Aviators Outlast Growlers

The San Diego Growlers hosted their SoCal Rival, the Los Angeles Aviators, on Saturday, June 3, in a crucial battle for West Division positioning.

Los Angeles got off to a good start with a hold on offense and followed up with a break before San Diego earned their first goal.  The Aviators held and the Growlers countered with an offensive hold and a break score from Caden Sigerud to Jordan Queckboerner, 3-3.  LA punched back with a goal and another break, but SD scored with a Travis Dunn assist to Casey Wu. Once again, the Aviators scored two in a row, and the teams traded out to end the quarter, which was capped off with a LA buzzer beater, 9-6.

The Growlers started the second quarter with a hold, and after a timeout, they doubled down with a break when Paul Lally threw a laser to Dunn, 9-8. The rivals traded goals, then a Jeff Silverman block led to a Michael Tran to Casey Wu break score. Each team traded scores, but LA held and converted another break. San Diego scored to get close, but the Aviators squeezed in a goal right before the buzzer to take a 14-12 lead into halftime.

San Diego was gaining confidence and rattled off two breaks in a row, with a Queckboerner block and the first goal of Eli Salmon’s career. The teams traded two offensive holds apiece, then the Growlers took a 17-16 lead when Bryce Lozinski carved a forehand into Dunn’s hands for the break score. More trading gave San Diego the 8-17 lead heading into the last quarter. 

The Growlers secured a key hold as Steven Milardovich hucked to Max Gibson, who went up big for the catch, then threw to Dunn, but LA countered right back. The rivals traded goals, then LA tied the game at 20 with a break.  As the drama built, Casey Wu scored yet another goal, but the Aviators tied the game with 2:26 remaining. On the next point, San Diego was unable to come up with a deep throw, and LA called a timeout to substitute in their offense.  As the Aviators attacked, the crowd stomped their feet on the bleachers while chanting defense, and Jeff Silverman rose up for a game saving block, leading to a timeout with 36 seconds on the clock. The Growlers needed to go the full length of the field, but after a couple of completions, the next pass attempt was blocked and the Aviators scored the go-ahead goal with 12 seconds left. San Diego was unable to tie the game at the buzzer in a super exciting and thrilling down-to-the-wire defeat.

The Growlers were led by Travis Dunn (6 assists, 5 goals) and Paul Lally (5 assists, 1 goal, 1 block) with a +6 performances. Casey Wu (5 goals), Jeff Silverman (1 goal, 3 blocks) and Steven Milardovich (3 assists, 1 goal, 1 block) each contributed +4 games. San Diego will travel to Oakland on Saturday June 10 to face off against the Spiders.