Week 9 brought a disheartening loss for the Seattle Rainmakers as they went up early only to lose to San Francisco once again due to some costly late-game errors.
Some Ultimate fans may have dismissed this game out of hand since both teams are already guaranteed to face off in the Western Conference playoffs, and it was even more unfortunate that both teams took to the field with shortened rosters – San Francisco’s Beau Kittredge, Mac Taylor, Martin Cochran, Ashlin Joye, and Russel Wynne are all participating on Team USA – but you wouldn’t know it from the raucous fans and the players who left it all on the field.
Seattle also had a small team, but even with their roster of only 16 active players (not to mention the missing coaching staff) the Rainmakers were still able to punch in some quick goals early on and take the lead 7-3 going into halftime. On defense, Matty Zemel, Adam Simon, and Reid Koss were able to get some significant Ds, but the Dogfish were often playing against themselves by turfing the disc, making errant throws and uncharacteristic drops.
The third quarter continued in much the same way, with offensive contributions from Danny Karlinsky, Matt Rehder, Zemel, and Bryson Uhrig-Fox, but as the Q3 clock wound down, the Dogfish began to close in on the visiting team with spectacular efforts by David Abram, Alexander Brammer, and Andrew Hagen, making it a very tight game going into the final quarter.
San Francisco took the first point in the fourth quarter to make it 11-9, and then disaster struck for Seattle when they dropped a pull, giving Drew Kim an easy throw from the goal line into Brammer’s eager hands. Soon the game was tied at 12s and then 13s, but even then Seattle hadn’t entirely lost their composure. It was only when the Rainmakers were stalled out that they began to panic, allowing the Dogfish to pull ahead.
When Seattle dropped yet another pull, this time with less than two minutes to play, even the home crowd groaned in disappointment. Matt Rehder was able to get a big grab in the end zone to make it 16-15 Seattle, and then made an even bigger play on defense, sacrificing his body to get the disc and injuring himself in the process. The clock stopped at 21 seconds, but the massive field at Kezar Stadium proved insurmountable with that scant time, leaving the Dogfish victorious and undefeated at home as the season wraps up next week.
This loss has Seattle reeling since this game was not only a match-up against their conference rivals, it was also a preview of the playoffs in both opponent and location. Seattle has one more week and two games to pull themselves together before the playoffs. Their final game will be one last chance against San Francisco, this time at home, to get back their mental game, refine their strategy, and accelerate out of the season, into the playoffs, and hopefully into the MLU Championship.