Photos by Jeff Bell and Kevin Leclaire – UltiPhotos.com
It should be no surprise that the league’s two Most Valuable Players led their teams to a showdown in the 2014 MLU Championship.
In the East, Alan Kolick was named Eastern Conference MVP. Kolick led the D.C. Current to a league-best 9-1 regular-season record, an Eastern Conference Championship and the city’s first championship berth since 2004. On the West Coast, Brendan Wong earned the Western Conference honor after leading the Nighthawks’ to a near 180-degree turnaround from the team’s inaugural season.
Kolick finished the season as the only player in the league in the top five in points (third: 44), assists (T-first: 30), throws (third: 393) and plus-minus (first: +96). He was the linchpin to the Current’s eight-game winning streak that the team is riding into Saturday’s MLU Championship Game. His incredible poise on the field during that run earned him a near-unanimous decision in the MVP voting from coaches, general managers and league insiders.
The 27-year-old William & Mary product also tallied six defenses, nearly all in the fourth, which helped make his team the best late-game performers in the Eastern Conference.
Unfortunately for D.C., Kolick suffered an ultimate frisbee related injury a week prior to the title game. Boston’s Jeff Graham finished second in the voting ahead of D.C.’s Peter Prial.
Wong, in his first professional year, was unstoppable this season for the Nighthawks. Forty-eight goals, sixty-four points and eight wins highlight the 32-year-old player’s rookie campaign. Those numbers earned him the Scoring Title and Rookie of the Year honors.
Beyond the stat lines, Wong was a leader on and off the field and the definition of Vancouver’s team-first philosophy that has resulted in a championship berth.
Wong was head and shoulders ahead of the rest on the Western Conference ballot, easily outstripping Portland’s Eli Friedman – conference Offensive Player of the Year – and Vancouver’s Morgan Hibbert – conference Defensive Player of the Year.
Eastern Conference Ballot:
1. Alan Kolick (D.C.)
2. Jeff Graham (Boston)
3. Peter Prial (D.C.)
4. Nick Hirannet (Philadelphia)
5. Josh Markette (Boston)
Others receiving votes: Brandon Malecek (Boston), Markham Shofner (D.C.), Jack Hatchett (Boston).
Western Conference Ballot:
1. Brendan Wong (Vancouver)
2. Eli Friedman (Portland)
3. Morgan Hibbert (Vancouver)
4. Cody Bjorklund (Portland)
5. Donnie Clark (Seattle)
Others receiving votes: Jeremy Norden (Portland), Danny Trytiak (Seattle), Evan Boucher (San Francisco).