The San Diego Growlers traveled to Texas on Friday, May 19 for a matchup with the expansion Houston Havoc in an intriguing inter-league game.
San Diego played great defense and forced a long point to start the game before giving up a Houston score, then immediately evened the count when Max Gibson assisted to Tom Konogeris for the layout goal. The teams traded, then after a Havoc turnover, Tyler Bacon’s lefty dish found Stefan Samu for the first break, 3-2. Houston held, then each team traded scores to end the quarter.
The Havoc capitalized on a Growlers turnover and notched their first break of the game, then Steven Milardovich fed Jordan Queckboerner for the layout goal, 5-5. The teams traded, then the Growlers earned another break after a timeout to pull ahead. This was the turning point of the game, and spurred on by blocks from Tyler Bacon, Stefan Samu, Ben Levinsky, Jeff Silverman, and Jimmy McGuinness, the Growlers rattled off 5 break consecutive scores to take a commanding lead. The Havoc righted the ship just before halftime with a hold but still trailed 12-7.
The team traded goals to begin the second half, then Caden Sigerud launched for a layout block, and Aaron Coble sent a long flick to Garrett Hable for the Growlers break, 14-8. San Diego followed up with another break before Houston punched in a hold. The Growlers had confidence and momentum with a hold and two more break scores (Reggie Sung to Stefan Samu, and Ben Levinsky to Ethan Li) to extend the lead to 18-9. Both teams traded offensive holds to close the quarter, 20-12.
Houston forced San Diego into several turnovers early in the fourth quarter and eventually earned two breaks back before the Growlers held on offense, 21-14. The Havoc kept fighting and scored three in a row to cut into the big lead, but good patient offense led to Elliot Warner feeding Casey Wu for the score, 22-17 with 3:13 remaining. The Growlers notched one more break score and ran out the rest of the clock to put the finishing touches on a 23-17 victory.
The Growlers were led by Casey Wu with a +6 performance (2 assists, 3 goals, 1 block), while Ethan Li (2 assists, 1 goal, 1 block) and Stefan Samu (2 assists, 2 goals, 1 block) each contributed +4 games.
The Growlers made the drive from Houston to Austin on Saturday, May 20 to battle the Sol in the AUDL Game of the Week.
The past West division opponents from 2021 traded offensive holds to start, but Austin took the early 4-1 lead with two break scores in a row. The Growlers held on with a Paul Lally assist to Tom Konogeris, but the Sol countered with a hold and two more breaks resulting from unforced turnovers. San Diego scored before the quarter ended as Steven Milardovich threw an outside-in disc to a leaping Casey Wu for the goal, 7-3.
The Growlers were battling not just the Sol, but also the heat and heavy legs, and it was on full display in the second quarter as Austin broke 5 straight times for the 12-3 lead. San Diego finally stopped the bleeding when Garrett Hable found Wu for another highlight reel catch, but Austin punched back with a buzzer beater, 13-4.
Both teams traded two scores to start the third quarter, and San Diego earned their first break of the game with a Jordan Queckboerner hammer to Stefan Samu, 15-7. Jimmy McGuiness rose up for a great block on the next point which was capped off by a Tyler Bacon dish to Hable for another break. More trading occurred until Jeff Silverman laid out for the block and almost caught a callahan, but the buzzer sounded with the score at 17-10.
San Diego wasn't done fighting yet, as Bryce Lozinski fed Max Gibson for the offensive hold, but Austin had their deep game working and connected on another long score. Not to be outdone, Paul Lally uncorked a long flick to Gibson, who finished with an assist to a diving Konogeris. On the next point, Ben Levinsky rose up for a block, and Lally found Elliot Warner for the break, 18-13. The Sol then committed a turnover, and the Growlers took advantage with a Queckboerner hammer to Reggie Sung for another break score. The teams traded, and San Diego had a good break chance to get within three scores, but Austin ultimately held on for the goal. There was not enough time for the Growlers to pull off a historic comeback as the teams traded out for a 21-17 final score.
The Growlers were led by Max Gibson with a +5 performance (5 assists, 3 goals), while Jordan Queckboerner (2 assists, 1 block) and Bryce Lozinski (2 assists, 1 goal) each contributed +3 games. San Diego will have a bye on Memorial Day weekend then square off with their SoCal rival, the Los Angeles Aviators, on Saturday, June 3 at Mission Bay HS.