2019 Women’s D-III College Defensive Player Of The Year, Presented By VC Ultimate & NUTC

The top performers of the year on the defensive side of the disc.

Ultiworld’s 2019 Women’s College Awards are presented in part by VC Ultimate, a leading supporter of women in ultimate. They are also presented in part by the National Ultimate Training Camp, who can help prepare you to be an All-Star. All opinions are those of the authors. Thanks for supporting the brands that make Ultiworld possible!

Ultiworld is pleased to announced our third annual D-III College Awards. The criteria for each award can be found here — we consider both regular season and postseason performance in our selection of awards. As the overall top performers of the year, players selected as top three in Player of the Year voting are removed from consideration for other individual awards.

Links to all of the 2019 D-III Women’s Division awards will be added as awards are announced:

Player of the Year Award
Offensive Player of the Year Award
Defensive Player of the Year Award
Breakout Player of the Year Award
Rookie of the Year Award
Coach of the Year Award (will be announced later this week!)
All American 1st Team (will be announced later this week!)
All American 2nd Team (will be announced later this week!)

D-III Women’s 2019 Defensive Player Of The Year

Helen Samuel (Oberlin)

Oberlin's Helen Samuel. Photo: William 'Brody' Brotman -- UltiPhotos.com
Oberlin’s Helen Samuel. Photo: William ‘Brody’ Brotman — UltiPhotos.com

Good defenders can shut down their individual matchups; great defenders can use their strengths to dominate a position such that an entire offense can feel shut down. Helen Samuel did both with flair in 2019, churning with her legs and skying in the air to snag discs and turn the tide of games. Fearless of height differences or a clump of players, the senior handler engaged with a speed and field awareness that are distinctly her own.

Leading a title-winning Oberlin team in recorded blocks (12) at Nationals, Samuel was crucial for keeping the break opportunities coming for the Preying Manti in the final and throughout their course through the bracket. In addition to locking down her matchup, Samuel continually kept an eye on the disc and spied opportunities to cheat off to help with a poach block.

Nationals was nothing new for the senior handler, just a continuation of her defensive accomplishments from throughout the regular season — on the largest stage of D-III competition, at the most important time to play well, Samuel delivered time and again. Whether toiling under the heat of Texas or freezing in the wet, cold depths of the Midwest, Samuel put the thrill of dominating on D-line front and center for the rest of the division.

1st Runner up: Kim Dorr (Portland)

Portland's Kim Dorr. Photo: William 'Brody' Brotman -- UltiPhotos.com
Portland’s Kim Dorr. Photo: William ‘Brody’ Brotman — UltiPhotos.com

Throughout the regular season, Dorr made life difficult for Northwest opponents, and brought the same gritty and intense play to Nationals. Threatening in the air or going one-on-one with her matchup, Dorr’s speed and length made a dangerous combination on both sides of the disc. But on defense, she stalked block opportunities, baiting offenses into throwing to seemingly open receivers, only to produce run-through d’s or snag a hanging disc out of the sky.

With a recorded 13 blocks over the D-III College Championships, the UPRoar junior proved she’s always right on the heels of a receiver, waiting for her chance to strike.

2nd Runner up: Rosie Rudavsky (Oberlin)

Oberlin's Rosie Rudavsky. Photo: William 'Brody' Brotman -- UltiPhotoss.com
Oberlin’s Rosie Rudavsky. Photo: William ‘Brody’ Brotman — UltiPhotoss.com

If there were an award just for handblock ability, Rudavsky would be the runaway winner.1 Not every player with a large wingspan effectively utilizes it, but the Oberlin senior eliminates threats with her mark. In the national final, Rudavsky was key to Oberlin’s gameplan to slow down Player of the Year Josie Gillett, challenging Bates’ biggest weapon at the point of attack and more often than not affecting the release of the division’s best thrower.

Whether decimating a handler’s options or recording more handblocks in a zone look than one can count on a single hand, Rudavsky is the last player you want to see nearby when you have the disc.


  1. At least for D-III — much respect to Dena Elimelech. 

  1. Sam Echevarria
    Sam Echevarria

    Sam Echevarria is the Women's D-III College Editor at Ultiworld. She has been playing ultimate since 2010, starting with the Centerville HS Outsiders and later the Claremont Colleges Greenshirts. Currently based in Madison, WI, you can reach her on twitter (@sechevarria27).

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