Who are the best players in the South Central region? This is an open thread to discuss All-Region nominations, All-Freshman nominations, coaching awards, and more. Stay positive and keep it civil.
Truman State’s Jessica Tiller for POTY. Heard an observer call her a monster once.
Rachel Deeds (Tulsa) - All-around threat which serves as the bedrock for her Tulsa team.
Maya Slavin (Air Foce) - Possessing height, throws, and a competitive fire, Maya is a great utility player who can slot in wherever AF needs her. Her length often gets her mismatches in the backfield. Downfield it’s hard to choose what you’d rather give up; letting her tall frame poster you deep or giving away unders to a player who you’d rather keep from possessing the disc at all.
Rose Bruns (Air Force) - Critical handler for an Air Force squad. Knows how to really put it up and make the most of her teams’ tall, athletic cadets.
All Freshman --> Analise Butler (Colorado School of Mines) - Freshman handle with the power to stretch the field with her throws. Run and gun style was a key catalyst for Mines on offense and after the turn.
Rose Bruns - Although we haven’t played Air Force since Midwest Throwdown, she is a stand-out on their team. Her hucks are great, she’s super fast, and difficult to guard. She’s also a great leader and it definitely shows both on and off the field in the way she talks to her opponents and her own players.
Catherine Mittlieder - During our game was when the wind really decided to pick up and this girl caught everything. She was a dominant cutter, difficult to defend in both her under and deep cuts.
Abby Acker - She’s got great throws even in the wind. I found myself complimenting her pretty hucks multiple times during our game, the upwind ones especially.
Katelyn Patterson - I’ve played against her so many times over the years I’ve lost count and never does she cease to amaze me with her throws and ability to get open for the reset. She’s also quick, got reliable hands, and makes really smart decisions with the disc.
Molly Lenihan - I was matched up on her multiple times and man has she got killer strike cuts. She for sure burned me a few times with her speed and generally was difficult to defend. Pair that with her great throws and equally chilly decision making and you’ve got one exceptional player.
Cat O’Shei - She was a solid handle, possessing a whole arsenal of throws. Seriously, her throws are so good. There were numerous times when I would wonder to myself how she got that throw off. In addition to being versatile, she also commanded the field. She was always able to get the reset and played hard defense. Additionally, she was careful with the disc and displayed smart decision making which made her a fierce opponent.
I’m quite biased here and wish I could talk about all of my teammates (because I could for days) but I’m going to limit myself to three.
Madi Fulte - We’ve all pretty much come to the agreement that Madi has the best hands on the team. Whatever goes up, she will come down with. She’s super chilly with the disc and throws bomb continuations. She plays tight, shut-down man defense and gets D’s right and left. Also I’m pretty sure she’s been hittin’ the gym because so can throw SO FAR. Her pulls are magnificent and she only started pulling this year!
Anna Sullivan - The girl is lightning fast. She’s a great cutter not only because of her speed but because of her excellent timing. She’s always there to bail me out when I accidentally tune out the stall count and throw up a hail mary at 8 (which happens way more than I care to admit). We put Anna on some of our fastest opponents and she kills it with her great endurance, getting hand blocks and D’s in the process.
Jessica Tiller - Reliable hands, mad hops, and really intelligent cutting are only a few things that make Jess such a great ultimate player. In addition to these, she will always catch even the crappiest of throws. She knows how to utilize her height and can therefore sky just about anyone. She’s also got some of the best continuations on our team. On defense, you can bet that she’ll either get the hand block, the D, or force a bad throw.
In Tulsa, Truman played every team in the region except Air Force, and along the way we saw a lot of great players. These are the ones who stuck out in my mind:
#5 Emily Wang (Rice): She was great at getting open for strikes and swings, and she consistently made smart decisions as a handle.
Catherine Mittlieder (Missouri S&T): The absolute core of her team’s offense. She can throw, she can get open, and she can do it all while playing every single point. Shoutout to S&T in general for that endurance.
#14 Rachel Deeds (Tulsa): Every time we play Tulsa, I am always excited to watch her play. She is a skilled handle and a great leader for her team.
#11 Cat O’Shei (Trinity): When we played them, she played every single point for Altitude, which makes sense because she is the anchor of their team both offensively and defensively. Her throws are the best in the region I think.
Abby Acker (John Brown): I have always loved playing John Brown because their spirit is always so high, and because their playing style is always fun to watch. Abby in particular is always ridiculously kind off the field and ridiculously good on the field. Great throws, smart decision-making, excellent leadership.
#22 Madi Fulte (Truman State): I can remember several times during the tournament when Madi came out of actual nowhere to get a poachy D or catch a huge goal. She has one of the best marks on TSUnami, and is definitely the future of our team.
#28 Bud Budzowski (Truman State): After spending last season recovering from an ACL tear, Bud has come back and reminded us how she earned a spot on the universe line her rookie year. She has been incredibly reliable as a handle in our zone offense, and she makes big plays on defense every single game.
I’ve gotta stop here because I’m limiting myself at seven players, but I also want to give shoutouts to #0 Lauren Wiggins, #13 Sarah Finley, #57 Emily Tucker, #4 Anna Sullivan, and #5 Lexie Thomas on TSUnami. Each of them deserves all the awards ever. Go Dawgs.
Trinity coach here - trying to stay as objective as possible with my thoughts:
Here’s my 7 for First Team in no particular order:
Dallas: Abby Thorpe. Only played them once but she was 90% of their success. Great hucks, even through a zone, as well as exceptional every-other movement. Made some smart, heads-up D plays as well. She deserves the nod for sure.
AF: Rose Bruns. Similar to Abby Thorpe’s^ value to her team. Rose ran the show for AF and handled confidently and patiently vs. whatever the opposing defense threw at her. Has some very solid inside flicks too. From limited interactions off the field I’ve had with her, she’s a great person - highly spirited and positive. She sets a great example for her team and ultimate as a sport.
TSU: Jessica Tiller. TSU’s success (at least from what we saw in the finals) came from largely a full-team effort. They have waves of girls who can all cut, mark very well, and complete up-field throws. Unlike many D-III teams, they relied less on a star player or two, and instead involved everyone in their system using their depth to pull out win after win. However, the largest on the field impact player I saw was certainly Tiller. She uses her height well and was a constant threat on the field, racking up D after D downfield. Her marks were impeccable too and created lots of problems for us, as she had at least 2 or 3 handblocks on our main handlers. Downfield, she was their main receiving threat and very hard to cover. Great positioning and reads. Definitely a 1st-team lock.
JBU: Abby Acker. Like Rose and Abby, she was the main driver for JBU’s offense. She had great hucks, patience, and decision-making. With the disc in her hands, every defense was at risk. Her throws were sharp and she played like a solid veteran for JBU.
Trinity: Cat O’Shei. Cat, while being a main handler, has her largest impact in the vein of Tiller. She marshals our zone (that we run every point upwind or downwind) from the deep-deep spot, and had at least 5+ Ds every game from there. She’s been a great captain and the face for Trinity women’s program for 3+ years and has given her heart and soul to that team through some tough, winless years. On the offensive side, she really grown this year into a great hucker. We relied on her size and length to rip hucks over and over to make our system/style of play work. As mentioned by another commenter, she played every point of the finals, showing some great stamina. Lastly, her around breaks were lethal this season. I think she definitely belongs on the first team.
Trinity: Mia Loseff. A cutting machine who is hands down the fastest and most explosive lady in San Antonio’s ultimate scene. While she’s still learning her throws/decision making after a catch, as a senior this year she showed some pretty insane athleticism while cutting and guarding cutters at the D-III level. While balancing a commitment to being a major member of the Trinity Track & Field team, she was still able to have an integral role in Trinity’s success this year. She’s been unguardable all season, even against bigger programs like Colorado College or Texas State, who have ladies that play on top club teams like Showdown, etc. Lastly, like Cat, she played every point of the finals and still had energy at the end. Pretty rare player, TU will miss her impact, as she was also the (unofficial) spirit captain and team motivator.
Missouri S&T: Catherine Mittlieder. We didn’t play them at all this season, but from what I briefly saw and I’ve heard, she definitely deserves a 1st Team selection.
POTY: Jessica Tiller. Best player (from what I saw) on the best team in the SC region. She deserves it 100%
FOTY: Can’t comment as I’m not familiar enough with the other teams and who their freshmen were. Trinity had a girl who would’ve surely been in the conversation (likely the best pure handler on our team due to some solid years of high school exp.) but she quit mid-season (apparently returning next year though).
2nd team candidates / Honorable mentions:
Joyce Andrews, Rice. Only saw her at Antifreeze (and in club last season) and she’s a very solid, patient handler. She’s calm and smart with the disc and plays hard on D. Definitely deserves some recognition for her impact on the field
Emily Tucker, TSU. From what we saw in the finals, she anchored a lot of the team’s energy and fast break movement. She was very involved and confident when throwing vs our zone. A very solid, practiced player
Maya Slavin, AF. The second fiddle to Rose but the lynch-pin for most of AF’s downfield cutting. She was solid when handling as well both times we played them. She uses her height well and had a large impact both games
Molly Lenihan, Trinity. Another senior that will be sorely missed by TU. She was the team’s best hybrid (handler + cutter) and anchored the zone from the cup position. Her greatest skill as a handler shined after she learned how to throw-n-go. As she was thrust into handling for the first time this season, the hucks and breaks were less her thing, but her ability to create strikes & give-n-go’s to beat a zone or initiate an offense were excellent at Regionals
Becca Kroger, Trinity. Only a sophomore but TU’s other captain. She was the region’s greatest highlight reel (from what I saw) and probably came down with at least 2 full extension layout grabs (saves) on offense each game and at least 1 layout block per game. Despite no high school experience, her ability to hit breaks and do give-n-go dribbling movement (with Molly) was at a 4th year player’s level this season. Eager to see her improvement the next two years as she looks to fill some of the major holes left by TU’s 4 departing seniors
Thanks for the opportunity to provide some thoughts!
Truman State University
Sarah Finley - The glue that held this team together. She stayed positive and caring and selfless throughout this entire season. She willingly put herself in challenging situations, not to prove she is better than her teammates (although let’s be real, she’s amazing), but because she takes responsibility for her team’s success. If every team had a Sarah Finley, this sport would be much more spirited and much more difficult. Great hucks, huge smiles, fast cuts, strong defense.
Emily Tucker - This girl probably yells “stall” in her sleep. Impeccable mark, impressive hucks, rule knowledge like no other. If I thought about frisbee as much as Emily Tucker does, my brain would probably implode. Also her talk from the sideline makes everyone’s mark better.
Claire Trumbull - The most under-appreciated player in this region. Her height and speed makes her a huge threat downfield as a monster or a cutter. Her spirit is unlike any other player on Tsunami. Her knowledge and experience from being a captain for one and a half years make her a HUGE ASSET to our team. She will be missed for her knowledge, organization, experience, smiles, and spirit.
I’m going to give small shoutouts for the rest that stand out in my mind and maybe haven’t been mentioned yet.
Oliva Carter (Freshman) - She got like 5 Ds and a couple of hand blocks in ONE POINT against Rice. Not a slight to Rice at all, but a huge compliment to Olivia.
Cleo Meschke (Freshman) - Very fast and picked up impressive frisbee skills in less than a semester.
Lauren Wiggins - Calm, cool, collected as a handler. Intimidating on defense. ALSO after every turn that she felt was her fault, she will take a second to reflect on her throw and physically motion how she will do it better next time. Everyone should do that.
Rita Hanch - Fast, tall, spirited, not afraid to throw continuations.
Katie Bruggeman - Always open, reliable cutter.
Emily Budzowski - Intensity unmatched by anyone on this team. Amazing defense, strong throws, rule knowledge on point. Also her smile spreads spirit and positivity.
Kathryn Ashton - Fast as heck, always open, constantly improving and asking questions.
Lydia Schuchard - Her defense improved exponentially this season, and she has a much-needed presence on this team.
Makayla Bindel - Great zone defense AND offense.
Will Connolly (Freshman) - Unmatched spirit, constantly striving for improvement
Sayaka Fujioka - Amazing, learned how to be an effective cutter and supportive sideline in a second language.
NOW FOR OTHER TEAMS
#27 Philippine Kugener - Great spirit, chilly handler, one of those players I am always genuinely happy to see at tournaments.
#6 Christina Brown - Strong handler, patient, her cuts get her open and her throws were a huge contribution to Rice’s team this year and last year.
#3 Amanda Yang - EXTREMELY FAST. The second I got on my heels she busted deep and there was no catching up. Great mark as well.
#11 Madison Stiebel - Was a huge asset to her team. Every line and timeout, we had to figure out how to shut her down on defense because she was TALL, FAST, and could HUCK IT LIKE NO OTHER.
#37 Erin Mann - Strong handler, always found a way to get open and had great break throws.
John Brown (I’m sorry I couldn’t find names, only numbers):
#21 - A huge threat on offense, fast, great break throws. Great mark and zone defense. Also generally seems like a great and spirited leader.
#9 - Strong mark on defense, was a huge asset to their zones.
#32 Abigail Thorpe - She is the only person on her roster listed as only a Handler and it shows in the best way. She has perfected her throws and hucks and always gets open for the disc. She was a force to be reckoned with in the quarterfinals even in high winds and rain.
#9 Sydney Kuhn - Very effective handle defense, willing to layout for any disc to get a D or to advance on offense.
#11 Cat O’Shei - Impressive throws, and strong defense.
#99 - The most spirited person on her team from what I could see. It was obvious she was there to play clean, hard ultimate. She was great at getting open for the disc and was an asset to her handler set.
TSU Mandi Matteucci #26: sharp decision making on the field, great advice off the field. TSUnami is Lucky to have this gal for one more year!
TSU Madi Fulte #22 : our secret weapon — mature as ever, displays a love for the game during every point.
TSU Lexie Thomas #5: articulate, skilled, and dedicated to the values of the ultimate community.
JBU #2: friendly as can be with athleticism through the roof.
JBU #19: for POTY - best handler defense in the region + unwavering SOTG.
Missouri S&T #37: exudes confidence, presents a challenge on offense and on defense.
Rice #2: poised leader, fueled by spirit of the game, deserving of recognition.
Trinity #15 Molly Lenihan: biggest strike cut threat in the region.
This spring Truman has been able to play every team within our region at least once. At conferences, we played everyone but Air Force. During these games, a few people stuck out:
#97 - Rose Bruns: It’s been a long time since I’ve seen Rose play, but she is always on top of it. From her hucks to her handle cuts, she is a difficult player to defend against. She is intelligent in her throws and she pushes her teammates to be better.
Catherine Mittlieder: We only saw Missouri S&T once this season, but you could tell that S&T’s offense is run through her. She is the core handle of the team and has the powerful throws to put her there. Catherine is also a large part of S&T’s defense. We mostly saw zone, but we were not able to put up deep throws because she would come down with them.
#14 - Rachel Deeds: Rachel is, without a doubt, the cornerstone of Tulsa’s team. She is Tulsa’s threat in every situation. She puts in the work to lead her team through both her actions and her spirit. Her throws are precise and she has a great mark.
Abby Acker: I’ve seen Abby play for years and every time is more impressive than the last. Her composure in the handle set allows JBU to maintain possession and gain momentum. Her throws are also on point and consistent no matter the weather conditions.
Molly Lenihan: When playing Trinity, she was calm, cool, and collected. She was able to cut through our handle defense with ease and broke us around multiple times. She has throws in the wind and could read the disc well in the changing conditions.
#25 - Jessica Tiller: Jessica is the heart and soul of Tsunami’s offense and defense. She is a dependable cutter who can get space from her defender, catch discs under pressure, and throw upfield. On defense, Jess can guard a handle, cutter, or be placed throughout zones and be a huge threat. She has a good field sense and her ability to read the disc allows her to be in an optimal position to make a play on the disc.
#0 - Lauren Wiggins: Although Lauren obtained an injury preventing her from playing most of the last game at Regionals, her impact on the field is still noticeable. She is patient and calm with the disc. She is able to locate holes in zones and punch the disc through. Lauren is also a defensive threat. She is able to play the space as well as the girl she’s guarding.
Honorable Mentions: Tsunami’s: #13 - Lauren Wiggins, #57 - Emily Tucker, #4 - Anna Sullivan, #22 - Madi Fulte; Trinity’s: Cat O’Shei
While I am not TSUnami’s official “Coach,” I had the privilege of helping them out at several tournaments this year. As a former player in the DIII men’s division I had a little bit of background knowledge on who the top players were coming in to Conferences but a lot of this will be based on what I saw in Tulsa. I will admit that in my best efforts to be as objective as possible this list is still pretty Truman heavy. Regardless, good luck to everyone!
Jessica Tiller (Truman State #25): The story of TSUnami’s success is a remarkable amount of depth that can play in tight games. With that said, Jess is the biggest overall threat in the region. Period. It’s easy to see how impactful Jess is stat wise, leading the team in goals and blocks. What the stats won’t show is the fact that she completely changes how a team tries to play. You force her deep and she will score at will. You force her under and she opens up the entire field for the rest of the team. You try running zone and she can catch over the tops then break immediately. Expect to hear her name a lot in the End of Year awards, especially after Nationals this May.
Cat O’Shei (Trinity #9): There are two ways you can look at POTY. If you choose the person who is the best overall player, you should lean toward Jess. The second point of view and case for Cat O’Shei is voting for a player that is the most valuable to their team. It was awesome to see what Trinity has become in just one year’s time. Their resurgence and season is spearheaded by Cat. Cat easily commanded their offense while baiting people into mistakes as the monster of their zone. My favorite part (and most frustrating) of Cat’s game is that no matter how hard you try to mitigate Trinity’s offense, she can throw a 45 yard upwind huck and completely dismantle any defense you throw at her. Trinity already has a small roster and is low on upperclassmen. I think saw Cat take three points off all weekend. That impact easily puts her in the All-Region conversation as well as in the race for POTY.
Abby Acker (John Brown #24): Similar to Cat, it is hard to ignore Abby’s impact as the best player on a strong JBU team. In the semifinal against Truman she was the focal point of their offense, either as the distributor throwing downfield or as the cutter torching her defender from the front of the stack. She was also a key facet in JBU’s zone and responsible for a lot of blocks leading to breaks. Like all JBU competitors, she is also incredibly spirited even in elimination games.
Emilia Budzowski (Truman State #28): From a strictly ultimate perspective, Bud was the absolute linchpin of Truman’s offense, shouldering much of the burden in zone offense all weekend. From a personal narrative perspective, it is hard not to vote for her. Bud has come back from a few devastating injuries including two major knee surgeries. Despite not getting to play a complete tournament in a very long time (perhaps 2017 Nationals) her composure helped drive TSUnami on both sides of the disc in the classic terrible weather Tulsa has to offer. Her calm demeanor was a major contributor to Truman’s comeback in the final.
Rose Bruns (Air Force #97): Air Force is the one team that TSUnami did not play against in Tulsa so a lot of this is based on other opinions and the brief glimpses I saw from the Truman sideline. It is tough to compete as a newer team but Rose played with excellent throws and even better composure.
Emily Tucker (Truman State #57): Even though Tucker is not the most flashy player and will not dominate a game like Jess or Bud, she is the most adaptable player on Truman’s D line. Throughout the tournament TSUnami played against several different types of zone defense and Tucker was the player who adjusted her game the quickest (faster swings against JBU wall, crashing Rice zone from the handler set, flash over on the mark to stop Trinity give-and-go, etc.) She also has the most fundamental mark on the team, creating several high stall situations and handblocks in crucial situations.
Molly Lenihan (Trinity #15): While Cat led Trinity’s offense with big plays, Molly made a huge impact working it up the field. I don’t think I saw another player with the same first-step quickness that she possesses and it showed. There were multiple points where Trinity would work the disc 50 yards up the field in a matter of seconds because of her give and go ability. Trinity’s best offensive play was their three-person dominator which relied on handle motion up the field and I think that most of that success stems from Molly
Lauren Wiggins (Truman State #0): Like Russell Westbrook, another #0 who plays in Oklahoma, Lauren can throw a lot of turns trying to make big plays. However, also like Russ, when Wiggy is in a groove Truman’s offense is unstoppable. Perhaps her best skillset is her quick release break throws that completely open up the field. All year Truman has put up countless breaks on teams and they all stemmed through Lauren’s initiation and fast play. As a captain she prides herself on taking the toughest match up on a turn and still led Truman in poach Ds. While she got injured in the final and could not play for a majority of the game, her play on both sides was the catalyst for Truman’s success throughout the tournament.
Anna Sullivan (Truman State #4): Anna is one of two sophomores that get a lot of playing time for TSUnami. She is perhaps the teams quickest player which gets her multiple run-through D opportunities. That speed also helps her create separation on offense, gliding on unders. Her biggest sign of growth in year 2 has been the ability to handle when the team needs another quick weapon to use.
Madi Fulte (Truman State #22): Madi is the second of the sophomore duo that garners a lot of playing time from Truman. Madi’s biggest value is her versatility. Truman runs pretty consistent O and D lines yet Madi will be asked to contribute on both of them and did it seamlessly. She’s a true gamer who is successful in doing whatever TSUnami asks of her.
Sarah Finley (Truman State #13): Sarah is probably Truman’s best pure cutter with speed and technique to get open under or deep at will. But like a lot of top players on smaller college ultimate teams, Sarah spent most of her time as a D line Handle because the team needed her there. While not the most silky or fundamental thrower, Sarah throws with a LOT of spin, making her vital in upwind situations. Outside of her play she was the unquestioned vocal and emotional leader of Truman and was successful at keeping the team as spirited as possible.
Emily Wang (Rice #5): Despite the score in TSUnami’s first game against Rice, Wang was an incredible contributor to their offense’s movement through the zone. They were a few turnovers away from playing an incredibly tight game where Wang was the driver of the offense.
Catherine Mittlieder (Missouri S&T #12): Similarly to Cat, you have to have immense respect for a player who plays the majority of a tournament. S&T’s offense ran through her and she as the cornerstone of their zone.
Rachel Deeds (Tulsa #14): Best player on a small team that is asked to do a lot and excels. While Tulsa might not have had the most successful tournament Deeds was able to trade blows with the top players on every team in the region.
Coach of the Year: Jake Johnson- Trinity: I think it is pretty evident just how impactful a focused coaching staff can change a team mentality and level of play. You don’t get success like they had overnight and you can see the improvement that Jake brought to the team.
Player of the Year: Jess Tiller.
Thank you to those who read through my thoughts. Overall this year was really difficult because weather cancellations hurt a lot of teams nationwide, but especially the South Central. Assuming the forecasts are better next year, this region will be very exciting to see whose young talent takes the next step and where teams are at during the Postseason.