Spiders washed away in Tide
The Vancouver Riptide came into Sunday’s game against the San Jose Spiders having made some mental adjustments following their loss the night before in Seattle against the Cascades. They now sat at a disappointing season record of 2-5, but had spent a bus ride home mulling over the game. Sunday, however, would become a huge transformation for the Riptide starting with how they warmed up (there was definitely a soccer ball on the field), to how they called lines, and the energy that was sustained throughout the entirety of the game. How fitting that this game was sponsored by Stunner of the Month, as it would turn out to be one of the biggest upsets in the AUDL Western Division.
San Jose flew into Vancouver dressing a roster of sixteen, including stalwart stats leader Beau Kittridge, but missing key players Ashlin Joye and Russell Wynne. However, this didn’t seem to faze their team as they started on offense and gained four consecutive goals within the first few minutes of play. The Spiders’ defensive lineup were eager to pounce on any miscommunication or imperfect execution from the Riptide, punching in goals after a throw gone too far, or after a disc caught just out of bounds.
This was not the way that the Riptide intended this match to go, and they quickly collected themselves on and off the field. Receiving the disc, the Riptide would get their first point onto the board with a beautiful flick huck from Mark Leduc to Darren Wu. Darren Wu was not without a fan club at the game, and they had a lot to cheer for as he left the ground to snatch the disc from the sky.
Then the tide started to turn, with Vancouver converting San Jose turnovers into scores until the first quarter ended with the Riptide trailing the Spiders 4-6.
As the 1st quarter progressed it was clear to see the Riptide were developing an energy on the field that would be carried into the second quarter. Vancouver’s defensive line used their conversion speed to tie the game at sevens. From there each team’s O-line would score, with the teams trading points until Mark Leduc intercepted the disc downfield. Alex Davis proceeded to find Myles Sinclair in the endzone to take the game to 12-11 – the Riptide had taken the lead for the first time this game halfway through the second quarter.
Sechelt native Malcolm Bryson brought home a backhand rip from Kevin Underhill to bring the score to 16-13. Riptide’s Ryan Sun also showed his speed on the field as he stayed tight on bail defense and made an exciting heads up play, creating a turnover with a poach D on a throw from a desperate San Jose handler. The buzzer to signify the end of the second quarter would sound as with the scoreboard reading 17-14 Riptide leading, and the fans on the edge of their seats.
The second half of the game boasted some of the most exciting plays of the year, as it became clear that neither team was willing to concede a victory. San Jose made up for some lost ground with layout D’s and quick upfield movement for scores, with Norden, Johnson, Kittredge, and Rasmussen using their speed to contribute to the Spiders’ points. The Riptide, in turn, capitalized on Spiders’ errant discs and would work the backfield patiently until connecting with receivers in the endzone.
After San Jose took the first point out of the second half, the Riptide O-line floundered momentarily, but quickly regained possession and Underhill sailed a flick bomb to a striking Connor McFadyen. Even with defense right on his back, McFadyen ripped the disc out of the sky much to the joy of the Riptide home crowd! The score was 18-15 for the Riptide, and the gap would only increase from there. Vancouver’s defensive line took the field fired up from the last point. A long throw from Myles Sinclair to Fred Lam would result in a spectacular grab over his defender for the score. Vancouver’s defensive line was running fast and strong, and it wouldn’t stop there: Erik Hunter chased down a huck curving in from the sideline, and reached just far enough to brush the disc away from the San Jose receiver. The 3rd quarter would end with the Riptide leading the Spiders with a score of 24-19.
The fourth quarter brought lots to celebrate for the Riptide, and not just from the usual playmakers that appear on the stats board. This game saw massive plays across the board, from both rookie and veteran players. It was truly a shift in team mentality that brought forth the best in the team.
Vancouver quickly racked up three points at the start of the fourth, bringing the score to 27-19. Joel Bellavance made his presence known on defense as he ran down a huck and made a massive block to put the disc back in Riptide hands. Later in the fourth, Leduc would make a catch that would stun the crowd – even though it wasn’t a Stunner throw he was catching – after Vancouver’s tight defense allowed Davis to make an athletic defensive bid on a disc being thread through the middle of the field. Quickly, the Riptide capitalized on this play, and continued on with their own string of breaks. The disc swung to the sideline, and seeing the wide-open green space ahead, #81 Rumi Tejpar released a backhand huck to for a striking Leduc. The Spiders’ Kittredge peeled off his own check and quickly gained yards with his long strides, but Leduc would come up with the score- beating his own defender and Kittredge, and somehow getting his hands on the disc first. You can watch the replay of Tejpar’s huck to Leduc here.
Just making a repeat play to show that he could, Sun had a second run-through D late in the fourth with just under ninety seconds left in the game. The Riptide would show their patience moving the disc the width of the field to find an easy connection in the endzone for the point. As the final minute of the fourth ticked by, the San Jose Spiders picked up speed, connecting a deep shot to their receivers, and even quickly converting on a handblock D to bring their own score to 24. They were starting to close the gap. But it wouldn’t be enough and the Riptide would hold a seven point spread, with the buzzer sounding as 31-24 flashed across the scoreboard in favour of the home team.
Riptide would finish this weekend with results of 3-5 in regular season while the Spiders experienced their first regular season loss, 7-1. Come see the Riptide as they play their next home game! The game, presented by Steamworks, will take place at Swangard Stadium at 6pm on Saturday June 13th.
Get your tickets today!