Jack is the toughest matchup I have ever come across. Just their presence on the field shifts how the game is played. Going deep? They’re already there to claim the air space. Trying to throw? Their mark shuts down 9/10 of your throwing options. The game I remember most is, of course, the 2019 College Championship Final. Jack won that matchup. They beat me deep, layout blocked me in the air, and prevented me from making useful cuts. The most I can do when matching up against them is to learn and try to grow each time.
I first encountered Stacy at U24 tryouts last cycle. Her grit and strength on the field make her a tough matchup on both offense and defense. We matched up against each other several times during tryouts, each getting blocks on the other. Stacy has made me attack the disc more aggressively, both when cutting under and cutting deep. She has also taught me to step out more on the mark to avoid her hand blocks!
I have played with Kelli for the past five years, and I still can’t keep up with her handler movement. She mastered quick and efficient movement within a couple years of stepping onto the ultimate field. I have become a better handler defender from marking Kelli (or Krypto, as I know her), but I may never be able to keep up.
Every time I have marked up against Julia, she has gotten a block on me. Whether it was a run through D or snagging the disc out of my air space, Julia has consistently pushed me to be aware of my surroundings on offense. During the President’s Day Finals of 2019, Julia claimed two layout blocks on me—on the same point. As incredibly frustrating as this was, I grow as a player every time I match up against Julia.
My most memorable encounter with Claire was during the U24 training camp in Colorado. I was on offense, and Claire was marking me. I felt confident in my undercut space and sprinted to the disc. And yet, Claire commanded the space and blocked the disc. She is a smart, physical, and dominant player.