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Pittsburgh Thunderbirds Drop Cross-Coast Challenge Game to Seattle Cascades, 26-24.

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON – On a chilly, gusty night in Seattle, the Pittsburgh Thunderbirds drop a close contest to the 2016 AUDL Runner-Up Seattle Cascades, 26-24 in the AUDL’s Cross-Coast Challenge.

 

Pat Earles recorded ten assists and two goals, Max Thorne tossed six assists and grabbed four goals, and Anson Reppermund led the team in blocks, racking up six on the night. The team was plagued by turnovers, a total of thirty-two for the game, twenty-four by way of throw-aways, eight by way of drops.

 

Memorial Stadium in downtown Seattle is a loud venue, sound echoing off the facade of the stadium walls. Fans began to pack the stands as both teams experienced ups and downs in points throughout the opening quarter.

 

Several Thunderbird players recorded blocks in the first quarter, including Jon DeAmicis, who recorded the first block of the game. Alex Thomas, Tad Wissel and Anson Reppermund all recorded blocks in the first quarter alone, but the Thunderbirds failed to capitalize on any of these break opportunities. The T-Birds were not able to convert on many break opportunities, converting on only one chance, which at the time, cut into a 6-5 Cascade lead with 1:02 left in the first quarter.

 

Trying to prevent a last minute first quarter buzzer-beater, the Thunderbirds applied pressured and were gifted a fortunate drop by Thomas Kulczak in the middle of the field, but fortunes were quickly reversed after a Will Chen hand block. The Cascades then punched the disc in, through a diving Wissel, with zeroes on the clock.

 

The Cascades kept the momentum rolling as the Thunderbirds O-line was broken after Matt Russell recorded a layout block on a short Thunderbird huck, widening the Cascades gap to 7-5.

 

With 7:46 left in the second, Mark Fedorenko intercepted a pass near the Cascade end-zone and put an outside-in forehand to space for Pat Earles, but the disc bounced off of Earles out-stretched hands. The point proceeded to last several minutes after the unforced error which led to a Cascades called a timeout with 6:21 left. The Thunderbirds countered with a substitution of their D-line, but were not able to stop the surging Cascades offense.

 

Two minutes later, the score bloated to 13-8 as the Thunderbirds surrendered four straight breaks.

 

With 2:15 left in the second, Earles rifled a lefty-cross field hammer to Scott Trimble, but a bidding Cascades player blocked his line of sight from the disc and it bounced off his hands for another T-Bird drop. Moments later however, after a Cascade throwaway, Trimble skied two Cascades players in the end-zone to regain some mental momentum for the T-Birds. Earles added another huck to Max Thorne and Reppermund denied a buzzer-beating attempt to keep the T-Bird deficit at five goals.

 

The second half continued with a slew of unforced errors for the T-Birds, as more drops plagued excellent scoring opportunities.

 

However, the intensity ramped up after an Earles backhand was brought down by Reppermund under a huddle of players from both teams. Reppermund shuffled the disc over to DeAmicis with five seconds left in the third quarter, just short of the goal line. DeAmicis threw a hammer to Fedorenko to shorten the gap to four goals.

 

The Thunderbirds outscored the Cascades by three goals in the second half, generating blocks and out-hustling the Cascades.

 

A pivotal part of the contest came with 3:55 left in the fourth quarter – after Earles recorded a block, he hucked it deep to a streaking Jake Rovner, who snatched the disc out of the air over two Cascades defenders. Head Coach David Hogan proceeded to call a time-out, substituting in the O-Line. It took the T-Birds a few throws to get a Thorne to Fedorenko hook-up, slicing the Cascades lead to only three, 24-21.

 

On the very next point, Reppermund recorded his 6th block of the game and immediately went deep. Earles’ huck found Reppermund in the end-zone to cut the Cascades lead to just two with only 2:45 left in the game.

 

Up against the clock with half a minute left, a Jon Mast drop in the end-zone highlighted the overall theme of the night for the T-Birds: unforced errors. However, the T-Birds played their style of game and showed an amazing amount of resiliency to win the second half.

 

The Thunderbirds drop to 2-1 on the year while the Seattle Cascades improve to 3-1.

 

The Thunderbirds are off next week, but will take on the Madison Radicals in Madison, Wisconsin on May 20th.

May 7, 2017 | News, Pittsburgh, Thunderbirds, Ultimate | 0

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