A New Frontier: Breeze Head West for First Time in Franchise History

New Head Coach Lauren Boyle and the Breeze coaching staff look on as AJ Merriman demonstrates a drill at 2024 tryouts with the new UFA Pro Frisbee®
Photo by Derek Frazer – UltiPhotos.com

APRIL 25, 2024
By Marissa Kleckner

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The DC Breeze are headed west for the first time in team history to play the defending West Division Champions and league runner-up Salt Lake Shred in their season opener this Saturday. 
This game will showcase two of the top franchises in the newly re-branded Ultimate Frisbee Association (UFA) and prove who will reign supreme as one of the top threats for the championship. After being shorted a spot in Championship Weekend due to New York Empire's dominance last year, the team looks to formally establish itself as the top challenger in the UFA.  
The opening game will make a statement for the team and their new coaching staff. Led by new head coach Lauren Boyle, the Breeze face the fifth-hardest schedule in the league having to take on defending champions the New York Empire twice. 
Boyle looks at this game like any other. She expects her team to approach each game as an individual opportunity to attack and a chance to get an early win in a long season. Boyle emphasizes that settling into the idea that the team is in a certain position in the league due to one win or loss can be detrimental to the season.  
“It's one game; it doesn't define the rest of our season,” Boyle said. “No matter the results, I want us to come out hungry and continue to push ourselves to be our best.”  
Along with the new coaching staff, Breeze stars Rowan McDonnell and AJ Merriman will be integral parts of the opening game and the team's upcoming season.  
This game will give a glimpse into McDonnell’s new role on the team. While younger and new faces look to lead the offensive line to new heights, the 2018 League MVP remains a prominent force on the squad. His accuracy and leadership continue to make him a stand-out player in the league and a key part of the DC offense. 
While many expect McDonnell’s leadership to continue to shine through, this will also be the first time the Breeze face former teammate Joe Merrill. Last year, Merrill was an integral part of DC’s dominant D-line, and Saturday's matchup in the mountains will test a new look Breeze D-line without his presence. 
The matchup will be an exciting game to start the season in a big way, allowing both teams to exhibit their talent and skills in the opening of a thrilling season. The Breeze and Shred go head-to-head in this inaugural UFA Super Series matchup live for free on the UFA YouTube page at 9pm ET.