Ironside Hopes to Lower the Boom at ECC

by | August 9, 2012, 3:31pm 0

As the only two rookies on Boston Ironside’s roster, Alex Cooper and Miles Montgomery-Butler are trying to quickly assimilate into one of the top ultimate clubs in the world. Their rookie experience must be equal parts excitement, pressure and uncertainty – can they be part of the answer to the challenge of helping a team get over the finals hump and hold up the trophy in Sarasota?

New Ironside player Miles Montgomery-Butler throws a flick. Photo courtesy of Tim Morrill.

If it weren’t for San Fransico’s Revolver, Ironside would have been recent memory’s most most dominant team in ultimate. In 2011, they lost only four games, of which only two mattered. In 2010, they lost exactly one game finals to Revolver.

They’ve finished an agonizing second at Club Nationals two years in a row and have all the same  players returning for the 2012 campaign. Rounding out the roster as the only new faces are Montgomery-Butler, a Boston club mainstay, and Tufts captain Cooper.

Until the recent, close and only somewhat surprising loss to the talented 2012 Nexgen Tour, Ironside has looked strong, going 12-0 early on in club play. Boston won both Cazenovia and Boston Invite, traditional tryout tournaments for the squad. It has early wins over regional opponents GOAT and PoNY.

Returning the Big Cannons

Boston’s roster represents the culmination of their development over the past couple of years. They bring back 23 players from last year’s squad, plus a few faces returning after a hiatus.

Ironside is captained by returning players George Stubbs and Matt Rebholz. Younger players like Peter Prial, Russell Wallack and Alex Kapinos now have the elite club experience to match the veterans that form Ironside’s core. Prial and Kapinos both displayed their offensive strengths last year, with Prial emerging as a dominant cutter thanks to his speed and height. His ability to create a deep option early in the possession opens up Ironside’s horizontal offense. Look for both him and Kapinos to continue to contribute for Boston’s O-line this year.


Wallack had his breakout performance last year in Sarasota, where he played an integral role in Ironside’s power pool win over Doublewide. With Boston down a break at 12-10 and Doublewide on the goal line, Wallack shut down Kurt Gibson and then layout D’d Brodie Smith’s throw to give Boston the disc. He will return to the D line with the assignment of covering impact players.

This year also marks the return of 2009 Callahan award winner Will Neff, who took a break from playing with Boston in 2011. His finetuned defensive game will be an additional bonus for an Ironside team that at times struggled to contain big impact players like Gibson and Dylan Tunnell last year.

Although there are only two of them, the new additions to Ironside’s roster factor their strategy in key ways.

With Boston returning so many players, Montogomery-Butler and Cooper will fill in some of the holes that were left in past iterations of the team. As we saw at Boston Invitational and in their game against NexGen Cooper will step into the handler spot vacated on Ironside’s O-line. On defense Montgomery-Butler — who has 2 seasons of Nationalslevel club experience with Bodhi under his belt — will have the task of shutting down cutters and then attacking offensively once the turn in generated. Both have star qualities, but it will be interesting to see how their strengths and styles compliment the big guns that Ironside already has. Additionally, each will be transitioning from a different division of the sport – college and mixed, respectfully.

They’ll try to shake off the close loss to NexGen while looking to score their first win against Revolver since ECC 2010.

What is to come?

The Ironside boys have been putting in additional work this summer with ultimate’s premiere trainer, Tim Morrill. Morrill’s dedication and work ethic is contagious and his guidance will no doubt have Boston pushing their limits in terms of speed and agility. Only time will tell how this all will manifest on the field. If their play early in the season is any indication, the O line has picked up just where last year’s had left off thanks to the lack of roster turnover. With their D line full of talented, experienced players, Boston looks poised to perform this season.

The pieces are all there, but the job is not nearly done for Ironside.

“Up and down the roster I think we realize how hard we need to work from now until the end of October to put ourselves in the best position possible to succeed once the Series begins in September, said Ironside Coach Josh McCarthy.

Captain George Stubbs aggrees, adding, “we’re developing the best team we can, and we need to adapt to each and every team we play.” Taking down programs like Revolver, Doublewide and Johnny Bravo will be no easy task, but Ironside hopes that a consistent roster and two new rookies can put the team over the top and bring the title back to Boston for the first time since 1999.


Skyd’s Gene Buonaccorsi caught up with Ironside’s two new faces to find out a little more about their view on joining the team and hopes for the 2012 campaign.

Name: Miles Montgomery-Butler

Height: 6’1’

College: Skidmore College

Past Clubs: Slow White, Bodhi

Position: Defensive Cutter

How are you adapting to Ironside / Elite Open? It is hard to tell how I am adapting. Our first in season tournament is ECC and I am looking forward to playing that many strong teams in one weekend. I have not had a problem fitting in with Ironside so far at practice. There are a lot of returning players who know what they are doing, so there is less confusion out there and it is easier for me to figure out what is expected of me. I have also played with a lot of the guys on the team before with my old club team, Bodhi.

What are your goals for the season? My individual goals are to stay healthy and keep improving as a player and teammate. Tim Morrill has been working with us and his workouts have been helping me keep my hamstrings from bothering me as much as they usually do. This is my 6th club season, but I think playing on a new team with this many talented and dedicated players will be great for my own development. The team energy is really positive and I hope to contribute to that.

What are your thoughts on the team’s outlook? I think the team looks great on paper. I have never been on a team that had so many returners. Without having been on the team last year, it is hard for me to say how we will match up with other teams. I will say that the level of play at practice has improved significantly since we started. The practices we had on the Saturday afternoon and the Sunday morning before we played NexGen were strong, especially Sunday morning. The NexGen game itself was disappointing, but hopefully it will help us stay focused and motivated. We have had a few guys who have been hurt or have not been able to make it to much, but we will probably only be missing a few guys for ECC, which is really exciting.

Alex Cooper while with Tufts. Photo courtesy of Will Butt.

Name: Alex Cooper

Height: 5’10”

College: Tufts University

Past Clubs: Bashing Pinatas, Tufts U Club

Position: Offensive Handler

How are you adapting to Ironside / Elite Open? It’s been a weird adjustment from college (especially with the better marks) but I like the faster movement and fewer mistakes, since it makes me want to play perfectly.

What are your goals for the season? I’d like to contribute to the O-line by playing a mistake-free game, always with the possibility of making plays when needed.

What are your thoughts on the team’s outlook? We’re returning a lot of guys, so I’m hoping that instead of focusing on cohesion and huge improvements, we can focus on perfection of the little things. As in past, the goal is to win Nationals, and if we work hard, I hope we can succeed. 

Feature photo thanks to Scobel Wiggins. Ironside’s Russell Wallack marks Sockeye’s Mike Caldwell at ECC 2011. 

Thank you to those of you who alerted us that Wisconsin’s Alex Simmons will also be playing his first year with Ironside. Due to his late arrival to the team this season we were unable to get in touch with him to include him in this article. Nonetheless we look forward to seeing how he contributes to the team this year despite our inability to include him in this piece.

Comments Policy: At Skyd, we value all legitimate contributions to the discussion of ultimate. However, please ensure your input is respectful. Hateful, slanderous, or disrespectful comments will be deleted. For grammatical, factual, and typographic errors, instead of leaving a comment, please e-mail our editors directly at editors [at]