Players Only: 2018 Club Superlatives (Women’s Division)

Brute Squad’s Lien Hoffmann (center) and Sarah “Surge” Griffith. Photo: Daniel Thai —

While Ultiworld has long featured various player awards, including All-Club selections, the voting has always been internal to our reporting team. Starting at last year’s National Championships, we started to ask players for their thoughts on the best of the best in various categories. What resulted was a fun and fascinating look at the Division from the players themselves: who do they see as the top performers from the season?

We asked a wide range of players for their thoughts on players in a variety of categories. Here’s what they had to say.

Player of the Year

Lien Hoffmann (Brute Squad). Lien is a total weapon on all sides of the disc. She’s the player starter, the playmaker, and seems like the most modest and well-spirited person on the field at all times. I really admire her presence and hard work.” – Lauren Kimura (6ixers)

Amber Sinicrope (Brute Squad). She is calm and collected when she needs to be and also brings the FIRE when she needs to. It’s a hard combination but she does it.” – Qxhna Titcomb (Riot)

Lien Hoffmann has the most balanced game physically (defense, cutting, throwing, receiving) and mentally (super aggressive, but calm and focused under pressure).” – Jenny Fey (Scandal, formerly)

Claire Chastain (Molly Brown). To me, great players are a threat everywhere on the field. Claire brings as much fire on offense as she does on defense and she’s an incredibly creative player. I also appreciate players who use their platform to push ultimate towards equity, and Claire does that consistently. Her ability to never let up, on and off the field, makes her the best player to me.” – Brittany Kaplan (BENT)

Best Defender

Boston Brute Squad’s Angela Zhu. Photo: Kristina Geddert —

Angela Zhu (Brute Squad) seems like she’s watched like 400 hours of film on me and knows exactly where I want to go all the time. It’s very challenging; it makes me think of new spaces I want to go to.” – Claire Chastain (Molly Brown)

Angela Zhu. It is extremely challenging to get open on Zhu. I often find myself considering a strike just to make space, but more often than not she’s forcing me to layout for a dump. She also possesses freakish stamina and grit, which comes through during marathon points. At best, you somehow get the disc and now have to throw around a surprisingly stifling mark for her size; at worst, she’s producing turns and probably burning you by throwing a score.” – Lauren Kimura (6ixers)

Cassie Wong (Brute Squad). It’s very frustrating to be an offensive handler when Cassie is on the field on D. I often survey the field, find Cassie, and then make a throwing decision not near her. She has the ability to explode into a space that seemed open, in a blink of the eye.” – Brittany Kaplan (BENT)

Lien Hoffmann. A versatile player, she can play tight person D on handlers and cutters, and then she can play anywhere in a zone. Best in class in each and her versatility makes her truly lethal.” – Qxhna Titcomb (Riot)

Cassie Wong takes people completely out of the game on the regular.” – Jenny Fey (Scandal, formerly)

Best Thrower

Paige Soper (Riot) has the best hucks. Her release points and how smoothly the releases the disc, [her throws] are so pinpoint and so clutch.” – Claire Chastain (Molly Brown)

“I think we have some really great throwers with really different strengths. Amber Sinicrope (Brute Squad) can throw from any angle, any height off the ground like there is no mark anywhere on the field. Shellie Cohen (Brute Squad) has her standing 70-yard huck, which is incredible. In our Nightlock game, I think she had three throws standing on the end zone line, just standstill backhand hucks to the other end zone. No one else has that.” – Caitlyn Lee (Brute Squad)

Revolution’s Yina Cartagena lays out for the grab. Photo: Taylor Nguyen —

Alex Snyder (Fury). She makes a 40-yard chest high break into the wind look like gravy.” – Lauren Kimura (6ixers)

Yina Cartagena (Revolution). She can ‘throw you open’ from anywhere on the field, and manages to find a receiver even at a very high stall count.” – Maddy Frey (Ozone)

Lindsay Lang (Wildfire). Biased for sure, but I’ve never seen zones look so ineffective than when Lang is on the field.” – Kristen Pojunis (Wildfire)

Alyssa Weatherford (Riot). She makes crazy throws looks so so easy. She can hit anything on the field and does it with high accuracy.” – Qxhna Titcomb (Riot)

“There are a ton of great throwers in the division right now, and I think a lot of the same players get called out over and over again—deservedly so!—so I want to call out my Nemesis teammate Jenni Corcoran here. Jenni has an insane range and arsenal of throws, and playing on her line is always exciting because she always finds a way to get her downfielders the disc—it might be upside down, or a well-placed blade, but she’s going to drop it into you right where you need it. She’s so creative and smart about her choices, she’s exciting to watch, and I think she deserves wider recognition for her ability.” – Jacqueline Jarik (Nemesis)

Lauren Kimura (6ixers). Lauren can find open spaces on the field like a bat using echolocation to find mosquitoes. Zones fall apart when she’s on the field. I also admire her complete and utter poise in high pressure situations. Her throws do not falter as the pressure rises.” – Brittany Kaplan (BENT)

Claudia Tajima (Brute Squad) has legit perfect form; Carolyn Finney (Fury) can slang (she’s the master of the 40 yard upfield/crossfield fastball gainer); Paige Soper‘s release point changes are so buttery fast that no one notices them happening.” – Jenny Fey (Scandal, formerly)

Toughest Player to Guard

Keila Strick (Scandal). She is really fast, super quick. She has gotten the best of me super often. I think she knows when to change direction, positionally. Either when she passes the axis of the thrower, she knows the right time to change direction and, coupled with her speed, you want to be able to guard both sides, so as soon as you adjust to take away one thing, she is immediately exposing that.” – Allysha Dixon (Molly Brown)

“Personally, I think guarding handlers with super quick movement on the give-and-gos I find really challenging and really fun. So like Manuela [Cardenas] or Claire [Chastain]. I know that they are hard matchups. Lauren Kimura on 6ixers is also really good at that.” – Caitlyn Lee (Brute Squad)

“The most challenging player to go against is Sarah “Surge” Griffith (Fury). She’s so fast and so smart and plays the game so well.” – Claire Chastain (Molly Brown)

Surge. One time she roasted me…” – Lauren Kimura (6ixers)

Amber Sinicrope. Amber literally has every throw in the book, so wherever your mark is, she will punish the one spot you’re giving up. I also appreciate that she has a perfect lefty backhand, but is not in the newest generation of players who seem to be born throwing it.” – Brittany Kaplan (BENT)

Carolyn Finney (Fury). She breaks the rules of Fury’s offense and does whatever she wants – she’s unpredictable. This makes her hard to guard!” – Qxhna Titcomb (Riot)

Kami Groom (Brute Squad) & Surge Griffith can get you equally on their first step and their fiftieth.” – Jenny Fey (Scandal, formerly)

Most Underrated

“I’m going to go with Paige Applegate on Molly Brown. That’s someone who I think is super, super underrated. We have a lot of big names on our O-line that people know, but I think that Paige Applegate does it all. She lays out, she makes these incredible grabs. Her break throws are phenomenal and when she puts it, they’re dimes. She doesn’t get talked about nearly enough. Every game. You look at any game we have filmed throughout this season, she is making the tough grabs, she’s taking the most body from the other teams and she is still putting up dimes, still putting great break throws, creating great space in that handler position.” – Allysha Dixon (Molly Brown)

Hana Kawai of Seattle Riot in the Pro Flight Final final.
Hana Kawai of Seattle Riot in the Pro Flight Final final. Photo: Rowdy Webb —

Hana Kawai (Riot). She’s agile as a cutter, is such a great thrower that she can jump into the handler space, oh, and then she can defend any player out there on D.” – Qxhna Titcomb (Riot)

Jessie Grignon-Tomas (Brute Squad). It’s hard for Canadians to get love, and even harder to garner attention as a rookie on a top team! I’ve admired her talent and work ethic ever since I started playing club. She was an undeniable difference-maker in the 2018 USAU finals, and came through for Brute Squad at all stages leading up to the show.” – Lauren Kimura (6ixers)

Melissa Dunn from Wildfire. You may not have heard of her and there’s a reason for that. She’s a player who hasn’t ended up on any highlight reels because she’s the one playing shut down D so she doesn’t have to layout for the big block and using her speed and smarts to set up perfectly-timed cuts so she’s always wide open for the easy goal. I love watching her work out there. Also she’s got a great dog – can we include that?1” – Anna Nazarov (Fury)

Jessi O’Connor (Scandal). She has every break throw in the book and is incredibly reliable with the disc. AND a great defender to boot!” – Maddy Frey (Ozone)

AJ Uthe (Pop). AJ is a phenomenal player that I never hear much about despite being wicked fast. AJ works incredibly hard on Pop, a team that Wildfire hasn’t quite been able to figure out in the past two seasons, in no small part because of AJ’s stifling defense.” – Kristen Pojunis (Wildfire)

Bailey Zahniser (Riot) & Paige Applegate (Molly Brown) have that subtle ability to be the engines for their team: they just keep churning on offense and defense, getting touches, and not making mistakes.” – Jenny Fey (Scandal, formerly)

Best Downfield Receiver

“Do I need to elaborate on how good Austin Prucha (Heist) is at getting big yards and making insane catches, or do the sheer number of goals that she scored this season highlight that? On a serious note, she is a creative cutter who is assertive at attacking space. She utilizes all the space she has and has a real knack at finding spaces that only she can get to.” – Robyn Wiseman (Heist)

“I would give anything to watch Jenny Wei (Phoenix) and Katie Ryan (Fury) play 500 for a couple hours.” – Jenny Fey (Scandal, formerly)

Claire Sharman, Nightlock.” – Kristen Pojunis (Wildfire)

Sarah Bobak (6ixers). This may seem biased, but just watch some tape. It would be hard to find an airball Bobak doesn’t come down with. She is weirdly in tune with her max vert and consistently grabs discs at peak height with ease.” – Lauren Kimura (6ixers)

Cassie Wong. She’ll come down with anything!!! It’s wild.” – Qxhna Titcomb (Riot)

Smartest/Craftiest Player

Jesse Shofner (Molly Brown). IO backhands, ‘dribbling,’ toeing the line on un-D-able throws — seems like she has a knack for making her defenders look silly.” – Lauren Kimura (6ixers)

Columbus Rival’s Sophia Knowles. Photo: Stephen Chiang —

Carolyn Finney. Finney is the perfect combination of great decision-making and quick movement, which is a difficult combo to perfect. Finney has done it.” – Brittany Kaplan (BENT)

Sophia Knowles (Rival). Probably a unique answer, Sophie seems to throw breakside blades or other visionary stuff with an incredible completion rate. Wildfire was treated to a Saturday first round match-up with Rival at Pro-Elite and Sophie is quite the wake-up call for the defense.” – Kristen Pojunis (Wildfire)

Dominique Fontenette (Riot). She’s thinking multiple steps ahead of the offense and the defense.” – Qxhna Titcomb (Riot)

“You can count on Amber Sinicrope & Dominique Fontenette to exploit anyone less experienced than them, which is basically everyone.” – Jenny Fey (Scandal, formerly)

Most Fun Matchup

“I like guarding Kami Groom the most because she always sets herself up in positions to score. It’s fun to assume the challenge and step up and try to prevent that.” – Claire Chastain (Molly Brown)

Liza Minor (Molly Brown) and I have been matching up against each other since college, and because we have similar play styles, the match up is always super competitive, hard fought, and gritty, but because of who Liza is as a person, it’s impossible not to be smiling the whole time, even when she’s roasting you. It’s never easy, but it’s always the most fun to match up on Liza!” – Jacqueline Jarik (Nemesis)

Mariel Hammond (Schwa). Murl has been my absolute favorite match-up this season with their quick movements, big throws, and great spirit. I have so much fun trying to figure out what to take away, ’cause I’m certainly not shutting them down.” – Kristen Pojunis (Wildfire)

Sharon Yee (Heist). I am a handler who tends to guard handlers, which often can be quite a mind game. Sharon always does the thing I don’t expect her to. She’s unpredictable, extremely quick, and always a great challenge to guard.” – Brittany Kaplan (BENT)

Claire Chastain (Molly Brown). You know that Molly Brown is basically looking just for her to get open and she still gets open no problem! It’s such a fun challenge to guard.” – Qxhna Titcomb (Riot)

“It’s a privilege to get blocked by Claire Sharman; also, Lauren Sadler (Brute Squad) is everyone’s teammate – literally.” – Jenny Fey (Scandal, formerly)


Best defensive play: “Cate Woodhurst (Ozone) got three blocks on double game point in the Ozone vs. Traffic prequarter game at Nationals…” – Maddy Frey (Ozone)

Best pulls: “Nikki ‘Tucker’ Ross (Siege). Pulls are so important. Her pulls are out of this world, as are her backhand hucks.” – Brittany Kaplan (Bent)

Biggest hucks: Martha Gregory (BENT). Her hucks are immense. Also a hand-block machine. Also simply the best.” – Brittany Kaplan (BENT)

Best teammate: Becky ‘Tots’ Moore (Rival) is by far the best on field and off field teammate I’ve ever had the pleasure to be rostered with. She is the rare type of player who can adjust and conform her play to better highlight her teammates’ abilities and best skills. If you watch her closely on the field, you can tell that she is making different kinds of space and cutting shapes based on who else is on the field with her, and then she’ll turn around and start to make exactly the cut her teammate is going to want to throw before they’ve even finished making the catch. She flies under the radar, but I’d be remiss not to recognize this incredible skill of hers in some way here!” – Jacqueline Jarik (Nemesis)

Most inspirational: “Maddy Frey (Ozone). As someone getting into my 30s, I am always inspired by people still killing it at the highest levels who are older than me. Maddy is both a high impact player on the field, while simultaneously working tirelessly to ensure the Premier Ultimate League is a success. Impressive and inspiring.” – Brittany Kaplan (BENT)

Best Twitter presence: Anraya Palmer (Ozone). A great combo of silliness, helpful info, and real talk.” – Brittany Kaplan (BENT)

  1. Yes, we can. 

  1. Ultiworld

    Ultiworld is the premier news media site dedicated to the sport of ultimate. This article includes the work of a number of our staff or contributors that have been identified within the piece.

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