Photo by Scott Houghtaling – Ultiphotos.com
After playing five games against two opponents, the Rainmakers are getting ready to play the San Francisco Dogfish for the first time this season. Co-Head Coach Kate Kingery says, “We are looking forward to the challenge of playing a different team.” Peter Ostergaard is excited for the change. “I’m ready to switch up who we play, says Ostergaard. “Should be fun. I don’t know what to expect out of them, but we’re just going to play our game and get it done.” Brad Houser says that the team has been gelling more as the season progresses. “We have been trying out some different strategies, and we have really integrated our rookies into the team. Our trust for each other is developing, and it’s going to show this weekend,” says Houser.
Christian Brink, Eddie Feeley, Spencer Sheridan, and Jonny Stacey will be inactive for this game. Feeley’s handling abilities will be missed. Ben Wiggins and Julian Peterson, both handlers, are injured and are expected to be out for the rest of the season. Daniel Walton has been added to the roster to help the thinned out O line handlers, but he does not have a jersey yet so he won’t play this game. Evan Klein will be back in the game this week after missing last game, which will be a boon to Seattle’s offense. For San Francisco, Gabe Saunkeah is listed as probable to play, but a leg injury might keep the Dogfish’s number one scorer out of the game. The Dogfish will be missing handler Taylor Cascino, who is third on the team for assists. The Dogfish will fly up to play the Nighthawks in Vancouver on Saturday before heading down to play in Seattle on Sunday. The extra game and travel might make the Fish tired and sluggish, especially compared to the Rainmakers, who will be playing their first game in two weeks after a bye last weekend.
The Rainmakers struggled in their first two games of the season, going up against the division-leading southern rival the Portland Stags and falling short. Seattle started to become a more cohesive unit in their three game series against the Vancouver Nighthawks, and they won all three of those games against a team that’s rebuilding its talent base. This game versus the Dogfish will be interesting, as it promises to be very competitive. The Dogfish have lost three games this season, two to the undefeated Stags and one in the cross-division game against the New York Rumble last weekend. While the Rainmakers will not be playing the Rumble in the regular season, the game still counts towards the standings, and it dropped the Dogfish to a .250 record. The Fish have won the only game they’ve played against the Nighthawks so far.
Seattle and San Francisco have the same number of blocks this season at 58, though Seattle has played one less game. The Rainmakers have a lower turnover rate, 107 versus 128 for the Dogfish. Seattle has a higher Offensive Scoring Efficiency (OSE), or the percentage they score when starting on offense, at 60.8% to San Francisco’s 52.3%, and a higher Defensive Scoring Efficiency (DSE), at 39.3% to 32.4%. The Rainmakers also have a significantly higher Break Point Scoring Efficiency (BPSE), at 54.3% to 38.1%. This is all good news for the Rainmakers, as the Dogfish will have to work harder to keep up with the Rainmakers scoring prowess. The Seattle players will have to keep their heads in the game, though Coach Kingery has said that the team is working on their mental game.
The Dogfish are stronger than the Nighthawks but not as dominant as the Stags, and they and the Rainmakers are well-matched. Will Seattle’s renewed focus on the mental game, their bye week to rest, and their homefield advantage at Renton Memorial give them the edge over the Dogfish, who will be tired from their previous day’s game and travel by plane and bus? Watch the game in person or on livestream to find out!