It shouldn't be any surprise to anyone following the Spiders that #31 Ethan Falat is back with the team for 2018. Following the Spiders surprise win over the Flamethrowers in week 2 last year Ethan signed a contract extension covering the 2018 and 2019 season. In retrospect this was a big signing for the Spiders as Ethan finished the season with 20 blocks and the defensive player of the year award along with a most improved player award from the team. Now in 2018 he's a key veteran player and shoulders a portion of the team leadership.
"It’s flattering to be looked at as veteran leader on this team and hopefully with that role I can help my younger/newer teammates acclimate to the AUDL game faster and easier. During the Spider’s 2015 championship run, I got to absorb so much while I was still learning the game at a high level. Hopefully I can pass on some of the work ethic, habits, and knowledge that the veterans for me as a younger player showed. I am really excited to continue growing as a player and leader for this team and hopefully help the team reach the playoffs and championship weekend."
But the team is still lucky he's playing at all. Back in September last year he suffered a broken arm at the Southwest Regional tournament fighting for a spot to go to the club championships. While a broken arm isn't the end of a career, it can set a player back and recovering from any surgery isn't a guarantee.
"I'm grateful to have recovered almost 100 percent. The doctor’s said I might not have a lot of arm and hand mobility from possible nerve damage during the surgery. Fortunately, the doctors did an amazing job. It took four months of physical therapy to rehab my arm movement, feeling/sensation from nerve damage, and arm strength to get even some of the basic movements back. I know once I start playing, the muscle memory will come back even faster and then I can start playing the same way I did before the injury."
Now that he's back on the field he's looking ahead to the start of the season.
"I’m very excited for this 2018 team and I feel like we have the right pieces to make a serious run for championship weekend! We’ve added a ton of new talent that I think our fans are going to enjoy watching this season. I think we have added the right pieces to accommodate the AUDL style of play and have strengthened our overall depth this year. I know coach Tyler is going to make sure that this team is ready for the long season to come and it will be fun to get to play around so many talented guys this year."
And it's no surprise which games he's looking most forward to.
"The entire West division is extremely strong, but I think I’m most looking forward to our first two games of the year against the FlameThrowers. We have a great opportunity to make a serious statement against the 2017 champs and show the rest of the league that they shouldn’t sleep on us. Plus, they’re our cross-town rivals and we’ve had some amazing battles with each other in the past. I’m sure this year will be similar and some exciting games will come out of our match-ups."