I’m actually really bad at noticing my matchups during games, but I think it’s one of my strengths as a player because I do not let my game be influenced by who is guarding me. However, just like every player, the style of defense I play against affects my game.
Angela and I see the field the same way. She’s from Brute Squad, which means we’ve marked each other quite a lot over the years. I remember matching up against her for almost the whole game in the 2019 USA National Finals in San Diego, and there was one point that really stood out. Almost every pass, no matter which of us threw it or which of us it was coming to, was a near miss. Hand blocks, skys, each of us was so close to the same spot on the field that everything we did was a near miss. That same game she laid out to defend a pass meant for me, but I got it anyway, just barely out of bounds. That game was one of my favorite ultimate memories. It’s impossible not to respect someone with that kind of commitment.
I first played against Manuela at the Worlds in 2016, and then again in 2018. The 2018 Worlds was in Australia, and I planned on traveling to Melbourne following the tournament and discovered Manuela was planning to do the same. We stayed together and have been fast friends ever since. She stayed with me in Montreal, and we’ve stayed together at each Worlds since. There was a point at the Worlds in Germany when she laid out for a D against me, but as soon as she got the disc she called a strip on herself and apologized to me. An opponent apologizing at Worlds was so crazy we couldn’t help but laugh about it. Our friendship began around ultimate, and that’s a beautiful thing.
I admired Kelly Johnson from a distance before ever playing against her. It was my first time at USA Nationals, and I was overwhelmed with everything going on. One thing did stand out though, and that was Kelly Johnson. Once I took to the field, I had the chance to view her up close, because she was marking me. I was blown away by her pure athleticism. I came up against her again in 2018 and felt honored to compete in the same tier as her. To be checked by someone you look up to is an unreal feeling.
Lien Hoffman from Brute Squad has always been an intimidating matchup. She sets herself apart with her disc knowledge and experience. She always seems to know what’s happening, and she’s so quick. If she isn't faster than you, then she’s going to beat you with agility, and since she always knows what’s happening she’s always in the right place. Despite all the times we’ve played against Brute Squad, she still stands out as one of the most intimidating matchups because she is adaptable and a threat on both offense and defense.
I played against Opi Payne only once, but once was enough. Opi is so quick and so aware of what’s going on that throughout the whole game my field, my space, was restricted. She seemed to know where to be, no matter where the disc was. It was a feeling I’d never had before or since, that feeling of having nowhere to go. Add to that her natural speed when she was on offense, and there’s no one quite like her to play against.