After a 2 week hiatus, it’s finally game day once again for the Los Angeles Aviators, who are looking to bounce back from their Week 1 loss against the Salt Lake City Shred. Despite starting the season 0-1, the silver lining to this loss is that the Shred have continued to make their case to be considered amongst the AUDL’s elite, especially after last night’s blitz on Seattle where they overwhelmed the Cascades by a whopping 32-21 margin. If anything, this reveals that the Aviators are able to go toe-to-toe with the league’s best, and they certainly will have the chance today against the San Diego Growlers.
A crucial absence from the team this week is O-line cutter Everest Shapiro, who will be attending his sister’s graduation in lieu of furthering his AUDL Rookie of the Year campaign. Perhaps more notable than the fact that I was not invited to join the festivities but fellow RingerThe.com colleague Sam Butler WAS, is the fact that the Aviator’s O line will have to make do without one of their premier deep threats. To see success this weekend, the Aviators will likely key in on other deep options to maintain the dynamic nature of their offense.
To gain some more insight on how the Aviators will prepare for today’s matchup, I reached out to the absentee rookie Shapiro, who emphasized D-line offense as a key to the team’s success.
According to Shapiro, the Aviators must take a page out of Shred’s book and convert on their break opportunities. Indeed, the Shred were able to convert 12 breaks last night (a single game team best so far in 2022), which contributed to their insurmountable lead against Seattle. However, Shapiro was clear to distinguish that while the Shred showcased some impressive D-line hucks, he would like to see the Aviator’s D line work the disc carefully through their handlers, working slowly to tire out San DIego’s O-line and take higher percentage looks. Punching in breaks proved to be the difference in their last matchup, and based off of Shapiro’s insight, it certainly seems to be a focus of the team coming into today’s game against the Growlers.
At the individual-player level, look for Chris Cogswell and Kyle Johnson to go off on the D-line and help contribute punching in those much needed breaks. On offense, Sam Fontaine gonna be nutty on the deep shots and Kevin Goldberg will eviscerate the D with his inside breaks.
While it is still early in the season, I think being able to even up the team’s record with a win is critical for the Aviators. There is plenty of frisbee to be played, but beginning the season 0-2 is certainly a hole no team wants to find themselves in. I expect to see a little more urgency coming from the Los Angeles players, but hopefully in a manner that does not affect their ability to play loose and take chances. Overall, we can surely anticipate a tightly contested matchup between division rivals, and hopefully by improving their break margins, the Aviators will come away this weekend 1-1 and in the driver’s seat in a stacked West division.