The San Diego Growlers hosted the Portland Nitro on Saturday, May 13 at Mission Bay HS for the second game of the 2023 season.
San Diego started the game with a break score from Jan Szmanda to Jordan Queckboerner. Both teams traded offensive holds, then the Growlers broke again after bookends from Queckboerner. The Nitro had multiple turnovers on their next point, and San Diego capitalized once more after a timeout as Bryce Lozinski dished to Travis Dunn for a 4-1 lead. Portland found their stride with a hold and their first break score to close out the first quarter.
The Growlers held on offense and after a patented Jeff Silverman layout block, Dunn finished with an assist to Max Hume for a break. After a Portland miscue, Steven Milardovich fed Elliot Warner for yet another break, 7-3. Both teams proceeded to hold, highlighted by rookie Max Gibson’s first career goal. Both teams traded two more holds, then the Nitro earned a break back, and more holds closed out the first half. 11-9.
The offenses seemed to be hitting their stride, and the teams continued to trade goals. At 12-11, a long, multi-turnover point finally went the Growlers way, when Dunn carved a forehand to Stefan Samu. A couple more trades each, then San Diego notched the only break of the quarter as Silverman threw a backhand to Samu just before the buzzer sounded, 16-13.
San Diego scored to start the fourth quarter, but Portland countered with a hold and a break to pull within two goals, 17-15. In a big moment, Dunn fired a perfect backhand huck to Gibson for a much needed offensive conversion. Portland was up for the challenge, especially since the strong Raphy Hayes to Leandro Marx connection kept working and produced several highlight reel catches. The Growlers held, then Samu intercepted the disc, and after a timeout, Gibson assisted to Milardovich for the 20-16 lead. With the clock winding down, the teams traded a few more scores before Portland earned a late break, but it was too little too late as the Growlers ultimately prevailed with a 22-19 victory.
The Growlers were led by Travis Dunn with a +10 performance (8 assists, 2 goals), while Jordan Queckboerner (2 goals, 4 blocks) and Bryce Lozinski (3 assists, 2 goals, 1 block) each contributed +6 games. San Diego will travel to Texas to face the Houston Havoc on Friday, May 19 and the Austin Sol on Saturday, May 20 — the AUDL Game of the Week!