The Spiders used a workmanlike effort of their own to sneak past the Seattle Cascades 21-19, a day after the Cascades had outlasted the San Francisco FlameThrowers by the same score. San Jose was broken on the opening point of the game, but responded mightily by going up 4-1 in the first quarter and leading the rest of the way.
Late in the fourth, the Cascades twice inched within one, but with the score 20-19 in the final minutes, San Jose’s top star helped his team keep the lead. Beau Kittredge, playing at what he generously estimated was about 70% of his capability due to a rib injury, hauled in a contested deep shot from Chuck Cao for the game’s final score with 1:11 remaining.
Earlier in the point, it looked like the Cascades would have a chance to tie when Kittredge’s painful layout did not produce a catch of a low throw near midfield. But the referees whistled an interference call against Seattle’s Sam Harkness, keeping the disc with San Jose. After the game, Kittredge shared that he believed he was fouled. Many on Seattle disagreed, and replays were inconclusive.
San Jose Player/Coach Kevin Smith felt a combination of pride and relief following the Spiders’ victory, acknowledging that Seattle had more than enough firepower to beat them.
“If we play that game 10 times, I think we win eight of them,” Smith said.
Defensive workhorse Greg Cohen was instrumental to San Jose’s victory, creating four Ds, including a point block on Seattle’s Matt Rehder late in the fourth quarter that basically sealed the game. No one else on the Spiders had multiple Ds in the game.
Unlike 2014, San Jose appears far from invincible, enduring four regular season losses, most of any Final Four team, en route to Championship Weekend. It remains to be seen whether the Spiders will again reign supreme or if the rest of the league’s top squads have caught up.
“We’ll be prepared,” Smith said. “I’ve got two weeks to do my homework.”