Growlers End Spiders Season With Last Second Win

The San Diego Growlers hosted the Oakland Spiders on Saturday, July 22 at Mission Bay HS to decide the final playoff spot in the AUDL West Division. With a win, Oakland would clinch the #3 seed, but with a loss, Los Angeles would replace them as the last team in the postseason.

San Diego started the game with two deep throws to Max Gibson for goals, then scored their first break when Stefan Samu connected with Trevor Purdy, 3-1. The teams traded offensive holds, then after a timeout, the Growlers punched in another break with a Paul Lally to Travis Dunn goal, 5-2. More trading, then San Diego broke yet again after a Samu block and assist to Purdy. Both teams scored on offense bringing the Growlers lead to 8-4.

Oakland held on offense, and after a couple more trades, they earned their first block and breaks of the game, 10-9. The Growlers got back on track with a Dunn to Gibson goal, but the Spiders struck right back, 12-10. Both teams would have a chance to score before halftime but committed turnovers instead.

The Growlers could not find their easy offense to start the second half and had multiple turnovers before the Spiders notched a break score after 3 minutes elapsed. The flex line then found success when Bryce Lozinski carved a backhand into Casey Wu’s hand, 13-11. The teams traded, then Jeff Silverman intercepted the disc which led to a Dunn assist to Ben Levinsky for the break, 15-12. The Spiders held, and after more trading, secured a key break score right before the buzzer to pull within one, 16-15.

Sensing his team needed a big play, Jeff Silverman delivered again with a huge block, and after a timeout, Paul Lally placed a perfect hammer into Max Gibson's hands for the break. The Spiders were up for the challenge and after a couple of holds, they broke to tie the game at 18-18 with 3:14 remaining. San Diego was content to play patient offense and scored, but Oakland did so as well and tied the game with 1:08 left on the clock. The Growlers executed the same game plan and ran the clock down when Travis Dunn carved a perfect forehand to a cutting Steven Milardovich for the go-ahead goal with 2.8 seconds! The Spiders last second throw was blocked by Stefan Samu and the celebration was audible from the sideline and stands! San Diego prevailed 20-19 and ended Oakland's promising season, meaning Los Angeles locked in the #3 West Division playoff spot.

The Growlers were led by Travis Dunn (7 assists, 2 goals, 1 block) with a +9 performance. Steven Milardovich (4 goals, 2 blocks) added a +6 game, and Paul Lally (6 assists, 1 goal) was solid with +5. San Diego was certainly inspired by Goose Helton’s presence at the game and it was heart-warming to see him take the field for the team photograph. Clearly this wasn't the Growlers year, and their streak of 4 consecutive playoff appearance ended, but thanks to all the sponsors and fans who continued to show the team support.