Swangard Stadium. As it will be the final home game, it isn’t one to miss! Now is your final chance to come out and witness the chemistry I have been talking about all season. Come for AUDL assist leader Derek Fenton, and the speed of Aussie Tim ‘Dingo’ Lavis. Come for the young guns, for Einer Lim, Will Vu, Darren Wu, and Edward Guo, and come for the defensive star power of Hunter, Baker, and Aponte. Most of all, come for the stunners.