Ultiworld’s 2023 Block Of The Year Bracket (Round 1)

Ultiworld readers vote to advance the top 8 plays to the next round.

Ultiworld’s 2023 Block of the Year bracket is presented by Spin Ultimate; all opinions are those of the author(s). Find out how Spin can get you, and your team, looking your best this season.

One of our most popular series to begin each year, it’s time to look back at last year and let our readers decide some of the top plays of the year from 2023.

We watched many hours of game footage and asked for help from the community to hunt down the blocks, Ds, interceptions, takeaways, and everything else. Defenders were going all out in 2023, so the bar to make the list was high.

This year’s voting tournament introduces two new elements, both of which are exclusive to our subscribers.

First, in our Subscriber Selection, our subscribers culled the initial nomination list down to the final sixteen (eight from MMP and eight from FMP).

We are also introducing the Subscriber Save. During the quarterfinal round, subscribers will vote to select one play on each side of the bracket to save from elimination and send to the semifinals. The semifinals will consist of three plays each.

The subscribers have done their part and now it is on you to decide who advances into round two! Round one of voting starts now and closes on Wednesday, January 17 at noon Eastern.


Female-Matching Players

Matchup 1: Cardenas vs. Jacobsohn

Valeria Cardenas – Denver Molly Brown (USAU Club)

Valeria Cardenas

Valeria was surely inspired by her sister’s win last year and came up with a physics-defying layout poach block in the semifinals of Nationals.

Sarah Jacobsohn – Canada Women’s (WFDF U24)

Sarah Jacobsohn

The young Canadian star went full tilt for this D, rocketing from behind an open cutter to surprise both opponents attempting to connect and delight the commentators.

Block of the Year 2023 (R1 - Matchup 1) (Results)

  • Valeria Cardenas
  • Sarah Jacobsohn

Matchup 2: Thorpe vs. Zhou

Abby Thorpe – Colorado Alpenglow (WUL)

Abby Thorpe

Playing for the Western Ultimate League’s newest franchise, Thorpe made Colorado’s play of the season in crunch time against the Falcons. What looked like a clap catch completion on a huck up the gut instead became a spectacular flying block for Thorpe.

Amy Zhou – Boston Brute Squad (USAU Club)

Amy Zhou

The player many teammates know as “Doodle” is no quitter. That’s why after one bid, then another lunge, Zhou still has the guts to go for a final successful layout on the mark.

Block of the Year 2023 (R1 - Matchup 2) (Results)

  • Abby Thorpe
  • Amy Zhou

Matchup 3: Payne vs. Babakian

Opi Payne – San Francisco Fury (USAU Club)

Opi Payne

One of the most famed block-getters of a generation, Payne’s shoulder high layout in the US Open final earned them their first appearance in this contest since our first in 2016.

Amane Babakian – YAKA (FFFD Club)

Amane Babakian

It doesn’t get much more clutch than a fully horizontal layout block on universe to win you the French National title.

Block of the Year 2023 (R1 - Matchup 3) (Results)

  • Opi Payne
  • Amane Babakian

Matchup 4: Blanc vs. Trautmann

Camille Blanc – France Mixed (WFDF Beach)

Camille Blanc

Blanc dropped jaws with a towering, over-the-shoulder catch block on one of the best players in the world at WBUC.

Lena Trautmann – Boston Brute Squad (USAU Club)

Lena Trautmann

Lena Trautmann made herself known in the national final with a huge offensive and defensive impact, but none more than this layout handblock to put Brute Squad on the doorstep of a break and one point closer to their national title.

Block of the Year 2023 (R1 - Matchup 4) (Results)

  • Camille Blanc
  • Lena Trautmann

Male-Matching Players

Matchup 5: Cable vs. Fortin

Orion Cable – Boston Dig (USAU Club)

Orion Cable

Charlie may pay me to say things about ultimate frisbee, but I got nothin’ to say about whatever act Orion Cable committed to film here. It speaks for itself.

Ethan Fortin – Boston Dig (USAU Club)

Ethan Fortin

Eagle-eyed readers might have spotted Fortin on the wrong end of another clip in the bracket, but he showed he can earn it back with this desperate block in DiG’s taut quarterfinal against Truck Stop.

Block of the Year 2023 (R1 - Matchup 5) (Results)

  • Orion Cable
  • Ethan Fortin

Matchup 6: Watson-Stevens vs. Kelley

Zack Watson-Stevens – Vermont Chill (USAU College)

Zack Watson-Stevens

It was a breakout season for Watson-Stevens and his team, who reached semifinals in no small part due to efforts like this goal-stealing angle-shooting interception in quarters at D-I College Nationals.

Jack Kelly – Madison NOISE (WFDF Club)

Jack Kelly

After appearing in the Catch of the Year bracket last season, Kelly repeated the feat, but this time while on defense. Quick as a whistle, Kelly got off his feet for the interception.

Block of the Year 2023 (R1 - Matchup 6) (Results)

  • Zack Watson-Stevens
  • Jack Kelly

Matchup 7: Edmonds vs. Crosby Lehmann

Thomas Edmonds – Washington DC Truck Stop (USAU Club)

Thomas Edmonds

Edmonds had a tremendous year for US champs Truck Stop, including this terrific block in the national semifinal round. Height, distance, and cleanliness mark this highlight.

Eric Crosby Lehmann – Minneapolis Sub Zero (USAU Club)

Eric Crosby Lehmann

Sub Zero’s march to the North Central men’s throne, and the region’s only spot at Nationals, benefitted greatly from this energy-injecting interception by a full-steam sprinting Lehmann.

Block of the Year 2023 (R1 - Matchup 7) (Results)

  • Thomas Edmonds
  • Eric Crosby Lehmann

Matchup 8: Ambrose vs. Takahashi

Lukas Ambrose – Los Angeles Aviators (AUDL)

Lukas Ambrose

Many blocks come because the offense did something wrong. This ain’t that. Ambrose closed a gap for the leaping help block on a throw that was all but complete.

Yuto Takahashi – Tokyo Buzz Bullets (USAU Club)

Yuto Takahashi

What’s a trip abroad without a little souvenir? Yuto Takahashi got a figurative one in the form of this callahan score, taking off Boston DiG at the US Open. The hand wave wasn’t fooling anyone, Mr. Hecht.

Block of the Year 2023 (R1 - Matchup 8) (Results)

  • Lukas Ambrose
  • Yuto Takahashi

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