Spiders edge out Riptide at home 18-19.

Photos by Alex Ho

When the last place team in the division is on the road against the top ranked team in the division you don't expect a lot of fireworks and a down to the wire game. But a rough start to the first quarter by the top ranked San Jose Spiders led to a match that stayed close the entirety of the game and ended in a 1 point win for the home town team. The Spiders started the game on D and were able to stop Vancouvers offense twice before Tyler Grant called a time out and subbed in the usually steady Justin Norden led O-line. But instead of racking up assists Justin tallied two turns on miscue hucks and Vancouver eventually capitalized with a hold that took 5 minutes off the clock and felt more like a break given the long time that the O-line was on the field.

With the offense tired from the first point the Spiders D-line was tasked with scoring the first Spiders goal but they came up short again and Vancouver was up a break 2-0 early. The Spiders offense was finally able to break through on the next possession on a throw from Sonny Zaccaro to Evan Brydon. But the Spiders were still down a break and Vancouver started to settle in, scoring on their next possession to maintain their 2 goal advantage. Now that the Riptide had gained some early confidence and momentum the Spiders were in for a struggle for the rest of the game. By the time the first quarter ended, the Spiders had only scored 2 goals, with the last goal coming at almost the end of the quarter.

The Spiders were able to turn it around in the second quarter, scoring 6 goals and tying the game at 8's by the end of the half. Brandon Fein and Mike Dirda contributed with the defensive stops (1 of 5 blocks by Brandon in the game) while Shane Earley was catching everything thrown to him. Matt Jaffe also got involved in the scoring by San Jose catching a huck in a crowd before throwing the assist to close out the quarter.

In the third quarter both teams traded scores and the Vancouver stars fought hard to keep the Riptide in the game. Vancouver's Morgan Hibbert made two amazing layout catchs including a ridiculous snag on a hammer for a goal. And Vancouver's Anatoly Visiliev displayed some arial acrobatics to get a layout block and layout catch to keep the disc alive for the Riptide. For San Jose it was Brandon Fein who kept the team in the game, getting a layout block that led to a bookends goal for the Spiders and a sky block late in the quarter.

The Spiders would go into the 4th quarter with the slight edge, starting on offense with the score tied at 13 each. Justin Norden finally started to connect on his scoring throws as he threw three of his six assists in the fourth quarter. He got a lot of help from team mate Jackson Stearns who was able to scoop a long bladey pass from Justin just inches off the turf for a goal. Vancouver was still getting opportunities to capitalize on San Jose mistakes but they were coming up just short, including an amazing catch attempt by Fred Lam that brushed off Fred's finger tips. Now, with just 2 minutes left in the game, the Spiders were receiving up 1 point. As the point ground away and the clock fell below 1 minute, the Spiders went to a strictly possession offense and ran out the clock on Vancouver's hopes for a comeback.

Aside from Brandon's 5 blocks, the Spiders had a team effort on D with 9 other players each generating 1 block. Despite being challenged by Vancouver's toughest defender in Morgan Hibbert, Justin Norden was able to continue his hot assist marks, throwing 6 assists in the game to lead the team. And despite his 4 throw aways, he was still completing 93% of his passes. Shane Earley and Andrew Moore both had strong showings on offense, combining for 7 scores without throwing any turnovers.

With the win, the Spiders remain in first place in the Western Conference. They get a much needed bye this week before they host their second match against the LA Aviators June 3rd, 7:00 pm at Foothill College. The Spiders were able to easily dispatch the Aviators last week but as we've learned from last nights game, anything can happen and there are no easy opponents in the West. After that the Spiders have 2 huge home games left in the season so mark your calendars. On June 24th the Spiders host their Bay Area Rival the San Francisco Flamethrowers, the only team that has beaten the Spiders this season. And on July 14th the Spiders host the 2016 Western Conference Champion Seattle Cascades who were able to beat San Francisco on the road last week. These two games are sure to be two of the best games of the season.

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