AUDL 2021 Week 10 Preview: Pittsburgh Thunderbirds Vs. DC Breeze

By Larry Snyder

Pittsburgh, Pa. – After back to back American Ultimate Disc League road losses to the Raleigh Flyers (7-2) and Atlanta Hustle (8-1) to close out July, the Pittsburgh Thunderbirds (1-7) return home to J.C Stone Field in North Park Sunday, August 8, for their inaugural meeting with the DC Breeze (7-2). The first pull between these Atlantic Division combatants is 2:00 p.m. EDT.

Since a one-point loss, 19-18, to the New York Empire in the season opener, the Breeze have won seven consective contests, including a 20-13 victory Friday, August 6, on the road against the Philadelphia Phoenix (3-7). Head Coach Darryll Stanley’s defense leads the AUDL for the lowest points against per game average with 16.22 and they are third in blocks with 11.67 per match.

Leading the attack for the Blue, Silver, and Red are Joe Merrill (32 goals), Joe Richards (29 goals), and Zach Norrbom (16 goals). Making sure the disc gets downfield is Johnny Malks with 453 assists and Rowan McDonnell with 427 helpers. The opposition does not add to the box score because of A.J. Merriman, who is third in the AUDL with 18 blocks.

While it is the first regular-season clash between these two teams, it is not the first visit to the City of Bridges for the Breeze. They participated in a Mixed Ultimate Disc exhibition Sunday, June 3, 2018, against the T-birds at Founder’s Field in Cheswick, Pennsylvania. Each roster had 12 women and 12 men for the special event.

Ready to spark the Pittsburgh offense for head coach Pat Hammonds is Max Sheppard with 26 goals and 24 assists for 50 combined points, while C.J. Colicchio, in his first season with the Black and Gold, is close behind with 24 goals and 22 assists for 44 points. Jimmy Towle is third with 17 goals and 21 assists in racking up 38 points.

Looking Back At Max Sheppard Reaching For A Goal Against The Raleigh Flyers (7/30/21)…

Fans of the T-birds know they can count on the pair of Thomas Edmonds with 12 goals and 15 assists to help defend the Nest and veteran handler Jon Mast, who brings a 97 completion percentage to the attack this season.

Connor Newell, a first-year player, contributed six goals, four assists, and a +10 rating to the clipboard for the Thunderbirds against the Atlanta Hustle. Here is the highlight tape from the Saturday, July 31, game on the Pittsburgh YouTube account.

Anson Reppermund serves as the air traffic controller of J.C. Stone Field with 11 blocks. According to Twitter, when it is time to bring the big guns, the Black and Gold call on fifth-year handler Sam VanDusen.

GAME DAY INFO:

Thunderbird Tickets: Online Here

Streaming (Subscription): AUDL.tv

Updates: Twitter At @PGHThunderbirds -OR- Facebook At pghthunderbirds

Next Up: The Thunderbirds face two exciting challenges on the road next weekend. On Friday, August 13, the first encounter is against the Boston Glory (3-5-1) at Hormel Stadium. Pittsburgh comes back down the East Coast to confront the New York Empire (6-2-1) Saturday, August 14, at Joseph F. Fosina Field. Both Atlantic Division confrontations get underway at 7:00 p.m. EDT.

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