Spiders win 28-24 in San Diego

Photos by Andrew Zill

The Spiders win a crucial road game against the San Diego Growlers to keep pace with the San Francisco Flamethrowers. The Spiders got off to an ominous start when the offense coughed up the disc on the first point and gave San Diego a break to open the game. But the o-line clamped down and the first quarter ended tied 5-5 with neither team coming up with another break. In the second quarter the d-line returned the favor breaking the San Diego offense to start the second quarter and the Spiders took a quick 1 point lead. A second break in the quarter would send the Spiders into the second half up 11-9.

The game was played in pristine conditions and let both teams play very clean offense. Despite the conditions, San Diego settled into a zone defense for part of the game but combined it with tight man on man defense against the Spiders handlers. The decision to attack the Spiders handlers was warranted considering the Spiders were missing 2 of their starting o-line handlers, Steven Chang and Justin Nordin. Sonny Zaccaro and James Yeager played brilliantly in their absence, combining for 6 assists, 95 completions and 1 turnover. Chuck Cao took over the role of center handler from Justin and led the team with 5 assists.

In the 3rd quarter both teams earned 1 break, but the Spiders were able to score on the final possession and extended their lead to 3 going into the final frame. The week prior, San Diego was able to come back from a 7 point deficit against Seattle to win 21-20. This game the Growlers closed to within 1 but with time running out, they had to take some chances to score quickly to try to tie up the game. The Spiders took advantage and went to a zone that forced a deep throw that was picked up by by the Spiders deep defender, Brandon Fein (his 5th block of the game). Matt Jaffe was also able to get a hand block on a hail mary huck attempt by Kevin Smith and the Spiders ran away in the closing minute to win the game by 4.

Top Performances
This was a break out weekend for AUDL rookie Shane Earley who led the team in overall contribution at +8 behind 7 goals. Shane has quietly been one of the best players on the team coming up with big catches and being mistake proof in every game. On the defensive side Brandon Fein once again led the team with 5 blocks while Andrew Moore got 2 D's as did AUDL rookie and international player Checho Perdomo. Evan Brydon had another turnover free game and ended the contest at +7 overall with 5 goals, and 2 assists.

Outlook
Coming into the game, the Spiders trailed San Francisco by 1 game. San Francisco lost to the Toronto Rush in Toronto as part of the AUDL's Cross-Coast Challenge. The Flamethrowers loss and the Spiders win ties the two teams at the top of the Western Division leader board. San Francisco holds the head to head matchup tie-breaker (point differential). The two teams will clash this coming Saturday, June 24th, giving the Spiders a chance to take over first place with 3 games remaining on the schedule. The Spiders will still be in a good shape in the case of a loss thanks to Saturday's win over the Growlers.

Come join the team at Foothill College Saturday on Yellow Sunglasses night. The Spiders will host the San Francisco Flamethrowers in the battle for 1st place. The first 300 fans will get a free pair of yellow sunglasses to beat the heat coming from the Flamethrowers sideline.

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