Congratulations to the Dockers’ 2018 award winners!

The award winners, in semi-formal dress, hold their awards at the Dockers' 2018 awards gala
Baltimore Dockers 2018 season award winners (L to R):
Matthew Byrne, Ian Payne, Kristin Poti, Kit Drury, John O’Connor, Coach Bryn Hansen, Mark Salansky
On Friday, November 16th, Dockers friends and family gathered for the Awards Gala to close out the team’s successful first season. Congratulations to the award winners for the Dockers’ 2018 championship season!

The Rookie of the Year award goes to the best first-year player. Several new players were eligible, and Dockers coach Bryn Hansen faced a difficult decision to pick just one player. The 2018 award goes to John O’Connor.

The Clubman of the Year award goes annually to the person who has contributed the most to the overall life of club, and has best exemplified the Docker spirit. The 2018 award goes to Matthew Byrne.

Coach Bryn hands the award - a 2018 Dockers photo book - to Kit Drury
Dockers Coach Bryn Hansen (R) presents the Coach’s award to Kit Drury (L)
The Coach’s Award, selected by Dockers coach Bryn Hansen, goes to the player who has demonstrated the best team spirit and set the best example to their teammates. The 2018 Coach’s award goes to Kit Drury.

The Women’s Best and Fairest Award goes to the player from the Dockers’ women’s team, the Baltimore-Washington Lady Eagles, who has played the best and has best demonstrated the spirit of fair play. The 2018 award goes to Kristin Poti.

Before the top award of the night, club president Ian Payne presented a special award for team spirit and service to the club. The award went to players who have always gone above and beyond in their generosity and enthusiasm on and off the field. But since these two are best mates and we always see them together, the board had no choice but to give the special award to both Kit Drury and Mark “Ski” Salansky. Thank you both for everything you do for the club!

The final award of the night, as per Australian sporting tradition, is the Men’s Team Best and Fairest Award, to the player who has contributed most on the field while exemplifying true Docker spirit. At the end of each match, the two match umpires select and rank the best three players that day. At the postseason awards gala, the votes are publicly counted, round by round – three points for first, two for second, and one for third. The player with the highest point total wins the Best and Fairest award. After the final tally, the 2018 winner was… Dockers President Ian Payne.

Congratulations to Ian and all the 2018 winners, and thanks to all the Dockers players, friends, and family for a successful 2018 awards gala!

Two men in suits, one holding the 2018 USAFL Division IV championship trophy and a bottle of whisky
Kit Drury (L) with Steve Dunmire (R), Ian Payne’s father-in-law

Despite losses, Dockers women have an a-maize-ing time at USAFL Nationals

The Lady Eagles had a tremendous regular season going 5-2 and winning the Eastern Regional Tournament in June. This past weekend we headed to the USAFL Nationals in Racine Wisconsin to close out our season.

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The Lady Eagles played in Division II on a combined team with the Boston Demons and the Des Moines Roosters. We began the weekend with a chilly morning game against the Calgary Kookaburras (combined with Arizona Lady Hawks, North Star Blue Ox, and Nashville Kangaroos). The first half was a little slow for the Lady Eagles, as we learned to work together as a combined team and communicate with one another to move the ball up the field. We began to feel more comfortable as the game wore on and played stronger in the second half. It was a very defensive game, with our back line and midfield working hard to keep the ball out of the goal. In the end, we ultimately fell to the Kookaburras.

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As we continued to gel as a team, we felt more confident going into our afternoon game against our Eastern foes, the Columbus Cats combined with the Philadelphia Hawks and Chicago Swans. The Cats struck first but Kristin scored our first point of the tournament with a behind. Lough continued our scoring with two goals of her own. However, some costly penalties led to good scoring opportunities for the Cats, who came away with the win in the end. It was a hard fought match on both sides and we were proud of the team effort that we put in on day 1 of Nationals.

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The Lady Eagles continued their Nationals Tournament with a very early game on Sunday morning against the Texas Heat combined with Los Angeles Dragons and Oklahoma. The Lady Eagles struck first with two behinds by Kristin and later two more by Kendall and Lough, but were unable to capitalize on these scoring chances and kick a goal. We competed well and played strong in the defensive end. The backline led by Christina and Tatiana played particularly well allowing only one goal and a behind. However, that proved to be enough for the win.

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Our last game of the tournament was against a very strong side that combined two teams previously in Division I, the Sacramento Suns and the Montreal Angels. The Suns dominated the game, with the ball rarely leaving our defensive end. Our defense and midfield were relentless nonetheless, working hard to prevent further scoring opportunities and clear the ball into the forward 50. Despite a solid effort, we fell to the Suns.

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Even though our Nationals did not go as we had hoped, it was still an awesome time. We were able to cheer the Baltimore Dockers to their first Division IV Nationals Championship in our first year as a club, which was amazing! We also had a great Silly Sunday celebrating the season and the Dockers’ Championship throughout the night in Milwaukee.

I could not be prouder of this Lady Eagles team as I reflect back on this 2018 USAFL season. We came together as a team and grew stronger with each game. We fielded 14-16+ players at almost every game, which was incredible. It has been so great to watch the women’s team grow over the past few years. Our Eastern Regional Championship (and celebrating the win in Philly), was of course the highlight of the season, really demonstrating the skill, talent, heart, and tenacity of our team. I cannot wait to see what the Lady Eagles do next year, as we continue to get better and stronger this offseason!

Thanks for supporting the women this year and stay tuned for 2019!

Game Recaps: Women’s team goes 2-1 in away games

Women’s team victory in Boston

The Lady Eagles traveled to Boston at the end of August to take on the Boston Lady Demons on a combined team with the Philadelphia Hawks. We played with smaller sides on a condensed field, which led to a very fast paced game. Strong defensive play by Lough and Christina prevented many scoring opportunities by the Lady Demons and enabled quick transitions into the midfield and forward lines. Our midfield and forwards were dominant, scoring 16 goals and 17 behinds over 4 quarters of play. The Lady Eagles emerged victorious. We celebrated our victory with a night out in the city and some Australian pies and sausage rolls then capped off the celebration with a boat race win!

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East/West Showdown: Magpie shutout, then shut out by the Maidens

In early September, the Lady Eagles traveled to New York for the East/West Showdown and the end of the regular footy season. This tournament featured teams and players from the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic along with California, Arizona, and Seattle. We began our tournament with a game against our Eastern Region rivals, the New York Lady Magpies. The Lady Eagles were dominant all game. The defense was a wall, blocking any scoring chances. The midfield led by Molly and Karen kept up the pressure, turning over the ball and transitioning it well up-field. We had good intensity and communicated well. Kristin scored the two goals for the Lady Eagles in their decisive victory.

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Next, we took on the San Francisco Iron Maidens, who were the Division I USAFL National Champions in 2017. The Iron Maidens were a very strong side and moved the ball well throughout the game. We played well defensively but our communication broke down, which made it difficult to effectively clear and transition the footy down the field. Despite the loss, the game was an excellent learning opportunity and helped us prepare further for USAFL Nationals. The San Francisco Iron Maidens also beat New York and were crowned the winners of the East/ West Showdown. Following the games, we celebrated all together in the city!

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Our fantastic regular season has come to a close. We went 5-2 in regular season play and won the USAFL Eastern Regional Championship. Next up, we travel to Racine, Wisconsin on October 14 for the USAFL Nationals. We will play combined with another team (to be announced) in Division II as we look to continue our winning season and hopefully bring back some hardware! Stay tuned!

Women’s team racks up another win in Philly

The Lady Eagles continued their fantastic season this past weekend in Philadelphia, squaring off against the Philly Hawks and Boston Lady Demons.

After a bit of a late start, we took on the Demon/Hawks, in a high-scoring game that was neck and neck until the third quarter.  Despite nearing thunder, we finished out the third quarter with a narrow lead, only to endure a perilously long gap before the fourth quarter with a show of lightning and impressive rain.  But the long delay did not drag down the momentum, as we hammered in a couple more goals to secure the lead.

The Lady Eagles emerged victorious in our highest scoring game of the season, with goals from Molly, Mims, and Mariam – not to mention a hat trick by Baltimore’s Kristin Poti, earning her best on ground for the match. Strong play in the backline led by Bel and Ella and in the midfield by Kendall Jennings, Molly, and Alex allowed for good transitions up the field, creating many opportunities for the forward line. 

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The Lady Eagles continue to grow stronger as a team with each match, and we hope to carry this momentum into the final stretch of the regular season and into Nationals in October. Our next game will be August 25 in Boston, where will face off once again with the Boston Lady Demons and Philly Hawks. Then on September 8, we head to New York for the East Coast/ West Coast Showdown, which should be a fun and exciting day of footy between all the women’s teams on the East Coast and San Francisco. Stay tuned!     

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WOMEN’S EASTERN REGIONAL CHAMPS!

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Yall. I am beaming.  I am so proud of the growth of the Baltimore/DC women’s team and what we’ve been able to achieve.

I started playing with the Baltimore-Washington Eagles in 2012 in the shadows of USA Freedom players Eileen Geoghegan, Judith Stein, and Karen Stablein. Since then we have been a consistently small group of strong players, but have had trouble getting past a critical number of players needed to field a full team.  Over the past year, with the help of some fresh leadership in DC’s Molly Halberstadt and Baltimore’s Kristin Poti, we have been able to recruit some fresh talent and make huge strides towards being able to field a full team.

Last year at Nationals, we had our highest numbers and wore our own uniforms at the tournament for the first time in my history with the club.  I was both proud of the Lady Eagles and heartbroken to be sidelined with an injury. This past weekend at Regionals in Philadelphia, though, I got to be a part of what our team has become.  With 14 players from DC and Baltimore, we paired up with a few Boston Demons players as the “Deeagles” (Demon Eagles? Docker Eagles? DemonDockerEagles?), and ultimately took home the cup after taking down Columbus/Philadelphia and New York in two well-matched, hard-fought games.

I cannot tell you how amazing it was to be on this field with this group of women.  Did you know we had FIVE first-time players? If you were on the sidelines you would never have guessed.  Between the players in their first games, other players who had only played one season before, and a small number of seasoned vets, we were able to link up across the field and make some magic happen.

Our first game we found ourselves lined up against a combined Columbus/Philly team in a game that was low scoring but fairly evenly matched on the field.  Strong competition between the teams occurred in the midfield with Kendall Jennings winning in the ruck with Karen Stablein, Molly Halberstadt, and Sam Worrall playing fiercely.  Baltimore player Kristin Poti took the first goal for the team.  Fearless play from our newest kept the momentum going and we were able to secure our first win of the season.

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After watching the NY Magpies defeat the Columbus/Philadelphia team by a much larger margin than we had, Kendall revved us up with a pregame chat and we all agreed to keep the talk up on the field and play as hard as we could.  The defense with newbie Kristin Lough at fullback nearly shut out the Magpies, marking any ball that came her way and only letting one behind through the posts.

Two plays that put points on the board were beautiful illustrations of teamwork. Mariam Mehter, who debuted last year at Nationals, scooped up the ball and with quick thinking passed it along and shepherded away a NY player to clear the way for our first goal.  For another 8 minutes we play a tight nail-biting game of possession to protect our narrow lead over the Pies.  Then, Beth Kirkwood, another new player, finds herself in the forward line with the ball and Kristin telling her she’s all alone and has plenty of time!  Beth (admittedly suppressing panic) popped the ball into the goal square to set us up for a second goal that secured the game.  With a loud cheering section from Baltimore, DC, and Boston, whose men’s teams were done for the day, we finished out the last moments of the game and took straight to celebrating

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I know there are more highlights than this, but with a long day (about 5 hours between our two games…woof!) and my limited view of the field, these are the standout moments for me.  The one advantage of being injured at Nationals last year is that I “ran water” but basically got to get the best vantage points during all the games. I’m also not known for having an excellent attention span. Off-field highlights include finding a 4-leaf clover, giving it to Tracy for luck, which he promptly ate, finding a really fluffy moth trying to hide from the rain, oh, and drinking out of the championship cup!! Final moment of teamwork: Filling the trophy with cider for the first round so Poti could get a drink out of it!

I am so thrilled to see how much our team has grown, and I also want to thank the men’s teams for supporting us along the way!

xo,

Mims