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All-Region 2019: Great Lakes (D-I Men's)

(Charlie Eisenhood) #1

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.

(backontrack44) #2

out of Undue (Purdue)

  • Joe Byerly
  • Jack Havey
  • Sam Ellison
  • Griffin Snead


  • Chandler Moy
  • Matt Viscido
  • Eli Mock


  • Austin Ambrose

Additional shoutouts to Kip and Alex Henderson on IU, the ND captains, as well as Kentucky’s O-line handler. Anyone who can jump in with names would be super helpful.

(jake3_c) #3

Out of Kentucky:


  • Jake Carrico (That O-line handler^^)
  • Zach Stambaugh (Went down with dislocated shoulder)
  • Ben Crane


  • Nate Maddux
(Sebastian Miner) #4

Seconded for Joe Byerly. Out-of-this-world thrower. Also for Alex Henderson on IU for All-Freshman. It looked like IU was running the offense through this kid, and that was super impressive.

Captains for Notre Dame are Connor Buckley and Steven Campillo, both very valuable for Notre Dame. Buckley is a cutter who gets the disc twice as often as any other cutter; the offense wouldn’t be the same without him. Steven is the most reliable handler on the team and provides plenty of D’s for the D-line.

Juniors Oliver Hirn (handler) and Austin Walter (cutter) are also both great D-line players. While Steven brings reliable handler leadership, Oliver brings athleticism; with that come lots of layouts and lots of D’s. Austin Walter generates a lot of D’s and can be counted on to get open to bring offensive movement to the D-line after a turn.

(Sebastian Miner) #5

I didn’t know Maddux but a guy with that last name on his jersey (so probably Nate) marked me a lot during conferences this year and I never would’ve thought he was a freshman. I think that he’d be one of the top freshmen in the region.

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(jake3_c) #6

Yeah, he played for Lexington Pi last year and placed 4th at High School nationals. Dude is a beast. If he isn’t on the regional all-freshman team (and arguably all-region team), then something is messed up.

(Nate Maddux) #7

Were you the person on Notre Dame wearing a pink hat?

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(Sebastian Miner) #8

Yeah, you guessed it!

(Nate Maddux) #9

Wasn’t hard. Really good player stick out. Especially when you wear a pick hat.

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(kyngve) #10

I’m the coach of the Northwestern Men’s team, and I’d like to try and highlight a few of the great players I’ve seen from around the region.

From Northwestern:
Kyle Rutledge is one of the best all-around players in the region. He has continued to expand his game each year and has been a tremendous presence for our program as a leader. After spending last summer with Chicago Machine, he has also been selected for the U24 national team that will compete in Germany this summer.
Jeff Holm is one of the best cutters in the region. His combination of skill with the disc, size, and quickness makes him a serious matchup problem.
Josh Venegas is one of the best defenders in the region. Coming from a football background, Josh came up through Bolt and really came into his own last year. His explosiveness and defensive ability is among the best in the nation, as he repeatedly proved at college nationals last year and through this season. Notably he is one of the few defenders in the country who as the tools to go toe-to-toe with Brown’s John Randolph in space.
Jordi Perry is one of the best freshman in the region. In addition to his experience with HB Woodlawn and Foggy Bottom Boys, Jordi is an extremely positive clubhouse presence who can do it on the field. His ability to work in space and his skill with the disc have allowed him to contribute significantly from day one.

Jason Vallee is one of the best cutters in the region. Jason brings great big play ability in the air and has a tireless motor.
Milan Rivas is among the best handers in the region. His size and athleticism allows him to be a dangerous dual-threat.
Will (Hawkins) Clay is a strong cutter with excellent field sense and size. His presence on the field makes a big difference for this Chicago team.

Ben Sabourin is among the best handlers in the region. With strong wind throws and good size, Ben makes Illinois especially potent.
Josh Deeman and John Kulikowski are also strong contributors for them.
Freshmen: Joey Kennedy is probably the best freshman in the region. Coming to Illinois via Neuqua valley and the U20 worlds team, Joey is a skilled lefty who brings strong athleticism.

Illinois State:
Cal Tornabene is among the best cutters in the region. Cal spent the summer practicing with Chicago Machine, and his combination of size and skill with the disc makes him dangerous is big spaces.
This team had a number of strong all-freshman players last year, and these players have only gotten better. I’m sure ISU can better comment on who is most deserving from among them.

Notre Dame:
Connor Buckley is one of the best cutters in the region. He is very strong in the air and is a potent threat with the disc in his hands. One of the best players on a perennially strong Notre Dame team.
Steven Campillo is among the best handers in the region. With a strong toolbox of throws he is a steadying presence whenever he’s on the field.
Stephen Babcock is one of the best all-around players in the region. He’s a dynamic player who’s able to have a big impact anywhere on the field. I’m sure Hoffman can do a better job talking about Stephen than I can.

Joe Byerly is probably the best thrower in the region. He’s a powerful wind thrower and changes the shape of the field for Purdue.

This team has been benefiting in a big way from the Indiana high school pipeline via Center Grove and others. The Henderson brothers are two players to know who have spent time with the Alleycats, but they have other significant contributors as well.

A strong team with good depth who have had an excellent regular season.
Raymond Lu is one of the best all-around players in the region who brings excellent small space quickness and can also work downfield.
Jeff Gao has had a great season defensively and provides firepower on a turn.
Other players who have had strong seasons for Michigan include Jared Schwallie and Nick Gerber.

(oakie) #11

I wanna give a shoutout to Kip Curtis from IU. He makes big plays for IU on both O and D. Also, he is one of the few players in the whole region who had a worlds tryout.

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(dfriedmanbrown) #12

The GL region is lucky Eli Weaver from Michigan wasn’t healthy until recently because he is a menace on the field. He is an incredible player who pairs elite fundamentals and game sense with elite athleticism, and should surely be a frontrunner for fotr.

(jbyerly) #13

I’m one of Purdue’s captains, and we didn’t see Illinois, Northwestern, ISU, or MSU this year, but I’ll do my best to cover everyone else.


Sam Ellison: One of the best playmakers in the region. Great defender, huge in the air. Made the Alleycats this year.
Jack Havey: Went from a borderline A-team guy two years ago to our captain and best O-line cutter this year. Unbelievable work ethic and maybe the fastest guy I’ve ever played with.
Matt Viscido: Only 5’5" but an absolute scoring machine (led us in goals one tournament). Super fast and has been known to sky people 6 inches taller than him. One of our best defenders too.
Chandler Moy: Best freshman handler I’ve seen this year besides Alex Henderson. Very shifty with great pulls and break throws.


Lots of good players and will be good for years to come.
Kip Curtis: Tall, fast, almost unguardable. First-teamer in my mind.
Alex Henderson: Freshman of the year. It blows my mind that he didn’t make the U20 team.

Notre Dame

Connor Buckley: Very dynamic cutter. I’ve been told he’s the toughest cover in our conference, but I never tried.
Steven Campillo: Great handler on both sides of the disc. Foot blocked me twice at MLC.


Jake Carrico: Seemed to carry their team against us. Great throws but really good downfield as well.


Kind of a faceless army with several great players, but unfortunately I don’t know any of their names.

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(MBomm) #14

Just gonna give a few shouts out, I haven’t seen enough regional play make complete teams.

These players should make first team, without a doubt:

Josh Venegas (Northwestern) - “Josh from Ultiworld” Broke his collarbone late in the year but is a menace on defense, there’s no one I would rather have in the college game right now to guard a cutter downfield. The motor on this kid is incredible and he couldn’t be a nicer or more spirited guy.

Kyle Rutledge (Northwestern)- Have only seen him play a couple times but this guy is the real deal.

Justin Perticone (GVSU) - Half of the dynamic duo on GVSU, record holder for most d’s in an AUDL game. Justin has the speed to beat anyone in a race, the hops to beat them in the air, and the throws to keep defenses honest. The entire team benefits from him being on the field because he absorbs so much pressure. Good for at least a couple spectacular defensive layouts or plays each game. One of those players that you have to gameplan for, but it doesn’t matter.

These players should be considered for second team:

Jake Pruitt (MSU): If you look in the dictionary under “sticky” this kid comes up, his footwork and speed make him an incredible defender and is a high motor player on offense with big throws.

Dex Dremann (MSU): Dex had to take a larger role this year with MSU graduating so many players and showed that he can do it all, one of the most accurate backhand hucks i’ve seen and an arsenal of offensive prowess.

Mark Whitton (GVSU) : Tall, fast, with the best throws in the Michigan Section.

And then for consideration for All Freshman team:

Mac Weber: Tall, lanky, with big throws for never playing ultimate before this year, stepped on the field as a do it all player on offense who can also cross over to D.

Drew Frenzel: Speed, speed kills. Probably the fastest kid I have ever coached and can use that speed to torch defenses. Drew is still raw but is a goal scoring machine.

Both these kids have bright futures and can make all region teams in the future if they keep at it.

(D) #15

Michigan MagnUM players that deserve to be at the very least nominated for the all region or all freshman team(s)…

First Team
Raymond Lu - Regardless that he was injured half the season, when he is healthy he is likely the best player in Great Lakes. When he broke his right thumb at U24 tryouts he played the Florida Warm Up with a bubble rapped cast and still skied numerous players with his left hand (he is a righty). He also managed to learn how to play lefty in under a month and was still a major contributor on O Line offense. An all around baller.

Adam Stautberg - The leader of MagnUM’s D line and a truly amazing player. He constantly gets layout Ds and keeps a D line with multiple young blood rookies effective and efficient.

Nicholas Gerb - Our Callahan nominee… enough said. He has a ridiculously flick huck.

Jared Schwallie - A big body. You can find him skying people and dishing out huge flick hucks. He had a major role in MagnUM’s successful season and Great Lakes regional.

Second Team
Ashwin Pothukuchi - A dude from phili that soars like an eagle. Incredible deep threat and consistent player on both D and O. Lookout for his layouts. Also a U20 tryout player.

Jeff Gao - All out baller on the D Line. Gets incredible Ds and has the throws. He is all around nice.

Cian Johnson - A rookie that has a major role on O line. He a lengthy guy standing around 6’3 with a bean pole frame making him incredibly fast and agile. Teams have a challenge guarding him. Played at YCC.

Eli Weaver - An incredible handler with deep shots and firery passion for the game. Also a major part of our O line. Previously played with Devil and had a u18 tryout.

Theo Shapinsky - Previously played on Foggy Bottom Boys (who won YCC last year). Dude is fast and springy. A rookie who acted as a major contributor to D line, both with his effective offense and lock up defense.

(nwgerber@umich.edu) #16

Michigan MagnUM’s Jared Schwallie should undoubtedly take home player of the region honors. He is the backbone of the offense and a d line staple in must break situations. His buttery inside flicks carve up opposing defensive sets, and his hucks are consistent even in high winds.

Adam Stautberg unquestionably has earned first team all region recognition. His unwavering desire is palpable. Truly embodying the spirit of “no disc unwanted,” Adam is responsible for several highlight worthy layouts game in and game out.

Ben Sadis is worthy of a first team recognition for his versatility and cool headedness under pressure. He fills whatever role is asked of him and brings a steady presence and reliability. Countless clutch plays.


Michigan coach here, combining some input from our leadership here to shout out some guys. I don’t know all names, and it’s hard to catch guys who don’t have numbers on (especially Saturday) without already knowing them.

Across the board very solid, way too many lefties for one team.
Anthony Ruzzo (#74) played well against us, a very consistent thrower for the offense. Ben Sabourin, mentioned already, is also a strong player and big piece for their defense. Joey Kennedy (#19) also solid and played well against us, I hear he’s a freshman.

Notre Dame
David Hoffman does a superb job with this program in having such a consistently competitive, yet spirited and fun squad.
Connor Buckley (#21) is a talented cutter. Stephen Babcock was also a strong player for them. #10 played well against us, don’t have a name.

Joe Byerly (#12)- superb thrower. Don’t throw zones on this guy- he’ll just pick it apart.

Strong team with a nice weekend to get to the finals. With the youth pipelines developing, I expect Indiana to continue to be a challenger in the region.
Alex Henderson (#0) deserves the recognition he gets. Poised beyond his years, should definitely have an all freshman spot, and possibly all region. Conner Henderson (#14) was unfortunately injured and out for the final, but is a strong player. #5 was also a solid contributor for this team.
Kip Curtis (#8) is a stud. Great athlete and shifty cutter, as well as an excellent defender.

Illinois State
Tall lankier handler (I think Jacob Kaindl?) was very good with the disc in Saturday’s conditions. Josh Sanabria (#99) had big pulls and hucks and is an extremely good 1 on 1 defender. Quick and shifty.

Didn’t get to play them this year, but Kyle Rutledge is a fantastic player in all aspects of the game. Josh Venegas is one of the best defenders in the region and Jeff Holm is a good isolation cutter.

Zubair is a great coach for this team that returned to semis after losing multiple all region players. Develops talent super well and consistently has his team peaking at the right time.
Jason Vallee did a ton of work for the offense. Poised thrower.

Grand Valley
Mark Whitton and Justin Perticone are both great players. Mark has developed into a strong thrower, uses length well. Justin is more than just a lockdown defender.

Now, from Michigan:
Jared Schwallie (#8) (PoTY)- most powerful thrower in the region, he was on another level on Sunday. Played both ways for us all year. Very good at getting open under and launching the disc very far. His imposing width makes him a formidable defender as well.
Raymond Lu- Unfortunately injured for the latter portion of our season, including regionals. Played our first tournament without his dominant hand and was still often the best player on the field. Stepped into a coach role as a real student of the game and was crucial to the team’s success.
Adam Stautberg (#20)- Gets a lot of blocks. Lays out all the time. Offensive game is much improved and is a strong cutter off the turn with good timing and field sense. Crossed over to our offense when we needed a score.
Jeff Gao (#18)- Incredible defender, constantly gets blocks. His defense on resets forced a bunch of turns all season. Quickness makes him a threat off the turn and has reliable break throws.
Nicholas Gerber (#59)- still doesn’t know how to step out on flicks. Center handler for us this year and our Callahan nominee.
Ben Sadis (#42)- I have to give him a shoutout for being the glue-iest of all glue guys. Great leader for this team, very consistent player with great around breaks. He does all the small things right.

We had a number of freshmen this year, but the following three all deserve all-freshmen:
Theo Shapinsky (#23)- grinder. Speedy guy with great awareness, got numerous blocks in the deep space, as well as run through blocks on unders. Great mid-range jumper.
Cian Johnson (#84)- Super consistent O-line cutter for us all year. Tall, fast, and can jump high.
Eli Weaver (#13)- Great talent coming in from Devyl, played his role very well as an O-line handler.

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(bensadis@umich.edu) #18

Michigan captain here, I want to back up everything our Coach, Parker Howard, said, as well as nominate him for Coach of the Year. Parker stepped up as MagnUM head coach midway through the year, and has immediately put his stamp on the program from a coaching perspective and shaped the culture of the team into one that bought all-in to his vision this year. He preaches playing for the guy next to you, playing for the love of the sport and the love of the moment, and that’s something that has really translated to our players this season, and was a big part of our success at regionals. The poise he shows in huddles and when talking to lines, especially when things aren’t going well, is something you’d expect from a ten-year veteran coach. Additionally, his knowledge of the game and teaching ability are already incredible. The MagnUM program is in great hands with coach Phow at the helm, and the fact that he won regionals in his first year coaching, with a team comprised of eight juniors and seniors, is quite the feat.

I’d also like to bumb some guys I believe really deserve first team all-region honors:

Jared Schwallie, #8, MagnUM second-year captain, hands-down Player of the Year in the region. Everything said about him is true, but his all-around ability and importance to our team cannot be understated. He played almost every point Sunday at regionals and dominated on both O and D lines. His flick huck is amazing, and his break throws are super smooth. His is a big strong body, yet also very fast. He comes down with everything in the air. And he’s one of the nicest guys you’ll every meet.

Raymond Lu, #16, MagnUM. Same for him. Broke his right (throwing) wrist at U-24 tryouts in the fall, dominated at Florida Warm-up playing left-handed, didn’t play the last few months with a foot injury, and yet still was instrumental as a player-coach. He is the soul of this MagnUM team, and everything you want from a player and teammate. He will be one of the best all-around players in the college division the next few years, if he isn’t already.

Josh Venegas, #99, Northwestern. Lockdown cutter defender who somehow gets more Ds than the number of times his guy is thrown at. There’s really no use throwing his way, in just about any situation. Also embodies spirit of the game and is one of the nicest guys out there.

Justin Perticone, #2, Grand Valley State. One of the other top lockdown cutter defenders in the region. Elite hip movement and speed - would be a great cornerback. It’s just about impossible to get open on him 1v1. One of the two GVSU players who would be household names if they played on a top-40 team, along with Mark Whitton, #88, a dynamic deep threat and thrower.

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(Creegs5) #19

Hi all, I’m Indiana’s coach and I’d like to share my thoughts, in no particular order, on this year’s Great Lakes players now that regionals is finished.


I would consider Joe Byerly (#12) to be the most talented thrower in the region. He pairs elite level vision with both powerful and accurate throws. His height and length make it difficult for most marks to consistently stop him. Joe is the kind of player that you have to specifically plan against when creating a gameplan. I think he more than deserves all-region honors.

Stating the obvious, Jack Havey (#26) is a fantastic initiating cutter for Purdue and is tremendously fast. Speed kills. Probably not all-region level, but definitely worth mentioning.

Notre Dame:

In my opinion, Notre Dame is and always has been, the most cohesive team in the region. Their mental toughness is second to none and I believe it’s a big reason why they’re often peaking around the series. Their coach, Hoff is a huge part of that and I have tremendous respect for him. I honestly think he should receive coach of the year honors most years for the program he’s built.

Stephen Babcock is the best player on their team and I think deserves all-region honors. He’s an intelligent and dynamic player that always seems to be in the right place at the right time to make a clutch play.


Jake Carrico is an incredible player and is the main engine behind their offense. Their team is noticeably different without him. With big hucks and the ability to break most marks, he’s a huge threat with the disc in his hands, but he’ll also make some big skies downfield as well. I pretty much told my team not to throw deep against him.

Illinois State:

Cal Tornabene (#21) is who I believe to be their best and most dynamic player. He seemed to be able to do just about everything well. I had to put my best defenders on him all game.

Josh Sanabria (#99), or whoever was their puller, had some truly impressive pulls. From triple helix pulls to towering IO pulls, he kept just about every one inbounds with solid hangtimes.


Kyle Rutledge (#12) is as good as advertised and plays with a lot of heart. The main cog in their offense, our entire gameplan was focused around limiting his ability to make big plays…which proved very difficult to do. He also seemed tireless, as he played most points against us, many of which were not short. He most definitely deserves all-region honors.

Josh Venegas (#99) is an incredible defender with what I believe to be the talent to shut down most cutters in the region. I never felt comfortable about us coming down with a disc when he was in the vicinity.


Ben Sabourin (#2) is just such a well-rounded player. He’s an incredibly cerebral player who has massive pulls and can break just about any mark in the region. I think he should be considered for all-region.

Joey Kennedy (#19) is a generational talent in terms of his offensive presence. Being able to break most marks as a freshman is so impressive and his field vision/sense is well beyond his years. Should for sure be all-region freshman.

U Chicago:

Jason Vallee (#94) is one of the most talented players in the region. More than deserving of all-region honors. When we played Chicago in semis, Vallee played most points and never slowed down. With springs for legs, he was incredibly effective in the air against us, but he was also so tough to stop in the throw and go. It was a “pick your poison” scenario when trying to stop him.


I was genuinely surprised when I read that their coach, Parker, had taken over half-way through the year. The teamed seemed so cohesive and bought in, which is remarkable considering his short tenure. I’m sure him having just recently played for Magnum made this transition much easier, as it was obvious how much the team trusted and respected him. Along with Hoff, he’s deserving of coach of the year.

Both Eli Weaver (#13) and Cian Johnson (#84) are all-region freshman, based on what I saw in our game against Michigan. Cian was a tough guard because of his size and speed, while Eli Weaver is smart and explosive.

Nicholas Gerber (#59) can probably break most marks in the region, while also being a tough guard in the handler space. He generates a ton of flick power for someone who doesn’t appear to step out much. Should get the nod for all-region.

Jeff Gao (#18) is one of the best handler defenders in the region. His small space defense, quick change of direction and anticipation make for some awesome handler d. Watching him play handler D was inspiring.

Jared Schwallie (#8) lives up to what his teammates and coach have said about him. Deserves all-region.

Grand Valley State:

We only played them in the fall, but I can certainly say that Josh and Mark live up to their “dynamic duo” status. Each one of them is more than deserving of being in the conversation for all-region, based on what I remember.


Kip Curtis (#8) should absolutely get the nod for all-region. He’s one of the best all-around players in the region, in my naturally biased opinion. Kip is another one of those tireless players in the region, who never seems to slow as the tournament grinds on. From being a mainstay on our o-line or guarding the other team’s best players, Kip was a huge part contributor to IU. He was also one of our captains this year and is a fantastic teacher and leader. Allegedly, Sunday of regionals was his 1001th day of throwing in a row.

Alex Henderson (#0) not only deserves freshman of the year but he also deserves all-region honors. I believe he’s one of the most talented offensive players in the region. From zone saw lefty scoobers to perfect 8-yard in cut throws, he’s got the entire arsenal. He’s also incredibly tough to guard downfield, often our initiating cutter. I think his most impressive attribute is his vision and field sense. It’s most definitely the best of anyone his age in our region.

Conner Henderson (#14) is the driving force behind our d-line. He just does it all for the team. As our main puller, he keeps 95%+ of his pulls inbound. He generated more Ds than anyone else on our team this year, consistently laying out on unders, skying opponents deep and hand-blocking dudes in shirts. A strong thrower, Conner is responsible for a large portion of the disc movement on our d-line and is often directly responsible for many of our breaks. More than deserving of all-region honors.

Adrian Golay (#3) is one of the best lockdown defenders in the region, without a doubt. Most often responsible for guarding the other teams most dynamic players, Adrian uses his wealth of experience and his athleticism to make defenders really have to work to get open. While certainly not the most powerful thrower in the region, he may be one of the most consistent and accurate. I genuinely think he puts more spin on the disc than anyone else in the region.

Max Bradshaw (#97) and Jeremy Keusch (#20) are also deserving of being in the conversation for all-region freshman. Max has a field sense and proficiency with both throwing hands well beyond his years. I honestly thought he was a lefty for a good portion of the fall semester (he’s a righty). Jeremy stepped up into a starting handler role for us from day 1. He can break most marks and is a solid handler defender.

(bjager21) #20

Grand Valley’s coach here, We didn’t play a lot of in region competition but we did get a look at some players this past weekend that I wanted to mention, as well as mention the players on out team that were the reason we got to the highest placement at Regionals in program history.


Jason Vallee was near impossible to guard during our quarterfinals match up. The offense seemed to run through him regardless of who we tried to match up on him. He seemed to be in control the entire time and was very smooth with the disc.


I would have to echo the People who brought up Steven Campillo and Connor Buckley. They are difference makers any time they are on the field.


Nate Maddux is a very talent handler that has control over the disc and the field. He is very difficult to account for from a defensive perspective. He has the throws and the vision to break through zones, which in the Great lakes region is a huge quality given that it is almost always terrible weather.

Grand Valley State
Justin Perticone (#2) - Our offense starts with Justin in nearly every set we have. Defenses know that it is coming and he is still able to get the disc in his hands nearly every time. He is able to get most jump balls as well as out run nearly anyone to the disc. Given that GV is a smaller school we lack depth so Justin needs to play offense and defense and typically will take the other teams top cutter and be able to at the least pressure the receiver.

Mark Whitton (#88) - Mark has developed into a total package kind of player. He has the athleticism to be an elite cutter and defender but has also developed throws that are on point regardless of the weather. Mark is in the same situation as Justin with needing to play nearly every point regardless of O or D and racked up a number of blocks throughout the season both layout and run through D’s where he anticipated and beat his man in.

2nd Team

Alexander Sokoly (23)

This kid was a rock on our defensive line, his handler defense is some of the best shut down defense I have seen. He is consitently able to disrupt the flow of an offense by taking one of the handlers out of the play.


Brad Sanders (1) - Brad is what every coach hopes will walk on to the field the first day of tryouts and hang around. He is a tall athletic kid that is willing to learn. Going into the spring season he earned a spot on the O-line as a cutter, his athleticism and height made him a prime target on our offense. He won nearly every 50-50 disc that went up but unlike some tall cutters took advantage of the unders that teams would give him. He also got a crucial layout block for us in the Notre Dame game that sent us to the Quarter finals.

Justin Winn (21) - Justin was able to solidify himself as a main handler on our o-line. His ability to work as the center handler in a zone is something that I would not expect from a freshman. Again with the weather being what it is in the Mid-west, his role was crucial.