GAME RECAP- LOS ANGELES VS. OAKLAND JULY 15, 2023
By Josh Frojelin
OAKLAND–The Oakland Spiders are one step closer to punching their ticket to the playoffs after a thrilling comeback victory over the Los Angeles Aviators.
It was the Aviators, though, who came out flying. The teams exchanged breaks in the first quarter, but the second frame saw Los Angeles rattle off five breaks and take a 12-7 lead into halftime.
“I'm gonna watch a lot of film,” offered Spiders head coach Dan Silverstein. “They did stuff on defense today that was effective and not on the film. So, we didn't immediately have any answers for them.”
However, the Spiders have often found themselves in this position, needing a late comeback in order to keep up in the West Division’s playoff race. A month ago they were down by four in the third quarter, but were eventually able to secure a win over the Colorado Summit.
Oakland would need an even bigger comeback than that, down 17-11 with just two minutes remaining in the third quarter.
Silverstein was not too worried. He attributed their deficit to “unforced errors. That, plus the heat, really took us out.”
“We didn't really make any strategy adjustments,” the coach shared. “We just came together and were like: ‘let's take it to this team. We know we can take it to this team.’ We committed to being +7 or +6 in the second half. We really felt like we could.”
And, the Spiders did. Oakland rattled off five consecutive breaks en route to taking a 18-17 lead with just four minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. After the Aviators scored on offense, time trickled into overtime.
The teams exchanged holds to start the final frame. With 10 seconds remaining, Walker Frankenberg hit a scoober to Kyle Lew then bolted up-line towards the endzone. Frankenberg secured the disc with one hand over his defender as the team stormed the field. The Spiders improved to 7-3.
Oakland remains in second place, on track to host a playoff game in two weeks. The 6-5 Aviators and 8-4 Summit are knocking on the doorstep heading into the final weekend of the AUDL’s regular season. The Spiders will take on the San Diego Growlers and Aviators this weekend. However, Silverstein is not worried about the rematch.
“I think that's a big part of why they were successful,” the head coach said of Los Angeles’ new defensive strategy. “Cheers to whoever on their team came up with it. We'll find a way to deal with that.”
If the Spiders win both games this weekend, they are guaranteed to start the postseason in Oakland. Silverstein is very excited about that possibility:
“Our home field advantage is huge. Huge! That's why we were able to come back in the second half. So the two vs. three slot makes a huge difference in our ability to win the next game.”
“We've had some struggles the previous years,” Silverstein reflected. “This is the first year I've ever been above .500 or even at .500 as a coach. It feels good to be successful. It feels good to know whatever 20 we put out there, they're gonna take care of it.”
With the large playoff impacts of the Spiders’ matchup with the Aviators this Friday night, the game has been flexed to the AUDL’s ‘Game of the Week.’ The game will now be rebroadcast Sunday at 7:30 a.m. PST on Fox Sports 2!
As always, fans can follow along live at 7:30 p.m. Friday night on AUDL.tv. Fans can also watch the game at Line 51 Brewing Company for the Spiders’ official viewing party.