Honor Roll: Week 1

May 1, 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.

Christian Boxley, DC Breeze

Dynamic, sensational, and steady, Christian Boxley was DC’s brightest star in the Breeze’s season opening road win over Carolina. He led the team (or tied for the team lead) in receiving yards, goals, and blocks, while also recording two assists and six hockey assists. He also completed all 30 of his throws, often resetting the disc and then quickly doing more damage downfield. Boxley’s all-around excellence was no surprise to his Breeze teammates, who’ve been watching him dominate during the preseason. “He’s been the best player in our practices,” said DC Captain Rowan McDonnell, “and it’s not even close.”

Sean Connole, Salt Lake Shred

Several Salt Lake standouts were phenomenal on Friday night against Seattle, but the oft-overlooked Sean Connole gets the nod here for his multi-dimensional impact on the Shred’s success. He completed four of his five hucks, but also delivered downfield as a receiving target too. Overall, he finished 32-for-33, with two goals, four assists, and a game-high 663 yards. Furthermore, he was the only player in the AUDL who registered at least 250 throwing yards and 250 receiving yards in a single game on the opening weekend of the season. 

Thomas Edmonds, DC Breeze

One of the many highly-touted free agent signings for the Breeze, Thomas Edmonds showcased how he can be a Swiss-army knife for DC. “Unbelievable,” said DC Head Coach Darryl Stanley, when asked about Edmonds’ performance after the game. “He can play everywhere.” The 28-year-old hybrid tallied three goals and three assists, tying for the team lead in both categories in the Breeze’s five-goal win. 

Mac Hecht, Oakland Spiders

The Spiders franchise has featured some of the AUDL’s greatest throwers through the years, from Ashlin Joye steering the squad towards consecutive championships in 2014 and 2015 to Justin Norden totaling 223 assists over the past five seasons. It’s just one game, but after his otherworldly effort to help the Spiders escape on Saturday with the OT win over Seattle, Mac Hecht appears to be the next brilliant Bay Area quarterback. With nine assists, 65 completions, and 577 throwing yards, he set the bar league-wide in all three departments, and his scintillating overtime scoober that gave Oakland the lead was an epic and gutsy toss with the game on the line. In a West Division that’s often filled with shootouts, Hecht should give the Spiders a shot every time he takes the field. 

Brett Hulsmeyer, Atlanta Hustle

On a weekend when no other individual across the AUDL produced more than three blocks, Brett Hulsmeyer had six, almost half of Atlanta’s team total by himself. It was a career best for the 25-year-old athlete, who played both ways in the Hustle’s 23-14 rout over the AlleyCats. He entered this year having played 489 career D-points and just 97 O-points, but Hulsmeyer started on O and D on Saturday, ultimately playing a career-high 11 O-points, along with 11 D-points. On those 22 points played, the Hustle outscored the AlleyCats 14-5 (with three end-of-quarter points where no one scored). 

Max Sheppard, Pittsburgh Thunderbirds

One on three, game on the line, and there was nothing the Madison Radicals could do. Max Sheppard skied the trio of defenders to haul in the dramatic game-winning grab at the buzzer, capping a stellar 2023 debut for the two-time Pittsburgh All-Star. Overall, Sheppard finished with five goals, five assists, and one block, leading his team with 482 total yards, the final 44 of which came on the game’s final throw from Jon Mast. It was the sixth time in his career producing at least five goals and five assists in the same game. 

Evan Swiatek, Austin Sol

Blustery conditions turned Houston’s first ever game into a 50-turnover battle of attrition, but Evan Swiatek picked up from where he left off last year in terms of his steady and reliable production. Completing all 20 of his throws and churning for a game-high 290 receiving yards, Swiatek closed the night with three assists, two goals, and one block, as the Sol outscored the Havoc 13-7 in the second half en route to a 24-18 victory. Four of Swiatek’s five scores came in those final two quarters, helping Austin join DC as the only AUDL road teams to prevail on opening weekend.