AUDL 2021 Recap – Pittsburgh Thunderbirds Fall To Boston Glory In Season Opener

By Larry Snyder

Allison Park, Pa. – The Boston Glory (1-0) quickly got over any inaugural season jitters by producing 7-4 runs in the first and second quarters to enjoy their Saturday, June 5th matchup against the Pittsburgh Thunderbirds (0-1). The T-birds lost their American Ultimate Disc League opener 29-21 at J.C. Stone Field in North Park.

Head Coach Pat Hammonds needs his squadron to create more decisive advantages in practice this week. The handlers (throwers) and cutters (receivers) achieved a better exchange of the disc in the second half as the T-birds added 13 points to the box score. However, two dropped passes, and 21 throwaways for a total of 23 turnovers were too many against the visitors from New England.

Still, Boston owned two dropped passes and 13 throwaways for 15 turnovers. The key was the Glory defense, as it won the battle with 15 blocks to just seven for the Black and Gold. The Minnesota Wind Chill, in their 20-18 victory over the Madison Radicals, were the only team to collect more blocks in a single game with 19 over the opening weekend.

Despite the outcome, it was good to have the Thunderbirds back on the field, playing in front of fans on a warm summer evening. When the final whistle sounded, young and old left the bleachers and joined the team on the field. I think everyone was thrilled at the return of their T-birds.

Pittsburgh general manager Andrew Gardner shared his thoughts coming into the contest and observations after the match. “The first 5 minutes of our first practice of the year after the pandemic felt weird. Seeing people you hadn’t seen in a year in a half. That feeling quickly dissolved and the camaraderie was instantly restored.

It felt so great to have the crew back together. Not everyone who would have been involved in 2020 was back for our home opener, but it was close, and it also felt like we picked-up right where we left off and then some.

The fans brought our pop up stadium, now dubbed ‘The Nest’ to life on Saturday. The kid that caught the bare hot dog, the other kid who won the Huck-It Bucket Challenge, the DJ playing those silly sound effects, it was a breath of fresh air.

And then you had Myles Cooper showing 521 fans, probably 700+ in the stadium in total if you count players and staff, that he can play some serious ultimate! Tristan Yarter’s shoulder height layout grab in the end-zone was a play I’ll never unsee. CJ Colicchio, a 6′ 5″ player, played like he was 6′ 10″. It was just so cool to see everything come together.”

Looking Back Through The Lens Of Ed Thompson – All Photo Rights Reserved…

GAME NOTES: CJ Colicchio, who last played in the AUDL with the Charlotte Express in 2016, injected the box score with solid stats in his Black and Gold debut. His five goals led Pittsburgh, while his two assists tied him with Sam VanDusen, Jimmy Towle, and Kenny Furdella for helpers during the evening.

Helping to get the disc down the field, Max Sheppard delivered four assists to go along with a pair of goals and 358 receiving yards. He encountered defensive pressure from the Boston duo of Ivan Tran and Ryan Woodhouse for much of the game. Thomas Edmonds also brought two goals and four assists to the clipboard. Furdella contributed 340 throwing yards.

Ben Sadok supplied the lift to the Glory offense with three goals, five assists and four hockey assists. Head Coach Sam Rosenthal saw Gustav Haflin provide four goals, and Henry Babcock five assists to Boston’s bottom line.

Tannor Johnson had the honor of scoring Boston’s first goal in team history on a 15-yard pass from Babcock at 9:56 in the first quarter.

Next Up: The Thunderbirds travel to Florida Saturday, June 12, to engage the Tampa Bay Cannons (0-2). They come together for the first pull at the 31st Street Sports Complex at 6:05 p.m. EDT.

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