The best players from EUC in Limerick.
August 25, 2023 by Sean Colfer in Awards with 0 comments
The European Ultimate Championships saw the best players from the continent battling to try and win gold for their countries. Some of the best players in Europe, though, were on teams that didn’t have the depth of some of the top nations. Some of the top nations had so much depth that players who ordinarily stand out with their clubs couldn’t do so on a different stage. There were notable performances all over the tournament but we’ve gone through and selected the 22 players1 who had stand out performances to name our All-Tournament teams for each division. We’ll also include some honorable mentions2 to shout out players who had amazing weeks that didn’t quite crack the top team.
The Germans lost their superstar, Anna Gerner, to injury. For most teams that would be a killer blow. Germany, though, were able to retool their offense and feature Schall in a more prominent role and barely lost a step. That’s to the huge credit of their coaches and the whole team, but particularly to the player who made it possible. There’s not much Schall can’t do on the field already, so Germany are already looking strong for EUC 2027.
The only player at EUC to be a repeat champion after winning her first title in 2011, Binnewies is still playing at the very top of the division. She’s still incredibly tough to mark in short spaces, with her 19 goals show she’s still as elusive as ever, and brilliant at keeping the disc moving. The way she’s adapted her game to different teams over the years is truly impressive, and her experience was crucial for Germany all week.
Great Britain had several veteran players that were brilliant, including both captains Hannah Brew and Rachel Naden, but Yorweth had an outstanding tournament in her first outing for GB on grass. A tall, lefty handler who can make incredibly athletic layout grabs and lock down on defense when the O line turns it over; what’s not to like?
Both of GB’s captains were crucial to how they played offense, but Naden’s ability to get free downfield consistently and also be a terror on D after the turn gets her the nod here. She’s been one of the best defensive players in Europe in recent years but displayed her versatility in Limerick and was one of the emotional leaders of a team that made GB’s first final in years.
Tlustá is 20 years old and already looks like the most difficult cover in Europe. Her quickness is deceiving in that it doesn’t seem like she’s moving that fast until you notice no one that the opposition throws at her can keep up. Her work in the bronze medal game against Italy was outstanding, consistently getting free from the next player on the list who’s not only one of the best players in Europe but also plays for one of the very best club teams in the USA. The future is absolutely incandescent for the Czech star.
Every time Italy needed someone to step up with a play downfield, Scazzieri reached into the sky and pulled down a disc. Every time they needed an emotional lift, Scazzieri roared them back into life. Every time they needed someone covered that was giving them trouble, Scazzieri pulled double duty. An outstanding athlete with a brilliant feeling for the game and a nose for the big moment, she’s back to her best and it’s great to see.
There’s no-one in Europe that’s quite as dominant downfield as Keulartz. She’s able to beat people deep, she’s able to beat people under and she’s no slouch with the disc. She can also play both ways and was huge in the most important game for the Netherlands, against Sweden to try and make the bracket. Even though it feels like she’s been schooling people for years, she’s just turned 24 so there’s plenty more to come.
Honorable mentions: Paula Baas, Hannah Brew, Susanna Casarini, Ella Cromheecke, Vera Forsch, Oda Homlong, Barbora Hrušáková, Anne Minnaard, Francesca Sorrenti, Chloe Vallet, Justine van der Meulen, Lucie Vávrová, Lena von Stebut, Molly Wedge.
The French team was incredibly deep and consistent, with few players that stood out among the rest because of just how talented they all were. One look at the stat sheet and you’ll see that they had a lot of players in the 10-19 range with an overall even distribution of points. Ancelin, though, stands out with 31, the only person above 20. The eye test backed it up; he was the central handler and the fulcrum of the best offense in the division. Every time France needed something he delivered, and he even snagged some key blocks on the rare occasions France did turn over. A tour-de-force performance from a deserving champion.
Barzasi had a difficult final but that shouldn’t overshadow what was a remarkable bracket performance up to that point. In the quarter- and semi-finals he had a combined 19 assists and four goals, propelling Italy to an unlikely silver medal. His combination of size and speed, particularly when changing direction, were impossible for any team to handle one-on-one, and his ability to play basically every important point meant his athleticism could be used on defense too.
Arvīds Žanis Orlovskis
Perhaps the most gifted player in Europe. He’s tall, he’s quick, he’s phenomenal in the air and one of the very best throwers on the planet. He was the center of the Latvian offense and everyone knew it, and still he had games where he looked like he was playing against overmatched youngsters. Stats only tell part of the story, of course, but 40 assists and 30 goals in 10 games is a pretty significant part.
The central handler for Ranelagh in the run to the EUCF title last year had to adapt his game to play a different division but still found ways to be just as effective. His partnership with Àine Gilheany gave Ireland two hugely effective and creative throwers, which was fun to watch, and he was able to play both ways in crucial moments as well.
Melvin has been in and out of her boots since the last EUC where she helped lead Ireland to a gold medal. Despite playing sporadically, she returned to a talented Ireland mixed squad to try and deliver a gold in the only division that an Irish team hasn’t yet won one. She returned with a spectacular overall performance, showing that she hasn’t lost any of her downfield ability and remains a dangerous thrower when she isn’t in the endzone. Her understanding of the game is excellent and hopefully, despite her current position coaching Ranelagh, we see plenty more of her with a disc in hand over the next few years.
One of the breakout stars of the tournament was the Italian captain. She’s tall and rangy so you would think she’s purely a downfield threat, but Lafiata was just as proficient with the disc in her hands as she was torching marks in the endzone. Teams were trying to game plan to take her out of the game and she performed brilliantly anyway, throwing 24 scores and catching 15 to boot. She was one of the oldest players on her team at just 23, so we’ll be seeing her again in the coming years for sure.
One of the breakout stars of last year after making the French World Games team, Fouquet is the pick here but it could have been about five other French women just as easily. Their depth in female matching players was notably the best at the tournament. Fouquet was excellent with the disc and extremely reliable in big spots. She threw the winning goal to win France a first-ever EUC gold, one of the many crucial contributions she made all week.
Prien is one of the veterans of European ultimate at this stage but shows absolutely no signs of slowing down. Her height, speed and agility mean she’s a brutal cover and her understanding of the game means she can find space even when matched up with a similarly athletic defender, but it’s her hands that really stand out: she seemingly never drops anything. There may be some slight disappointment with Germany exiting at the quarter-final stage, but Prien was wonderful all week.
Toms Ābeltiņš, Cammy Agnew, Pauline Berte, Lison Bornot, Elisa Cappucci, Tadhg Deevy, Letizia Gatti, Àine Gilheany, Brionagh Healy, Martina Kmecova, Fiona Kwan, Clara Mathias Connor McHale, Sacha Poitte-Sokolsky, Joshua Poltock, Samuele Ruscello, Malvin Schmidt, Ellie Taylor, Ernestas Vysockis, Levke Walczak, Krzysztof Zając.
Daan De Marrée
What can we say about De Marrée that hasn’t been said so far this year? A peerless competitor, he plays more points than anyone else in Europe. He’s a brilliant one-on-one defender but Belgium3 often put him on a less threatening player to allow him to freelance and sniff out blocks, and he’s an absolute truffle hog when they unleash him like that. He was also one of their most reliable handlers and consistently got open downfield. There’s nothing he can’t do, and he’s 22. Belgium will be back here again.
Talking of Belgium being back here, Decraene is another of the young superstars that will be around when they do. He’s developed from a springy but slight downfield threat that announced himself at EUCF 2021 with a surprising Gentle team that won bronze. Since then he’s become an all-around threat that can play quickly with the disc, play shut down D and still torch an opposition’s best deep defender when needed.
Rowledge burst onto the scene as a defender with size and speed. His layout blocks were his signature, but he was seen by some as a one-dimensional defensive ace. He’s totally broken out of that now and is a complete offensive weapon. He’s still big and fast so good luck marking him downfield, but he’s rounded his throwing to become a threat with the disc and is still a very strong defender.
Abrams had a resurgence last year after a slight downturn given his high standards in 2021. He played brilliantly for the GB World Games team and then for Clapham as they won WUCC bronze. He’s carried that through, often being GB’s best disc handler and most dangerous thrower. His backhand hucks are a thing of beauty and his defensive work after the turns was back to peak levels at times in Limerick.
Pavan had to shoulder a heavy weight at EUC given Italy were without some important cutters, including Barzasi. He delivered in spectacular style with all-around brilliance on offense. His throwing was seen as the potential weak spot for him coming into the week but he was reliable and at times brilliant, tossing 26 assists to lead the team. He’s another to add to the young player list at 24 and could well be part of the Italian team that finally makes the final in future.
Schlör can do anything you need him to do. Throw, cut, play D, roof people and lay out. A true five-tool player and a huge reason why the German D line was effective in big moments almost all week. His chemistry with the other top players on the German team was outstanding and his impact playing both ways means he just squeaks past his captain Steffen Dösscher to the top seven here.
Spain started the tournament with a bang, upsetting Italy and dominating the discussion around the fields for a few days. Their offense, something between small ball and the classic beach style that the Spanish teams have employed to such success on sand, was difficult for everyone they played to stop and they showed they could play the long game adeptly as well. Monterde was central to a lot of that offense and represents the collective talents of his team perfectly.
Samuel Beuttenmüller, Sofiène Bontemps, Lander Decraene, Pieterjan De Meulenaere, Steffen Dösscher, Justin Foord, Simone Gasperini, Michael Marek, Francisco Romano , Joel Terry, Luca Tognetti, Johan van der Woude.
There are eight players in mixed, four of each matched gender. ↩
All in alphabetical order by surname. ↩
And Mooncatchers. ↩