Growlers Battle Shred in Close Loss

May 3, 2024.  Photo Credit: Greg Pettus

The San Diego Growlers hosted the defending UFA West Division Champion Salt Lake Shred under the Friday Night Lights of Mesa College.

Salt Lake took an early lead with two breaks to start the game, but San Diego held on offense, then secured a break when Stefan Samu connected with Casey Shugarman.  The teams traded scores, then the Growlers took the lead after a layout block from Shugarman, a timeout, and a Max Gibson dish to Matt Miller, 4-3.  The Shred had to work hard but eventually earned an offensive hold, and a Growlers drop on the next possession led to a Salt Lake break at the end of the quarter, 5-4.

The Shred held on offense and the Growlers countered with a Travis Dunn assist to Peter Lenz. The back and forth battle continued throughout the quarter, with teams trading several holds in a row. San Diego had a great chance to break late in the quarter and called timeout, but a questionable no call gave the disc back to Salt Lake who scored right before halftime for the 10-8 lead.

A San Diego throwaway to start the third quarter resulted in a Salt Lake break, but the Growlers held and then broke back with a Bryce Lozinski connection to Jimmy McGuinness, 11-10. After playing excellent defense and causing a turnover, San Diego’s break chance went off the receivers’ fingertips, and the Shred were able to hold.  More trading ensued with Gibson making a great leaping catch in traffic, Kyle Rubin with a nice forehand huck to Casey Wu, and a Miller callahan goal, 14-13.  With 15 seconds left, the Growlers had another break chance deep in their own endzone, but ran out of time before gaining meaningful yards.

The Shred worked hard for an offensive hold, and the Growlers punched back with a massive highlight reel layout goal from Dunn. More great defense from San Diego, but Salt Lake was patient on offense and eventually scored. The Growlers dug deep with a hold from their defense after a turnover and timeout, but the Shred were happy to run nearly 3 minutes of clock with another score to go up 17-15 with 4 minutes remaining. A quick 30 second strike from Miller to Dunn to Gibson was a much needed and timely goal, but Salt Lake kept scoring with several close calls on offense and punched in a late break to seal the game with a final score of 19-17.

The Growlers were led by Max Gibson (2 assists, 4 goals) with a +6 performance. Peter Lenz and Casey Wu (2 assists, 2 goals) were also key contributors adding a pair of solid +4 games.  

Next up, San Diego will enjoy a bye weekend, then host the Portland Nitro on Friday, May 17 at Mission Bay HS at 7 pm PT.