The San Francisco Dogfish beat the Portland Stags 23-17 tonight in North Portland. The Dogfish were handed their only loss of the year against the Stags earlier in the season, but tonight’s game further established their authority. The main flow of the game consisted of untimely turnovers by Portland, and the Dogfish’s exceptional ability to capitalize on their opponent’s mistakes.

Portland looked energized out of the gate, forcing a quick turnover, followed by an impressive Eli Blackman goal. After a Dogfish answer to tie the game up, the Stags found Adrian King, who made a nice read on the disc and put his team up 2-1. This score would be the Stags’ last lead of the game, as the Dogfish soon found their normal rhythm. They scored back-to-back goals off turnovers, and captured the lead 3-2. After another turnover, the Stags coach noticed the momentum heading in the ‘fish direction, and took a timeout to refocus his team.

After the timeout, Cody Bjorkland provided a much-needed boost to the Stags defense, with a great end zone D. But, the ‘fish quickly responded, forcing a turnover. The star presence of Kittredge was evident in the first half, when Beau found Greenwood in the end zone, and put the Fish up 4-2. The Stags had a chance to close the gap at the end of the quarter, but turned the disc over, and the ‘fish ended the first quarter with a 5-2 lead.

The start of the second quarter began with a quick Stags goal, then a Kittredge answer to put the score at 6-3. The Stags’ star cutter, Timmy Perston, who started the match one goal behind the Boston Whitecaps’ Jeff Graham for the scoring title, came with an amazing grab on a nice flick from Jeremy Norden.

Early in the second quarter the flow was largely back and forth, but the Dogfish held onto a comfortable lead. Intelligently, Portland had a plan to find Perston as much as possible, but solid ‘fish D prevented him from pulling down a few hucks late in the half. The last couple of minutes consisted of more turnovers, followed by breaks from San Francisco, who rapidly fired off three goals to jump to a 12-6 lead at the half.

The second half started in the same vein as the first, with a Stags turnover on the goal line. After a few back-and-forth goals, the Dogfish connected on a few breaks, and jumped to a 15-8 lead. But make no mistake; Portland was not going to simply lie down in front of their faithful hometown crowd in the last game of the season. Talented Stag Cody Bjorkland made a great layout catch block, followed by a hammer to Freidman to close the gap to 15-9. The Dogfish offense went largely unchecked for the remainder of the quarter, and while the Stags connected on a few impressive goals, San Francisco broadened their lead by the end of the third. The quarter was capped off with a buzzer-beater by the ‘fish, who headed into the fourth with a 20-12 lead.

The final quarter began with a goal by the Stags, and yet another quick answer from Kittredge, who played MVP-quality Ultimate the entire match. The Stags were able to bring the gap down to five at one point in the quarter (22-17), but the Dogfish rolled from then on, and finished the game with a final score of 23-17.

The Stags played better than they had in their previous game against San Francisco, when the vengeful ‘fish creamed them 31-13. They have the talent, coaching, and a great fan base to be very successful next season. However, the experienced and first-place Dogfish proved again that their only loss of the season was mostly a fluke. They were able to crush any momentum the Stags attempted to build time and again, and played great Ultimate overall.

The Dogfish will now hope that their legs stay fresh, as they head north to Seattle tomorrow for their final regular season battle against the Rainmakers. The game will be a preview of the Western Conference Finals, and serve as bragging rights as both teams prepare for the playoffs. The game will be played in Seattle at 1PM Pacific tomorrow (Sunday, June 23rd) and will be streaming online. Be sure to make it out to the field or tune in on your computers.

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