Vote for the best team of the past decade.
July 6, 2020 by in Opinion with 0 comments
Ultiworld’s “Decade’s Greatest” series is presented by Greatest Bag. Get the greatest bag in ultimate at GreatestBag.com!
The decade had its share of dynasties with extended runs of excellence, while other teams had one or two outstanding seasons. The super programs are the ones you already know. But which team in which season was the best of the decade? We’ve culled the list down and are leaving it in the hands of our subscribers to decide.
Our field of 24 teams is composed of entrants ranging from high school teams to elite semi-pro outfits and nearly everything in between. The question is not who would win in a matchup between the two, but rather which team was more dominant and successful compared to their competition. Did Oregon Fugue’s 2013 team crush their college peers to a greater degree than Boston Ironside did to their club men’s opposition in 2016?
Our top eight seeds received byes, while the bottom 16 will battle it out in a play-in round. We excluded national teams — shout out to the 2010 WUGC Canadian National Team, the 2015 U24 Mixed US National Team, and 2010 WJUC US Boys National team — whose critical competition is simply too brief to really get a true sense of their greatness. Championships are highly recommended, albeit not required.
Matchup 1: Fury ’18 vs. Lakeside (WA) ’15
#16 San Francisco Fury 2018 (Club Women’s)
The 2018 women’s division champions, Fury 2018 went 32-31 on the way to their second straight national title while attempting the rare double peak. They failed to accomplish the task, falling in the quarterfinals of WUCC 15-9 to Boston Brute Squad. They later took down Boston on double game point in the Club Championship final for their fifth USAU crown of the decade. Carolyn Finney took home Player of the Year honors, while new addition Sarah Griffith was also named to the All-Club First Team.
#17 Lakeside HS Girls 2015 (High School Girls)
Future D-I Player of the Year Jack Verzuh, future Offensive Player of the Year Hallie Dunham, future Defensive Player of the Year Nariah Sims, future superstar Claire Trop, even U20 selection Kate Daugherty: it’s a very strong roster on which the 2015 Lakeside team was built. As you can imagine, they won. A lot. They dominated Josie Gillett and Ari Nelson’s Northwest School, beating them handily at DiscNW championships and shorthanded at Westerns. And this is all without Anna Thompson, who was at the the school and not playing! Imagine!
The Winner Faces…
#1 Dartmouth Daybreak2 2017 (D-I Women’s)
For a three-year stretch, Dartmouth’s program may have been the most dominant team in all of ultimate. The first year of those may have been their best, ending with a national title and, if you exclude Northwest Challenge, where the team played almost entirely without star Jac Verzuh and played open rotations, they went 29-1. They had three of the top five goal-scorers at Nationals and two of the top five goal-throwers, and ransacked the tournament, with only one game closer than six goals. That one, however, was a 15-10 loss to Oregon, with no excuses.
Matchup 2: Dragon Coalition ’19 vs. En Sabah Nur ’15
#9 UC San Diego Dragon Coalition3 2019 (D-I Women’s)
UCSD’s 2019 season is mostly remembered for its dramatic conclusion and the star turn of Dena Elimelech, where they won two double game point matchups in the bracket, including an upwind break to win the title. But don’t forget how fantastic their season was up to that point: outside of an injury-riddled Northwest Challenge, UCSD’s lone loss was in Nationals pool play after they had already secured first place. They thrashed most teams they faced, including a fantastic run at Southwest Regionals.
#24 Pittsburgh En Sabah Nur 2015 (D-I Men’s)
Of the many teams in the bracket, Pittsburgh’s final resume may be the weakest. After going 27-2 in the regular season and adding another 12 consecutive postseason wins, they were felled in Nationals pool play by Texas on double game point, after star Max Thorne sustained an injury. Thorne continued to play, but never quite at the same level, and the no. 1 seed was unceremoniously dumped in the quarterfinals by Central Florida. But Thorne, Trent Dillon, Pat Earles, Tyler Kunsa, and Marcus Ranii-Dropcho led off a deep Pitt batting order that was amazing when complete.
The Winner Faces…
#8 Boston Brute Squad 2015 (Club Women’s)
The 2015 national champions went 25-2 prior to the Club Championships, with their two losses coming against future-finalist Riot and semifinalist Fury, both by just two points. They met very little resistance at Nationals, blowing out Molly Brown in semifinals before facing off with Riot in the final. Brute Squad’s reputation as the pinnacle of matchup defense was solidified as they pressured the Seattle offense into a litany of errors and they established an 8-3 halftime led and won 15-12. Kami Groom, Emily Baecher, and Leila Tunnell starred for Boston as they claimed their first ever title.
Matchup 3: Fugue ’13 vs. Brute Squad ’18
#13 Oregon Fugue 2013 (D-I Women’s)
Fugue fell just a few points short of an undefeated season, dropping a game to British Columbia at Presidents’ Day Invite, but that lone blemish does little to impact their title-winning season. Bailey Zahniser, Kimber Coles, Jesse Shofner, Bethany Kaylor, and Sophie Darch made for a fearsome top end that bulldozed their way through Nationals — including knocking out that same UBC team 15-4. They closed their season with a 15-8 win over Carleton that gave us an iconic block.
#20 Boston Brute Squad 2018 (Club Women’s)
Brute Squad’s 2018 team is one of the few silver medalists to merit serious consideration for one of the decade’s best. Boston looked well on their way to an undefeated championship campaign that served as a revenge tour after losing to Fury on double game point in the title match the previous season. And then it happened again. But prior to losing a coin toss of a final, they left most of their competition in the dust — only one other game all season saw an opponent play to within three points of the Boston powerhouse. It was no surprise giving their wealth of talent: Kami Groom, Lien Hoffmann, Angela Zhu, Amber Sinicrope, and Jessie Grignon Tomas just begin the long list of exceptional players that carried the team to within a point of a perfect season.
The Winner Faces…
#4 Dallas Roughnecks 2016 (AUDL)
Big Jim’s super team, the Dallas Roughnecks called in the big guns for their pilot season in the AUDL. Arguably the five best WUGC US National Team men — Beau Kittredge, Dylan Freechild, Cassidy Rasmussen, Kurt Gibson, and Jimmy Mickle — collectively became the biggest free-agent signings in the league’s history. Their stacked roster had little trouble running the table, with a +134 score differential during the regular season and +20 in their three playoff games. Against all odds, indeed.
Matchup 4: Ironside ’16 vs. Darkside ’18
#10 Boston Ironside 2016 (Club Men’s)
After years of coming close, Ironside finally reached the summit of the mountain with a 14-13 win over Revolver in the final. Kurt Gibson, Will Neff, Josh Markette, and a returning Jeff Graham as the tip of the spear, Ironside won one of the decade’s most memorable title bouts. On their way there, they went 21-3 and won the Chesapeake Open in what was a tremendous season.
#21 North Carolina Darkside 2018 (D-I Men’s)
During their run of six straight semifinals appearances, perhaps no UNC team has been quite as good as the 2018 edition. With 2018 Player of the Year Matt Gouchoe-Hanas and All-American Elijah Long at the helm, flanked by 2018 Defensive Player of the Year Nathan Kwon and 2018 Rookie of the Year runner-up Liam Searles-Bohs, they slashed a path to the title. Darkside lost just two games all season: 13-12 to Pittsburgh at Easterns and a starter-resting game against William & Mary after they had secured first in their pool at Nationals.
The Winner Faces…
#5 Washington DC Scandal 2013 (Club Women’s)
Coming into the 2013 Club Championships, Scandal looked like they were playing for third place, with Fury and Riot firmly planted ahead of them. The young DC club was just 1-5 against those two bluebloods. But they peaked at the right time, not just upsetting the duo in back-to-back matchups in the semifinal and final rounds, but obliterating them, beating Riot 15-7 and Fury 14-7. Opi Payne, Sandy Jorgensen, and Alicia White paced one of the all-time great Nationals performances, ending Fury’s seven-year run in the process.
Matchup 5: Mixtape ’17 vs. Mamabird ’14
#14 Seattle Mixtape 2017 (Club Mixed)
The 2017 Club Mixed champions needed just about every ounce they could muster to get by a high-powered Philadelphia AMP. But following a season where they lost just three games and won both the US Open and Pro Championships, they took home the title and the mixed division’s first-ever Triple Crown. Player of the Year Mark Burton, Lani Nguyen, Evan Klein, and Brad Houser were fantastic for Seattle all year long.
#19 Colorado Mamabird 2014 (D-I Men’s)
Jimmy Mickle built his legend on Mamabird’s 2014, winning a title with only three losses in the season. He, Tim Morrissy, and Dennison Bechis stepped on the gas in the bracket, blowing away Oregon in semifinals and doing the same to North Carolina in the final. They claimed titles at Centex and Prez Day, and were essentially the favorites and #1 team all year.
The Winner Faces…
#3 Oregon Fugue 2010 (D-I Women’s)
Going all the way back to the beginning of the decade, Fugue was asserting themselves as a truly fearsome ruler of the women’s division. Their 2010 season ended with just a single loss — to Wisconsin in the Centex final, 15-10 — and a national title. Julia Sherwood, Molly Suver, Tina Snodgrass, and Claire Sharman were key parts of a team that gave up double-digit goals just six times all season, with zero such instances at Nationals. Let me repeat that: they did not give up double-digit goals in any game at Nationals, and only once in the entire college series. Wow.
Matchup 6: Revolver ’15 vs. Amherst (MA) ’11
#11 San Francisco Revolver 2015 (Club Men’s)
You could throw a dart at Revolver’s wall of champions and come up with a compelling case, but the 2015 team could be their best. They won the US Open, Pro Championships, and of course a club title, with a 28-2 record. Revolver’s core of Ashlin Joye at the height of his powers with Cassidy Rasmussen in his POTY season, along with a dominant pair of big men in Beau Kittredge and Simon Higgins, simply overpowered most teams they faced.
#22 Amherst Regional High School Girls 2011 (High School Girls)
ARHS crushed their high school competition in 2011, winning Easterns in comfortable fashion, defeating Alika Johnston and the Yorktown-H.B. Woodlawn girls in the final. The Hurricanes often whooped up on college competition as well, with Hannah Yee, Katie Peake, Zoe Freedman-Coleman, Kathrine Hopkins-McGill, and a young Angela Zhu leading the way.
The Winner Faces…
#6 Boston Slow White 2016 (Club Mixed)
A spotless, dominant performance at Nationals capped off a remarkable year for Slow White in the title-winning season for the longstanding division standard-bearers. Player of the Year Jeff Smith was a force as Boston went 35-3 before cleaning up at the Club Championships. They were a couple of points away from winning the Triple Crown, going down 13-9 to AMP in the Pro Flight Finale final, but still put together perhaps the finest mixed season in recent memory.
Matchup 7: CUT ’11 vs. Revolution ’19
#15 Carleton CUT 2011 (D-I Men’s)
With a 37-5 record, Carleton won Florida Warm Up, Stanford Invite, Easterns, and a national title in 2011. Grant Lindsley put together what probably would have been a Player of the Year campaign had Ultiworld Awards existed back then, alongside Justin Norden, Simon Montague, and Christian Foster. They did struggle with Wisconsin and Florida at points, but got the last laugh, beating Wisconsin 11-5 in a disgustingly windy national final that is not for the faint of heart.
#18 Medellín Revolution 2019 (PUL)
From even before the first pull until the conclusion of their title campaign, Revolution was considered the class of the Premier Ultimate League in its pilot season. The geographically-distant franchise combined the core of the Revolution club team — Yina Cartagena, Elizabeth Mosquera, Alejandra Torres, and Manuela and Valeria Cardenas — with some elite US players (Claire Chastain, Kaela Helton, and Calise Cardenas) to great success. While their short-handed, travel-heavy roster had some regular season scares, their true test came in their overtime thriller against the Atlanta Soul in the semifinals. But no one was able to prevent them from running the table last summer and taking the first-ever women’s semi-pro trophy home to Colombia.
The Winner Faces…
#7 Boston Ironside 2010 (Club Men’s)
Let’s get to the point: this team failed to win the 2010 title, falling to Revolver 15-10. But the Boston club beat San Francisco twice (both at Emerald City Classic) earlier in the year, along with literally every other team they played, standing at 43-0(!) when they entered the season’s final game. Jeff Graham and Danny Clark made for one of the scariest downfield duos conceivable, with Matt Rebholz and Josh Markette feeding them the disc while Colin Mahoney and a young George Stubbs patrolled on defense. This iteration of Ironside dished out Ls to their opponents with ease, and might have been the top seed in this bracket had Sunday in Sarasota ended differently.
Matchup 8: Fever ’14 vs. AMP ’17
#10 Ohio State Fever 2014 (D-I Women’s)
The only team in Ultiworld history to have the Player of the Year and first runner-up4 won Fever’s first national championship in the program’s banner season. Paige Soper and Cassie Swafford, along with Stevie Miller, led the team to 46 wins — including two over vaunted Oregon — compared to just two losses.
#23 Philadelphia AMP 2017 (Club Mixed)
In 2017, AMP fielded perhaps their most talented team, making it to the semifinals of the US Open and Pro-Elite Challenge, anchored by their up-and-coming group of Michael Ing, Carolyn Normile, Calvin Trisolini, and the explosion of Anna Thompson into the national picture. AMP came just one throw short of winning the mixed championship against Mixtape, the one team who really had their number that year, beating them three out of four times.
The Winner Faces…
#2 San Francisco Revolver 2010 (Club Men’s)
The bridge from the last decade to this one was also something of a passage for Revolver, as Bart Watson, Robbie Cahill, and Tyler Grant shepherded the growth of Beau Kittredge, Ashlin Joye, Cassidy Rasmussen, and Mac Taylor. The depth of Revolver 2010 was unmatched in their 31-4 effort that earned them a WUCC title and national title, the vaunted double peak, with the latter dealing the lone domestic loss to Ironside in 2010.
The Voting (Round 1)
With the bracket laid out, we now turn the decision over to our subscribers! Which team, relative to their peers, was the best of the decade? Voting for the first-round matchups closes at 12 noon Eastern on Wednesday, July 8.
Does not include international games at US Open. ↩
At the time, the team was “Princess Layout.” ↩
At the time, the team went by “Psychos.” ↩
Two other teams have had two players on the Player of the Year podium: Brown men’s 2019 and Brute Squad 2018. ↩
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