By Larry Snyder
Pittsburgh, Pa – After playing their first three games of the 2022 season on the road, the Pittsburgh Thunderbirds (1-2-0) face the Indianapolis AlleyCats (1-1-0) Saturday, May 21, in front of the home fans at JC Stone Field. The opening pull is 6:00 p.m., and it is the 16th overall meeting between these American Ultimate Disc League Central Division rivals.
Followers of the Black and Gold know Max Sheppard draws a lot of attention from the competition with seven goals, six assists, and 819 receiving yards. CJ Collicchio and Thomas Edmonds each bring four goals to the score sheet.
Keeping control of the disc is crucial, and Sam VanDusen works hard to sustain drives with seven assists and 482 throwing yards. Clint McSherry provides five helpers and 709 throwing yards, while Ian Engler injects 554 throwing yards and a 94.52 completion percentage. Collicchio furnished seven assists to begin the season.
Ready to protect the Nest, Pete Zaccardi dispensed six blocks on defense, with another five coming from Connor Newell. Everyone is playing their part to get the Thunderbirds in the win column under first-year head coach Max Barowski.
During their bye-week on Saturday, May 14, fans of the Thunderbirds got to see the team put together an intra-squad half-time exhibition at the Pittsburgh Riverhounds match with United Soccer League opponent, the El Paso Locomotive FC. The Hounds claimed a 1-0 victory at Highmark Stadium.
Come the first weekend in June, Highmark Stadium will be busy as the Tbirds have a rematch with the Madison Radicals Friday, June 3 at 7:00 p.m. The next day the Hounds clash with Detroit City FC at 7:00 p.m.
From the AUDL YouTube channel – Pittsburgh 2021: A Look Back At Chris Graber’s Insane Sky Goal…
Indianapolis put together a 3-9 record in 2021 and finished fourth in the Central. Since coming into the league in 2012, the AlleyCats are 8-7 all-time against the Black and Gold. However, this weekend marks the first time for the Hoosier State crew to play outdoors, as their first two contests were home at the indoor Grand Park Events Center.
Cam Brock owns 11 goals in head coach Will Drumright’s offense two games into the season. Rick Gross checks in with eight tallies. The duo of Keegan North with 15 assists and Levi Jacob with nine helpers keep the disc in play. Brett Matzuka helps the defense with eight blocks.
There is another reason for Indy’s 1-1 start. Long-time AlleyCat contributor Travis Carpenter is out with a torn ACL for the season. He supplied 15 goals and 31 assists to the box score in 2021.
Weather: Watching the radar, forecasters project a daytime high of 91 degrees, and the evening should come down to 67. Scattered thunderstorms are possible with a 40 percent chance of precipitation. Winds come from the south to the southwest at five to ten mph.
Tickets: Join your family and friends to see the Thunderbirds live by obtaining your tickets here.
Broadcast: You can watch every goal of the match on the subscription streaming service AUDL.tv.
Listen To This: Music will also be part of the home opener. Stationary Pebbles is a four-piece rock band that blends funk and reggae to create a unique sound. They got together in June 2012 and played the entire Pittsburgh area.
NEXT UP: The Tbirds return to the road Saturday, May 28, going to the Sunshine State. They battle the Tampa Bay Cannons (0-3-0). The two squads line up at Gibbs High School in St. Petersburg at 7:00 p.m.