Ultiworld’s Club Awards 2022: Coach of the Year (Women’s)

The best three coaching staffs of the 2022 club season.

Ultiworld’s 2022 Club Awards are presented by Breakmark; all opinions are those of the author. They have given away almost 1000 reversibles this year and want to get to 2500 and beyond. Find out how you can help and get yours at Breakmark.com!

Ultiworld is pleased to announce our annual 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 Club Awards are voted on by Ultiworld reporters, contributors, and editors.

The Coach of the Year closes our annual awards. As so many teams have added more and more sideline-savvy consultants to their roster with less asked of a single head coach, this has essentially morphed into “Coaching Staff of the Year.” Coaches can impact the game in so many ways — tactics, motivation, communication, personnel management, program development, skill-building, etc. — and it can be hard to divine what exactly each has contributed to their team. But good coaching is something that we feel that ‘we know it when we see it.’

Player of the Year Award
All-Club First Team
All-Club Second Team
Offensive Player of the Year Award
Defensive Player of the Year Award
Breakout Player of the Year Award
Coach of the Year Award
Club Awards Voting Breakdown

2022 Coach of the Year

 Andy Lovseth, Alexia McCaskill, Joaquin Nagle (Denver Molly Brown)

Denver Molly Brown’s coaches. Photo: Kevin Leclaire — Ultiphotos.com

Unlike professional sports, ultimate doesn’t provide a lot of incentives, financial or otherwise, for a coach to go to a “cursed” team and try to change the narrative. This isn’t Ted Lasso. Aside from helping a good team become great, being a coach in ultimate can be a pretty thankless job. However, after the work that Joaquin Nagle, Alexia McCaskill, and Andy Lovseth put in this year, you can’t say it’s not impactful. The way that Molly Brown made their way to the final is nothing short of a masterclass on why every team should have a coaching staff.

The combined fingerprints of this coaching staff is all over Molly Brown’s championship run. They weren’t just throwing darts at a dartboard and hoping it stuck. Every pivotal moment in Molly Brown’s season can be tracked back to strategic decisions implemented by the coaches, whether at the tournament or before. Between the adjustments in line calling, implementations of a free-flowing offense, and an endzone defense that will be studied for years to come, it’s clear that Denver’s gold medal was not just due to overwhelming talent (although they have that, too).

Oftentimes, the impact of a coach is in the little, unseen adjustments as much as the larger ones, and Molly Brown had their fair share of those. The intangibles for Denver this year were all just as strong as the showy, on-field decisions. The players were cool under pressure, they knew their roles, they knew their system, and they communicated well. All that can occur without the help of a coaching staff, but having them all work in tandem requires a cohesion and discipline that can always be traced back to the leadership of a team. Nagle, McCaskill, and Lovseth brought that to Molly Brown this year, and it ensured they were just as responsible for Denver’s gold medal as any of the players on the field.

Graham Gerhart

First Runner-Up

Carlo Mosca (San Diego Flipside)

San Diego Flipside at the 2022 Club Nationals. Photo: Rodney Chen – Ultiphotos.com

No matter the talent level, it’s hard equipping a first year team to be ready for bracket play at USAU Nationals. Most first year teams don’t even make it to the big dance, let alone have the expectations that were placed on Flipside in their inaugural season. Those expectations didn’t come from nowhere, though; Flipside was a great team in the regular season, and a single point shy of winning their pool at Nationals, ending the tournament in 6th place despite the odds being stacked against them. Most teams can’t pull this off, but most teams don’t have Carlo Mosca at the helm.

Mosca’s bonafides are already established at this point (having led UCSD to a championship in 2019), but translating his coaching to the next level was still in question, especially when he was responsible for creating an entirely new system for a talented but unproven roster, many of whom hadn’t played together yet. For Flipside, this looked like a lot of video breakdowns, email threads, and training camps, but all that hard work came together in the end, as the team performed to the high expectations set for them at Nationals. If this is what Mosca can do in his first year with the team, there’s a bright future for Flipside ahead.

Graham Gerhart

Second Runner-Up

Carla DiFilippo, Jordan Meron (Toronto 6ixers)

Toronto 6ixers and Carla DiFilippo at the 2022 USA Ultimate club National Championships. Photo: Sam Hotaling –UltiPhotos.com

For the third time in five seasons, Carla DiFilippo’s work on behalf of the Toronto 6ixers lands her on our list of the premier managers in the women’s division. DiFilippo’s stellar preparation and training, along with the veteran guidance of Jordan Meron, continues to churn out productive and unified 6ixers teams that have a clear identity as aggressive and fast paced. 6ixers face a fairly unique challenge in the ultimate landscape, and this year perhaps exacerbated it, returning from skipping a USA Ultimate season and delivering immediate results. They were one rough half away from reaching a second final and having a crack at a title.

They did all this despite a disjointed season where some of their top players were pulled away for World Games, integrating a group of international cohorts, injuries to key players, and youngsters into notable roles. But you could never tell there were potential pitfalls or missteps for the team, as DiFilippo once again skillfully and gracefully guided them through. That keeps this young program on an upward trajectory and solidifies them as one of the division’s elite, as it does their head coach.

Keith Raynor

  1. Ultiworld

    Ultiworld is the premier news media site dedicated to the sport of ultimate. This article includes the work of a number of our staff or contributors that have been identified within the piece.

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