After the preseason tune-up against the Portland Stags two weeks ago, the Seattle Rainmakers are ready to bring it against their neighbors to the north.

With the first home game in sight, fans of Seattle Ultimate should be prepared for one heck of a matchup between their hometown team and their regional rivals, the Vancouver Nighthawks.

D-line cutter Sam Harkness, Seattle #9, anticipates that Seattle crowds “are going to want to see teams go punch for punch, not a knock-out in the first round. Like the Rainmakers, our fans crave competition, and I’m sure would love nothing more than to see Morgan [Hibbert] back up his talk to make for an amazing opening night.”

Vancouver players to watch will certainly include the three captains. Mauro Ortiz, #23, a dynamo handler who originally hails from Venezuela, is known for his deep looks, but he has more than enough experience to know when to holster the huck for possession’s sake. Morgan Hibbert, #8, should already be a familiar name as co-captain of the Nighthawks and smack-talker extraordinaire. Then there’s Oscar Pottinger, #25, whose “inexcusable cuteness” belies his staggering talent. Hibbert even called Pottinger “the most talented player on the team.”

Additionally, be sure to keep an eye on Kirk Savage, Vancouver #91, whose scoober (an upside-down throw designed to go over marking defenders) is already well known to Seattle players. But even beyond their star players, the Nighthawks have a formidable roster.

And don’t count out the Nighthawks coaching staff either. Andrew Lugsdin, Vancouver’s general manager and head coach, actually played on Seattle’s elite club squad for a year in the late 1990s, and Assistant Coaches Jeff Cruickshank and Gregory Shiring bring a wealth of experience to the sidelines. Still, with Ben Wiggins, “the best Ultimate coach in the world” according to Rainmakers GM Max Vitali, at the helm in Seattle and his first mate Andy Lovseth right behind him, the Rainmakers coaching team is no slouch either. Fans of both sides can expect strategy to play a massive role in the season-opening matchup between these two rival Ultimate cities.

“If our game can mirror the energy of our hometown crowd, it’s going to be an amazing game,” said Harkness.

The pull goes up at Chief Sealth Stadium (2600 SW Thistle St.) at 7 pm this Saturday. Season ticket holders should plan to arrive early to make sure they get their reserved seating before it is opened up to general admittance 15 minutes prior to game time. Single-game tickets are still available online, and will also be sold at the entrance up until game time.

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