AUDL 2022 Preview: Pittsburgh Thunderbirds Tangle With Madison Radicals

By Larry Snyder

Madison, Wis – The Pittsburgh Thunderbirds (1-1-0) touch down on Saturday, May 7, to clash with the Madison Radicals (0-0-0) at Breese Stevens Field. The first pull between these two American Ultimate Disc League Central Division foes is 6:00 p.m. CDT.

Last week, the Black and Gold, facing cloudy skies and almost continual 20 mph winds on the road, claimed a 17-13 victory Saturday, April 30, against the Detroit Mechanix (0-1-0), in a game shortened by weather. The head referee said the conditions were unsafe at Grand Rapids Christian High School to continue playing after a lightning delay at 3:41 of the fourth quarter.

Head Coach Max Barowski saw the most substantial surge of his Tbirds offense during the second quarter’s 6-3 push. Four of the six points happened because of Detroit turnovers. Max Sheppard supplied four goals, two assists, two blocks, and 285 receiving yards, while Kenny Furdella and Michael Dillard contributed three goals apiece.

Clint McSherry provided five assists and 393 throwing yards to the Steel City box score. Helping to get the disc downfield were Sam VanDusen and CJ Colicchio, with three assists apiece. The defense came from the quartet of Charlie Vukovic, Steve Mogielski, Pete Zaccardi, and Sheppard, adding two blocks each.

Detroit made eight out of nine plays in the Red Zone; however, they could not generate any more scoring opportunities. They lost the battle of the blocks 13-8, but the turnovers, 23-30, were in their favor.

The time to enjoy their Saturday win was short as the Thunderbirds lost 19-8 to the Chicago Union (1-0-0) Sunday, May 1, at the De La Salle Institute football field. The brisk and breezy weather coming across the Midwest curtailed the offense of both squads throughout the afternoon.

While Colicchio and VanDusen dispensed three assists apiece, one key to Pittsburgh’s undoing was going four out of 10 in red-zone possessions. The Black and Gold’s defensive effort came from Zaccardi with four blocks.

Chicago’s Jack Shanahan and Ross Barker served up a trio of goals each, and Nate Goff produced three blocks. The face of the Union squad, Pawel Janas, enjoyed four assists and 188 throwing yards.

NEW Thunderbirds Update: General Manager Andrew Gardner announced Thursday, May 5, the signing of fourth-year handler Thomas Edmonds. In his first three seasons in the City of Bridges, he owns 50 goals, 79 assists, and 16 blocks. He should be in Wisconsin for the matchup with Madison.

From The AUDL YouTube Channel – Pittsburgh 2019: Thomas Edmonds 4-Assist, 5-Goal, 44-Completion Highlights…

Check Out: Pittsburgh Thunderbirds And Pittsburgh Riverhounds Team-Up For Games At Highmark Stadium


Madison checked in with a 7-5 record in 2021, and they placed third in the Central. Since the Radicals took the field in 2013, Tim DeByl has been their head coach, and he is the longest-serving AUDL coach.

Kevin Petit-Scantling covered both ends of the field with 27 goals and 21 blocks, while Sterling Knoche’s 25 goals and Chase Marty’s 11 kept the scoreboard operator busy. Victor Luo was among the leaders in distributing the disc with 27 assists, and Tom Annen and Logan Pruess furnish depth to the game-day roster.

Newcomers Kai DeLorenzo from Middlebury College in Vermont and Kai Marcus of UNC expect to impact the score sheet this season.

Tracking the barometer, the weather pundits say there will be a few clouds overnight. The daytime high reaches 66 degrees, and the evening low should hit 43. Any chance of precipitation is five percent, and the winds arrive from the east to southeast at nine mph.


Broadcast: You can see every huck of the contest on the subscription streaming service

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

NEXT UP: The Black and Gold celebrate their home opener Saturday, May 21, when they meet the Indianapolis AlleyCats at JC Stone Field. Look for the opening pull at 6:00 p.m. EDT. You can find your seats to cheer on the Tbirds online.

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