Riptide ready to crush Spiders
by Spencer Luyben
After a three-week break from action, the Riptide are set to host the big, bad San Jose Spiders in Week 10, Saturday, and will hope for a repeat-result after walloping the Spiders 31-24 in Week 7.
A surprising win to say the least, the shock factor consisted of many elements…
The Riptide were dwelling in the basement of the West division, and really showing no signs of compromise. The Spiders were the exact opposite. They were ripping up the AUDL, winning every game they had played up until that point – and by sizable margins with every outing. But the most interesting of the factors is that the Riptide were on the second half of a back-to-back, which is something AUDL teams have struggled with in the past.
The narrative of the game swirled around taking advantage of turnovers and poor executions, as the wear of the back-to-back seemed to settle in. The Spiders capitalized on every opportunity they were given throughout the first half, and climbed to a substantial lead.
Once the Riptide found their legs, however, the game’s metamorphosis began. It quickly turned into a heart-pumping thriller that kept fans on the edges of their seats as the two clubs traded points until the second half.
The flavours of the day quickly became layout bids and deep hucks as flawless execution and an undying will to win seemed to fuel both sides.
San Jose all-world talent Beau Kittredge reminded the Canadians of his elite status as his long strides continually powered through the Riptide D-line for visits to the end zone. His mouth-watering seven goals were a game-high and his production on defense was also on display as he knocked down three Ds – also a game-high.
In the end, the second-efforts produced by Vancouver on both sides of the disc provided the tipping point. They systematically flicked deep hucks to cutters striking across all angles of the field, and executed with precision. The Spiders played well at the end of the day, but the Riptide found an extra gear and simply played better.
Although their season has been choked full of success, San Jose is on the brink of a losing-streak as their offensive production has experienced a drastic decline. With goals-per-game totals averaging in the high-20s at the beginning of the year, the past month for the Spiders has been different.
At the beginning of May, San Jose began a Bay Area series wherein they matched up against all teams from the California coast. They went 2-1 during that span, but their goal scoring rate dropped to a surprising 20 goals per game on average: A significant divergence from their early season rate.
The game plan for the Riptide will likely rest almost solely on offense, given that the Spiders have been having trouble scoring and a heavy offensive style in what won Vancouver the game the last time these teams met.
The match will represent the second consecutive game the Riptide have played against San Jose, and will mark the conclusion of the season series between the two sides.
The Riptide have had a rather disappointing season – although their performances in their past few games have looked promising – and they surely would like to bring pride back to Vancouver.
If they want that to happen, they’ll have to rely on the surgical passing expected from youngster Kevin Underhill and Barrie, Ontario’s Joel Bellavance who has been a reliable cornerstone for the Riptide in key games.
Goal-scorers Gagan Chatha, who has been absolutely on fire in 2015, and currently rests in the fourth position in AUDL scoring, ‘Mr. Reliable’ Darren Wu and Andre Gailits, who seems to produce highlight reel-worthy plays every game, will produce. These guys never take a night off.
The real pressure will rest on the shoulders of the depth players – the Marc Leducs, the John Norrises, the Derek Fentons – and their play might determine the game’s conclusion.
It’ll be players like Rumi Tejpar, who noticeably stepped his game up against the Spiders in Week 7 and provided some critical plays that helped lift Canada’s coastal crew to victory, who need to find their extra gear and de-venom the Spiders’ attack for the Riptide to have a chance at winning and hopefully improve their position in the West.
The result of their preparation will be revealed on Saturday, June 13 at 6 p.m. at Swangard Stadium.