Thoughts from Chris Vanni, Coach of LM Girls Ultimate; obviously focused a little more heavily on the Philly teams, as we saw them a lot more, and I have more to say about my own players than anyone. The below is highly unedited and just my rambling thoughts.
First team slam dunks:
-You all know her. There’s not much more I can say. Does everything well on the field; pulls it into the other end zone, catches everything higher than everyone, throws beautiful catchable throws that are well thought. Like having another coach on the field in that she thinks about the game very well as well. Helps me find the adjustments I need to make, etc.
-Started the season as an athlete (granted, a 6 foot tall basketball playing athlete) but has developed into a truly dangerous unstoppable player. Generates Ds at a prodigious rate and scores all day in the end zone. Scored 20 goals at Amherst Invite, and 12 goals on Saturday at States, despite playing her fewer points than she could easily handle.
-You can already see the elite club player in her. Layouts, unguardable cuts, solid throws, she has it all.
-Just unstoppable downfield on D, you don’t sneak things past her.
Other players worthy of consideration off the top of my head:
Sarah Lipson: Has to work on her travels and confidence, but has all the tools; the deep throws, the deep defense, the aggressive cutting up line to catch handler defenders sleeping.
Dalia Weinstein: “Shooters gotta shoot” is said a little too often in Philly area ultimate about handlers who throw deep a little too often. Dalia is truly a shooter, throwing it down field and letting our receivers make plays or letting our defense set, regardless of the mark set on her.
Dena Behar: The most consistent handler there is. She adjusts her throws for her receivers so well, throwing it high or fast or whatever else is necessary. Racks up the assists without throwing unnecessary risks into the end zone. Smartness also shows up in letting me trust her making calls and being yet another coach out there.
Sophie Bennett: She’s got a preternatural sense on defense for the short deep position in the zone, and is often in the right place to generate turns. She’s also got some of the best break throws in the division, consistently getting us out of difficult trap zones and breaking the mark to score goals in end zone.
-Our crop of handlers were so consistent all year and could all move the disc downfield consistently.
-“In-cutter” is not a very popular position in HS girls ultimate, but Mariko has redefined it and does it so consistently and impressively, willing to cut deep when she needs to, willing to throw deep when it opens up, and doing it all very well.
-preternatural sense for the end zone; boxes out and creates space better than almost anyone else in the division, and then has the physical skills to back it up. I may not have played her enough points this season for her to earn her way onto this team, but I want to make it clear I think she has the tools to do so.
-Some of the best throws in PHUEL, from legitimate smooth break throws, to pick-it-up-and-huck-it for days.
-So athletic and never stopped running around the field.
-Handling came a long way, and became a plus defender on some of our better cutters.
-The girl my girls least wanted to cover; dangerous cutter who never stopped moving downfield.
-So fast, and can really jump; love the aggressiveness she shows with her throws also.
-Furthest throws I’ve seen in PA Girls ultimate since Emily Eisner, whether there’s a straight up mark, or a cup around her. I can only imagine what she would have looked like fully healthy.
-More impresive at Northeasterns than at States, but had throws over the zone that have made me really think hard about whether the throwers in PA Girls ultimate have come far enough to force me to rethink our zone theories
Emma Phelps? Julia Buss? Dominique Ross? Can’t remember who was who. But there were a few players on the field every point that we gameplanned around. They also had a super spirited nice player named Natalie Moul I feel worth pointing out as well.
So I’m still very far from figuring out what 7 I think actually deserve my vote, but right now, a quick recap: