Riptide Lose to San Diego But Win Over Surrey
by Kaiz Bhatia
Photos by Jeff Bell and Robert Engelbrecht
Despite having displayed some of their best offense of the season, in the end fatigue caused the Vancouver Riptide to fall to the San Diego Growlers in the two teams’ third AUDL matchup in less than a month.
Last Saturday, Surrey, an hour south of Vancouver, hosted its first ever AUDL game, featuring the Vancouver Riptide (1-9) and the San Diego Growlers (4-5). With the game being played in the heart of the historic Flower Bowl tournament, club teams who had been playing throughout the day slowly filtered in to watch the Riptide’s Home Away From Home game.
The game began with the Riptide on defense. The first point featured multiple turnovers from both teams, but the remainder of the quarter saw both teams playing patient offense and holding their offensive possessions. The highlight of the first quarter came courtesy of the Riptide’s Jordan Dhillon with a beautiful layout goal chasing down a huck from William Vu. The first quarter struggles on offense that had plagued the Riptide all season did not travel with the team to Surrey, and at the end of the quarter, the Riptide were tied with the Growlers at 6-6.
Both teams continued to play patient offense throughout the second quarter despite terrific defensive pressure from both sides. To the appreciation of the fans, during the second quarter the Riptide overcame that pressure to display some of the finest offensive flow that they have exhibited all season. The highlight of the quarter came from the Riptide’s offensive line playing small ball to work their way up the field before Anatoly Vasilyev connected with Gagan Chatha for the score. Chatha, being a Surrey local, had a large cheering section in the crowd that demonstrated their appreciation for their home town boy made good. The second quarter ended the same way the first quarter did, tied, with the score at 12-12 heading into halftime.
Break opportunities were rare in this game, and even when they came along the team that had turned the disc over would usually break right back, and that was the story of the third quarter. After a dropped disc from the Growlers, Fred Lam sent the disc to the end zone finding Edward Guo for the Riptide break, but a couple of points later a drop from the Riptide allowed San Diego to work the disc up the field and get their break back. The Growlers did manage to score one more break before the end of the quarter to lead the Riptide 19-18 heading into the final frame.
Down by one heading into the fourth, the Riptide knew they had to make a push early in the quarter if they wanted to get ahead. They opened the quarter with a quick offensive point that ended in a Surrey connection, Chatha to Dhillon, for the goal. The Riptide played hard on defense the rest of the quarter, but around the seven minute mark fatigue begin to become a factor for the home team. Many Riptide players had already cleated up for Vancouver’s Furious George during Flower Bowl early in the day, getting in 3-4 games of ultimate prior to facing San Diego. The tired legs from Vancouver allowed the Growlers to score two late breaks and take the game 25-23.
Gagan Chatha saw how having players play in Flower Bowl earlier in the day affected the Riptide’s performance.
“I felt like we were in the game the whole time, but we really didn’t capitalize on the chances we had early and it proved to be costly near the end of the game. When we did have the disc we couldn’t convert because we threw it away; which was most likely fatigue from the games almost everyone had already played at Flower Bowl.”
Jordan Dhillon really appreciated having Surrey as host for an AUDL game,
“Being from Surrey, I like the fact that a game was played here. There’s a lot of interest in ultimate around here and I know a lot of the younger players here really enjoy the games, and it’s a plus for them to be able to bring out their family and friends to see how the game is played. Home away from home games are always great, because this way we can bring the sport of ultimate to different communities that aren’t always exposed to it.”
“Personally I’m a big fan of Surrey hosting an AUDL game, because I’m from here,” added Chatha” “The fans are super passionate and we had a great crowd of people who came by after they had finished their games at the tournament.”
Riptide Manager Brian Gisel was also very pleased with how the game went, particularly with how quickly staff were able to set up for the game on fields that had just been used for Flower Bowl games.
“I had a lot of comments about how people were very impressed about a Riptide game just appearing out of seemingly nowhere. I think we had the perfect amount of fan engagement going on considering the crowd and location. It was very old school, and everyone was having a good time watching the game.”
The Riptide’s remaining home games will all be hel back in the friendly confines of Swangard Stadium. Next up, they face the Seattle Cascades on Saturday June 17rd at 6 p.m. You can buy tickets here.