The San Francisco Dogfish fell to the Seattle Rainmakers 24-22 in their second game of a back-to-back weekend. Coming off their win in Portland, San Francisco travelled north to take on their rivals and future playoff opponents in Seattle. Naturally the game was high intensity; both teams want to prove themselves and gather momentum before their next meeting in the Western Conference Finals. The Dogfish were in control for the first three quarters, but let the game slip in the fourth.
The game kicked off with an efficient score from the Dogfish after they received the first pull. Moses Rifkin on Seattle answered back, scoring on a toss from Adam Simon. The Dogfish then scored three straight goals, first by on a toss from Nic Schlag to Tyler Grant, second when Ryo Kawaoka kept his feet just inbounds on an athletic play, and finally on a Zach Travis catch. The Rainmakers would respond with a few nice plays of their own, including a stellar defensive play by Donnie Clark on a Beau Kittredge forehand. Seattle capitalized quickly after the turnover to bring the score to 4-3. With eight seconds left in the quarter, the Dogfish used a timeout to set up one more play before the break. The brief strategy meeting paid off, and Kittredge came down with a goal just before the buzzer to give the ‘fish a 7-5 lead.
The Rainmakers struck first in the second, but Kittredge responded with another goal for San Francisco. Early in the quarter Zach Travis went down with a shoulder injury attempting a layout D (his injury later turned out to be a torn labrum). Reid Koss scored on a great catch for the Rainmakers, a sky toe-in, closing the gap to 9-8. Seattle tied the game up 9-9 after a series of overthrows and drops by both teams. Kittredge scored his fourth goal of the half on a beautiful huck from Ashlin Joye. After a few more back-and-forth goals, Joye hauled in a massive huck over Seattle’s Bryson Urich-Fox with 1.7 seconds left. After a combined 12 goals in the first quarter, 13 were scored in the second, and the score was 14-11 heading into halftime. As expected, the game was offense-driven.
The third quarter started off with some confusion, after an errant Dogfish goal was called. The Dogfish looked past the mix-up, stayed focused, and Joye found Kittredge for another goal to get to 15-11. After a series of short throws leading to a Rainmakers goal, Lucas Dallman had a great layout grab to put the Dogfish ahead 17-13. Seattle would then counter off of two straight ‘fish turnovers, and close the gap to 17-15.
Both teams were stagnant to end the third and start the fourth, and after a Rainmakers turnover, the Dogfish took a timeout to bring in their O line. After the switch, Schlag found Joye to give San Francisco a three-point lead, 18-15. After a few more back-and-forth goals, a ridiculous full-extension layout grab by BJ Sefton might have been the turning point in the game, swinging the momentum in Seattle’s favor.
The spirited crowd started to feel a fourth-quarter comeback with the score at 20-18. After a Harkness to Clark connection and then a huck from Joe Sefton to Clark, the Rainmakers tied the game at 20. San Francisco regained control after a post-timeout goal, but lost the lead once more on a Danny Karlinsky catch. Seattle soon took the lead for the first time in the game on a huck to Jacob Speidel. Kittredge scored one more goal for the Dogfish, his eighth of the game, but it was quickly countered by Seattle seconds before time expired. Down by two, with a couple of seconds remaining, the Dogfish were forced to accepted defeat.
In front of their home crowd, Seattle played flawless offense at the end, and scored at will against the San Francisco defense, which was increasingly breaking down. The fatigue from playing the Stags on Saturday night could have had an impact on the Dogfish, but regardless, the Rainmakers played exceptional Ultimate to earn their 24-22 victory.
In the losing effort, Kittredge followed up his stellar performance against the Stags on Saturday with an even better game on Sunday. It should raise questions about MVP voting, despite the fact he missed a few games because of Team USA obligations.
Next week, the two teams will face off in the Western Conference Finals back in San Francisco. Be sure to make it out for the game: Kezar Stadium, 1:30 PM Pacific, Saturday, June 29.