The top four of each gender in the European mixed division!
December 6, 2019 by Ravi Vasudevan, Ned Garvey and Sean Colfer in Awards with 0 comments
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With the 2019 season over, it is time for us to consider the individual players who had the best overall season this year. These are the top seven players in the mixed division this year. The selections are based on input from the Ultiworld Europe staff. For the mixed division we selected eight players: four women and four men. The players are in no particular order. EUC and EUCF were the marquee events this year so performance in those events were considered first but performances in other tournaments such as WU24, EBUC, Tom’s Tourney and Windmill were also taken into account. In cases where a player played for different divisions between the EUC and EUCF, the division where they made the most impact was usually where we considered them for placement in these lines and in any disputed cases, the division for the EUC was used. Without further ado, here is our All-Europe Mixed line for 2019!
Lasma Kublicka (Salaspils, EuroStars)
Lasma Kublicka was our player of the year this year and was an easy pick for the All-Europe line. She was completely dominant at the EUCF with huge skies, gravity defying layouts, solid decision making, and throwing skills. She did all of that on an injury that needed surgery! Aside from the jaw-dropping plays, that she also displayed time and time again on the EuroStars tour, Kublicka also is the heart and soul of every team she plays for. She brings intensity, energy and focus to her teams and it is infectious and brings her teams success everywhere she goes.
Lola Dam (Netherlands U24 Mixed, Grut)
Lola Dam is now a two-time defensive player of the year in Europe. It’s a no brainer to put her on this list. She is likely the fastest woman in the mixed division and as both a defender and a receiver she makes a huge impact for any team she plays for. As a cutter she is impossible to stop. As a defender she will get a block every game. Dam is definitely a player you want on any all-star mixed line.
Rachel Turton (Great Britain Mixed, SMOG)
Turton made the GB women’s team in 2016 as a 21-year-old and showed off her huge potential. This season she put it all together as a key cog for both GB Mixed and for SMOG, who won the UK national title for the first time. Her height, agility and speed means she’s incredibly difficult to guard, while also making her an elite defender. She literally put her body on the line for the team in the final of EUC against France: catching the double game point winning score but breaking her wrist in the process and putting her out of UK Nationals. Still in her early 20s, she’ll be catching many more important scores for GB for years to come. Hopefully she won’t have to break bones every time she does.
Dina Dumanskaya (Russia Mixed, Cosmic Girls, EuroStars)
Dina Dumanskaya has skyrocketed into European prominence in the last few years, starting with her performance at WCBU in 2015, where people started to take note of the talented Russian women that nearly took down the United States. Since then she has been constantly improving and developing every aspect of her game. Fast forward to today, and she’s one of the most respected players in European ultimate. She is a two-time EuroStar, and from three major tournaments this year, she has a gold, a sliver, and a bronze medal. In each of those tournaments, she was absolutely integral to her team’s success on offense. She can find a receiver anywhere on the field. As a thrower, she has one of the best all-around arsenals in Europe. There are few better compliments your opposition can pay you than planning their game around shutting you down, especially in a team that also includes Sasha Pustovaya. No 2019 team of the year would be complete without Dumanskaya.
Walt Jansen (Netherlands U24, Grut)
Walt Jansen is another player that was an easy pick for this line. He is the Player of the Year Runner-Up because of his ability on all sides of the disc. As a receiver he has long been one of the best. “50/50” discs that come his way always seem to end up in his hands. As defenders have become wise to this and tried their best to force him under, he has developed throws that rival anyone in the division. His bladey flick hucks, a Grut signature, are becoming better and better each year. He had another set of standout performances at the WU24 championships and with Grut at the EUCF. Walt played his way right back into the All-Europe line this year.
Toly Vasilyev (Russia Mixed)
While perhaps not a completely European player, he does hold a Russian passport, and Vasilyev did manage to win two medals with the Russian National Team this summer. First, he picked up a gold on the beach, then he helped secure bronze on grass. With many of the team’s strongest players on the offensive line, Vasilyev stepped up to lead the defense. There, he played the relentless handler defense that he’s so well-known for, taking some of the division’s best players out of the game, or at least making their lives very difficult. When the disc did turn over, it was almost always up to Vasilyev to pick the disc up and get the Russian D-line offense going. With most of the team’s strongest players on the O-line, Vasilyev often had to carry more than his share of the weight, and his marshaling was integral to the team’s success. With Russia, he certainly has more responsibility on his shoulders than with Goat, and Russia’s medals in Portugal and Hungary simply would not have been possible without his leadership on the defensive line.
Roberts Apinis (Salaspils)
Roberts Apinis, or ‘Belka’ as he’s known in Latvia, has been a top player in a growing Latvian ultimate scene for well over a decade, but his teams haven’t been well-known outside of Northern Europe until recently. Salaspils’ successes in the last few years have forced the rest of Europe to take note of the small Baltic country, and Apinis is among the most noticeable players for club and country. With a good mix of flair, athletic ability, and creativity, he embodies what makes Salaspils such an exciting team to watch. When a throw goes up, his teammates know that he’s going to come down with it in just about any situation, and you could count on two fingers the number of times he lost a fifty-fifty in Caorle this year. He’s a player you want with the disc in high-pressure situations. In the semifinals against PuTi, he threw the double game point, stall-nine hammer from midfield that sent them to the final. He then caught the goal that crowned Salaspils champions of Europe.
Janis Bernans (Latvia U24 Mixed, Salaspils)
At 23, it’s hard to believe how much Janis Bernans has accomplished in Ultimate. The young Latvian is the president of his country’s federation, the coach of the women’s national team, a captain of the Latvian U24 team that took fourth at WU24s, and a European club champion in the mixed division. On the field, he is a rock. You won’t often see him making outrageous plays, but you can count on him to do the unremarkable remarkably well. On the Salaspils team that won at EUCF, he marshaled their defensive line, almost always being the one to pick up the disc and pick his teammates out. That said, he’s deceptively fast and very good in the air, and will take advantage of any step he’s given to go deep from the handler space. He may not be the flashiest player on a very exciting team, but he will almost always get his job done. In the mixed division, there are few players with the all-around skill set that Bernans possesses.