Photo by Rodney Chen – Ultiphotos.com

The Seattle Rainmakers (6-2) won a decisive game against the San Francisco Dogfish (1-6) and clinched their spot at the Western Conference Finals.

On a warm and somewhat breezy day in Berkeley, the Rainmakers beat the Dogfish with Seattle’s strong defensive line turning the disc and scoring with ease. The first quarter started out a little slow, with each team scoring three points. There were a lot of turnovers and some really long points, including one point that was almost two and a half minutes and one that was over three minutes. Seattle did not have their normal offensive handling line this game, missing Daniel Trytiak, Clay Dewey-Valentine, and Gavin McKibbenEddie Feeley and Chris Rupp were the main offensive handlers, and they used a quarter to get their feet under them.

In the second quarter the Rainmakers pulled away from the Dogfish, building a five point lead by the end of the quarter. Seattle outscored San Francisco seven to two in the second, and got five break points to San Francisco’s none. Rainmakers fans saw another demonstration of the defensive line’s scoring ability in the second quarter, with the mighty Seattle D scoring four break points in a row. At halftime the score stood 15-10. This was the turning point of the game, and Seattle never let San Francisco come within four points for the rest of the game.

In the third quarter the Rainmakers lost some speed, and the teams had an identical quarter scoring-wise with four points and one break each. Coach Kate Kingery has said that the Rainmakers are a fourth quarter team, and they certainly ratcheted up the intensity to prove her right this game. The Rainmakers scored six points and only let the Nighthawks score three, bringing the final score to a decisive 20-12 final score.

Evan Klein says that the Rainmakers played better in the second and fourth quarters because they were patiently capitalizing on their turns. “We found ways to maximize our turnovers in the later part of each half. We consistently forced the D’s/turns we were looking for, but struggled to capitalize early in each half. We were more patient late, and it helped us settle the disc and take easier throws,” said Klein. Henry Phan compared the Rainmakers to a classic car. “Think of our team as a 1970 Ford Mustang. Great car, takes a little bit to warm it up but when it’s hot – it’s hot and going hard in the paint.”

Seattle’s defensive line has made the difference in their six straight wins. In many of their games they’ve had the same number of holds as the opposition, and in this game they actually had one less – they had 10 points scored when starting on offense as compared to San Francisco’s 11 holds. The Rainmakers defense is good at forcing turnovers and then getting the disc over the line for the break point. Their Defensive Turnover Efficiency, or percentage of time that they forced a turnover on their first defensive possession, is 64% for all their games, the highest in the league. In this game, the Dogfish had a pretty comparable DTE to the Rainmakers, 58.3% to 62.5% respectively. The strong Seattle defense kept San Francisco from scoring when they started on offense, pushing San Fran’s Offensive Scoring Efficiency down to 45.8%, much lower than Seattle’s 83.3% OSE. Klein summed it up nicely when he said that, “[the Rainmakers] team D shut down so many of their primary looks that we were able to force a ton of throws into our poaches… Which helps with the stat line!”

The Rainmakers defensive line scoring prowess is highlighted by their Defensive Scoring Efficiency, or the percentage of time that they scored when starting on D. Their DSE for this game was 41.7%, compared to the Nighthawks measly 8.3% from their one break score. The Rainmakers have a very high DSE for the season; at 43.4% they are on top of the MLU, though they only lead the Portland Stags by 0.1%. Klein continued to rave about his teammates, saying that the defensive line is a scoring machine because, “we have a lot of cutters who can move the disc confidently and deep downfield. Myself, Cam BaileyDylan HarringtonMatt NeeleyJohnny Stacey, etc. can all move the disc well after we start upfield. Mix that in with amazing handler play by Henry Phan and a superstar in the making receiver like Trey Miller, and we have a bunch of potent fast break opportunities.” Phan quipped that the defensive line’s goal is, “to show the O-Line how to do their job.” He says the D-line tries to keep the coaches and fans happy. “Gotta give the people what they want and that’s defensive breaks.”

There were a lot of players out for this game. Twenty Rainmakers played in the game, but four played less than ten points, leaving a lean squad to play the Dogfish. Klein addressed this, saying “Honestly, games with low numbers are a ton of fun for me!… When you know you’re going to get to play three out of every four D points it takes a little pressure off. You’re able to relax, not worry about the last play and go back out and compete. It also helps with chemistry. Playing with the same few people gets you into a rhythm throughout the game. Our O line was also able to move the disc well and get crucial goals as needed all game, which took a lot of pressure off the rest of our short handed roster too. I’d of course love it if we had 20 healthy players every game, but an occasional game with 14 or so brings you back to your roots!”

Brad Houser says that the team is playing well together because the Rainmakers are, “trusting our players to make plays. Our trust has been building this whole season, and I think that is going to help us wrap up the season with a few more wins.” Houser has now had 40 points (goals & assists) for the season, coming in second in the league overall. He scored five goals, had two assists and one block this game. He says the secret of his success is that, “Peter “Tido” Ostergaard is just finding me in the endzone. I think some of our Tuesday night bobby-mo Goaltimate pods are really paying off.” Klein now has 30 points for the season after getting four assists this game. “My season high, 4 assists, is definitely a testament to our low numbers,” said Klein. “We were missing a ton of handlers, which meant I found myself more in a distributor than receiver role.” Other Rainmakers who had a great game include Todd Sliva, with two goals and three assists, and Phan, who had three assists. Luke Jesperson, Stacey, and Harrington also scored two points each, and out of the 20 Rainmakers playing, only eight didn’t score a goal this game.

The Rainmakers secured their spot in the Western Conference Finals with this win, which numerically ruled out the Dogfish from a playoff berth. The Makers will play the Stags in Portland on June 25th for the chance to travel east and play in the MLU Championship game. This is the third year in a row that Portland has made the playoffs, but they have choked the past two years, losing to the Rainmakers 17-16 in 2015 and to the Vancouver Nighthawks 14-13 in 2014. The last regular season game this year will be between Seattle and Portland, and it will be a game to watch. Have the Rainmakers improved enough over the season to avenge their two losses to the Stags? We will have to see the game to find out.

Next week is the Rainmakers will host the Dogfish for a rematch at Renton Memorial Stadium in a rematch of Saturday’s game. The theme of the game is Frisbee Formal, so make sure to wear your fancy and fun frisbee duds to the game! The Rainmakers will be partnering with All Girl Everything Ultimate Program (AgeUP), a Seattle nonprofit that teaches leadership skills to middle and high school girls through ultimate frisbee. Use the coupon code AgeUP for 20% off your ticket for the game and a portion of the sale will go to fund this awesome program.

The next game will be on Saturday, June 11th, 6:30 pm at Renton Memorial Stadium. Get your tickets here and remember to use offercode AgeUP for 20% off!

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