Who are the best players in the Metro East region? This is an open thread to discuss All-Region nominations, All-Freshman nominations, coaching awards, and more. Stay positive and keep it civil.
Disclaimer: I am a graduate student at Columbia and play for Pandemic
Yuge Xiao- Yuge is one of the most consistent players I’ve had the pleasure of playing with. She’s crazy fast and an amazing cutter. She is a fundamental part of our offensive flow and knows how to crash a cup like it’s her job. Yuge is amazingly dedicated to ultimate and embodies not only intensity, but spirit.
Irene Golden- After graduating 8 people last year, I had lost almost all hope, but Irene stepped up to the freakin’ plate. During the club season she’s a D-line handler, but is one of Columbia’s strongest O-line handlers. She works so hard and pumps the team up with her amazing attitude and OI backhands
Ariel Virgulto- (It took a lot of facebook stalking to find out her name) This lady is fierce. During Sectionals there were ~25 mph winds and she somehow caught ever wonky disc that came remotely close to her. UConn in general has amazing grabs, but this girl is the hungriest of them all. She played almost every point and forced Columbia to put our best defenders on her.
Marissa Aldieri- I almost always mark up on this girl and vice versa when we run person defense and it’s HARD! She’s fast and I generally think I’m good at boxing people out, but she’s one another level. I want to befriend this lady to learn her secrets.
Marisa Schwartz- Marisa is one of my defense inspirations. She gets tons of run-through-Ds and has improved so much over this year. It’s been really awesome watching her growth and I know that by her senior year someone will have her one this thread for all-region.
Here are my nominations for all-freshmen team
I play for Rutgers Nightshade
Before I put my nominations, I would just like to say that our team consisted of about 12 girls this year. Out of the 12 girls, 9 of them were rookies. 75% of our team was consisted of girls who have never played in a college ultimate series before. To me that’s pretty amazing.
Megan Ma #26 - Megan came onto Nightshade with previous ultimate experience playing HS and DEVYL. Even though HS ultimate is different from college, she quickly learned the flow of the game and made HUGE plays all throughout the season. She is an amazing handler. She is not afraid to throw those inside breaks and her deep shots have progressively gotten better with each game. Megan is special and is a force to be reckoned with in the next few years.
Emily Yin #99 - Emily came to nightshade also with experience from HS and DEVYL. She is one of our most consistent cutters, always finding a way to lose her defender and make big plays. What if she’s not cutting? Oh wait, she can handle too! Emily can pretty much do anything and is only going to get better.
Minhee Han #17 - More DEVYL players! Minhee never stops running. I can’t keep up with her in practices sometimes because all she does is cut cut cut. Whether it’s in or going deep, you will always find Minhee getting a hand on the disc. She’s also very spirited on the field.
Sienna Scian #44 - She started playing with Nightshade in the spring season and in about a week knew how to throw a backhand and a flick. She is so good in the air and comes down with the most random throws. She can sky pretty much anyone, no matter how tall they are. Sienna will always get the disc.
Rachel Rivera: She is just flat out good. She will always come down with the jump balls and will bid for anything on defense. Stand out star for Rowan.
Janine Hlavaty #6: Janine is a straight up baller. She commands the offense with such pace that they will score. Her throws are pristine, so her cutters do not have to do much work to get the disc. She can also go down field and will sky anyone as well. However, Janine serves a huge role on D. There will not be a single huck that goes off that Janine will not track down and D. I just specifically remember one game at Sectionals where the other team continued to huck it deep and Janine stopped every single one of them.
Sarah Bright #16: Sarah is lighting quick, if you lose track off her, she will streak deep and will make you pay. She’s also got all throws to help out an offense as well. She was a key piece to Nightshades offense. It’s unfortunate that she broke her collarbone at Sectionals because she most definitely would have killed it at Regionals.
Minhee Han: First and foremost I don’t think I’ve ever seen a player more spirited on the field than Minhee, which is something that often goes overlooked. Minhee has the ability to do it all, while coming in with experience from high school and Devyl, you could just tell she knew what she was doing.
Megan Ma: Coming in with HS and Devyl experience paid huge dividends for Megan. Being thrown into a role as handler only as a freshman, just shows how good truly is. She has the ability to break with mark with ease (high-release backhands for days) and command an offense, yet again only as a freshmen.
Emily Yin: Another player with HS an Devyl experience, which just shows that starting early can get you ahead, is Emily. Emily does not stop moving on the field which is a terrible thing for her defenders. She was always get open and then she has the ability to throw the goal as well.
The 3 of these girls played a huge role in Nightshades season as it was basically run by them and some senior leadership. Take notice of what is starting at Rutgers.
Sarah Thomann #4 is a junior and one of SUNY Albany Deception’s captains. Last season Deception struggled to win any games, but this season Sarah led the team to Regionals for the first time ever. She is a dangerous handler that can huck it deep all-day long. She’s not only one of our main handlers, but she can also run deep when needed. The way she can read a disc is mind blowing and because of that she is able to sky most people on offense and as deep deep. She also will layout without hesitation. She’s an all around killer player and can excel in any position on the field.
Rachel Dejean #21 is also a junior and the other captain on our team. She is always able to bring up the team’s spirit and energy, no matter how tired we all are. She gives 110% every point. She is our main deep threat and can come down with the disc no matter how terrible the throw is. These two amazing captains have great chemistry and if you have ever played us these two are usually the point makers.
Disclaimer/Context: I am a player on the Cornell Roses. I saw most of these players during our matches against them at Regionals, so there are surely players that deserve recognition this year that I didn’t get to see in action.
Cornell (Wild Roses)
Mei Zhang (#16) - Mei is the only 5th year on Cornell’s squad this year and has spent her 4 years in Cornell Ultimate becoming a reliable cutter downfield and a steady handler when called. Her speed makes her dangerous on in-cuts and especially deep, which she especially proved at Regionals this year.
Lilly “Kermit” Mendoza (#8) - What hasn’t been said about Kermit? As a veteran player and our nominee for Callahan, there’s really nothing she can’t do. Her athleticism and experience make her a terror to guard as a competitor and a treat to play with as a teammate. She saves throwaways with full-extension layouts and runs down and bids for hucks you thought were out of reach. As a cutter she’s ALWAYS open in the throwing lane thanks to her lightning jukes and incredible speed, but when she comes back in the handler stack her reset cuts are crisp, her throws have impeccable placement and her hucks – even upwind – are monstrous. She plays shutdown D with expert positioning and the right amount of aggression to generate a turn for the team.
Sami Smalling (#23) - Already a dominant player in her freshman year, Sami somehow managed to expand her role on the team this year to become a critical pinion of our offense and defense. Offensively, she has added handling to her repertoire with greatly improved throws and agile movement in the handler weave. However, she mostly spends her time downfield roasting her defender by many yards under or deep. Her bids are perfect “dolphin” form. Defensively she’s a formidable mark with her wingspan and run-through Ds, but this year in the zone she moved out of the wall and into the deep-deep position where nothing – I mean NOTHING – gets past her. On the “Dollar (layout) D” challenge at Regionals, Sami more than earned her due.
Raina “Sprite” Kamrat (#19) - Somehow this girl, despite 6 years of experience ranging from high school to club, keeps improving every season to amaze us even more. On this squad she primarily handles with precision-placed throws, well-timed hucks and impeccable movement across the handler line. When she was “released” into the cutting line she outpaced the competition and continued the flow downfield with the same skills that make her a valuable handler. She’ll bid for anything. On defense she’s extremely difficult to outrun and her positioning can shut down your cut before it even happens. Above all else, Sprite is the literal embodiment of Spirit of the Game with a fiercely competitive side equally balanced by her love for her teammates and respect for her opponents.
Dena Behar (#7) - This sophomore captain was a critical handler for the Roses this year, but also stepped up in a big way on defense. Opponents know her for her flick hucks, but even on short throws her disc placement is precise. Defensively her positioning and aggression earned her a handful of layout D’s at Regionals and plenty of run-throughs.
Audrey “Leaf” Fox (#13) - As a sophomore move-up from Thorny, Leaf is known for both her reliable cuts – hardly any drops ever – and throws. What gets her noticed, however, is her layouts (especially in the end zone) and her shut-down defense in both man and person D.
Emma “Brix” Railey (#10) - The sophomore rookie and “Most Improved” on our squad this year, Brix’s impossibly long arms aren’t the only reason she deserves recognition. Perhaps they enable her to earn those monster layout Ds in both man and the wall (the only girl on the roster to match me for a layout Callahan this year) and contest the deep-deeps farther back in the zone. Maybe they allow her to reach around her defender on an under cut or pluck a floating huck out of the sky. We’re just super excited to see how much this quirky player grows on the team next year.
Yuge Xiao (#25) - quick cutter, great at disc movement
Irene Golden (#72) - handler, formidable upline cuts
Olivia Korostoff-Larsson (#37) - speedy handler, controlled the tempo and flow of Pandemic offense
Camille Bedard (#72) - quick cutter and Ottawa’s main threat deep
Anna Blinder (#43) - handler with BIG hucks and quick movement in the handler weave
Cassandra Jaffray (#39) - handler, also BIG hucks and formidable aggression
Anne-Martine Doucet (#19) - fast fast fast fast. This girl can really move and also put a disc downfield.
SUNY Albany (Deception)
Sarah Thomann (#17) - main handler for Albany and noticeable for her big hucks. Impressive defensive deep-deep as well as man defense on some of our best players
To the players I have missed who are equally deserving of mention, my apologies.
Context: I played at Syracuse for three years, and would like to shout-out two players who have impacted the team tremendously.
Angel Cai #69 - She has been the strongest player at Syracuse for three years now, serving as captain from her sophomore to senior year. She has built up this team and lead on and off the field. She’s a dominant cutter but handled for our team, assisting or scoring the majority of our points.
Amy Qiang (wore a #32 jersey) - Absolutely deserves all-freshmen. Fierce handler with incredible break throws. She has a confidence in her cuts and in her defense that is rare. Super excited to see how she develops her next three years.