MIN @ PIT 4/27 Recap


Photo: Alex Jurkuta

By: Ryan Baker, Journalist

The first week is officially in the books, and along with that is the first mark in the win column for the Minnesota Wind Chill.

On April 27, the Wind Chill traveled to the east coast to play the Pittsburgh Thunderbirds at Highmark Stadium in a matinee matchup. It only took about half of the first quarter to obtain the lead, and from there, they never looked back. The 2024 season debut ended in an 18-11 victory for Minnesota.

There was some questions on how a younger roster for week one, along with the absence of some key players would affect a team that was just in championship weekend just a few months ago. However, those questions were turned into statements against an experienced Pittsburgh team as Minnesota didn’t allow a single break all game.

“It feels really good to get that first win out of the way, obviously going on the road. The defensive prominence we showed, I was really happy with our defensive sets and how our defense played. We could have cleaned some things up with the disc offensively after getting the disc, but efficiency wise, really impressed with how the guys performed on the field in defensive capacity,” said head coach Ben Feldman.

The game went back and forth for the first four points, but after a block from Brandon Matis on the fifth point, and another block by Sam Berglund in the same point, Minnesota was able to punch their first break in the endzone on a throw to Dylan DeClerk.

After that, Minnesota controlled the lead, and forced Pittsburgh to maneuver their way through a tough defense. At half, Minnesota was looking at a 9-5 lead, and continued to outscore Pittsburgh in the third and fourth quarters. The Wind Chill had just 211 attempted throws over the course of the game, compared to the Thunderbirds’ 398.

“I think we definitely threw a lot of wrenches in their ability to score quickly. We really forced them to throw a lot of throws and what we do know is the more throws you got to throw in a given point, the less likely you are to score. Statistics would tell you that,” said Feldman.

There were times where Minnesota seemed antsy, completing just three of their nine hucks, but also controlled the game on the defensive end. The Wind Chill accrued 18 blocks throughout the game, with just 16 total turnovers, as opposed to Pittsburgh’s eight blocks and 23 turnovers.

“For the first outing, we had a pretty successful time just hitting open hands and moving through systems. We did have some hiccups when they ran zone and we didn’t get into our zone offense right away. We also took a few difficult deep shots when there was no need. Fixing both of those can help improve us limit turnover going forward,” said Bryan Vohnoutka.

As for the highly anticipated debuts of Thomas Shope and Leo Sovell-Fernandez and the return to the field for Matthew Rehder, there was little to no disappointment. Shope managed three blocks in in just eleven points played, Sovell-Fernandez had 255 total yards, and Rehder posted three goals and blocks a piece.

Cornerstone guys in Tristan Van De Moortele and Josh Klane both posted over 300 total yards, while Jordan Taylor and Vohnoutka had a plus/minus of seven and six, leading the team, respectively.

Overall, it was a good team win for the Wind Chill, but everyone in the program is aware that it is only going to get harder from here. With a bye in week two, they look to get back some of their key pieces for a week three matchup in Chicago against the Union on May 11.

This is just the first week, it was great to get a win, but we know each game will continue to be more difficult as the season progresses,” said Vohnoutka. “We will continue to refine our play, our systems and be ready to go in two weeks for Chicago.”

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