In the home opener of their second season, the Sol fell short to the Raleigh Flyers in a 26 – 19 loss at House Park Stadium.
Coming off a close loss to the Dallas Roughnecks to open the season the previous week, the Sol came out with a lot of energy to start the first quarter in front of a crowd of nearly 1,000 fans. After some impressive diving catches and a pair one-footed snags in the end zone, the Sol took an early 6 – 4 lead in the first quarter, with the Flyers tying the 6 – 6 at the end of the first.
Unfortunately for the Sol, things started to unravel from going into the second quarter. The Flyers forced the Sol into difficult sideline passes, which stalled the offense from getting anything going. If it wasn’t for impressive and tough catches, the Sol would not have been able to score; nothing was coming easy. After forcing a turnover, the Flyers then unleashed their speed on deep passes. With a deep passing attack to complement their defense, the Flyers went on a 6-3 run in the second quarter to take a 12 – 9 lead going into halftime.
After halftime, the Sol were able to make adjustments defensively and limit the deep passes from the Flyers. Unfortunately, dropped end-zone passes and some unfortunate mistakes gave the Flyers plenty of opportunities to convert, giving them a 15 – 11 lead towards the end of the third quarter. With a small rally, the Sol were able to close the gap to 16 – 13, giving life to a passionate crowd of SOLdiers.
In the 4th quarter, the Sol’s defense gave way and allowed 9 points. The Flyers defense, alternating between zone and man, the Sol offense looked flustered at times and turnovers put the defense in vulnerable positions. Despite 6 scores in the 4th quarter, the Sol was not able to keep pace with the Flyers.
Despite the loss, a number of bright moments in the game should have Sol fans and players optimistic going forward. Great defensive performances from Andrew Walch and Michael Matthis kept the Sol in the game with their blocks and pressure, again showing the consistent play fans came to know last season. Offensively, Caleb Denecour was able to get open in end-zone for four scores, while Ethan Pollack made several difficult sky catches with his height advantage and Jason Best was accurate with his passing to keep the offense moving.
Unfortunately in the first two games, miscues and untimely turnovers seemed to be the Sol’s undoing. And there’s not a lot of room for error when opening the season against two of last season’s playoff teams, Dallas being the defending AUDL champion. On the bright side, the Sol have been able to hang tough in the first two games – a couple tips of the disc the other way could have easily produced different results.
The Sol get another shot to tighten things up on the field and in the division in their next game, as they take on the Dallas Roughnecks on Saturday, April 22, at 7 p.m. at House Park.