Who will rule the Northwest?
HOME OPENER: April 2nd, 2016 - Seattle Cascades vs. Vancouver Riptide
This matchup may seem familiar, but if there’s anything to be learned from the long history of this rivalry, it is that when Seattle and Vancouver meet, it will be an exciting game, and the outcome is anything but predictable.
In last year’s home opener, the visiting Riptide pulled off the winning goal leaving only 2 seconds on the clock to finish 21-20 against a Cascades team that was a favorite to win and be at the top of the division. The very next week, led by the return of dominant cutter, 6’4” Matt Rehder (now on Team USA) Seattle returned the favor, defeating Vancouver at home 26-22. The Cascades would go on to win 2 more during their season series, including one 30-17 blowout, but also lost the last matchup of the season after qualifying for the playoffs.
This year, we will face the Riptide 4 times, twice each home and away. The Riptide have added some veteran talent to their very young team in former Toronto Rush player, Anatoly Vasilyev, Brendan Wong, and long-time Canadian star Morgan Hibbert. Their young athletic stars Gagan Chatha and Darren Wu are only expected to get more dangerous in the cutting lanes. Kevin Underhill continues to be a dominant force all over the field.
The Cascades roster will fluctuate, much as it did last year but some exciting additions have been announced for the home opener. Keep an eye on Tommy Li, a Nexgen Tour player, U19 and U23 World Champion, and Kieran Kelly, the University of Cincinnati standout and college all-region 1st teamer. The surprise addition of Callahan award winner and 2-time club champion Tim Gehret adds another veteran presence to a very deep Seattle team. Cutter Mark Burton will make his debut and undoubtedly push the Vancouver defense to the limit.
On top of the return of playmakers Donnie Clark, Joe Sefton, and Matt Rehder, and expert distributors Danny Karlinsky and Mario O’Brien, the Cascades are looking stronger than ever. Expect nothing but another thrilling battle between these two rivals that will set the tone for the rest of the 2016 season!