Riptide Lose Close One to Cascades
by Kaiz Bhatia
Photos by Jeff Bell
“We need to find a way to start games better. I don’t know what it is going to take but we need to start out and get through the first quarter at least tied.”
Those words were said by the Riptide’s Morgan Hibbert only a few weeks ago. Falling behind early in games has probably been the main reason behind Riptide’s poor record this AUDL season, and alas, the Riptide did it again this past weekend on their way to another close loss.
The Seattle Cascades (5-4) had made a quick trek north of the border for a tilt against the hometown Vancouver Riptide (1-10). Between the World Championships of Beach Ultimate taking place this week in Royan, France, and the preparations for the upcoming World Games, both teams were missing players.
Riptide mainstay Gagan Chatha, who had returned the week before from a long absence due to injury and World Games duties, opened the scoring for Vancouver by plucking the disc out of the air in triple coverage after a ‘know your receiver’ throw from William Vu, followed moments later by Peter Yu connecting with a wide open Jordan Dhillon in the end zone. But despite playing great offense to start the game, multiple turnovers by the Riptide, several of the egregious variety, allowed the Cascades to string together three breaks in a row to take the lead. The Riptide’s Alex Davis closed the quarter with a critical block followed by completing the bookends to score a buzzer beater, but after 12 minutes the Cascades still led the Riptide 6-5.
The Riptide came out of the gate firing to start the second quarter. Vancouver applied terrific defensive pressure, shutting down cuts in the lanes, and were calm and collected with the disc on offense. The Riptide were able to tie the game at eights scoring a break that came courtesy of a D from Fred Lam. Vancouver was also playing great red zone defense, causing Seattle to constantly have to reset the disc and forfeit yards, but at the half the Cascades were up on the Riptide 11-9.
The teams went score for score to start out the third quarter including sequences which featured Lam leaping for a goal and Joel Bellavance connecting with Dhillon to tie the game at 13s. However, more throwaways and unforced errors allowed the Cascades to score three breaks to close out the quarter and regain their lead at 18-15 heading into the final frame.
The fourth quarter was played very conservatively with both teams holding their offensive possessions. Despite playing well much of the game on both defence and offence, the Riptide were not able to get out of the hole they had dug themselves in the first quarter. The Cascades were able to score two late breaks to close out the quarter and the game, prevailing over the Riptide 24-19.
The Riptide’s Lam shed some light on what had caused the Riptide to turn the disc so much over on offense; a ‘pain now for gain later’ strategy that might have hurt their chances to win this game but will pay off in future games.
“Our focus in practice this week was to attack the break side of the field by intentionally making cuts there and taking the onus as throwers to work hard and hit that throw when someone gets open there. When we played with that mentality, we clicked, but we ran into trouble when we were inappropriately aggressive. Instead of working hard to take the risks we need to take to be successful, we sat back and forced risks that we didn’t need to.”
Captain Alex Davis, as always, is focused on improvement, on moving forward.
“We need to remind our players to know their roles and to share the workload. We cannot afford to cut corners on our long game. We also need to get back into the habit of reversing the field near the end zone. We looked reluctant to throw breaks around the marker, and we looked like we were trying to play offense on only one half the field. We need to get back to using the whole field.”
The Riptode may have suffered their 10th loss of the season, but they can take solace in the way the likes of Yu, Chatha, Dhillon, Patrick Church (five goals scored), and Kevin Greer had strong performances while doing their best to make up for the missing Hibbert, Brendan Wong, Toly Vasilyev, Rumi Tejpar, and Tim Tsang, among others. With the absences of key veterans Mario O’Brien, Donnie Clark and Mark Burton, strong showings from John Randolph, Brad Houser, Aldous Root, and Khalif El-Salaam allowed the Cascades to get the win this weekend.
The Riptide’s next home games will all be at Swangard Stadium against Los Angeles Aviators on Saturday June 24th at 6 p.m. You can buy tickets here.