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All-Region 2023: Southwest (D-I Women’s)

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

I’m Tolfa, head coach of UCSC Sol, so take whatever bias I might have into account. I mostly made these nominations based on Regionals, so sorry to any SoCal teams I don’t really know. I also didn’t think about First Team or Second Team much at all–these are all just sick players who are awesome for their schools.

Esther Filipek (#5): really great throws, both deep and breaking the mark. POTR candidate for me
Anna Fisher Lopez (#16): a problem around the disc, got open a lot and didn’t really turn it

Laura Blume (#8): incredibly dynamic player, very good thrower, key engine in their offense
Vienna Lee (#11): great defender, in charge of the d-line offense, first person to cross over after getting broken. Also very spirited!

Denika Hallin (#49): very well-rounded player, and it seemed like she never came off the field once the games got important. Strong defender, and very reliable offensive first look.

Tanya Bearson (#47): UCLA doesn’t make Nationals without her. In the Game to Go, got open at will in the backfield, and her throws opened up the field for her teammates. Easy to build an offense around her.

UC Davis
Margo Donahue (#23): another player I would nominate for POTR. One of the best athletes I’ve seen in college Ultimate, she’s become a very strong hucker as well, and seems to be a great leader for Rogue.
April Lu (#17): another key offensive cog for them, and a very strong thrower.

UC Berkeley
Betsy Siegal (#9): deserves a ton of credit for the success Pie Queens had this year. Betsy was an incredibly skilled handler, and it seems like she was able to play through just about anything, while also constantly being asked to do it all–she was one of Berkeley’s main pullers, she was constantly being centered to and asked to make difficult throws, and a lot of their zone offense revolved around her running back and forth and getting the disc a ton. Pie Queens got hit hard by injuries this season, but Betsy was able to help stabilize them pretty well.
UCSC Sol (Take all of this with a grain or two of salt. To any of my players reading this, you all deserve nominations! Sorry that I can’t mention everyone here.)

Addy Khem (#11): our 5th year captain, she was at the heart of everything we were trying to do as a team. She’s the handler some teams were running a box and one to try to limit! She has great throws, both breaking the mark and hucking, and she was also our leading block getter throughout the season while often guarding the top players on the other team. Our season looks nothing like how it did without Addy on the team.

Jayna Frank (#27): Jayna was another senior captain, who is one of the best upwind throwers I’ve ever gotten to watch. Jayna was a do-it-all plug and play player, who did everything in our different zone looks and was equally capable starting downfield as a cutter to picking up the disc to getting open as a reset.

Monica O’Brien Saez (#7): the blonde cutter that probably scored on you on the open side cone. She came in last year new to Ultimate as a raw athlete, but this year, she became a much stronger thrower–she helped us win against Davis by jacking a backhand straight up wind for our only upwind break of the game. A really strong cutter, and a sophomore, Monica is going to be a terror in the Southwest for a while.

I have no idea who are the freshmen on other teams, so here are some rookies from Sol that had really strong seasons:

Paige Jenkins (#24): Paige became one of our strongest defenders by the end of the year. Our gameplan at Regionals was to put her on whatever U24 players the other teams had, and Paige pretty much always held her own.

Viola Deszily (#32): Vi was a dominant athlete downfield who was immediately willing to throw her body around to catch the disc–I can’t think of many players who got more “wows” from opposing teams after some of her grabs.

Yael Kaplan (#18): One of the few members of Sol who had playing experience before college, Yael was a wonderfully stabilizing force for us on offense, and a tenacious mark on defense.

Good luck to all the Nationals qualifiers, and excited to see everyone next year!


Hey it’s addy. I played on Sol.
The southwest was filled with talented players, no doubt. Here are some people that I think made a huge impact on their program, especially after the devastating effects of covid. Y’all did an amazing job keeping the team grounded and rebuilt the program to what it is today! I felt lucky to be pushed and comforted by all of you on the field. And shout out to all of the freshmen for the hard work, especially those on Sol for all of the trust you had in me. Too hard to choose who made the all freshman line, but a few specific shout outs from Sol: Lexie Buckley, Paige Jenkins, Viola Deszily, and Prunella Crombie

Would love to hear what you think and just hear some shout-outs to those leaving or have been here a while after a rollercoaster of a year!

All Region:
Betsy Siegel (Pie Queens)
Sophia Acker (Rogue)
Margo Donohue (Rogue)
Denika Hallin (D’Co)
Tanya Bearson (Blu)
Vienna Lee (Burning Skirts)
Monica O Brien Saez (Sol)

Best of luck to those who are graduating, it’s been an absolute pleasure seeing/playing you on the fields for the past few seasons!!

And lastly, in my biased opinion, Tolfa, coach of Sol deserves Coach of the Year. We wouldn’t be here with him. We have come a long way, and that’s because of his insanely amazing strategies, his goofy jokes and quotes, and the way he supports all of us to be the best player we can be.

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