Honoring the division's top coaches.
June 13, 2019 by Michael Ball in Awards with 0 comments
Ultiworld’s 2019 Men’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 Men’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
All American 1st Team (will be announced later this week!)
All American 2nd Team (will be announced later this week!)
D-III Men’s 2019 Coach Of The Year
Matt Graves (Richmond)
Legendary tennis player Arthur Ashe once said, “clothes and manners do not make the man; but when he is made, they greatly improve his appearance.” This saying rings true for Richmond Spidermonkeys coach Matt Graves, who wore a suit for the entirety of Regionals and Nationals. The suit didn’t make Graves the 2019 Coach of the Year, but it certainly improved his appearance along the way.
The Richmond season was a masterclass in program building from Graves. The Spidermonkeys found the perfect balance of building depth while sustaining competitiveness. Graves utilized Richmond’s first two tournaments, Carolina Kickoff and Mid-Atlantic Warm Up, to provide high level playing experience to the entire roster in games with relatively low stakes. With eleven freshmen on the roster, these reps were invaluable.
By the time FCS D-III Tune Up rolled around, Richmond had a full roster of players ready to contribute, and this preparation manifested itself with a 7-0 record that included three wins over eventual Nationals teams. With a smart, well-drilled offense and multiple defensive looks, the Spidermonkeys were a reflection of the efforts of Graves and his assistant coach Justin Keller.
Richmond rolled the rest of the season until Nationals, where they bounced back with a run to the semifinals after finishing last in their pool in 2018. Much of their Nationals success came from depth established by Graves early in the season, with the Spidermonkeys able to play their entire roster in the Texas heat. In Richmond’s 12-11 semis loss to eventual champions Middlebury, Graves’ gameplanning and in-game adjustments disrupted the Middlebury offense more effectively than any team had all weekend.
An alumnus of the Spidermonkeys’ program, Graves has turned Richmond into a perennial Nationals program. With such a young roster and a team coming off a disappointing finish to their 2018 season, Graves’ work with the Spidermonkeys this season was his best work yet.
1st Runner up: Michael Massad and Anders Berglund (Carleton GoP)
The 2018 Coaches of the Year returned with another strong performance in 2019; despite the loss of eight seniors from the 2018 GoP team that made it all the way to semis, GoP found themselves in the semifinals once again and came even closer to taking the next step.
Massad has established a program at this point that reloads rather than rebuilds, creating buy-in and an expectation of work ethic from top to bottom. Perhaps the most impressive stat from Nationals is that every GoP player threw or caught a goal over the course of the weekend, and 20 out of 21 did this over the course of just three pool play games.
Berglund’s impact on the team is felt more in the big picture strategy and playing style of the team; although he’s rarely able to attend tournaments, the team’s offense was designed by Berglund, and he’s in constant communication with Massad and the team during tournaments.
Career moves are seeing Massad leave the Carleton program next season, but the GoP alumnus has set the team up for success for years to come.
2nd Runner up: Jordan Troisi (Colby)
Teams who are used to having a coach tend to take for granted just how much of a privilege it can be. The impact of Jordan Troisi on Colby in his first year with the team was tremendous, giving the team the structure, guidance, and motivation required to take the Dazzlin’ Asses from seventh in New England last year to the prequarters of Nationals in 2019.
While the team was well-drilled and certainly benefited from Troisi’s knowledge of the game, it was his in-game decision making and level head that most clearly maximized Colby’s talents. Troisi’s impact even extended to the classroom, helping make sure that the team was able to even attend Nationals.
Only at Colby on a one-year sabbatical, the Dazzlin’ Asses will have a tall task replacing Troisi in 2020.