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All-Region 2017: Great Lakes (D-I Women's)

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Who are the best players in the Great Lakes region? This is an open thread to discuss All-Region nominations, All-Freshman nominations, coaching awards, and more. Stay positive and keep it civil.

from only conferences (only saw a few teams though):

2nd team:

  • #58 (? she was wearing a couple different numbers) wini henson: solid, calm handler. poised, nice throws even going upwind. playmaker for the team.

notre dame
all region:

  • #8 julia butterfield: not just ultiworld hype, but great all-around player (throwing / receiving, defensive iq and in deep space)
  • #15 mk andersen: awesome defender; fighter

2nd team:

  • #28 (?) dina vu: solid, consistent distributor in the backfield
  • #84 sarah lipscomb: (1st team?) huge contributor, esp in the deep space. fast, gets open at will, great at reading discs

not sure who their freshmen are, but bens seems to be doing a great job.
side note: shoutout to the entire womb squad. they sometimes get a bad rep, but our conferences final was nothing but spirited competition.


  • #9 nina janjic: consistent and reliable handler. there probably isn’t anyone else with a higher completion rate, esp in that role and with that many touches
  • #14 brittany wright: versatile impact player. plays well on both sides of the disc as a top receiver anywhere on the field and as a defender taking on difficult match-ups. huge and seemingly effortless catching range.
  • #37 hannah henkin: i say it every year, but poty. very skilled, very smart, killer instincts. plays big, can throw her way out of any defense, and shuts down every player she’s on

2nd team:

  • #28 leah bar-on simmons: so smart in the air, and plays way bigger than she is. big throws, perfect roller pulls, very fast
  • #32 viv chu: quick, cheeky handler with a wide range of throws
  • #46 amy stoddard: athletic and fiery defender. makes big plays on the ground and in the air
  • #66 phoebe hopp: takes some of the toughest match-ups as a smart and grinding defender. superior mark, locks down with fundamentals, workhorse.


  • #27 megan gordon: foty. true athlete who picked it up quickly and just gets it. quick and fast, reliable throws, will hit the deck, lockdown defender. she sees significant time on the field, and watching her play, you would think she’s at least in her 2nd year of playing.
  • #17 nicole kleinsorge: foty in any other year that megan isn’t around. very athletic, also reliable throws, and will easily catch the steepest, hottest incoming blades. could easily cycle back and forth between handling and cutting and do well at both.

excited to hear other thoughts and from the illinois conference! and to see everyone in action in 2 weeks!

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If you don’t know the name Mary Sullivan from U of I yet get to know it. Mary should definitely be in consideration for FOTY in this region. She is amazing to play with and has a ton of talent. It’s going to be scary once she reaches her full potential. She comes from the well respected Neuqua Valley program, and is a year removed from a Worlds tryout.

From the Illinois section:


  • Hani - she destroyed us downfield, really tough to keep up with. really fast and just a solid player overall.
  • Jenny - best thrower on UChicago in my opinion, really really smooth upwind inside flicks. also tough to guard.


  • Jo - Illinois’s center handler, their whole offense runs through her. nice break throws and quick uplines that we couldn’t stop a lot of the time.
  • Bianca - Menace’s other main handler, her and Jo have something good going between them. sweet high release backhands.


  • Jess Hoffman - one of our senior captains, she’s really brought us together this year. her flick hucks are unstoppable and she’s not afraid to try creative throws.
  • Kelsey Dennis - our other senior captain, just a stellar defender and someone we trust with any matchup. also an initiating cutter and makes great decisions with the disc.
  • Skim - only a sophomore but seriously has brought a ton to our team this year. killer defender and great in the air. always our initiating cutter and has those sweet full field flick pulls.


  • Grace Young (#44 on Northwestern) - she’s gone from never touching a disc to being on our U-line in a matter of a few months. Somehow always open and hardly ever turns it over. Can out sprint almost anyone (she was a runner in high school) and already making sick layout D’s on defense.

Also shout out to Carol Li for being a fantastic coach for the third year in a row. This was her first year coaching alone and you can really tell the difference in mentality on GungHo- she really believes in us.

Most of what I was going to say about the players in the Illinois conference has been said but I’d like to add a couple of notes/people for consideration.

All Region:
Agree with the people Katie said nominated for Gungho, but she wasn’t going to nominate herself so:
Katie George: Katie joined as a sophomore, played a year on B team, and when she realized she totally got cheated by joining as a sophomore decided to stay for a fifth year (that’s probably not why she stayed). Katie has been a strong consistent presence since making A team. She’s chilly with the disc, makes consistently good decisions, and has a huge arsenal of throws. She’s a core piece of our offense and deserves consideration for all region.

Also a couple more things about Sarah Kim (Skim):
Last year’s GL FOTY takes on the tough matchups and makes big plays when it matters. She got a layout D in the endzone on DGP in our Saturday game against UChicago that I will never forget.

Agree on Hani and Jenny for all region, tbh I don’t know how you can be as tall as Jenny is and release your backhand that close to the ground, very impressive and deadly.

fully agree with what was said previously about Jo and Bianca. Mary is also a strong candidate for the all freshman line.

Now what I really want to talk about is COTY. I’d like to nominate GungHo’s Carol Li and here are a lot of words about it:

Carol has been either playing for or coaching for the Gungho Program for 8 consecutive years. She went straight from captaining to coaching the B team, and then was the assistant coach on A team for two years. She won COTY last year from an assistant position, and has really stepped up in the head coach role this year. Carol has been an extremely positive presence throughout this year, going way above and beyond what might be expected in a coach. She puts in extra time to help people with throwing, stayed after practice whenever there were questions, and reaches out whenever she sees a player who needs support. She’s built a strong feeling of trust between herself and the team, she is always there, always willing to help, and has proven time and time again that everything we do in practice has a purpose.
The team’s trust of our coach reflects back in the feeling that she trusts us as well. She will call matchups, but she also trusts us to take our own matchups as well. At Centex, once we had played a few points and gotten a feel for our opponents, she walked over to the line and said, “I’m not going to match you up. Pick the girl you want to guard and Own Your Matchup.” This is a demonstration of trust that goes a long way.
Carol’s coaching is also driven by a mission to build strong women on and off the field. While the occasional “oh shit, sorry”, can still be heard at practice, she’s helped us become less apologetic, and taught us that it’s cool to want to prove to your teammates and opponents what you can do, to never apologize for trying.
When we asked Carol to step up into the head coaching role this year, we didn’t know exactly what to expect. Moving into the head coaching role can be a big step. Despite the part that she only coaches as an excuse to go to Texas and eat BBQ/Torchy’s(

), Carol met and exceeded all expectations the captains had coming into the year. She has put more into this program than anyone else in recent memory, and in my opinion she deserves to win this award as head coach this year.

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An incredibly deep, disciplined team with a ton of really athletic, fundamentally sound players. I’m sorry I didn’t catch more names when we played them, but number 9 was a quick, tough handler and number 10 played some pretty tight handler d. Shoutout to TLo’s beautiful upwind swings into 20 mph crosswinds.


  • Skim - I was already impressed by her athleticism and speed last year, but now she has huge throws too. Still so spirited and comes down with crazy stuff.


  • Joline Chang - super dangerous handler with big throws and sweet bids
  • Michelle (I think that’s her name) - those pulls were terrifying both at sectionals and regionals. Huge lefty backhand hucks and super effective in taking away the deep in Illinois’ zone


  • Hani Pajela - speedy, speedy defense machine who has a vertical approximately as tall as she is. Generates a bunch of turns on defense and is basically impossible to catch on offense
  • Madison Moore - She’s only a sophomore but has grown so, so much this season. She’s stepped up to take some of the toughest defensive matchups and is a smart, effective presence in the cup.

Congrats to everyone on surviving the wind at Regionals last weekend. Due to those conditions, I didn’t get a great view of players from the Illinois section (we didn’t play any of those teams before Regionals). Especially on Saturday, cutters on every team seemed to spend most of their time trying to chase down wind-affected hucks as they were flying out of bounds. As such, handlers capable of moving the disc in the wind really stood out. Additionally, we (Notre Dame) haven’t played Northwestern at all during the last two years, so I don’t have any real familiarity with their squad. Their regular season results would indicate they have some deserving players, but I can’t comment on any of them specifically.

I’m not 100% sure on her name, but based on other people’s descriptions, it sounds like Hani Pajela was the player that stood out to me when we faced them. She was a good defender, and had very solid throws in the wind. We only saw her in limited action, as she only played a few points in their game against us in semis on Saturday afternoon. We took an early lead, and I assume their coaches decided to save her legs for Sunday. That said, she stood out during those few points.

Joline Chang and #42 (Michelle I think) are both fantastic handlers. They were the two players we focused our defense around.

I’m not sure of her name, but #74 stood out during our game against them at Sectionals.

T-Lo - Probably the toughest and most complete handler we’ve faced this season. She can beat you with hucks, throw and go moves, or her lefty break throws to shred your mark. She’s also an excellent defender both downfield and on the mark.
Hannah Henkin - Fantastic all-around player. I’m excited to watch her and T-Lo’s torch some other team’s handler defense at Nationals after seeing them do it to us the last few years.
Viv Chu - All you could want from a D-Line handler.
Leah Bar-on Simmons - She had a bunch of deep Ds in both our games against Flywheel this year, and is a solid, consistent handler with the disc.
Brittany Wright - Really good cutter

T-Lo mentioned a few of them above, but speaking about my own team, Notre Dame.
Julia Butterfield - In my eyes, she’s the regional POTY, and the biggest reason we’ve had the season we did. She throws or catches the score on seemingly all of our points, and numerous teams we’ve faced have changed their defenses specifically to stop her. She also gets tons of Ds, is a fantastic captain, and will be trying out for the U24 National team in June.
MK Andersen - She guards the opposing team’s best handler every point she’s on. Blazing fast cutter on the turn, and excellent in the air. She’s an STF All Star and U24 Tryout invitee for a reason.
Sarah Lipscomb - 2015 GL FOTY and frequently on the end of Julia’s hucks. Great in the air and catches everything thrown in her general direction. She’s also improved a ton as a thrower going from someone that never threw upfield two years ago to someone that can put it deep after catching an in-cut.
Mary Hermann - Our top defensive handler. She guarded Claire Revere and Haley Wahlroos at NWC, and was usually matched up with Henkin in our games against Flywheel. She wasn’t able to attend QCTU, and it showed. We had a 4-3 record without her, but were 21-2 the rest of the season which I think speaks loudly to her importance to our team.
Dina Vu - Fantastic handler that’s shouldered a much bigger offensive load compared to last season. She always makes the right throw whether it’s an around break off the sideline or a huck to one of our cutters. She’s also a captain and has been hugely important from a leadership perspective.

Our two freshman (like everyone else on our roster) had never played ultimate before college so they didn’t get a ton of run in our bigger games this season. That said, Cecilia Hall has already become a very solid d-line handler in her short time playing the sport, and TC Burrows is naturally an awesome defender. She layout D’d a U24 invitee from NC State on her first day playing with Womb this spring. Lastly, although she’s not eligible for the FOTY team, Colleen Scott deserves a mention. She had never played the sport before joining our team as a sophomore after transferring to ND from Marquette, but quickly stepped into a big time cutting role with our O-line.

On the coaching front, Ben and Joe have done great things with the Michigan program. Additionally, I’d echo the sentiments for Carol at Northwestern. She led a couple drills at one of our practices this spring, and her abilities as a teacher of the sport were easy to see.

Notre Dame:
I wish I could’ve watched the first place game and seen more, but Julia Butterfield is All-Region for sure and gets my vote for POTY. She does so much for her team from big throws to catching basically anything remotely coming her way.

I also found it hard to pick people out from such a solid team. But I thought #28 (Leah Bar-On Simmons) and #46 (Amy Stoddard) played great games against us. And +1 to everything about TLo and Henkin.

Agree about Joline and Michelle. Joline has such clean cuts and is overall a great player. We had to adjust both our offense and defense to Michelle, trying to take away her huge backhand and overload her as their deep in the zone.

Skim is always grinding. Never gives up on the disc and seemed like Northwestern’s go-to downfield.

Jenny Wang - Especially in the wind, our team relies heavily on Jen’s hucks and pulls. She has improved so much, developing some boosters and improving and expanding her throwing repertoire.
Hallie Parten - BFG for big friccin girl. Huge playmaker on our team. She comes down with seemingly impossible grabs and is an incredible deepdeep in our zone.
Leah Kessler - Sneaky handler that distributes the disc v well, has a nasty IO flick break, and ok sometimes travels. Cooch’s great captain with an unbelievable game IQ.

For All-Freshman, I strongly urge y’all to consider Cassandra Brown and Daisy “[muh boy] Davey” Barbanel. In her first year of playing, Cass was thrown into a handler role. She already has big girl throws. Davey is a cutter with great field awareness, ridiculous hands, and a v long hangtime.

I’m a little late to the game to write in here, but I would not feel right if I didn’t post about how incredible Carol Li was as a coach this year.

As previously mentioned, Carol stepped into the main coach role this year. She completely exceeded every expectation we had. I felt this year was the most positive coach-player relationship I have ever been a part of both as a second year captain and fourth year GungHo player.

Reasons why Carol is an amazing coach:
-she has a great knowledge of the game
-she takes the time to really get to know her players and adapts what she does to really push each individual in her own way
-she is constantly trying to improve as a player which makes us also want to continually better ourselves
-makes us laugh
-truly believes in each individual
-teaches us to be strong women on and off the field (like telling us not to be apologetic for being brave)
-will take the time outside of practice to help us throw, work out, talk frisbee, or help us talk through whatever is going on in our frisbee or non-frisbee lives
-sends great resources to help us improve (articles, podcasts, videos, etc.)
-she’s taught and encouraged us all to be leaders
-she is empathetic
-she is confident
-she is constantly growing and learning with us
-she goes to clinics, other schools’ practices, and high schools to spread and better ultimate throughout the Chicago community
-she is just a really great person with a deep love for GungHo and frisbee and knows exactly how to channel her passion to make the most out of every player on her team

I could definitely write more about Carol as a coach. Northwestern’s finish this year is in no way emblematic of how successful our season was and we can attribute so much of that success to how incredible our coaches were (Christina Sur should also get a shoutout for being a great developmental coach). GungHo has an incredibly bright future ahead and we owe that to someone who should definitely win COTY- Carol Li.

Some All Region Mentions:

Katie George- chill and decisive handler, takes control of the field, helps pump up her teammates
Kelsey Dennis- wicked handler D, great leader, had some incredible upwind hucks this year
Allegra Wilson- relentless defender, great initiating cutter, very fast
Sarah Kim- goes for everything, great in the air, excellent closing speed
Lena Goren- quick handler movement, skied a group of 5 girls even though she was by far the shortest one, goes for everything

Players to watch out for: Sara Gnolek, Hindeke Tewodros, Grace Goulson, Martha Dunbar

Grace Young- picked up ultimate very fast, killer instincts, probably scored 1/4 of all our points this year


Corinne Burger- A star player on the B team this year. She has incredible hucks and field instincts. I’m excited to see how much she’ll improve in the future.

UChicago: Hani and Jenny (shout out to both of these players for being both very talented and spirited even after a 70 minute point)

Illinois: Jo and Bianca (great handler movement)

^only going to speak to the Illinois conference because of how regionals went, but quick shout out to Tlo for still having great throws in 30mph winds.

Thanks for a great four years! Great Lakes, Great Times!

Jess Hoffman