The Skyd All MLU 1st and 2nd teams were selected based on the positive impact they made on their team and the MLU regular season. The selection is essentially equivalent to the All-NBA teams named at the end of the season. Three handlers and four cutters are named to each line.
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(statistics in the table and throughout the article are current through Week Eight)
Honorable Mentions: Sean Murray, Mac Taylor, Beau Kittredge, Markham Shofner, Jonathan Cox, Andre Gailitis, Jon Hirschberger
As it turned out all but one team had at least one player on the 1st or 2nd team, with the exception being the 8-2 San Francisco Dogfish. The Dogfish have two of the league’s most talented players in Mac Taylor and Beau Kittredge, but between Team USA and other commitments neither was able to play in enough games to justify placement on either team. They were the most difficult to leave off the list, but it’s difficult to place a player on a team like this when they miss half of their teams games. It’s a testament to the depth of the Dogfish that they were able to go 8-2 without any player being named to either team.
All MLU 1st Team
Handler: Alan Kolick, DC Current
“He runs DC’s offense and if you try to shut him down as a handler he’ll become a deep threat. And he’s a lefty which just adds another headache to trying to contain him,” – Philadelphia Spinners player, Art Shull.
Alan Kolick was the driving force behind the DC Current offense, leading them to a playoff berth. His pretty throws and breaks made him one of the most fun players to watch in the MLU. Kolick was also capable of getting the disc every other throw before his mark ever caught up with him. Last Sunday with the playoffs on the line Kolick came up big again, playing through an injury to lead the Current to victory 22-20 over the Rumble.
Handler: Chris Mazur, NY Rumble
“Mazur isn’t faster than anyone who covers him, but he still manages to get the disc over and over again. He positions himself well so that if he can’t get the disc right back, he’ll get the next one easily. His throws are usually good enough that even when his decision isn’t great, his throw makes up for it,” – Dave Baer, Philadelphia Spinners player.
Mazur plays an entirely different kind of O-Line handler than Alan Kolick, though no less effective. Mazur more often looks for the deep throw, and while he benefited from having Ben Faust as a target, Mazur was effective no matter who was on the field for the Rumble. And as his 23 goals through Week 8 show, he was a threat to go downfield as well. Though the Rumble didn’t end up making the playoffs, Mazur still had a big game last Sunday against the Current, finishing with eight assists.
Handler: Adam Simon, Seattle Rainmakers
“Seattle’s offense runs through him. He is equally effective as both a thrower and a cutter and is consistently the most difficult matchup for our defensive squad.” – Justin Safdie, San Francisco Dogfish Coach.
Adam “Chicken” Simon is another example of a handler that can become a dangerous cutter as well. With the Rainmakers suffering injury after injury, Simon was a rock for Seattle. Simon never missed a game and could play the role of steady handler or big time thrower, depending on what the situation called for. Add to that his capability of surprising his opponents by going downfield, Simon was a big part of why the Rainmakers finished 8-2 this season, and swept their season series against Portland and Vancouver.
Cutter: Jeff Graham, Boston Whitecaps
“Jeff is the most dominant player in the East. Teams can’t contain him with one defender so they have to choose if they want to get beat directly by Jeff or get help from additional defenders which opens up the field for our entire offense. If you are selecting one player to build a team around, you are taking Jeff.” – Jason Adams, Boston Whitecaps Coach.
Though he was one of the founders of Ironside back in 2008, Jeff Graham had spent the last few years playing in the Mixed Division during the USAU Series. Because of this, some may have forgotten the kind of dominant player he was and still is today. If they did forget, they surely remember now. Graham was a big part of Boston’s success, and they couldn’t have gone 10-0 without him. Even aside from his amazing catches on ESPN Graham was constantly getting open, and was also a threat with the disc in his hands, airing out a few hucks of his own. Graham had 15 assists through Week 8 and unlike many cutters, most of those weren’t quick dishes right outside the end zone. Graham was frequently hucking the disc to the end zone after getting the disc cutting under.
Cutter: Timmy Perston, Portland Stags
“Timmy is a goal scoring machine. His first step is one of the best in the league, and even when he is covered tight, he will still jump over the best defenders in the game,” – Justin Safdie, San Francisco Dogfish Coach.
Perston is an Oregon State graduate that has been playing on Rhino for years, and his signature orange beanie is a familiar sight to those in the Northwest. This year, Perston played a big role for a Portland team in a stacked MLU Western Conference. Though the Stags didn’t have the kind of year they set out for, Perston had a big season, consistently being mentioned as an MVP candidate from Week 1. He had a scintillating start, and though teams started to gameplan for him more later in the year, he was constantly making plays for Portland, and even had a seven goal game.
Cutter: Peter Prial, Boston Whitecaps
“Peter has a huge impact whenever he is on the field. He is somewhat of a hybrid player that can cut in or out and throw big or simple, but he is always looking for more ways to help on the field. His tireless effort to expand his role helps inspire our team.” – Jason Adams, Boston Whitecaps Coach.
Peter Prial played a different role the Whitecaps than he did for Ironside. On the Whitecaps Prial was more often looked to make big throws as a cutter, much like Jeff Graham. Prial has followed through and when paired with Graham makes the Boston offense nearly impossible to stop. While Prial prefers the backhand huck, he also completed quite a few flick hucks this season as well. His biggest game of the season was also Boston’s closest call. In Week 2 against the DC Current, Prial had 4 goals, 5 assists, and 1 D in the 20-19 Boston victory.
Cutter: Sean Keegan, DC Current
“A duel threat, great throws combined with the ability to cut dynamically downfield.” – Jeff Graham, Boston Whitecaps player.
Sean Keegan played a vital role for the DC Current this season, and though he was an O-Line player he also logged many points on the D-Line for DC. A favorite deep target of DC’s handlers, especially Markham Shofner, Keegan was also plenty capable of sending the disc deep himself. Keegan did have more turnovers and a lower retention rate this season than ideal for an All MLU team player, but considering all the big plays he made and the heavy load he had to carry for DC throughout the season, he still deserves a spot on the first team.
Handler: Brandon Malecek, Boston Whitecaps
“He has the biggest throws in the game, and the confidence to go with them. This year, playing offense though, he’s also shown the ability to make good decision and limit his turnovers.” – Jeff Graham, Boston Whitecaps player.
Brandon “Muffin” Malecek consistently made big throws for the Whitecaps this season. Malecek has been playing on Ironside’s D-Line the last few years, where his hucking prowess hasn’t been displayed as often. With the Whitecaps he and Alex Cooper were their main O-Line handlers, and Malecek shined in his new role. While he still did throw the occasional turnover, with 24 throwaways through Week 8, Malecek more than made up for it. Even though every team knows Malecek’s role and what he does for Boston, he was still able to connect on those big hucks over and over again in the Eastern Conference.
Handler: Oscar Pottinger, Vancouver Nighthawks
“This veteran handler is near impossible to shut down. He continues to defy Father Time and even if you try to force him away from the disc, he’s versatile enough to hurt you upfield scoring goals.” – Justin Safdie, San Francisco Dogfish Coach.
Oscar Pottinger has been one of the top players on Furious George for years, though in their inaugural MLU season Vancouver had a disappointing 3-7 season. It wasn’t without its close calls. They lost five games by two or less, in games that could have easily gone the other way. Their first week they nearly climbed all the way out of an eight goal deficit against Seattle. Pottinger was a big reason the Nighthawks were in those games in the first place. Pottinger had 32 assists through Week 8, and clearly enjoyed playing with his former Furious George teammate Kirk Savage again. The two of them were reliable handlers for Vancouver, and were both able to find open lanes deep when they were open.
Handler: Dave Baer, Philadelphia Spinners
“Dave Baer has done a great job handling this season, distributing the disc against intense defensive pressure and stretching the field with his seemingly effortless release hucks taking advantage when defenses over commit underneath.” – Sean Murray, Philadelphia Spinners player.
A veteran of the Spinners 2012 AUDL Championship season, Baer couldn’t have been happy with the way the season ended for Philadelphia this year, but had a very strong year himself. A talented handler who rarely turned the disc and ran the weave very well, Baer played well even when the Spinners were mired in a seven game losing streak. With the Spinners employing a possession style offense, Baer completed 345 throws through Week 8, more than almost any other player in the league.
Cutter: Ben Faust, NY Rumble
“One of the biggest offensive forces in the East. He is incredibly difficult to match up with because he is such a great receiver downfield and also such a smart cutter and so good with the disc. Keeping him out of scoring plays is a very tall order.”-Jason Adams, Boston Whitecaps Coach.
Ben Faust was a frequent target of Chris Mazur and Dan Hejimen, and it seemed like anytime he was near a hospital pass he somehow came down with the disc. But just like his Rumble teammate Chris Mazur, by no means was Ben Faust a one dimensional player. Faust also ripped plenty of his own hucks, finishing the season with 13 to go along with his 20 assists through Week 8 . He was part of a very scary three pronged Rumble attack, along with Mazur and Dan Hejimen. Those three nearly led New York to a playoff start after a rough 0-3 start.
Cutter: Josh Markette, Boston Whitecaps
“He is always open. We haven’t seen anyone take him away at any point of this season and that allows our offense to always run smoothly. He also has a knack for making incredible throws and catches which is great for the fans!”-Jason Adams, Boston Whitecaps Coach.
Josh “Cricket” Markette isn’t as renowned as some of his Boston Whitecaps teammates, but he’s just as effective. Markette has been playing on Ironside for years, and he put up some serious numbers for the Whitecaps this season. Despite his 5’8 stature, Markette had 16 Goals and 30 Assists through Week 8. Having Jeff Graham and Peter Prial play on the same line as him certainly helped create opportunities for Markette, but he is a creative offensive player in his own right who finds a way to get open no matter the circumstance. His best game of the season came against the Spinners on May 25. Markette had a ten point day, with four goals, six assists, and zero turnovers.
Cutter: Mark Burton, Seattle Rainmakers
“Mark has versatility on both sides of the disc. He’s just as likely to explode deep and sky you for a huck as he is to shut you down, staying with you step-for-step on D.” – Andy Lovseth, Seattle Rainmakers Assistant Coach.
Mark Burton is the only one of his kind on this list. Burton has never played at Club Nationals. The highest level team he has played for is Seattle Voodoo. While other a few Skyd All MLU players have won college championships, Burton didn’t start playing seriously until after he graduated. Despite not being as well known as many players on this list, Burton had a huge season for the Rainmakers. With better known cutters like Seth Wiggins, Phil Murray, and Matt Rehder missing time to injuries, Burton stepped up big time for Seattle. He had 20 Goals and 10 assists through Week 8. Burton didn’t touch the disc nearly as often as most of the other All MLU players, but his role expanded as the year went on and he became an integral part of Seattle’s attack. With all their injuries (Matty Zemel and Mario O’Brien also got injured this season) Seattle needed somebody to step up and take on more than what was asked of them, and Mark Burton did exactly that.
Cutter: Cody Bjorklund, Portland Stags
“Very well rounded stud who can hurt you with his cutting as well as his throws, in particular his overheads.” – Justin Safdie, San Francisco Dogfish Coach.
Playing on a Stags team not nearly as deep as their Western Conference counterparts, Cody Bjorklund still made some highlight plays for Portland. He caught what might be the most impressive Callahan of the season, and frequently hit Timmy Perston open deep as well. Yes, the Stags only finished 1-9, and you wouldn’t expect a 1-9 team to have two representatives between the 1st and 2nd team. But Portland probably would have contended for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, and Bjorklund had to do a little bit of everything for this team, and as his numbers show, he did it successfully.
Feature photo by Kevin Leclaire – UltiPhotos.com