Who are the best players in the New England region? This is an open thread to discuss All-Region nominations, All-Freshman nominations, coaching awards, and more. Stay positive and keep it civil.
Some thoughts on the players from the Metro Boston teams. I am one of the coaches of the Northeastern Valkyries and we got to play all 5 of the other Metro Boston teams during our Conference Championships this past weekend. Conditions were super windy on Saturday, so the teams that we only saw play that first day (MIT, BC, BU) were tough to get a read on and I don’t have a ton of thoughts, so hopefully others can chime in!
MIT - had a couple strong handlers, especially a tall handler (perhaps #24?) that was starting their offense very effectively going into the wind.
BC - Olivia Hampton does a great job running the offense and makes a ton of plays on D for Flix. She has to be in any conversation for All Region. BC had a couple other strong handlers that did good work in the wind.
BU - Gus and Jax did a really nice job running the offense from the handler positions for BU and Annika Chan (#1) was making a lot of plays downfield as our game moved on after being involved around the disc more at the start of our game. Ja’nae Stewart (#13) plays super hard all of the time and was involved in a lot of D’s. As an aside, its a real shame that BU doesn’t get to compete at Regionals. They play hard and with great spirit and make a lot of plays and absolutely deserve a chance to keep their season going. I understand that the Regionals formats are determined by number of participating teams but I really wish that the New England Region allowed at least 12 teams so BU would have been able to keep playing.
Harvard - Eliza Chang is a difference maker on D, as a cutter and with the disc and she is someone that constantly has to be accounted for on every point. She took the toughest matchups for the entirety of both of our games and seemed to get open whenever Harvard needed someone. For me she is a lock as an All Region player. Eliza Pugh (Pepe) really runs the offense and was one of the very best throwers at our Conferences. Jackie Martinez was another super strong cutter and defender who got involved in tons of plays on both sides of the disc. Harvard is going to be a true handful at Regionals, don’t overlook them!
Tufts - Jojo Emerson and Laura Fradin form an incredible handler duo for Tufts. They keep the disc moving in any situation, breaking the mark and throwing deep, and I can’t remember either of them having a turnover in our finals game despite playing the great majority of points. They both deserve a ton of consideration for All Region, with Jojo probably being a lock for me and Laura right there as well. Rachel Kramer caught the critical up-wind goal against us Saturday in pool play that led Tufts to victory and is just generally open all of the time. Emily Eibl plays outstanding D, makes great cuts and was someone that we just could never seem to take away from the Tufts offense as she threw or caught multiple goals in the finals. Winnie Zhang was another strong two way player for Tufts, gaining them a lot of yards as a cutter on offense and playing great D.
Northeastern - I’m admittedly biased but think we have a number of players that are worth consideration for All Region. Hopefully someone else can jump in because I don’t feel right talking up my own team. I will say that if anyone is looking for a candidate for the All-Freshman team Katharine Gilbert (#39) has been a rock all season for us as a handler and has played more than any freshman in the 9 years I’ve been coaching Northeastern. Katharine has all the throws, plays great D and was on the field for just about every O point throughout Sunday for us.
Coaches - I am consistently impressed by the level of effort put in by the coaches in the Metro Boston Conference. Lauren Nelson of MIT is super active and always looking for ways to make adjustments. Rosie Ano of BC seems as dedicated as they come. Casey Terp and Tracy Snyder of BU are incredibly supportive and you can see how much their team enjoys playing for them. Sophia Herscu and Hannah Baranes bring an amazing amount of energy to Harvard and never allow their team to get down. The Tufts contingent of Sangwha, Meriden and Becky is as knowledgeable and fearsome as you will ever encounter on the sidelines and they bring out the best in both their team and their competitors at all times. My co-coaches Becca Ludford and Danny Clark put in a ton of time and effort and their presence is a huge boost for our players. I think having all of these coaches in one Conference really pushes all of the players involved to be their best in every game and its really cool to see!
Looking forward to Regionals
#11 Jojo Emerson - Incredibly consistent and reliable handler for EWO, and has been for the entirety of her time on the team. Unstoppable break mark throws, consistent forehand hucks; a menace to defend. Her energy and fire is obvious every single time she steps on the field, and the play of both her and her teammates reflects that.
#15 Laura “Intro” Fradin - Another hugely reliable backfield presence for the EWO. The touch and placement of her throws is unmatched on the team, and possibly in the region. Her massive backhand hucks cause opponents to exclusively force flick. Her quickness makes her very difficult to guard and she is always open for the reset. Fradin and Emerson are true distributers, not only embodying greatness, but also setting their teammates up to be great as well.
**#12 Emily “Lazer” Eibl - A downfield cutter that opponents find very tricky to contain. Big in the air with great hands, Eibl comes down with things that she has no right to catch given her 5’4" height. On defense, her speed and aggression often shut down the opponents’ best players. **
#28 Rachel “NASA” Kramer - Offensive cutter with great throws and impressive bids. Kramer was responsible for upwards of 50% of the teams’ goals at centex. Her midfield presence is vital to the EWO offensive flow.
**#3 Winnie Zhang - Another strong offensive cutter for the EWO. Despite her short stature, Zhang caught many goals deep at regionals, most with a massive bid. Her speed and sharp change of directions allow her to catch huge gainers under for the team. **
#13 Val Willocq - 2015 New England FOTY, Willocq’s play as a handler for the EWO would convince you that she was older than just a sophomore. Willocq is another incredibly reliable handler for the team, having zero turnovers in most games she plays. Having the team depend so heavily on her as an underclassman is a big task, and she is absolutely up for the challenge. Her midfield defense was a headache for most opponents at regionals, who struggled to get the disc past her in a zone or clam.
#11 Meredith “Stat” Bernstein" - You would have no idea that this was her first year playing ultimate from watching her. A basketball player in high school, Bernstein is insanely athletic, making her a huge pickup for the EWO defense. As a freshman she earned herself a spot on the starting D line with her big mark, quick feet, and athletic catches. Her coachability and dedication to improving make her stand out, and it is scary to think about how far she will go in the next 3 years.
I am one of the captains at MIT. There are tons of players in our region who deserve recognition but basically I can’t remember all of their names.
Dartmouth - Jacquille Jones and a few other handlers were extremely effective at moving the disc quickly amongst themselves against our zone looks. Angela Zhu was a defensive menace in the few points that she played against us. I’m certain that she and Jaclyn Verzuh will make the all region teams. I remember being impressed by the quickness of someone called “Noodle.”
Northeastern - Mei Bruist has a great throwing arsenal, gets open seemingly at will, and plays incredible D. She consistently brings a level of focus and intensity to the field that I really admire. Maggie Soto is a reliable cutter downfield who I saw make some big plays, and communicates very well with her teammates. There are definitely more players on Northeastern who I would like to recognize but unfortunately I can’t remember their names.
MIT - Kelly Liu and Melissa Slaughter are both consistently successful defending our toughest matchups. They have good ups and closing speed. They are usually called as our primary cutters and will take full advantage of an unaware defender. They both have very dependable throws and pretty deep shots.
Alina Li is definitely worth considering for All Region. She creates movement on offense with quick give and gos. I’ve seen her fake her mark into the ground more times than I can count. She has great, well placed hucks, and reliable breaks both inside and around. She comes down with the disc against players who are much taller than her, and she can completely shut down a squirrelly reset. She is an incredibly adaptive and smart player.
Harvard - Eliza Chang works hard on offense and will take whatever her defender is giving her. She will get open whenever and however necessary. Really solid defense as well and is great in the air. Elizabeth Pugh definitely runs the Harvard offense and makes really smart and well-excecuted decisions with the disc. She also made some great plays on deep D. Emilia Bladin was a huge threat downfield even though she was not at full capacity.
BU - Annika Chan makes really great aggressive plays on D and drives BU’s offense with quick movement around the disc and accurately placed throws. I would have loved to see BU play at Regionals.
Congratulations and good luck to Dartmouth at Nationals. We have a very competitive region and it was hard fought and well earned.