By: Larry Snyder (topoftheinclinesports.com)
Allison Park, Pa. – The Pittsburgh Thunderbirds (1-3) go for their second straight triumph Saturday, May 18, when they host the Detroit Mechanix (0-3) at JC Stone Field. The pair of Midwest Division squads meet for the first pull at 6:00 p.m.
Pittsburgh sent the fans home with smiles on Saturday, May 11 with their 21-18 triumph against the Chicago Wildfire (2-1). Head Coach Pat Hammonds brigade is ready for flight in the American Ultimate Disc League.
Max Sheppard, who leads the flock with 15 goals and 122 minutes played, spoke with Evan Lepler on the league website about the team’s first victory this season, “As a team, we did feel some sense of urgency going into this game after starting off the season 0-3. We made a couple small adjustments strategically and mentally, but we all knew this was a must-win game.”
Thomas Edmonds has the touch of finding players in the end zone with his team-leading 12 assists to go along with his 192 catches. The T-birds had something to say about the University of Pittsburgh alumnus from the En Sabah Nur ultimate program on Twitter this week.
#8 Thomas Edmonds is putting on a passing clinic! He currently leads @theAUDL in completions per game.
Edmonds also talked to Lepler about a teammate’s hustle last week against Chicago. He said, “Steve Mogielski had one of the best sequences I’ve seen in awhile. He got a layout block on a swing pass then sprinted essentially the length of the field and caught a laser-beam huck from Sammy [VanDusen] and then immediately imitated an Antonio Brown celebration by jumping, hugging, and sliding down the goal post. It was hilarious and got all of our energy going up to the next level.”
Running down the box score, VanDusen is second in assists with 11 and minutes played with 119 while Jonathan Mast makes his presence known with 188 completions and 160 catches. Helping to keep the opposition honest is Anson Reppermund with his eight blocks. Bringing strong and dedicated efforts every game are Owen Watt, Dylan Best, Chris Graber, Jimmy Towle, Alex Thomas, Mark Fedorenko, and Adam Burgess.
Detroit, along with the Indianapolis AlleyCats, commenced playing in 2012 as two of the eight charter teams of the AUDL. Opening this season 0-3, the Men of Motown own 60 goals, allowed the opposition 76, and are last in the Midwest Division.
Andrew Sjogren guides the Mechanix offense with 16 goals. David Innis brings 150 catches and 189 completions to the score sheet. Ashton Hoffman is averaging 7.1 seconds on the hangtime of his pulls. Joe Cubitt leads the squad in minutes played with 154 and is second in assists with 12. Kevin Coulter, who has the most helpers with 16, is listed as inactive for this week’s match on the league site.
My Prediction: Upon reflection over my morning cup of java, I expect the T-birds to claim a 21-18 win. You can pick out the best seat for your family and friends online.
Other Voices: Over on the AUDL web page, Matt Rezin reveals his two players we should all keep our eyes on in this contest. He is watching Detroit’s blocks leader Mark Whitton who’s “proven he can get the disc back if his team is taking risks to get in the end zone.” For Pittsburgh, it is the handling performance by Edmonds.
Perusing the numbers at Massey Ratings, the Thunderbirds are nesting at No. 20 this week in the survey while the Mechanix are at 21. They like the Black and Gold to put up a 25-20 victory.
Weather: Keeping track of the nimbus clouds, the gang at weather.com is forecasting mostly cloudy skies for Saturday with a 15 to 35 percent chance of showers. The high to begin the contest should be 81 degrees with a low of 74 by 9:00 p.m. Winds look to be out of the south to southwest at four to seven mph.
Next Up: Pittsburgh wraps up their four-game homestand Saturday, May 26, when the Minnesota Wind Chill (3-2) visit JC Stone Field. The rematch from Week 2 starts at 6:00 p.m.