Colorado at Madison Preview

Ryan Baker, Journalist 

For the first time in program history, the Madison Radicals will take on the Colorado Summit this Friday in the UFA Game of the Week, June 14, in the confines of their home stadium.

Normally, the Radicals will take on in-division opponents, but have branched out this year with the scheduling and will take on a team they have never seen before. Obviously, that may bring concerns. Colorado is coming off of an 8-4 season where they achieved a playoff berth, but have looked slightly shaky to begin the season. 

“It’s always hard playing a team you have never played before, let alone players that I’ve never played against through my ultimate career. This week, specifically, I’ve been reaching out to people who have played Colorado, and have been watching more film than normal to see how to play against my matchups on defense and offense. I’m really confident going into this and Friday night couldn’t come any sooner,” said Anthony Gutowsky.

Currently, the Summit sits at 2-3, while Madison sits at 4-2. Both teams have yet to put things together for four full quarters. Inconsistency has been the storyline all year. Last weekend alone, Colorado had two games where they were outscored 14-7 in the first quarter, but walked out splitting the games. Meanwhile, the Radicals have had issues of giving up runs for the last two seasons. 

“There needs to be consistent energy from us. They [Summit] are a team that is very up and down. They look a little bit like us this season. They play great for a quarter, then they play bad. Whichever one of us plays consistently for four quarters, is probably going to win. That’s our goal, and I’m sure they are saying the same thing right now,” said head coach Tim DeByl. 

Luckily, keeping the energy for the entire game is an easier task when you have your key guys playing. After a lot of the Radicals top players were out last week, we will see the return of Jack Nelson, Victor Luo, Sterling Knoche, Pat Shriwise, Kai Marcus, and Max Sample. You add those guys into the mix, along with red-hot Gutowsky, it seems like a combination for success. 

“I try to treat every game the same, but beating a very good out-of-division team would be a great boost for us. We have played well for parts of games, but have yet to put it fully together. Being able to do that against Colorado would be a good catalyst for a strong second half of the season,” said Knoche.

Gutwosky is currently showcased against one of Colorado’s best, Alex Atkins. Both will have a huge hand this Friday night, but something that an eye needs to be kept on is the usage of Gutowsky. Last year, he played just 36 defensive points in 12 games. However, this year, he is already at 35 defensive points played in just half of those games.

“The showcase doesn’t get to my head, it actually gives me more motivation seeing that I’m starting to get recognition. It gives me something to look forward to and to play harder for,” said Gutowsky. “The defense has not been that hard of an adjustment. I’ve really been working hard on my conditioning this year to be able to play both ways, frequently. If coach trusts me enough to go score goals on one end and go get a big block on the other, I’m all for it.” 

It will be a clash of a stingy defense in Colorado, who has let up the fifth fewest scores this season, against a high-powered offense in Madison. Among the teams that have played only six games this season, the Radicals rank number one in scores. We will see if the offense can keep it up, especially in a place where Madison has struggled since the beginning of 2022. The last three years, the Radicals are 5-9 at home, but four of those wins have come against the Pittsburgh Thunderbirds and the Detroit Mechanix. 

“It would be big, mostly because we have struggled at Breese. We haven’t had a good quality win at Breese for the last couple years. Having a really good team come in from another division is a really good way to test yourself. We need to pass one of those tests, especially at home. Preseason, you looked at this game kind of like a 50/50 game, so to be on the right side of that game would be really good,” said DeByl. 

This game could be a telltale sign of how the rest of Madison’s season will go. It will be a true test for the young squad, against an unfamiliar team, under the bright lights, in an electric atmosphere. 

To watch the UFA Game of the Week this Friday night at 7 p.m. CDT, click here!

To buy tickets to Breese Stevens Field, click here!