Good Lord, narrowing this down is going to get real tough, real quick.
January 16, 2017 by Ultiworld in Opinion with 5 comments
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Just looking at the blocks that have already been eliminated from this bracket,1 there were some absolutely insane defensive plays this year — all incredibly impressive in their own way. Best of luck as you try to figure out what should advance from here on out.
Voting in Round 2 is now open and will run through Wednesday, January 18th, at 12 PM Eastern.
Matchup 1: The Future Is Now
Manuela Cardenas – Colombia (WJUC Girls)
Bethany Kaylor may have fared well in our Catch of the Year bracket, but was absolutely no match for Manuela Cardenas in the first round here. The Colombian teen trounced the Fugue star in by far the biggest victory we’ve yet seen in any of our brackets. Next up, she’ll be picking on someone her own age.
Collefas Mot – Canada (WJUC Girls)
In a show of solidarity with Cardenas, Mot similarly eased past her college-age American opponent in Round 1. Now the international youth stars square off in a quarterfinal matchup absolutely dripping with athleticism. No matter who wins this one, the message is clear: “Better luck next time, all previous generations of ultimate players.”
Matchup 2: All-World Clash
Anna Nazarov – San Francisco Fury (USAU Women’s Club)
In the closest matchup of the opening round, Anna Nazarov’s club semifinal block on Shira Stern snuck by Julie Sussman’s brave poach D from the mixed final. Will Maddog be able to eat up another big name opponent in the quarterfinals?
Opi Payne – Denver Molly Brown (USAU Women’s Club)
The jury is still out on whether this clip is even fair to include in this bracket, but we can now confirm that three blocks is better than one. Opi’s epic US Open point downed her Denver teammate’s acrobatics in Round 1. Now she faces her WUGC teammate in a battle between two of the biggest stars in the game.
Matchup 3: Big-Game Battle
Dylan Freechild and Matt Rehder – USA (WUGC Men’s)
Apparently, two blocks is better than one as well. The Freechild / Rehder tag-team effort knocked off Ben Rosenfeld’s D3 title-game heroics in the first round, but now faces a two-time college Defensive Player of the Year. This quarterfinal pits iconic clips from two of the best games of 2016.
Jeff Babbitt – Massachusetts ZooDisc (USAU Men’s College)
Unlike in the Callahan voting, Babbitt crushed Trent Dillon in our blocks bracket. Next up, Babbitt gets one of the Pitt star’s club teammates in Matt Rehder, whose follow-up D on Dylan Freechild’s initial block was one of the most exciting moments of the WUGC men’s final.
Matchup 4: Style vs Substance
Sam Little – Georgia Jojah (USAU Men’s College)
Maybe Nathan White just makes big-game point blocks look too damn easy,2 but he was downed by Sam Little’s hand-block-turned-Callahan in our first round. Given the nature of this “tipped disc, chase down, somewhat awkward layout score,” Little’s D shares several striking similarities with Himalaya Mehta and could become the next clip to capture the internet zeitgeist and advance further than we expected.
Donnie Clark – Seattle Cascades (AUDL)
Perhaps an early favorite based on the anecdotal love this block got on Twitter and Facebook over the weekend, Donnie Clark sewed up a first round victory with the largest margin on the men’s side of the bracket. Given the timing of Clark’s block late in a tight league semifinal — compared to Little’s early-season, mid-blowout nominee — the quarterfinals should give us a hint as to how much Ultiworld readers consider the context of the moment.