Riptide Caught in Spiders’ Web
By Kaiz Bhatia
Photos by Jeff Bell
On Saturday April 29th, the San Jose Spiders (4-1) made the trek north of the border to take on the Vancouver Riptide (0-4). The Spiders were coming into Vancouver following a dramatic buzzer beater 27-26 victory against the Seattle Cascades the night before.
Once again the Riptide were shorthanded. Five of their veterans were in Medellin, Colombia with Team Canada in preparation for the World Games in July. In addition to much of their veteran core, the Riptide were also without some of their rookies, who were just south of the border in Walla Walla, Washington competing at the USAU College Northwest Regionals representing the University of British Columbia and the University of Victoria.
For the second weekend in a row, the Riptide were rained on, conditions that held throughout the course of the game. Vancouver came out of the gate slowly, allowing the Spiders to break on the first point of the game. The teams then traded scores until the Spiders were able to string together three breaks in a row, all courtesy of Riptide throwaways. Still, the highlight of the first quarter came from the Riptide’s Kevin Greer on a possession saving layout grab after the initial throw had been tipped by a San Jose defender. Alas, after that the Spiders were able to score two more breaks to close out the quarter leading the Riptide 9-4.
The Riptide offense started showing some signs of life early in the second quarter when Peter Yu connected with Samson Hoy in the end zone to finished a point that featured some of the best offensive flow Vancouver has exhibited this season. However, more lackluster play involving throwaways and dropped discs plagued the Riptide’s offense for the rest of the quarter.
Fortunately for the home team, fatigue was becoming evident for the Spiders after a hard fought game the night before. After a first quarter with only two turnovers, the Spiders turned the disc over eight times in the second quarter, but due to their inconsistent offense Vancouver was unable to take full advantage of the opportunities the turnovers presented them. At half time the Spiders led the Riptide 15-10. The highlight of the quarter came from the Riptide’s Alex Davis, who racked up two terrific poach blocks in the latter half of the quarter.
The third quarter was played more conservatively, with both teams converting most of their offensive possessions. The Riptide defense was able to generate a few turnovers but were unable to convert those turnovers into breaks due to unforced errors (drops, throwaways, and even a couple of stalls). The highlight of the quarter came from the Riptide’s Ty Barbieri rising for a block just outside the Vancouver end zone and then coming within a few feet of a Double Happiness by boxing out his opponent and making a great catch after sprinting the length of the field. You can see the play here.
At the end of the third the Spiders led 21-15.
The fourth quarter was more of the same. Both teams were calm, cool, and collected with the disc, scoring points with few turnover. The highlight of the quarter once again came from the Riptide’s Alex Davis exploding for a layout block which eventually led to a Riptide break. But even wit solid offensive play, the Riptide were unable to get out of the hole they had dug for themselves in the sloppy first quarter. The game certainly entertained the fans but ended with the score San Jose 28, Vancouver 22.
Following up their dominant performances last weekend against the Seattle Cascades, the Riptide’s Tim Tsang and Ty Barbieri were again outstanding against the Spiders. Tsang ended the game with three goals, five assists, and three blocks, while Barbieri finished with three goals, an assist, and three blocks. Standouts for the Spiders included Justin Norden with two goals and eight assists and Evan Brydon with six goals and three assists.
The Riptide’s William Vu rued the errors that allowed the game to literally slip out of their grasp.
“We had our chances in this game but we just didn’t capitalize on them,” said Vu. “We had a bunch of drops and communication errors, our end zone offense was a mess and our offense in general was very stagnant and was clogging the middle of the field. Nothing clicked for us on defense. We let their handlers do whatever they wanted and we didn’t put that much pressure on their offense.”
Teammate Tim Tsang was equally disgruntled with his team’s performance.
“We had a poor start which forced us to play from behind right from the start, and against a strong San Jose team, opportunities to claw back and close the gap come at a minimum. Our slow start resulted in a deficit we were unable to overcome, even though we had strong second, third, and fourth quarters.”
“A weakness of the Riptide, past and present, is putting together a complete four-quarter game at the beginning of the season,” continued Tsang. “We are certainly a young team with many things to learn, but as we only have 48 minutes to prove ourselves against our opponent, we need to ensure that we are working together and executing to our greatest potential for each minute. On defense, we know that we aren’t going to stop everything every time, but we need to do a better job at re-positioning and re-adjusting in order to limit opportunities and force the opposition into more difficult situations.”
You can watch highlights of the game here.
The Riptide will try to notch their first win of the season this weekend when they travel to California for a doubleheader against the San Diego Growlers and the Los Angeles Aviators.
The next home game is on Saturday, May 13th against the San Diego Growlers 6 P.M at Swangard Stadium.
You can buy tickets here.