Hungry for Victory
Quick Recap, by Evan Lepler
The San Francisco aimed for a perfect road trip in Los Angeles, but the Aviators played with a brand of energy and toughness that initially surprised the FlameThrowers.
“LA brought a level of physicality that we hadn’t seen before,” Janin said. “We didn’t respond to that very well at all. Credit them for playing through the early deficit and taking it to us. We didn’t handle their D pressure very well and had too many stupid mistakes to put them away.”
Tied at 16-all after three quarters, Los Angeles grasped a multi-point edge at 20-18 and never trailed again, holding off San Francisco late for a 23-22 victory, as the Flam Throwers late errors (a dropped pull, a floaty first-pass turnover) cost them dramatically. It was a huge win for Los Angeles, moving them into third place in the division for the moment.
The Aviators got the victory without leading assist man Tyler Bacon, who was in Milwaukee coaching the UCSB men’s team at Nationals. Without him, a couple other of LA’s Santa Barbara contingent stepped up.
“Credit Mark Elbogen for being the man of the match and the difference,” Greenough said. “We wanted to limit him as a thrower and he hurt us going deep instead. Jeff Silverman was also a constant problem on D with backside help on all hucks.”
It was another cardiac finish for Los Angeles, who has had five of its seven games decided by four goals or less. One of the Aviators owners, James Park, joked that he might have a heart attack before the season ends because of the late-game drama. At least, I think he was joking.
“I think they purposefully make things close just to mess with me and the ownership group,” Park said. “Maybe they’re taking our request of making the games exciting for the fans too literal.”
Throughout the West division, so many owners and players have commented about the insanely high level of competition. Some of the words seem repetitive by now, but they still ring true.
“The game [on Sunday] was so indicative of what the West is about,” Park said. “I watched plenty of games last year and the play in this division has to be in the discussion for some of the best ultimate being played ever. We all understand the level of competition and that acknowledgment lifts everyone’s games to another level. It’s really fun to see all these teams duke it out. The sense of urgency is extremely high.”
Greenough echoed similar sentiments from the FlameThrowers perspective.
“I would say that we no longer have any margin for error and face a tough road trip late up north,” the FlameThrowers Coach explained. “Obviously, our first focus is LA this weekend and dictating terms on our home turf. The Flame Throwers are going to have hyper focus on each game as we face an uphill battle. Can’t look to anything but the next game and let the rest sort itself out.”