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Thunderbirds Dismantle Mechanix in Detroit

DETROIT, MICHIGAN – It was 81 degrees at first pull at Bishop Foley Catholic High School in Detroit, Michigan as the Pittsburgh Thunderbirds prepared to battle the Detroit Mechanix, the first game of a weekend double-header for the T-Birds. With gusts of winds up to 15mph, the weather heavily impacted the pace and play of the game.


Sam VanDusen recorded seven assists, David Vatz tossed one assist and grabbed four goals, and Anson Reppermund and Dillon Tranquillo combined to lead the team in blocks, each recording three on the night. The wind wreaked havoc on the field as the Thunderbirds had a team total of 34 turnovers.


First Quarter


At the time of first pull, the Pittsburgh Thunderbirds controlled their own destiny. The Minnesota WindChill would not play the Madison Radicals until 7pm EST, a contest that would make the playoff picture in the Midwest much clearer. A Radical win would open the door for the Thunderbirds to secure the #2 seed, as long as the Birds could win out the rest of the season. A WindChill win however would set the #3 seed as the ceiling.


Not knowing the future outcome, the Thunderbirds could only focus on winning the game in front of them – the Detroit Mechanix.


The Thunderbirds started off the contest on defense craving a break to start the game as they have been down to start the game in all but two of their past nine games. They got more than just one.


The scoring onslaught began just one minute into the game. After a Mechanix turn, Pat Hammonds rode the elevator over his defender and instantly ignited the Thunderbird break train.


Sam VanDusen rifled a cross-field hammer to Jake Rover to extend the lead to two, Xavier Maxstadt flung a beautiful inside out forehand to Dillon Tranquillo to extend the lead to three, and VanDusen lasered another assist , a 50-yard forehand rip, to Kenny Furdella to extend the lead to four.


Up four in the 1st it took seven and a half minutes before the Mechanix finally removed the their goose-egg from the scoreboard. Josh Lyder found Ryan Yergin on the home sideline, hoping to rattle off a few more.


VanDusen had other plans, tossing two more assists for his third consecutive assist in a row, one to Hammonds with 3:14 remaining in the game and one to Rover with 2:12 remaining. Rovner’s grab was tightly contested by Mechanix’s Anthony Davis, who had position on Rovner, but Rovner bodied out Davis and ripped the disc away.


Maxstadt dished another assist to Hammonds with 1:23 left in the 1st quarter and the Thunderbirds had their biggest lead of the season after one, 7-2.


2nd Quarter


The scoring did not stop throughout the 2nd quarter for the Birds. In 58 seconds, the Birds methodically worked the disc up the field when Max Thorne hit Steve Mogielski in the numbers with a cross-field, inside out back-hand into the wind. The lead grew to six goals, 8-2.


The winds also did not let up though as it took nearly 4 minutes before the Detroit fans got to witness another score from either team. With 8:21 left, Jonathan Mast ended the marathon point by releasing a 15-yard strike to David Vatz to grow the T-Bird lead to seven goals, 9-2.


The biggest lead of the 1st half would come with 5:55 left in the 2nd quarter. Joe Marmerstein targeted Max Thorne in the end-zone for the Birds’ eleventh point of the game to the Mechanixs’ two.


The Mecahanix caught a break however and shifted a bit of the momentum back their way.


With 5:10 left in the 2nd quarter after an injury time-out, the Mechanix pre-emptivly put the disc in play and it was blocked by Edmonds. However, there seemed to be some confusion amongst the players as the whistle had not yet blown. The disc was handed back to the Mechanix player with no yardage penalty, and two throws later, the Mechanix were able to punch their 3rd goal of the game.


At the end of the 1st half, the Thunderbirds held a seven point lead however, 13-6, thanks in part to Marmerstein, who registered back-to-back assists to close the half for the Birds.



3rd Quarter


The way the 2nd half started for the Mechanix summarized their 1st half with one simple play – a Michael Dagher dropped pull instantly put the Mechanixs’ backs agaisnt the wall. The Birds would easily convert to increase their lead 14-6.


The wind continued to play tricks with the disc. With 8:23 left in the 3rd, a floated hucked disc danced in the air and air-bounced over the defending Hammonds to a diving Eric Hubbard. The disc was debated to be down, but after a short referee discussion, it was ruled a Mechanix score.


Mark Fedorenko was not intimidated` about the strong gusting cross-winds. He demonstrated his lack of fear with two backhand hucks. His first huck found Vatz in-stride in the end-zone. His second found Ethan Beardsley. Both hucks were 55-yard shots.


At the end of three quarters of play, the Birds held a 17-10 advantage.


4th Quarter


In the 4th quarter, the Thunderbirds tightened up their offense and focused on possessing the disc. With a comfortable lead, the Birds could relax and play toss and catch.


The Thunderbirds would win the 4th quarter by a score of 5-4, pushing their overall and final lead to eight goals, a 22-14 victory.


With the win, the Pittsburgh Thunderbirds record improved to 6-4. With the loss, the Detroit Mechanix record falls to 1-11.


The Thunderbirds return home on Sunday, July 2nd to Cupples Stadium to take on the Chicago Wildfire (3-7) to complete the weekend doubleheader. The Mechanix will take on the Minnesota WindChill (8-1) next Saturday, July 8th at Bishop Foley Catholic High School.


July 1, 2017 | News, Pittsburgh, Thunderbirds, Ultimate | 0

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