August 30, 2021
By Evan Lepler
Throughout the 2021 season, the AUDL’s weekly honor roll will be revealed each Monday, honoring seven players whose individual exploits merit recognition. The players are listed alphabetically by last name.
Paul Arters, Chicago Union
I’m still processing the shocking last seven minutes of Sunday night’s Central Division final, but Arters’ excellence certainly puts him among the most important Union players to watch heading into Championship Weekend. In addition to throwing the game-tying and go-ahead assists late in the fourth, Arters finished a game-high +8, with five assists, three goals, two blocks, and 599 yards. He also led Chicago in both throwing yards (340) and receiving yards (259). Overshadowed by several other offseason additions, there’s no question Arters has become one of the Union’s most dangerous two-way threats heading into the AUDL semifinals.
Jonathan “Goose” Helton, San Diego Growelers (pictured)
We only have game-by-game data going back to 2014, which omits Goose’s pair of MVP seasons in 2012 and 2013, but there’s a real case to be made that Saturday’s master class against Dallas was the pinnacle performance of Helton’s decade in professional ultimate. After averaging just over three turns per game during the 2021 regular season, Helton was 100 percent blemish-free against the Roughnecks in the West Division final, completion all 25 of his throws while compiling five assists, four goals, and one block, also producing a game-high 535 yards. It was the first double digit plus/minus of his career (since at least 2014), a masterful +10 in the biggest win in Growlers’ franchise history.
Johnny Malks, DC Breeze
While the Breeze were missing half of their normal O-line, Malks still worked his magic in DC’s regular season finale, throwing for seven assists and 396 passing yards to lead the Breeze to a 12-goal road win in Tampa Bay. Momentum can swing quickly when one poor performance can end a season, but it sure looks like Malks has rediscovered his first-half form. After only tossing four assists in a four-game stretch from mid-July to early-August, the 22-year-old handler has dished 11 dimes in his last two games, helping the Breeze finish the season 10-2 to earn the top seed in the Atlantic Division playoffs.
Jonathan Nethercutt, San Diego Growlers
You think the Growlers made the right decision to activate Nethercutt for Saturday’s Championship Weekend clincher? Nethercutt fired the first break of the game on San Diego’s opening D-point when his post-timeout huck found Travis Dunn for the score, and the former Flyer completed all 37 of his throws for a game-high 387 passing yards as the Growlers dethroned Dallas. It had to be exceptionally sweet for Nethercutt, whose past AUDL seasons had ended against the Roughnecks in 2017, 2018, and 2019. Could Raleigh actually make it all the way to the title game only to find the former North Carolina superstar standing in its championship path?
Ryan Osgar, New York Empire
Well, Boston limited him to five assists and two goals rather than the 10 assists and two goals he produced in Week 12 against the Glory, but Osgar still produced over 700 total yards and was instrumental in the Empire’s one-goal escape on Sunday afternoon. Among the 127 total games in the AUDL this season (including the Canadian Cup contests and this past weekend’s playoff matchups), there have been 14 instances of a player accumulating at least 300 throwing yards and 300 receiving yards in a game. Osgar is the only player in the league who’s done it twice, going for 358 and 353 yesterday after registering 370 and 374 against Boston 10 days ago.
Sacha Poitte-Sokolsky, Montreal Royal
Speaking of consistent downfield excellence, Poitte-Sokolsky finished his eight-game scoring spree by contributing four goals, six assists, and one block in a turnover-free +11 performance on Sunday afternoon against Toronto, helping the Royal improve to 6-2 and 4-0 against the Rush. With 39 goals in eight games, Poitte-Sokolsky led the AUDL with 4.9 goals/game (among all players who competed in at least two games this season). He also averaged 325 receiving yards per contest, fourth in the league behind Ben Jagt, Andrew Sjogren, and Ryan Osgar.
Will Stewart, Boston Glory
In a game when none of his teammates were better than +4, Stewart finished +9 on helped put Boston on the brink of upsetting the Empire on Sunday, courtesy of his six assists, two goals, one block, and 504 yards of offense. Stewart also completed all 36 of his throws in easily his best game of the season for the Glory, who finished their inaugural season 5-7, with five of their seven losses coming by three goals or fewer.