Riptide Look to End Seattle Winning Streak
By Scott Lewis
As the Riptide look forward to hosting the Seattle Cascades at Swangard Stadium for yet another key AUDL match-up this coming Saturday night, you couldn’t blame them for looking back a bit to their thrilling 29-27 win over the till then unbeaten San Francisco FlameThrowers last weekend.
And what a game it was, with a bit of everything – many outstanding individual plays from members of both teams, a large and lively crowd in the stands, a forceful comeback by San Francisco thwarted by a resilient crew of Riptide players, not to mention a pair of odd refereeing decisions, fortunately one favouring each team, late in the fourth quarter.
It just might have been the game of the season for the entire AUDL.
There’s another reason for the Riptide to look back to last weekend when they prepare for Saturday’s game. The loss against Vancouver ended an eight-game win streak by the Flamethrowers, while the Cascades come into this game on a seven-game winning streak of their own, a streak which Vancouver would dearly love to consign to the same dustbin.
“After the final horn went to signal the win,” says Myles Sinclair, “the feeling I had personally wasn’t so much relief, but more reinforcement of the belief that we can do anything.”
“This year’s team is full of talent, but many of our players are young and less experienced than other teams, which has resulted in some narrow losses. This game illustrated to all of us, and I hope to the league, that we are a force to be reckoned with.”
One of the biggest problems all season for the Riptide has been a series of third quarter collapses, and the game against the FlameThrowers was no exception. At one point San Francisco reeled off four straight points to cut the deficit to one with the score 18-17, but the hard work the squad has been putting in all season developing their individual and collective mental resilience paid off, as the Riptide were able to regain their equilibrium and exit the quarter leading 20-18.
Another problem area for Riptide so far this season had been closing out games.
“The classic young team with a big lead vs. the experienced team that is never fazed and slowly chips away at the lead while the young team panics and crumbles under the pressure of the mighty favourites,” is how Morgan Hibbert describes it.
But this time, the fourth quarter was instead another demonstration of Vancouver’s newfound resilience. After San Francisco forced a break and tied it at 25-25, 26-26, and 27-27, the Riptide upped their defensive intensity to a fever pitch and were able to shut down one of the league’s most potent offenses the rest of the way to seal the 29-27 victory.
“Going into the late stages,” said Sinclair, “we captains and coaches urged the team on, telling them that we cannot have a late lull like we had had in the previous games that were lost late. And from that discussion the team rallied each other and jacked up the intensity.”
“The win really shows that we are one of the contenders in the West,” added Gagan Chatha. “It was huge for our confidence to finally get the monkey off our back and beat San Francisco, especially after a few close games against them.”
But even with all that newfound confidence, winning this Saturday’s match-up against their foes from across the border will be a difficult test for the Riptide.
“We are very familiar with Seattle, playing them at least a dozen times a year in various formats and competitions,” said Sinclair. “We have begun prepping the team at practice, but in the end, on game day it will comes down to who can stick to their game plan and force the other to play scrambled. In just about every game we play against each other, the winning team is the team that doesn’t have to change their plan, instead forcing the other to adapt.”
One hopeful note is that disc magician William Vu is hoping to be back from the ankle injury that kept him out last Saturday.
Given that a dozen Riptide veterans will be missing at least the next two games after this Saturday, mostly to compete for Canada in the WFDF World Championships in London, not to mention the LA Aviators lurking just behind in the race for the final West Division playoff spot, there will be an even greater need for the young guns to step up.
Based on what we saw last Saturday, they just might be up to the task.
Don’t forget that after the AUDL game is complete, some of the RIptide players will head abck out to the field to take part in the Vancouver leg of the Art Hawkins Great Candadian Ultimate Game. You can read more about it here.
You can buy tickets for the June 11th AUDL game and for the rest of the Riptide’s upcoming home games at Swangard Stadium here.