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All-Region 2024: Atlantic Coast (D-I Women’s)

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

Worthy contenders from UVA Hydra:

  • 2023 All-Region player Aviva Kosto remains unbeatable downfield. She commands big spaces as a prime deep cutter, and small spaces in isolation at the front of the endzone. Any pull play built around her is an auto-score.

  • Fourth year captain Emma Vorathiankul has stepped into the shoes of Kira Flores as a commanding handler. She plays lock-down defense on our opponents’ best handlers, forcing 3rd and 4th option throws.

  • Sydney Mannion also stepped up in a big way in the handler space. The 2023 All-Region RoTY is an extreme aerial threat, stopping anything that comes her way and immediately transitions to consistently put the disc into her receivers hands. She is extremely reliable on Hydra O, or zone D.

  • Dori Gaines is a beast on defense, and a deadly threat when she generates a turn. In zone she does the hard work of protecting the deep space on one end of the field, then sprinting down to the other end for a score. Her track and triple jump background is clear in her many run-through Ds and skies.

  • Second year Megan Kennedy is a breakout star. She has improved exponentially after being a true rookie last year. Megan is known for smiling widely while she dusts her defender. On Day 2 of Commonwealth Cup, she scored 31% of Hydra’s points!

  • Irene Chen is deserving of All-Freshman consideration. Top recruit from Columbia High School Sparkle Motion, she has absorbed Hydra systems so quickly. She plays as a D-line handler one point, and a reliable cutter on the next.

From around the region

  • Lily Johnson (#31 American): Absolutely dominant receiver in the deep space and the centerpiece of the offense. Far and away the toughest defensive assignment we saw and played all weekend, consistently making ungodly grabs in the endzone. The most impactful piece in American’s late Regionals run this year for a second year.
  • Eva Turner (#9 American): Stretches their offense with her hucks and quick to attack in transition offense, especially looking almost exclusively to Lily Johnson.
  • Ziyan Rattelman (JMU) (I think this is their main handler): Brings a formidable range of throws but especially a backhand huck that makes her one of the top assists leader (if not the clear leader?) of the team.
  • #2 (JMU): Her closing speed earned her multiple run-through Ds. Super quick, great hands, and a key contributor from endzone to endzone.

From South Carolina

  • Annie Maier: Honorable mention for 2023 AC Rookie of the Year - has gotten smarter, more dangerous, and more versatile. Often takes the hardest matchups (Lily Johnson on American, Sydney Neal on Duke) and makes small throwing windows even smaller in the air. Stepped up as a true hybrid player, commanding the handler space with her quick give-and-go and capable of beating any matchup to the front cone.
  • Keenan Williams: One of Scorch’s most well-rounded plug-and-play pieces and especially efficient in pivotal late-game moments (Scorch’s seeding match vs. Duke at Carolina Conferences and DGP vs NC State at Regionals). Gets open at will in the reset space and marshals the offense.
  • Zora Bergey: A primary handler with some of the top pulls in the region. Methodical and poised on offense as a perpetually reliable distributor, and then a menace who makes an art of handler defense, hunting (and earning) layout Ds on first-choice reset options.

Rookie of the Year

  • Elle Rose (South Carolina): An athletic cutter who especially excels with a hanging disc and 2+ defenders around her (William & Mary, NC State, American…). The strongest indicator of her growth is her well-timed cuts, her body positioning to beat her matchup to the disc, and her ability to move the disc immediately so she can rinse and repeat.

With their two losses on the season being to a team they proceeded to beat twice and to the three time reigning national champion, American University Dirty Ladies have quite a few names that should be in the All-Region conversation, some of them being absolute locks for first team.

Lily Johnson and Eva Turner continue their dominance as a top tier backfield and downfield combo after being recognized on the Atlantic Coast All-Rookie team in 2023. Johnson dominated the skies all season long on O and D, propelling American to a 2 goal win against Duke in the Regional Quarterfinals after being down 1-4 to start the game. Turner’s elite hucks and patience with the disc provided American opportunities against the best defenses in the region from anywhere on the field.

Other names that should be considered for All-Region:

  • Emma Harbourne’s flick huck opened up the field, dominating the under space to get the ball. Her defensive pressure generated turns and earned blocks in high stakes situations.

  • Clara Watson had break throws and explosive backhand hucks for the O line that few marks or zones could contest throughout the season, including Sunday of Regionals.

  • Katrina Haws created nightmare situations for handlers and cutters in the small space while outreading the competition on almost every huck. She was essential to a D line that collected breaks all season long.

  • Fiona “Fijo” Harris played the dual role of playmaker and facilitator for the O line. A frequent flyer on O and D, Harris paired that playmaking energy with experienced and mature handling of the disc when marching the O line up the field

  • Lucy Hermann was a weapon for the D line, finding the right shots downfield and causing full defenses to readjust their game plans.

Both Abby Johnson and Monet Kogure should receive All-Rookie consideration. Johnson peaked at the right time and had a breakout weekend as a powerful deep deep in American’s zone, generating blocks and finding the open space. Monet Kogure was one of the fastest players on the field and found utility on both the O and D line cutting up the under space.

UVA- Dori Gaines plays intense lockdown defense, putting her body on the line to keep the disc in play or to generate a D. She is an extremely quick and athletic D line player who thrives on an intense matchup.

Duke- Sydney Neal is a phenomenal and versatile handler. Swerve’s offense is dictated by her massive hucks and give-gos. Once in motion she’s hard to shut down and her ability to attack the disk in the air makes her the centerpiece of her team.

American- Lily Johnson, as mentioned by others, has an incredible vertical and wingspan that makes her deep game unmatchable. She is the primary target of the Dirty Ladies and generates a ridiculous amount of goals.

NC State— Ellen Yu has a wide range of throws that help create break side and downfield momentum for Jaga. She has great field vision and acts as a grounding force for her team.

From NC State

Ellen Yu - primary handler and opens up the field a lot for the team. Always contributed whenever on with a D, assist, or goal

Sarah Spall - surprised she isn’t mentioned more. Generates most of the teams Ds and assists with huge layouts multiple times a game. Played on radiance and phoenix

Isabella Bevans - a great hybrid player that is a great initiator and deep receiver who also loves the small ball give go, especially with Spall

ACC Coach of the Year - Lyra Olson
Duke Swerve made a valiant comeback this season, especially given their returning roster of just 4 players this year. After some early season ups and downs, Swerve won Rodeo at Axton in March and faced Pleiades in the finals of Sectionals, taking them to 13-6 again (same score in Carolina Kickoff). They had a great run at regionals and showed total development across the breadth of their roster. None of this would have been possible without their coach Lyra Olson. A former Radiance, Team USA, Duke Swerve, and Princeton player as well as POTY’16, Lyra brings the hype energy, wisdom, flexibility/patience, and expertise that allowed Swerve to rebuild this year and teach over 10 rookies ultimate from scratch. She won Coach of the Year this year for Duke Club Sports, and she honestly deserves to be ACC Coach of the Year as well.

All Region - Due to her deep shots, inside throws, give-go, and coverage of deep space, Sydney Neal is a force of a handler to reckon with. Her ability to dictate motion and open up the field makes her a grounding force for the team.