The winners in the women's division for 2022!
December 29, 2022 by Sean Colfer in Awards with 0 comments
Ahead of the season it seemed as though the women’s division was wide open. The teams that made the semis at EUCF last season were all returning, and jinX (Berlin) made a huge statement at the beginning of the season that they weren’t to be taken lightly either. The teams from the UK were back in the mix after missing the 2021 season due to Covid, making it a difficult one to call.
It turned out that one team was pretty well ahead of everyone else come EUCF. CUSB Shout (Bologna) stormed to the title in a similarly dominant fashion to YAKA (Noisy-le-Sec) in 2021. But jinX and YAKA also won tournaments this season, and Bristol (Bristol) and Seagulls (Hamburg) made semis at EUCF1. There’s a lot of quality in Europe and it’s a tough pool to pick standouts from, but here’s the best of the division this season.
Player of the Year
WINNER: Molly Wedge (Bristol Ultimate, Great Britain)
Wedge was a huge factor in Bristol capturing the 2021 UK national title, but the pandemic meant that she and Bristol were unable to test themselves against the rest of Europe until this year. An up-and-down season led to finishing in the game for 31st at WUCC, losing to fellow UK team Spice (Nottingham). Wedge missed the UK National Championships as she was playing for 6ixers in the US, and Bristol finished third without her there. She was back for EUCF, though, and there everything came together for a Bristol team that finished with bronze medals, their best-ever finish in Europe. While we decided to not factor World Games performances into these awards, Wedge was excellent for a Great Britain team that struggled in Birmingham, AL, and also played very well for 6ixers as they reached semis at US Nationals. Wedge is primarily a cutter but there seemingly isn’t anything she can’t do, as highlighted by her 25 assists and 34 goals at WUCC and playing on both sides of the disc regularly. Adding her talents to her adopted home nation could make Great Britain an interesting proposition at EUC.
Runner up: Anna Gerner (jinX, Germany)
Speaking of performing excellently at World Games, Gerner was perhaps her country’s most crucial player as they shocked the United States in pool play. Not only that, but she was stellar for jinX all season. Constantly free on resets, always taking on her marks and spreading the disc all over the field and never seeming to wear down under the pressure of such a heavy load, Gerner showed every time she stepped on the field that she’s one of the best players in Europe.
Offensive Player of the Year
WINNER: Anna Gerner (jinX, Germany)
As just mentioned, having Gerner on a team was pretty much a guarantee the offense would be extremely tough to stop. Whether playing for the national team or her club team, Gerner’s ability to consistently win in the dump space meant that the disc rarely went stagnant, and her throwing ability put the defense on its heels over and over. After playing last season with a broken right wrist2 she returned to full fitness and form this year and drove her teammates on and on relentlessly. Her play for Germany at the World Games shows very clearly just how key she’s going to be as the German national teams look to continue that positive momentum going into EUC in Limerick next year.
Runner up: Maria Castillo (YAKA)
Castillo is one of YAKA’s less-sung heroes. While superstar teammates like Aline Mondiot and Robyn Fennig rightly attract huge attention, from both opposing defenses and neutral observers alike, it’s players like Castillo that elite teams cannot do without. She’s quick, she’s decisive and she’s skilled with the disc, and she’s able to make the spectacular look routine with her layout catch in the EUCF final3 being a great example. Despite that athletic ability, though, her fundamentals are rock solid; great footwork, great understanding of where the weak points in a defense are and great decision making. It might have been a disappointing end to YAKA’s season as they relinquished the EUCF crown, but Castillo and many of her teammates did all they could to retain the trophy playing against a team in unstoppable form.
Defensive Player of the Year
WINNER: Laura Farolfi (CUSB Shout)
Farolfi has been one of the best players in Europe for many years, and this year capped her return season with a fantastic performance at EUCF to lead CUSB Shout back to the mountaintop. She played on both sides of the disc regularly but her impact on defense was huge. She brought big pulls to pin opponents deep, outstanding positional play in CUSB’s suffocating zone defense and the ability to quarterback the play once the zone snatched the disc away. She wasn’t a defender that got block after block, instead taking away options before the throws were even made. Farolfi is one of the emotional leaders of the CUSB team and remained so last year even though she was unable to play. Back on the field this year, her leadership and ultimate IQ pushed CUSB above every other team in Europe this season.
Runner up: Saskia Beeck (CUSB Shout)
Another crucial part of the CUSB defense, Beeck was a menace all season. She’s extremely effective in using her height and reach to disrupt the best players in the division when CUSB switch to match, and patrolled huge amounts of space in the zone to allow the players at the front to be aggressive and close down spaces for opposing handlers. She’s very effective on offense too, a good target downfield with throws more than solid enough to cause issues on the disc as well, and seems likely to be another key player for Germany going into EUC next season. It’s worth a mention here of the CUSB Shout defensive unit as a whole, probably the standout group in the division this season. Gaia Pancotti, Maria Frangipane and Susanna Casarini were all also excellent on the way to European gold.
Breakout Player of the Year
WINNER: Coralie Fouquet (FreezGo, Monkeys, France)
Another slightly difficult one to place since she played mixed at World Games and WUCC, Fouquet played for FreezGo at EUCF so slots into the women’s division here. She was one of several young women on FreezGo and the World Games team4 and stood out for both. A former French under-24 player, Fouquet is another player with a strong, all-around offensive game who gets free consistently downfield and has the throwing ability to create offense whatever the level. She and her World Games teammates will be central in the development of the French national teams in the coming years, with an extremely strong young group of women coming through as evidenced by the performances of the French team at JJUC in Wroclaw and the young FreezGo squad at EUCF. Fouquet has been a good player for some time, but she’s becoming a great player.
Runner Up: Kristyna Tlusta (East Block)
East Block was another extremely young team at EUCF and they performed admirably, finishing 13th in a strong field. The ability of Tlusta downfield was a significant part of that performance. Tlusta is very quick; in short spaces, going deep, with her releases and decision-making, she just makes things happen quickly and keeps defenses on their heels. Czech ultimate is another scene that is developing quickly5 and Tlusta is yet another weapon for what could be a very talented Czech team at EUC.
Seagulls also finished 11th at WUCC, one of three teams in the top 16. JinX finished 10th and YAKA 15th. ↩
And yet still looking excellent with her off hand, being a key part of a still-strong jinX team that made quarters at EUCF 2021. ↩
The throw was called back due to an uncontested defensive foul, so the in/out discussion you can see starting in the video didn’t matter. The catch is still great though! ↩
Alongside sisters Eva and Lison Bornot. ↩
3SB made quarters in women’s while the open team pushed for quarters and Prague Devils finished in the ninth-place game. ↩