Photos by Marshall Goff, Scobel Wiggins, Brian Chu and Sean Carpenter – Ultiphotos.com
Major League Ultimate announced Friday the 2016 All-League First and Second Team Defenses. League insiders, which include writers, analysts and statisticians chose their top players to determine the first and second all-league teams for offense and defense. The all-league team offenses were announced yesterday.
2016 MLU All-League First Team Defense:
The equivalent of a shutdown cornerback in football, McCutcheon’s defensive accomplishments are not the kind that show up as numbers on the stat sheet, but instead as the absence of numbers for his opponents. Often tasked with guarding some of his opponents’ most dangerous weapons (Boston’s Tyler Chan or Piers MacNaughton, New York’s Sean Mott, etc.), McCutcheon’s greatest test this season was guarding 2016 Western Conference MVP, Cody Bjorklund in the MLU Championship, holding the league’s career scoring leader to a single goal and single assist, earning himself Championship MVP honors.
The 2015 Breakout Player of the Year, Woodside continued to be the linchpin of the league’s stingiest defense in Portland. Leading the West in blocks with 19 on the season, Woodside won his second consecutive Western Conference Defensive Player of the Year award in 2016. Following the turn, Woodside became a potent weapon, evident by his 8th place finish in scoring, while only player 20 offensive points all season (no other player top 10 scoring player played less than 97 offensive points).
In his fourth year with the Rumble, Brownlee emerged one of the most dominant defensive forces in the league. Brownlee’s 21 blocks lead the league, and tied him with former Vancouver Nighthawks defensive powerhouse Morgan Hibbert for the second most blocks in a year. For his efforts in 2016, Brownlee was named the 2016 Eastern Conference Defensive Player of the Year. Like his Western Conference counterpart, Woodside, Brownlee also made his presence know after the turn, earning Catch of the Week and Offensive Play of the Week honors and finishing with 12 goals and 12 assists on the season.
Coming in at 4th in the league in defensive points played, Bailey took major steps forward in his second year with the Rainmakers. After tallying 6 goals, 3 assists and 3 blocks with Seattle as a rookie, Bailey improved in all statistical categories in 2016, recording 15 goals, 10 assists and 14 blocks on 159 points played. His impressive scoring output, as well as his tendency for big plays (Throw of the Week, Defensive Play of the Week) have made Bailey one of the most prominent defenders in the league.
Following his Western Conference Rookie of the Year season in 2015, Klein continued to impress on the D-line for Seattle. While matching his rookie numbers in scoring (32 points in both seasons), Klein’s most notable statistical improvement in 2016 was his almost double the number of blocks recorded during his sophomore campaign, recording a team-leading 17 blocks, a significant uptick for his 9 the year before. His block accumulation is made even more impressive by the fact that he was inactive for 2 of the Rainmakers games and still finished third in the league behind Brownlee and Woodside.
Davis has been a consistent force on the Portland D-line for three years now, and 2016 was no exception. While putting up 7 goals and 12 assists, Davis became the first player in MLU history to record 15 blocks in three seasons (18 in 2014, 15 in 2015, 15 in 2016), and now sits a single block behind teammate and 4-year veteran Riley Meinershagen for most career blocks (48). Davis’ leadership on the field was crucial to the Stags success, leading the team in scoring during their Western Conference Championship victory.
Foster has been the anchor of the Boston defense during each of his 3 seasons with the Whitecaps, and 2016 was no exception. Despite only playing in 7 games this season, Foster lead the team in blocks (10) and assists (20), while also adding 5 goals on the year. Foster’s well earned reputation as the league’s best puller, especially when pulling from midfield, gives the Whitecaps defensive unit a big advantage in the field position battle. His ability to both force turnovers and handle the disc after the turn have made him an invaluable piece of the winningest franchise in league history, and were recognized by his 2015 Eastern Conference Defensive Player of the Year award, as well as several Plays of the Week (Throw of the Week, Defensive Play of the Week).
2016 MLU All-League Second Team Defense:
4 goals – 20 assists – 5 blocks
4 goals – 3 assists – 10 blocks
11 goals – 6 blocks
10 goals – 7 assists – 13 blocks
16 goals – 7 assists – 12 blocks
4 goals – 3 assists – 12 blocks
4 goals – 15 assists – 11 blocks