Photo by Rodney Chen – UltiPhotos.com

The San Francisco Dogfish lost to the Portland Stags, 15-12, in their second game of the season at Yellowjacket Stadium.

The Dogfish trailed the Stags by one or two points throughout the first half. Portland charged ahead early in the third and had San Francisco down by five points with 4:14 remaining in the quarter. The Dogfish rallied back to score four in a row, and entered the fourth quarter only one point behind. The Stags answered with a couple of runs that put them four points ahead of the Dogfish. With less than a minute remaining the Dogfish scored, but the clock ran down, leaving the Stags with a three-point lead and the 15-12 win.

Like last week, David Abram got a block in the first point and a layout block later in the quarter, sending notice about San Francisco’s intentions on defense. Sam Adamson (2 assists, 2 blocks), Andrew Hooker (2 assists, 2 blocks) and Andrew Goldstein (2 assists, 1 goal, 2 blocks) reinforced that missive.

“I thought the defense on both our O-line and our D-line played spectacularly,” said Dogfish defensive handler James Yeager. “The other team wasn’t comfortable, they didn’t really want to play against us.”

On offense the Dogfish had a few drops and several errant throws, despite the best efforts of team captain Jackson Stearns (2 assists), Drew Kim (2 assists), James Sheridan (3 goals, 1 block) James Pollard (2 goals) and Evan Boucher (1 assist, 1 block).

Once again the wind sent throws unexpectedly long, short and vertical. The Stags had some success with their long game but were a bit stifled on their short game against the Dogfish defense, resorting to hammers and risky decisions. When they relied on the capable hands of Dan Suppnick (3 assists), Matt Melius (2 assists) and Tyler Cable (2 assists) in the backfield, and Peter Woodside (1 assist, 5 goals), Timmy Perston (2 assists, 2 goals), Cody Bjorklund (1 goal) and Raphy Hayes (1 goal) to keep things moving upfield, however, the Stags demonstrated they can play more than just the deep game.

The first quarter was characterized by hucks, hammers and layouts, with two, three and three, respectively. Both teams seemed to be testing out the wind and each other before settling on a predictable formula. With a fairly even showing, the Stags led at the end of the quarter, 4-3.

An unbelievable 12 turnovers dominated the third point of the second quarter, indicating how much both teams upped the intensity but not necessarily the execution. For six-and-a-half minutes Portland and San Francisco racked up three blocks, three throwaways, two drops, a foul and a stall. The Stags got that goal and gained a two-point lead to end the quarter 6-4.

The Stags continued their fortune into the third quarter, scoring the first three goals and eventually leaping five points ahead of the Dogfish. After scoring a goal, San Francisco turned up the heat on defense. Hooker got a block and threw a hammer for a score, Adamson got a block on the next point which the Dogfish converted and Goldstein sprinted the length of the field to intercept the Stags’ first throw off the pull. The run left the Dogfish down by only one at the end of the quarter, 9-10.

In the fourth quarter the Stags answered the Dogfish run with two two-point runs of their own. Although San Francisco’s defense remained strong, some miscues on offense left them with little time to overcome Portland’s widening gap. The Dogfish scored the last point of the game with 15.4 seconds remaining, but the Stags finished with the win, 15-12.

Despite the loss, Yeager said, “I feel confident in a lot of things. There’s a lot that we need to work on to be able to go and take the next step. Sometimes being that close in a game and not being able to close it out can be really frustrating, but I saw a lot of great things out of our team.”

Next weekend the Dogfish take to the road for their first away game. Their focus for next Sunday? “Offensive cohesion is probably the big thing,” said handler Matt Kissman.

The 1-1 Dogfish play on Sunday May 3 at Rainier Beach Stadium against the 0-2 Seattle Rainmakers. Buy your tickets here.

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