These seven women stepped up their game and separated themselves from the pack this season and are poised for future greatness.
October 19, 2015 by Keith Raynor in Analysis with 5 comments
As mentioned in the announcements of our All-Club 1st and 2nd teams, the talent in the Club division extends far beyond a short list of 14 players. So which previously unheralded players caught our eye this season and are poised to muscle their way into the 1st or 2nd team in future years? Here’s the list of our seven breakout performers in the Women’s division from the 2015 season.
Cassie Wong (Boston Brute Squad) – 10g, 1a at Nationals
One of the stars of Brute Squad’s final, Wong really made herself known with an MVP-quality performance in the game. A feisty defender, the Boston rookie was a key goal scorer for the defensive line, tallying 10 goals at the Club Championships. Her speed, intensity, and propensity for timely layouts made her one of the funnest players to watch this season.
Becca Miller (Denver Molly Brown) – 4g, 2a at Nationals
Speaking of fun to watch, the high flying antics of Becca Miller thrilled all season long. Her literally shoulder high layouts inspired actual crowd gasps, widening eyes even if she didn’t get the disc. But she brought more to the table than missed bids, showing dynamism as a cutter and some big backhand throws in her first year of elite club. Well known as a player in the Mixed division, Miller really shined on the women’s stage.
Loryn Kanemaru (San Francisco Nightlock) – 4g, 13a at Nationals
In her transition from one Bay Area women’s elite team to another, Kanemaru went from role player to centerpiece. It didn’t take long for her to become the most important handler on the Nightlock roster, particularly without Abby VanMuijen. Nightlock relied on her ability to get the disc downfield, and she showed great touch, even in the wind, with her deep shots and intelligence with her disc movement.
Cassie Swafford (Raleigh Phoenix) – 4g, 26a at Nationals
You can take issue with her as a breakout — she won the Callahan, after all — but 2015 was really Swafford’s first take on the women’s scene. Having helped get Columbus Santa Maria to the National stage in the Mixed Division a year ago, Swafford’s choice to join Phoenix made a huge difference in their season. Few throwers use their height and physicality so well, and Swafford was even given some chances to get downfield and do damage with the same traits. Her 26 assists in Frisco led the division.
Emily Langland (Madison Heist) – 9g, 7a at Nationals
While not a name most people know, Langland really capped off a great year with a good showing at Nationals. Her 9 goal and 7 assist line show how she can contribute in multiple ways for Heist. The 26-year-old, out of Nebraska, has really developed into an all-around threat and, while Heist’s year didn’t go as they would have hoped, Langland’s development shows a lot of promise for tomorrow.
Kirstin Johnson (Denver Molly Brown) – 2g, 3a at Nationals
One of the year’s best and purest breakouts, Johnson turned in an excellent season on the Molly Brown D-line. Denver’s confidence in the rookie grew and grew as the season went on, until she was picking up the disc in key possessions in the Quarterfinals and ripping breakmark throws for crucial scores. She actually probably played better this club season than she did this past college season. Expect her to be one of the names to talk about in the college division.
Jaclyn Verzuh (Seattle Riot) – 8g, 8a at Nationals
You already knew this was coming. The 5’10” 18 year old All Star has quickly become one of the game’s household names, garnering more attention as a youth player than probably any female ultimate player. Her physical gifts allow her to dominate opponents of all ages — bless the college women forced to try to guard her over the next four years — but what impresses is how deft and skilled she is. We were all dazzled by the array of around breaks and offhand backhands. A true superstar has been born.