Recognizing the next set of top performers of the 2023 season.
July 6, 2023 by Michael Ball and Chris Cassella in Awards with 0 comments
Each year, Ultiworld presents our annual College Awards. Our staff evaluates the individual performances of players from throughout the season, talking to folks around college ultimate, watching film, and look at statistics, voting upon the awards to decide those to be honored. The regular season and the college Series are both considered, with extra emphasis for performances in the competitive and high-stakes environment at Nationals.
Our All-American teams recognize the top performers across the division. While previously we have closed our Awards with our First Team and Second Team, displaying the top seven and next seven players who had the best seasons, they have been moved up in the schedule.
D-III Men’s All-American Second Team
Brett Schoppert (Richmond)
The Richmond Spidermonkeys had to take a step back and reevaluate after a disappointing 2022 season. Their rebrand was a large roster of players who learned to drill their systems and played their roles to the hilt. And while Richmond utilized their depth this season, their standout player was Brett Schoppert; he is the first on the ballot as a Second Team All American. Schoppert was the quarterback for the Richmond offense. He struck the perfect balance of explosiveness and patience that leads to a lethal backfield. Schoppert was patient on the goal line, commanding the disc in the reset space and using his break throws to attack the full width of the field. But he could also attack. He would go every-other the full length of the field, or open up the deep space with a powerful backhand huck for a goal. Schoppert’s skills will be missed by Richmond next season. But the culture shift he brought to an otherwise devastated team is going to stay with the Spidermonkeys for years to come.
Collin Hill (Berry)
Collin Hill was one of the last superstar remnants from Berry’s 2021-2022 season. The question entering 2023 was what his impact would be with a team where he would need to be the guy. The answer? A respectable run to pre-quarters with Hill leading the team. Hill had 32 assists and five goals for the Bucks in Columbus. He took most of the touches for Berry, and was not afraid to take shots to his downfield targets (including Caleb Grant who had 20 goals). On defense, it was clear Hill had the high-level experience to take difficult matchups. He was a physical handler mark, making even routine cuts difficult for his receiver. And Hill showed up when his team needed him most: in their must-win game on Saturday, Hill had three goals, two assists, and two blocks. He was a standout player for seasons’ past, and remains one of the stronger all-around players in the division, even as he assumed the rule as a veteran player on the Bucks’ roster.
Danny Klein (Williams)
Danny Klein jumped off the page, and the stream, in Columbus, leading his team with 28 assists. Klein was one of the craftier throwers in the division. He carved up zones with over the top throws, as well as long shots to receivers. He was, to say the least, a high volume shooter. However, it was clear that having a green-light player like Klein was essential for Williams’ success as they notched an impressive victory in pre-quarters (15-5), and a respectable exit in quarters to eventual champions Colorado College Wasabi. There’s a certain fearlessness that teams need to play with especially when they are punching up in bracket play. Klein embodies that fearlessness, and put on a performance worthy of a second-team nod.
Ethan Lavallee (Middlebury)
The Middlebury program is one of, if not the, strongest in the division, combining elite recruiting classes with fantastic player development. Ethan Lavallee is the latest product from the Pranksters factory. There was a Walker Frankenberg-sized hole to fill in Middlebury’s offense this year, and Lavallee took the reins with aplomb. While Lavallee’s skill and range of throws was impressive, perhaps Lavallee’s greatest strengths were his steadiness and mental fortitude. In the Pranksters’ quarterfinal win against Missouri S&T, Lavallee got off to a shaky start with some early turnovers that led to breaks, but he never wavered and ended the game with 6 assists. In the semifinal win over St. Olaf, Lavallee was remarkably consistent, throwing no turnovers despite serving as the focal point of the Pranksters offense. Lavallee spent the last two seasons as a role player but proved capable of handling the spotlight this year; expect even bigger things from him in 2024.
Jack Bassett (Navy)
On a team known for their D-line, Jack Bassett was the glue that held the Navy offense together. The do-it-all junior was everywhere for Poseidon, using his size and speed to chew up yards in the cutting space and his throws to fall back into the handler space against zones. While we don’t officially have usage rate stats just yet for college ultimate, it’s hard to imagine many players had a higher usage than Bassett did this season. While his counting stats are remarkable (his 27 goals led Nationals), Bassett’s importance extended well beyond the box score for Poseidon, sustaining possessions by consistently getting open in spots where his teammates struggled. On a turn, Bassett’s defense was essential to the Navy offense avoiding breaks, and he crossed over for crucial defensive points. Poseidon will have a lot of turnover next season, but with Bassett back for one more year, expect Navy to still be competitive at the National level.
Ray Mauntel (Missouri S&T)
There weren’t many things more fun to watch this season than Ray Mauntel on defense. The 5th year player for Miner Threat was the leader of their defense, constantly taking the most difficult matchups and approaching them with the kind of confidence and fearlessness required to have success in those situations. Mauntel played the type of defense that annoyed the living hell out of opponents, constantly making his presence felt with physicality and bids that either ended in blocks or narrowly missed. Much more than just a defender, Mauntel’s mentality on defense also carried over to offense, constantly applying pressure to opposing defenses with aggressive looks executed at a high level. Mauntel led Miner Threat in goals with 16 and was third on the team with 11 assists; these numbers would be strong for an O-line player, let alone someone who spent most of their time on defense.
William Norry (Grinnell)
When you’re teammates with the only active D-III men’s player to make a U24 team, it’s difficult to stand out. However, Will Norry’s performance this season was exceptional, and he would have been the best player on most teams in the division. Tall with a wiry frame, Norry looks every bit the part of an elite ultimate player, and his performance backs up his appearance. While his height naturally draws the attention of cutter defenders, Norry’s best work is done in the handler space, using an arsenal of release points to facilitate the Grinnellephants offense. Norry’s fitness was remarkable, and he seemingly never tired. In Grinnell’s final game of pool play on Saturday, Cowan had to miss a few points late with cramps, but Norry put the team on his back, leading them to victory over Butler with 2 goals, 6 assists, 2 blocks, and just 2 turnovers. Obviously the Grinnellephants will miss Cowan next year, but Norry showed he’s ready to step up and keep Grinnell in the national spotlight.