Photo by Scott Houghtaling – Ultiphotos.com
The Rainmakers (1-2) played tight defense and hot offense to win their first game of the season against the Nighthawks (0-3).
The Seattle Rainmakers took on the Vancouver Nighthawks at the third annual Border Bid game in Mt. Vernon, WA on Saturday night. The first quarter started off slowly on the chilly spring evening, with Seattle and Vancouver scoring just three goals each, with Steve Gussin scoring twice for the Rainmakers in the first quarter.
Many of the Rainmakers had a long day of coaching before playing; Gussin, Eddie Feeley, Jonathan Masler, Clay Dewey-Valentine, and Assistant Coach Bert Abbott led youth teams at DiscNW’s Spring Reign youth tournament that started early in the day in Mt. Vernon while Cam Bailey and Evan Klein coached for the USAU D-III NW College Championship South of Seattle and drove up afterwards. Klein said that this affected their mental game in the first quarter. “It was tough, coming from Spring Reign coaching to then get mentally ready for this game. It was a home game that was on the road, so it was a little tough to get mentally focused.” Isaac Entz agreed that the Rainmakers were not really in the first quarter. “We were a little sloppy at the beginning, we were not ready to take it seriously,” Entz said.
The play in the first quarter got a little physical. Co-Head Coach Kate Kingery said, “The beginning was a little rough. It got a little chippy. Play was super aggressive. But fortunately I think the players and coaches realized that we all needed to tone it down a little bit and then it got a little more the way ultimate should be played.” The Rainmakers had a mental shift after the first quarter, and Kingery said that she told the players, “You can’t control the refs, you can’t control other players, you can only control your actions.”
In the second quarter, the Rainmakers stepped it up. Seattle pulled away from Vancouver and never let them come close to tying the rest of the game. In the first three and a half minutes of the second quarter the Rainmakers scored three points, including two breaks. Entz threw to Danny Trytiak and Matt Neeley found Bailey to start the second quarter off right. After a long back-and-forth point, Trey Miller had a long chase downfield but didn’t catch it in the end zone, so he dished it to Bailey for the score. On the next Vancouver possession there was a pileup near the 20 yard line and Luke Jesperson was knocked on his back. He eventually got up and walked off the field under his own steam, but it seemed to throw off Seattle’s flow. The Nighthawks and the Rainmakers traded points to end the first half with a score of 8-5.
The third quarter was significantly slower. The Rainmakers got two breaks to score the first two points. After a Nighthawks goal at 4:24 there wasn’t a score until 8:43, just four minutes of turnovers and errors. Todd Sliva did get a sweet footblock during this point, which was surely nice on his birthday. After the Rainmakers used their first time out of the half they refocused and used the half field pull to their advantage, Masler finding Trytiak in the end zone. The Nighthawks got a buzzer beater with two seconds left to end the third quarter with the Rainmakers leading 11-7.
In the fourth quarter the Rainmakers turned up the intensity and solidified their win. In the first half of the fourth quarter Seattle and Vancouver each scored three points, to bring the score to 14-10. Gavin McKibben had two assists, finding Peter Ostergaard and Brad Houser for scores. The Rainmakers shut down the Nighthawks, getting four breaks in a row and preventing the Nighthawks from scoring in the last five minutes of the game. Bailey and Klein proved to be a winning combination, with Klein dishing it to Bailey for a score early in the fourth and Bailey throwing to Klein twice for the score. Spencer Sheridan also tossed it to Klein for his third goal in the last five minutes of the game. Entz said that the Rainmakers hit their stride in the fourth quarter. “We finally buckled down and then the fourth quarter we were able to be solid, to not turn it over too much and put it in when we needed.” With eight points in the fourth quarter, Seattle won 19-10 against Vancouver.
Seattle has improved their Defensive Turnover Efficiency (DTE) in the first three games, from 18.8% to 60.9% in Weeks 1 and 2 versus Portland to 81% in this game versus Vancouver. They forced a lot more turnovers against the Nighthawks with their strong defense. The Rainmakers’ Offensive Scoring Efficiency (OTE), the percentage that they score when they begin on offense, was middling in the first two games, with 58.3% in the first game and a drop to 46.4% in Week 2. In this game against the Nighthawks they had a greatly improved 75% OSE with a hard-working offensive lineup.
The Rainmakers will meet the Nighthawks at home next Sunday at 4 pm at Renton Memorial Stadium. It will be the second game of a double header for the Nighthawks, who will play the Portland Stags in Vancouver on Saturday. Feeley says that the Rainmakers got some good intel about the Nighthawks during this game. “We haven’t seen [Vancouver] before, so it’s good to see them. Now we’re going to see them two more times in a row, so we got a little scouting information in. That will help us next time that we see Vancouver.” The Nighthawks had a reduced squad at this game, with nine players out. We will see how they do against the Rainmakers with a full team.
Get tickets for the next home game vs Vancouver on Sunday, May 1st at 4pm at Renton Memorial Stadium here.
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