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Thunderbirds Split Double-Header, Lose to Wildfire, Defeat AlleyCats

Game 1 – Thunderbirds Nearly Extinguish the Wildfire in Chicago, Lose 22-21

By: Cole Vandenberg

 

It was 77 degrees at first pull at Lane Tech Stadium in Chicago, Illinois as the Pittsburgh Thunderbirds prepared to battle the Chicago Wildfire, the first game of a weekend double-header for the T-Birds. With gusts of winds blowing at 8 mph and bright skies to the West, it was a near perfect night for a game.

 

Pat Earles recorded seven assists, Mark Fedorenko grabbed five goals and tossed three assists, and Scott “Trucks” Trimble and Anson Reppermund combined for the team lead in blocks, both recording two on the night. The Thunderbirds recorded only seven team blocks in the game.

 

First Quarter

 

The Wildfire received the disc to start the game at the 15 yard line, and within seconds, Janas Pawel hucked a 65 yard toss to Mike Pardo to open the game with a score. After a Thunderbird return huck that fell incomplete, the Wildfire momentarily struggled before progressing downfield for a nonchalant Von Alanguilan-Nick Zemen hook-up to open up an early 2-0 lead.

 

Trying to stop the bleeding, Xavier Maxstadt’s huck to Sam Van Dusan was knocked away by a Wildfire defender. Immediately, the disc was rifled back down the field, finding the full-extension arms of Jimmy Sykora who calmly hit a striking Bill Kluender, and just like that, the Thunderbirds were down 3-0 to start the game.

 

Starting a little past mid-field, the Thunderbirds worked their way from the near side to far side before Maxstadt finally found the end-zone, connecting with Mark Fedorenko for a 10- yard goal, giving the T-Birds their much needed first point of the game.

 

The Thunderbirds were able to follow-up their first score of the game up with a break of their own after the Wildfire possession ended in a stall at mid-field, reducing the Wildfire lead to just one.

 

However, with 3:23 left in the 1st quarter, the Wildfire had begun to pull away from the Thunderbirds thanks in part to a few unforced throwing errors. The lead ballooned to four goals at the time, 8-4.

 

Attempting to reduce the Wildfire momentum, Van Dusen ripped a huge 75 yard back hand laser to Jake Rovner, temporarily stomping out the fire with 3:02 left to go in the 1st, 8-5.

 

Showing tenacity, the Thunderbirds managed to pull within two goals of the Wildfire with 36 seconds left in the quarter, after Fedorenko found a slashing Van Dusen for the score. The Wildfire would get the last laugh of the quarter however as they managed to punch the disc in with only four ticks left on the clock after one quarter of play, 9-6.

 

Second Quarter

 

The Wildfire started the second quarter like they did in the first quarter by quickly scoring back to back unanswered goals increasing their lead to 11-6 within seconds.

 

After a mark foul by the Wildfire, the Thunderbirds took this momentum to their advantage by scoring on a lefty huck from Pat Earles to Fedorenko with 4:58 left in the second quarter, closing the score to 11-7.

 

This success continued, in part by the dynamic combo of Earles and Fedorenko, who both took home co-Stifel Player of the Game honors, resulting in two more goals within the last four minutes of the quarter, including a scoober with 2:41 left to make the score 12-9.

 

After an interception by Anson Reppermund with 1:20 left in the first half, the Thunderbirds took that momentum to close the Wildfire deficit to two goals at the end of the first half when a huge grab by Ethan Beardsley with 8.7 seconds on the clock made it 13-11 Wildfire.

 

Third Quarter

 

The second half went back and forth for the first two possessions before Pardo of the Wildfire opened up the second half scoring with a breakaway catch down the middle of the field with 11:00 minutes left in the 3rd to increase the Wildfire lead to 14-11.

 

The second possession of the second half resulted in a break for the Wildfire when a huck from the Wildfire’s Judah Newman deflected off of a Thunderbird player attempting to break up the possession before Pardo grabbed the deflected disc to score his second goal in a row.

 

A few moments later, a block by Kenny Furdella of the Thunderbird turned into a monstrous 75 yard huck from Van Dusen to a leaping Carl Morgenstern to put the score at 17-14 Wildfire with 5:55 left in the third quarter as the Thunderbirds looked to creep back into the game.

 

With only1:52 left in the third period Fedorenko threw a perfect 25 yard hammer throw across the field to Jimmy Towle, bringing the deficit back to three, 18-15 Wildfire.

 

Unfortunately, the third quarter ended with a gut wrenching drop from Dillon Tranquillo in the back corner of the end-zone which could have brought the deficit to two.

 

Fourth Quarter

 

The fourth quarter started off to a great start for the Thunderbirds when Thomas Edmonds found a cutting Beardsley to bring the deficit to two points with 11:12 left in the game.

 

After quick scores from both teams resulting in a score of 19-17 with 10:00 left, a Wildfire turnover shifted the momentum in the Thunderbirds favor. VanDusen picked up the disc and immediately hucked down the center of the field, reaching a break-away Tranquillo who raced down the disc with no defenders in sight. A few throws later, Morgenstern hit a full horizontal Rovner, closing the gap to only one point with 8:55 left in regulation.

 

Rovner would not be the only one laying out; at 7:30 left in the fourth quarter, VanDusen flew through the air to break up a Wildfire drive near the middle of the field before bursting ferociously downfield for a bookends that tied the game at 19. It was the first time the game was tied since first pull at zeroes.

 

After a score by the Wildfire on the following drive to make the score 20-19 with 6:47 left in regulation, play intensified as both teams looked to separate themselves from the other.

 

The Wildfire lead would be short lived after a precise drive by the Thunderbirds, orchestrated by Earles who found Scott Trimble to tie the game back up at 20’s.

 

As play continued to heat up, the Wildfire played true to their namesake and caught fire. A 50 yard huck from Pawel would give the Wildfire a 21-20 lead that they would not relinquish for the remainder of the game.

 

After turnovers for both teams and four minutes remaining, outstretched arms just barely missed a potential Trimble goal that would have tied the game.

 

Both teams searched for any kind of production over the next two minutes, with a combined seven turnovers on the point before a Wildfire score at 1:03 left in the game broke the lead open at 22-20.

 

The Thunderbirds attempted to make a triumphant comeback by coming within one point with just 27.8 seconds left in the game after a Steve Mogielski cross field throw found a wide open Isaac Smith.

 

The Thunderbirds efforts would be a little too late as the Wildfire would run the rest of the clock out with a few passes.

 

Game 2: Thunderbirds Split Weekend Double-Header with Win at Indianapolis 28-26

By: Cole Vandenburg

It was a hot 89 degrees for first pull at Roncalli Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana as the Pittsburgh Thunderbirds prepared to battle the Indianapolis AlleyCats, the second and final game of a weekend double-header for the T-Birds. With small gusts of winds blowing at a steady rate of 11 mph throughout the afternoon contest, the weather did not factor much into the contest.

 

Anson Reppermund recorded 4 goals, Max Thorne tossed six assists, and Dillon Tranquillo led the team in blocks, recording three on the afternoon.

 

1st Quarter

 

The AlleyCats received the first pull of the game. After turnovers from both teams on the opening possession, the AlleyCats opened the game with a 15 yard forehand throw from Rick Gross to a sprinting Kennan Plew on the far side of the field.

 

The AlleyCats proceeded to score on their next possession as well with a beautiful cross field toss to Nick Hutton that had him tip toeing in the back of the near sided end zone with 10:32 to go in the first quarter giving the AlleyCats a 2-0 lead.

 

The Thunderbirds would not fall down 3-0 as they had in Chicago one day prior however thanks to a 50 yard huck from Max Thorne that reached the breakaway hands of Tyler DeGirolamo giving the Thunderbirds their opening points of the game at 10:19.

 

After multiple turnovers by both teams, the AlleyCats threw a forehand huck from mid-field to the nearside with no one in sight except an accelerating Mike Kobyra, giving the AlleyCats a 4-1 lead with 6:13 left in the first quarter.

 

The Thunderbirds would have a breakaway of their own when Kenny Furdella tossed a 35 yard pass to Scott Trimble who quickly released a pass of his own to Sam Van Dusen who returned the favor back to Furdella for the score, 4-2.

 

The AlleyCats would follow up the Thunderbirds success with some magic of their own when Levi Jacobs performed a give and go with Kyle Cox who threw a 30 yard forehand toss down the nearside line to a full extension Jacobs with 3:22 left in the 1st giving the AlleyCats a four goal lead and a ton of momentum.

 

At the end of one quarter of play, the Thunderbirds were down by five goals, 9-4.

 

2nd Quarter

 

The Thunderbirds would start the 2nd quarter on offense and would promptly get broken. The AlleyCats scored on a jump disc between two Thunderbird players, giving the AlleyCats yet another fortuitous opportunity, resulting in 10-4 lead with 10:55 left in the half.

 

However, the Thunderbirds would outscore the AlleyCats by a score of 11-2 this quarter.

 

A phenomenal sky by Trimble resulted in an easy assist, as after the disc was brought down, it was put to space for a cutting Thomas Edmonds, bringing the score within five with 9:40 left in the half.

 

The scoring continued for the Thunderbirds as Thorne connected with DeGirolamo (which would be a theme for the night) cutting the AlleyCat lead to four goals with 8:25 left in the half.

 

On the proceeding drive, Carl Morgenstern broke up a huck tossed by the AlleyCats which created a great opportunity for Sam Van Dusen to have a huck of his own for a lengthy 65 yard back hand completion to a speedy Tranquillo that stopped him just inches short of a score. Knowing the importance of this play, the Thunderbirds called a timeout which helped them set up an easy toss out of the timeout from Thorne to Anson Reppermund, bringing the score to 10-7 with 7:31 remaining in the half.

 

After a great diving effort by Tranquillo to break up a potential drive from the AlleyCats at the AlleyCats own 15 yard line, Xavier Maxstadt rewarded Tranquillo for his efforts with a bookends in the back of the end-zone, closing the gap to only two points.

 

Only moments later, the soaring Thunderbirds would bring the game within one point thanks to a remarkable vintage Tad Wissel scoober to Isaac Smith with 3:08 left in the half.

 

The defense of the Thunderbirds continued to halt any progress by the AlleyCats, forcing a fourth straight break, scoring off of a Kenny Furdella, Morgenstern, Tranquillo combination, tying the game up for the first time since first pull with 2:42 minutes remaining in the half.

 

The AlleyCats would try to fight back for the remainder of the half but would not be able to stay with the fast and aggressive Thunderbird team that would top off the half with two points in the last 28 seconds, including a hook-up between Van Dusen and Rovner as well as a last second scoober from Wissel to Steve Mogielski, ending the half at 14-12 Thunderbirds.

 

3rd Quarter

 

On the opening pull of the second half, the AlleyCats faltered by dropping the pull! Maxstadt found Jimmy Towle after a few throws, giving the Thunderbirds a great beginning to the second half and increasing their lead to 15-12 to start the 3rd.

 

The majority of the quarter went back and forth, as both offenses held.

 

The third quarter was highlighted by a Callahan that was made by Reppermund with 3:15 left in the third quarter to increase the lead to two points for the Thunderbirds that they would hold for the remainder of the game.

 

4th Quarter

 

The AlleyCats would explode to open up the fourth quarter by scoring within just 31 seconds and bringing the game within 1 point.

 

The Thunderbirds and AlleyCats would each go on back to back scoring runs as the Thunderbirds would extend their lead to three goals before the AlleyCats would pull to within one goal with 8:58 left in the game.

 

However, offensives held and the Thunderbirds managed to eek out three more breaks, taking the contest by a score of 28-25.

 

The Thunderbirds split the weekend double-header and sit at 4-3 on the season. The T-Birds are on a bye week June 10th and will take on the Madison Radicals in Pittsburgh at 7pm on June 17th at Cupples Stadium.

 

June 7, 2017 | News, Pittsburgh, Team, Thunderbirds, Ultimate | 0

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