The Seven Count | March 25


March 25, 2022
By Adam Ruffner

  • In what seems to be a perfect fit for both player and team, former Dallas captain and AUDL champion Dalton Smith has signed with the Chicago Union. Able to operate as both a centerpiece handler on offense and as a defender in coverage, Smith has been one of the most versatile players in the league over his six-year pro career. Even in the loss, his performance in the 2019 AUDL Championship Game was a highlight of the weekend, as he dished and dashed to six scores and over 450 yards of total offense. The biggest question seems to be: How much will he play? Smith has played just 13 games over the past two seasons. Yet even in sporadic appearances, Smith remains highly effective; Smith had three assists and 175 throwing yards on 21-of-22 throws in the Dallas playoff loss to San Diego last season while playing a majority of his points on defense.
     

  • The MVP and Defensive Player Of The Year highlight reels for Ben Jagt and AJ Merriman, respectively, are now available on YouTube. Jagt continues to be the most singular dominant offensive force in the league, and in 2021 he made his best plays in the biggest moments for New York. Merriman is also singular, but as a hybrid coverage-defender-turned-ruthless counterattacker—there is nobody in the league right now who exhibits Merriman’s energy in starting the fastbreak off of turns.
     

  • In a special preseason showcase tomorrow night on AUDL.tv, the Oakland Spiders will travel to face the expansion Portland Nitro in a preseason friendly. It will be a first-chance opportunity to see the Nitro in action, a team that I placed pretty high in my preseason “Power Rankings” list. The top end talent is there, but there’s a lot of questions about the depth of this Nitro roster, and I’m interested to see what kind of sets and styles they use in their first test of AUDL action. For Oakland’s part, I can’t wait to watch the third season of Keenan Laurence, who continues to improve in virtually all facets of his game each year.

  • After winning last season’s Canada Cup title, the Montreal Royal have announced their full roster for 2022, and return virtually every contributing player from last year. The Royal have a deep lineup of capable throwers, and they love to attack crossfield space, catching defenses flatfooted and often leading to easy breakout scores for the Montreal offense. Everything about this young team feels like it’s trending upward, but they will definitely receive some gut-checks facing top US competition from the likes of New York and DC for the first time in nearly two years.
     

  • Along with the re-signing of Tyler Monroe, the DC Breeze announced the return of Alan Kolick and David Cranston this week after a multi-year hiatus from the team. All three players are great additions for the DC team, with Monroe and Kolick slotting into offensive rotations, while Cranston becomes another versatile defender in an already deep defensive lineup that was a top five unit in 2021 and features the DPOTY. Monroe figures to have a breakout season playing as a striker in the hyper-efficient Breeze O-line, but I gotta say, I’m most excited for the return of Kolick. There simply are not players like him, especially as a thrower—he has both a skill and creativity with his passes that tilts the imagination of what is possible.
     

  • Next Wednesday night, Philadelphia Phoenix co-owner and AUDL Chief Medical Officer Christina Lee Chung will be hosting a “AUDL Voices: Women In Pro Sports” panel and dialogue. The featured speakers will be:

    • Alexis Abelove, Director of Operations and Marketing for the Chicago Union

    • Meghan Bishop, Head Team Physician for the New York Empire

    • Kaela Helton, Co-Head Coach of the San Diego Growlers and San Diego Super Bloom pro player

    • Amanda Myhrberg, Mental Performance Coach for the Tampa Bay Cannons

          The event will be available live on both the league’s Facebook and YouTube channels


 

  • And in their first event of 2022, Disc Diversity will be hosting their first Con10ent Tour stop of the season in Washington D.C. tomorrow night at 7:30 PM/ET. The exhibition will feature a group of current and former AUDL players, as well as some of the top female players in the sport. Following along on the Disc Diversity for livestream links as they become available.