Honor Roll: Week 2

May 6, 2024
By Evan Lepler

Justin Burnett, Atlanta Hustle (Pictured)

The first scintillating seven here in May begins with the absolutely electric 21-year-old, Justin Burnett. Whether he was skying two-time MVP Ben Jagt for a block, soaring for a spectacular score over multiple Empire defenders, or launching himself for another jaw-dropping interception past Jack Williams, his impact was constant and massive in creating positive momentum for his team. Finishing with three blocks and a goal in the Hustle’s exceptional win over New York, Burnett now has registered at least one block in 14 of his last 15 UFA games, with multiple blocks nine times during this sensational stretch. Clearly just scratching the surface of his towering potential, Burnett, if he can stay healthy, is poised to evolve into one of the faces of his team—and perhaps the entire league—over the course of the next decade. 

Simon Carapella, Boston Glory

On Saturday against Toronto, Boston’s Simon Carapella put together a performance far beyond anything he’s previously achieved for the Glory. The 24-year-old was a member of the UFA All-Rookie team a season ago, largely due to his 37 goals, but now Carapella is showing he can throw scores too. He totaled six assists against the Rush, twice as many as his previous best. Having never accumulated 100 throwing yards in a game prior to Saturday, he tossed for 298 vs. Toronto. And he also churned for 360 receiving yards while going 29-for-29 with his passes. Just to be clear, that’s career-highs in assists, throwing yards, receiving yards, total yards, and completions for Carapella in an eight-goal win for the only undefeated team in the East. Honor Roll-worthy, indeed. 

Noah Coolman, Colorado Summit

One game in, O-line Noah Coolman seems like a pretty good fit for the Summit. Seeing more O-points on Saturday against Seattle than he played in 12 games last season, Coolman created 634 total yards—second-most in the UFA in Week 2—along with four goals, three assists, and two blocks in Colorado’s four-goal victory over the Cascades. These contributions were especially important considering the Summit were missing superstar Quinn Finer, but Coolman stepped in seamlessly, completing 28-of-29 passes in a game where the Summit never trailed. His defensive presence and prowess was also obviously an important factor in Seattle going just 2-for-9 on break chances, missed opportunities that ultimately cost the Cascades significantly in their pursuit of a two-win weekend. 

Brett Hulsmeyer, Atlanta Hustle

The numbers—four goals, two assists, one block, no turns—are super solid but also barely tell the story. The Hustle’s offense went unbroken through the first three and a half quarters against New York due to the splendid work from the entire unit, of course, but Brett Hulsmeyer’s presence and precision, his highlights and his steadiness, were all key factors in Atlanta’s magnificent win. He went 27-for-27 passing, the most completions he’s ever had in a game without having any throwaways or drops, and when given the chance to come up huge, he always answered the call. If the Hustle can be the best version of themselves more often than not over their final 10 games, Hulsmeyer will almost certainly earn another First Team All-UFA nod, while perhaps garnering some MVP consideration too. 

Bobby Ley, Atlanta Hustle

He’s had UFA games with more assists and more passing yards, but I’m not sure Bobby Ley has ever played better than he did on Saturday night against New York. Everything needed to be pinpoint vs. the Empire pressure, and Ley showcased a masterful command of the new pro frisbee, putting on a passing clinic in Atlanta’s signature win. He finished 39-for-39, throwing for 394 yards with six assists and four completed hucks. “Bobby was slinging out there,” said Hulsmeyer, after the game. “I know there’s one or two, that as he’s revving up for it I’m in the stack yelling ‘no!’ And then he throws it absolutely perfect to the corner. Sometimes, that dude just hits it.”

Jonny Malks, DC Breeze

Perhaps the stat of the weekend is that Philadelphia literally did not produce a single break chance in the first 47 minutes against DC. Until the final minute of regulation, every time the Phoenix pulled, the Breeze scored without a turn. I honestly can’t remember seeing an O-line go this long without a single miscue. (Note: the Breeze O-line had one throwaway on a D-point after subbing in following a timeout, but they did regain possession and ultimately punched in the break.) Certainly, the credit can be spread across the entire DC offense, but Jonny Malks deserves the individual shout-out for his stellar quarterback play, tossing five assists while scoring two goals and leading his team with 449 total yards. After failing to connect on any of his three huck attempts in Week 1 vs. Salt Lake, Malks went 2-for-2 on his hucks in Week 2 against Philly. 

Mikey O’Brien, Seattle Cascades

Now with 15 blocks in 12 career UFA games, Mikey O’Brien’s production shall no longer reside under the radar on this website. Four of those blocks came during Seattle’s 1-1 weekend, but the one win in Oakland was made possible partially due to O’Brien’s continued emergence. Against the Spiders, while mostly playing D-line, the young Case Western product registered three goals, three assists, and 219 receiving yards, serving as a critical cutter in the Cascades’ quest for breaks. When Seattle went on a 3-0 spurt to seize control early in the second quarter, O’Brien dished two of the scores and caught the third. He also hauled in a 68-yard Jeremy Norden huck midway through the fourth that helped put the game away. There are a bunch of reasons why the Cascades are looking like a playoff team through three games, but O’Brien’s unheralded arrival from Pittsburgh is certainly somewhere relatively high on the list. 

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