AUDL Honor Roll: Playoffs, Part II

July 29, 2019
By Evan Lepler

Throughout the 2019 season, the AUDL’s weekly honor roll will be revealed each Monday, honoring seven players whose individual exploits merit recognition. The players are listed alphabetically by last name.

  1. Travis Carpenter, Indianapolis AlleyCats — Even in blustery outdoor conditions, Travis Carpenter led the Indianapolis AlleyCats with a steadiness that Indy fans have come to expect from the now 26-year-old AUDL vet. Formerly called “The Kid,” Carpenter is now “The Man” for the Cats in, touching the disc more than anyone else on the squad throughout the 2019 season. On Saturday against Pittsburgh, he completed 45 of his 46 throws, accumulating four assists, two goals, and two blocks along the way for a team-best +7. One of his blocks came as the third quarter buzzer sounded, as he intercepted Pittsburgh’s prayer to punctuate the dominant period, which saw the AlleyCats extend the lead to six at 18-12. Later, his fourth quarter assist to the bidding Keegan North boosted the Indy edge to seven, and all but cemented the AlleyCats divisional title.
  2. Abe Coffin, Dallas Roughnecks — It’s tempting to just name Abe Coffin seven times for this week’s Honor Roll; that’s how ruthlessly brilliant he performed in Saturday’s South Division Final. In his first playoff game since 2017—remember, Coffin missed all of 2018 with injury—the 26-year-old   maintained complete and total command of the field whenever he was out there. Quick, shifty, precise, and unwavering, Coffin completed all 48 of his throws, nine of which went for assists, while also chipping in one goal and another block for a flawless +11; no one else on the Dallas Roughnecks finished better than +4. He picked an amazing time to have the best game of his career, and in doing so, elevated Dallas’ 2019 ceiling dramatically. If I’m Bryan Jones, Kevin Stuart, or Eric Leonard—the coaches of New York, San Diego, and Indy, respectively—I’m anxiously wondering how I might try and slow Coffin down in San Jose.
  3. Alex Henderson, Indianapolis AlleyCats — After a fantastic season that perhaps didn’t receive enough attention, the youngest dude on the AlleyCats’ O-line Alex Henderson enjoyed a tremendous all-around evening against PIttsburgh, finishing with four goals, three assists, and two blocks as Indy earned its first Championship Weekend appearance since 2012. For perspective, seven years ago the AUDL had just eight teams and Henderson was just 12 years old. Now, the AlleyCats are back atop the Midwest thanks to a slew of veterans who never gave up hope and a bunch of wunderkinds, like Henderson, who have reshaped the city's potential as an ultimate power. While he did finish Saturday’s game with four turnovers, his presence was overwhelmingly positive as he helped push the Indy offense toward the final four. 
  4. Nick Hutton, Indianapolis AlleyCats — Assisting on three second-half scores, Nick Hutton was a rock for the Indy D-line that absolutely wore out Pittsburgh down the stretch. Early in the third, the Thunderbirds actually had a chance to break to inch back within one, calling timeout to get their O-line back on the field. But Hutton found Spencer Loscar after a Pittsburgh giveaway, delivering a crucial blow to the Thunderbirds’ mojo. That sequence was actually the start of an 8-2 run, in which Hutton quarterbacked two more breaks, twice finding David Hortermiller to further bury the 'Birds. With his 15th block of the 2019 season on Saturday, Hutton is the only player in the AUDL to have recorded at least 15 blocks for each of the past six seasons, a remarkable tribute to his overall impact and consistency.
  5. Dillon Larberg, Dallas Roughnecks — While it’s rare to honor multiple players who finished with four throwaways, Dillon Larberg exists in a unique sliver of daredevil difference-making. Known to come up huge on the biggest stage in the past, the 25-year-old made his presence felt very early in Saturday’s contest, registering two blocks in the opening quarter, both of which led to breaks. He also assisted on three Roughnecks breaks, including the absolute killer at the end of the third, which Matt Armour fortuitously caught off a deflection to extend the Dallas lead back to five at 17-12. Fast, confident, and fearless, Larberg’s general swagger went unmatched by any of his opponents on Saturday night, a reality that is just one of a handful of reasons that the Roughnecks are returning to the final four while the Flyers are left frustrated again.

  6. Terrence Mitchell, Raleigh Flyers — There were not too many bright spots for the Raleigh Flyers on Saturday night, but Terrence Mitchell’s performance served as the exception. Among his highlight-reel moments were a soaring sky over Dallas’s Griffin Miller and a full-extension layout for another strike, both of which were critical goals to help stabilize the floundering Flyers in their topsy-turvy first half. Mitchell mustered three scores in the second quarter alone, enabling Raleigh to close back within four by halftime

  7. Dalton Smith, Dallas Roughnecks — A year after coming up with the game-sealing block against the Flyers in the South Division final, Dalton Smith served as an offensive anchor this time around, completing 52-of-his-53 throws throughout the night. Consistently, Smith and the rest of Dallas’ O-line handled whatever Raleigh threw at them. In fact, the Roughnecks’ offense was only broken twice in the first 42 minutes of the game. Playing from ahead, they simply maintained possession brilliantly, taking the open options and executing the difficult play when necessary, matching a season-low with just 10 throwaways. Smith also punctuated three different possessions by scoring three goals, all of which answered Raleigh goals on the previous point. While Smith may not be at the top of an opponent’s scouting report, the fact is he’s a fierce competitor who’s got the clutch gene to complement his overall consistency, which has improved mightily throughout his career. Heading into Championship Weekend, it’s not hard to envision the Roughnecks rallying all the way to another title, with Smith playing a central role.