By Larry Snyder
Allison Park, Pa. – The Pittsburgh Thunderbirds (5-4-0) had their five-game winning streak finished Saturday, June 29, when the Indianapolis Alleycats (7-3-0) left JC Stone Field in North Park with a 23-20 victory. Thunderstorms delayed the start of the match from 6:00 p.m. till 7:30 p.m.
Head Coach Pat Hammonds and his Black and Gold crew began the 2019 campaign in the American Ultimate Disc League with a three-game losing streak. The third loss, which also was at home, came by way of the Alleycats. The T-birds wrapped up the home part of the regular season schedule with a record of 4-2.
Indianapolis asserted their authority in the third quarter with an 8-4 run on the score sheet. Cameron Brock and Rick Gross supplied four of the eight goals. Gross got behind Pittsburgh defenders twice to deliver back-to-back scores on throws from Brett Matzuka for the 13th and 14th points. Keenan Plew, Aaron Weaver, Levi Jacobs, and Donovan Triplett provided one goal apiece.
Nick Hutton, a defender in his sixth season for the A-cats, hit the box score with his team-leading three blocks all in the third. The trio of stops each led to an Indy goal. He also averaged 6.92 seconds of hang time on his 13 pulls across the evening. Jacobs and Gross assembled five goals apiece while Travis Carpenter contributed five assists.
Pittsburgh pushed the Men from the Hoosier State from the opening pull as the Thunderbirds built a 6-5 lead at the end of the first. After an Alleycats throwaway near the end of the opening frame, Thomas Edmonds hooked up with Max Sheppard who relayed a deep throw to University of Pittsburgh product, rookie Dylan Best for the sixth point and the early lead.
Sheppard acquired two of his team-leading five goals and three of his team-leading seven assists in the first. The duo of Edmonds and Best each chipped in four scores. Edmonds owned 42 catches while Jonathan Mast put up 45 completions against Indy. Anson Reppermund collected two blocks for the defense.
The Thunderbirds last goal came at about 2:50 in the fourth, when Edmonds got together with Mast on the fifth toss of the drive and Mast sent it to Best in the end zone.
My Play of the Game came after the pull by the Alleycats with just a few seconds remaining before halftime. Sam VanDusen received the disc and sent it the length of the field to a group of players between the hash marks at the goal line. Carpenter tipped it for Indy into the waiting hands of Reppermund along the back line. The Black and Gold went into the intermission with an 11-10 advantage.
Box Score Bits: Indianapolis never took their foot off of the accelerator as they connected on 261 of 270 throws for a 97 percent completion rate. The A-cats offensive productivity purred along at 73 percent. Pittsburgh was two clicks back at a 95 percent completion grade, hitting 231 of 243. Their offensive productivity checked in at 62 percent.
Both squads never surrendered as the two offenses each put up five goals in the second and fourth quarters.
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Gane Day Outreach: The Rukmini Foundation had an information table at Saturday’s matchup. They are a Pittsburgh-based international charity empowering underprivileged girls in Nepal through a holistic program of quality education, health information, and physical check-ups plus emotional support through a mentoring program. Find out more about their efforts by clicking on the link.
Next Up: Pittsburgh moves on this week to the Great Lakes State Saturday, July 6, to confront the Detroit Mechanix (0-10-0). The matchup at Bishop Foley Stadium in Madison Heights gets underway at 4:00 p.m.
Ultimate Clipboard: The Men of the Motor City are the only squad in the AUDL without a win this season. The next three teams with the fewest victories are the Seattle Cascades at 2-9-0, the Ottawa Outlaws at 2-8-0, and the Austin Sol at 3-9-0.
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Top Of The Article Photo By Larry N. Snyder – All Rights Reserved