The most impactful players in the men's division on the offensive end
November 8, 2019 by Ultiworld in Awards with 0 comments
Ultiworld’s 2019 Men’s Club Awards presented by DiscStore.com; all opinions are those of the author. Get $10 OFF Hooded Jerseys for your team using code Ultiworld20 at DiscStore.com!
Ultiworld is pleased to announced our fourth annual Men’s Club Awards. While we consider both regular season and postseason performance, because of the nature of the Club Division, we weight success in the Series and at Nationals above all else. The All-Club teams are selected based on input from Ultiworld reporters, contributors, and editors.
2019 Men’s Club Offensive Player Of The Year
Joe White (Chicago Machine)
There isn’t anything subtle about Joe White when he’s on the field. Between his flowing blond locks, gangly frame, and knack for finding — and making — the big play, he is as stunning a spectacle as anyone in the game. The point-blank thunder of his windmill spikes roughly approximates his impact on offense in both likeness and degree.
Yet we would do well to employ some subtlety in our appreciation of him. The raw stats from Nationals (8G/19A/11T) tell the story of a high-volume shooter. There’s no denying it: White always has one eye on the end zone. And like virtually all players in that mold, he’s no stranger to throwing the disc away. But to watch him play is to see something more than just the skilled young gun whose strengths outweigh his demerits; White plays ultimate with an unmistakable — and utterly riveting — quality of genius. From the gorgeous around backhands that curl to chest level from a point just above the turf, to beeline scoobers released almost behind his mark’s head, to elegant full-field hucks that speed to marvelous heights before gently arriving in a receiver’s arms, White’s complement of throws is a few cuts above most of the division’s finest.
White proved to be as much trouble without the disc as he was with it. The number of times he found himself — despite being the top containment priority for opposing defenses — catching an uncontested goal was astonishing. Even in the spatial confines of Machine’s red zone set, he routinely powered his way to undefendable lengths of separation. In 2019, left in any kind of isolation matchup, White simply turned his defender around.
One wonders how much better he can get. Is he one of those rare players whose potential is only limited by the rule — the sport’s bedrock — that he has to pass the disc to score? Unfathomably for a player his age, he has trained us to expect greatness on top of greatness. It speaks volumes that a friend who saw Machine’s first round upset loss against Chain Lightning mentioned that White was a bit quiet. He had seven assists.
– Edward Stephens
1st Runner-Up: Simon Montague (Seattle Sockeye)
Arguably, Montague’s integration into the Sockeye offense over the past few seasons has been the most important on field change that turned Sockeye into title winners. An awkward fit when he first joined the team in 2016, Montague has adapted his game away from the high-volume chucking of his early days and become the best center handler in the men’s division this season.
With length to spare and impeccable touch, Montague spent 2019 rendering marks all but useless. Release points from just off the ground to the top of his 6’3” frame opened up the full field for Sockeye’s offense and made defenders cover all 40 yards of width when Montague had the disc. The way he could metronomically rock the disc back and forth across the pitch made defending Seattle a frustrating, exhausting task and provided instant flow whenever Sockeye’s offense started to bog down.
Of course, it wasn’t just break throws and dump swings, as the booming hucks that made Montague famous were still there when the time was right. A simple wrist flick could send the disc screaming to any corner of the field, and powerful hammers unlocked zone after zone when teams grew tired of chasing Sockeye’s fast cutters around in person defense.
His ability to do it all with the disc in his hands made Montague invaluable to the champs’s offense, and the statistics bear that out. In the final against Machine, Montague had almost twice as many touches as anyone else on Seattle’s roster and 177 throwing yards. He was a facilitator and a finisher, resetting the offense when things got muddled and pushing it into high gear when the lane was there. Come up with a better job description of a center handler than that.
– Pat Stegemoeller
2nd Runner-Up: Sean Keegan (New York PoNY)
Mixing up pull play sets was a specialty for PoNY in 2019 — with so many effective weapons, they had the personnel to keep the opposition guessing where the first cut would originate and who would throw the deep. But for all the permutations, there was one constant by the end of the season: the centering pass to Sean Keegan.
That’s because Keegan was the guy the team could count on to drive the offense when the called play broke down. Part table-setter, part contingency plan, he was the season’s staunchest ‘anti-stagnationist.’ He simply found a way to stay on the attack, whatever the shape of the defense.
Time and again Keegan opened sealed corridors of the field with aggressive break looks. Never quite content to settle for mere horizontal resets, he ate up yards in the mark’s shadow with bullet flicks and crossed up the defenses by dropping topspin throws to the weak side. He even had a signature move: rising on his pivot for a crossover step, he would instead start to step at an angle beyond the mark and release a devastating low inside backhand before his foot landed.1
Keegan didn’t just keep the offense moving with throws, though. Without the disc, he was the most mobile member of the entire unit, skittering across the empty spaces like a spinning top, and always at full speed. Keegan is hardly one of the club scene’s spring chickens, but you wouldn’t think so to see him run. Nobody pounded upline cuts harder; nobody was less likely to yield the last centimeter to a tight defender on an under.
Keegan may have won championships in 2014 and 2018, but 2019 was his personal masterpiece.
– Edward Stephens