Honor Roll: First Round Playoffs

July 31, 2023
By Evan Lepler

Throughout the 2023 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.

Lukas Ambrose, Los Angeles Aviators (Pictured)

The likely AUDL Defensive Player of the Year finished Saturday’s playoff game with zero blocks, but that obviously fails to capture his incredible impact in the Aviators’ first postseason win in half a decade. Lukas Ambrose, the 24-year-old rookie, illustrated how his big play abilities translate to offense too. First, he brilliantly saved an almost-certain turnover with an incredible greatest by the LA sideline. Next, he skied for a sensational buzzer-beating goal that brought the Aviators back within one at halftime. And later, he elevated and snagged a jump ball over both Colorado’s Jay Froude and Alex Atkins. His individual highlight-reel went a long way in helping his team upset the Summit.

Christian Boxley, DC Breeze

It can be tough sometimes to isolate a single star on the Breeze O-line, but Christian Boxley continued his season of steady excellence in DC’s seven-goal win over Boston. He finished with four goals, two assists, three more hockey assists, and 34 completions on 35 throws. Furthermore, his 325 receiving yards were nearly twice as many as anyone else on his team against the Glory. The Breeze typically stay pretty balanced and cautious, but they will need Boxley to make some big plays as they look toward the East Division final against New York, coming up on Saturday, August 12. 

Kyle Henke, Austin Sol

Known for some of the craziest highlights in AUDL history, Kyle Henke somehow authors a new jaw-dropping moment in virtually every big game he plays. While his numbers against the Flyers—three goals, two assists—don’t necessarily jump off the page, his insane athleticism and flare for the dramatic were absolutely instrumental in the Sol earning their first ever postseason victory. Most notably, his unreal layout score as the third quarter expired gave Austin a slim one-goal lead that the Sol were able to maintain throughout the fourth, eliminating Carolina and advancing Austin to the South Division title showdown in Atlanta a week from Friday.

Pawel Janas, Los Angeles Aviators

More than anything, Pawel Janas earned inclusion among this week’s scintillating seven due to his poise and presence in the fourth quarter against Colorado. Every time the Aviators offense came on the field, they were protecting a one-goal lead, and no one was more crucial to churning out high-pressure holds than the AUDL’s all-time assist king. He threw three of his six assists during the final 12 minutes and produced five assists and two goals in the second half of LA’s exhilarating 22-21 victory, making the Aviators the only three-seed to survive amongst the final eight teams still in pursuit of the 2023 AUDL Championship.

Jeremy Keusch, Indianapolis AlleyCats

Even beyond his SportsCenter moment, Jeremy Keusch showcased his versatile skills throughout the AlleyCats dominant performance over Chicago. The 23-year-old cutter came up with several clutch grabs against the Union, finishing with three goals, one assists, one block, and no turns. Indy managed just 12 total turnovers in their 23-15 win, and Keusch’s size, strength, and instincts were a big reason why Chicago earned only six break chances in 48 minutes. 

Xavier Payne, Indianapolis AlleyCats

With six assists, over 400 total yards, and just one throwaway in 40 passes, Xavier Payne was the anchor of Indy’s offensive attack against Chicago. The AlleyCats only completed five hucks in the game, but three of them were launched by Payne, and he caught one of the two others. The six assists were the most he’s ever had against an opponent other than Detroit during his six-season, 66-game career.

Evan Swiatek, Austin Sol

The highest individual plus/minus from Saturday’s playoff action belonged to Evan Swiatek, who, in his first game since turning 30, closed the night plus-eight in Austin’s dramatic 19-18 victory. Swiatek, taking the field 10 days after his 30th birthday, scored five goals, dished three assists, and completed all 22 of his passes, and while he did not officially record a block, he certainly factored into Carolina failing to fulfill six different break chances over the course of the night. The Flyers had more break opportunities than the Sol, but Carolina converted just 6-for-12, while the Sol efficiently went 7-for-8.

2023 Weekly Honor Roll