Game Recap: Portland vs. Oakland May 21, 2022
Oakland and Portland Punch It Out
By: Delilah Masket
It was a beautiful evening with perfect Ultimate conditions as the Oakland Spiders hosted the Portland Nitro on Saturday, May 21st at Oakland Technical High School. For the second game of the season, fans packed the stands, taking position as the enthusiastic “8th Leg” of the Spiders. Though the Spiders started strong, miscues in the second quarter and a 5-1 Portland run to close the half, gave the visitors the breathing room needed to close out a 26 - 22 win.
While Oakland would start the game on defense, the 1st quarter began with 4 consecutive holds, a testament to the well-matched skills of both teams. Midway through the quarter, the Spiders struck first with a break after defensive pressure led to an errant Portland throw, bringing the score to 3-2. Portland would hold on the next two points, and had a chance to break the Spiders, but Oakland’s Chris Lung made a great block to regain possession and secure the Spiders hold at 5-4. Oakland followed up with a quick break again on a perfectly placed backhand swing from Evan Magsig to Max Williams, putting the Spiders ahead 6-4 with just under two minutes to go in the first quarter. Portland would respond quickly though, putting in two quick goals to even the score at 6-6 heading into the second frame.
Following a hold, and two break chances for Oakland, the second quarter would belong to Portland. Over the course of three consecutive Portland breaks, the Nitro consistently capitalized on Oakland’s unforced errors, using quick transition hucks and effective substitutions during timeouts to close the half ahead 12-9. Throughout the game, Oakland would struggle to overcome the consistency and strength of Portland’s offense led by Leandro Marx, Eli Friedman, and Daniel Lee.
While the pros rested and strategized at halftime, the fans had more cheering to do as Bay Area Middle School teams took the field to showcase their Ultimate skills. Piedmont Purple Reign, Berkeley Catch and Release, Claremont Seawolves, and Alameda Ultimate, played to rounds of applause from the appreciative and supportive Oakland community in the bleachers. The inspiring young athletes demonstrated the passion, joy, speed, and skill the next generation will bring to the sport of Ultimate.
Buoyed by the halftime break, Oakland would respond to close the gap in a back and forth third quarter. While Oakland failed to punch in their first break opportunity following a Portland stall, the Spiders would later generate a break with a great defensive grab from Tom Page in one endzone, and a sky from Wyatt Berreman at the other endzone for the score, to close within 2 at 14-12. After trading holds throughout the quarter, with about a minute remaining, the Spiders would record another break following a layout grab by Robin Vickers-Batzdorf, Oakland would head into the fourth, down by one at 18-17.
The comeback was not to be though, as Oakland surrendered a break to open the fourth, falling behind 19-17. With both teams tiring, Oakland would fade first, with Portland’s quick holds on offense, and defensive pressure taking their toll on the Spiders offensive cutters. Throughout the fourth, fatigue and Portland pressure led to Oakland miscues, helping the visitors widen the gap by five points, to 23-18. While the Oakland defense, led by strong performances from Magsig, Alex Pien and Phil Chang, was able to generate a few more break opportunities, redzone turnovers continued to plague the home team.
While Oakland will regret the missed opportunity at home, the fans clearly appreciated the Spiders effort and fight on gameday. With just under 20 seconds remaining, down 26-21, a lively cheer for, “One more score, one more score” went up from the crowd. Oakland delivered with a buzz-beater by Ben Sokolowsky, final score 26-22 Portland.
With the loss, Oakland falls to 0-2 entering a tough 2-game road trip to Salt Lake City and Colorado, while Portland improves to 2-1 ahead of their rematch vs Seattle Cascades.
Oakland had standout performances from Captain Keenan Laurence who led the team in goals (7) and tied with Lung in defensive blocks (2). Matt Crawford was a key leader of the Spider's Offense with 5 assists and over 500 total yards. Portland was led by Marx with 5 assists and 7 goals, and Friedman leading the team in completions (49).
Next game for the Spiders is Friday, June 3rd, when Oakland travels to the expansion Salt lake Shred, available to stream on AUDL.tv
Photo credits Cristina Klein