Photo by Brian Chu – UltiPhotos.com
Last week, defensive handler Matt Neeley woke up to an unusual number of texts and tweets.
Family and friends were contacting Neeley after seeing him make a spectacular layout grab on ESPN’s SportsCenter Top 10 the night before.
“I saw I made the Top 10 plays on ESPN the next morning,” said Neeley. “My phone was blowing up and when I saw the reason for it I was like, ‘Holy crap.’ Looks like all the time I spent at age 12 practicing my web gems did pay off.”
A few days later, the MLU named Neeley’s catch the US Coachways Offensive Play of the Week.[bc width=”628px” height=”360″]http://tv.mlultimate.com/detail/videos/2015-plays-of-the-week/video/4222996624001/2015-week-3—us-coachways-offensive-play-of-the-week[/bc]
“The play was pretty sweet,” recalled Neeley. “I saw Wes [Simons] get the disc under so I took off. I looked back to check where my defender was, then l looked to the disc again and was like, ‘Oh man I gotta leave my feet.’ Next thing I know the disc is in my hand and the team is going crazy.”
The Rainmakers would go on to win their first game of the 2015 season, 20-17 over the San Francisco Dogfish.
Perhaps it was the thrill of playing in front of the home crowd or the extra weeks to finally take shape as a team, but most would agree that it was Neeley’s corn rows that earned the Rainmakers a win, the play of the week and coverage on national television.
“I’d typically wear a hat while playing ultimate,” said Neeley. “Since MLU doesn’t allow that I decided to get creative. French braids were suitable for the first two games but I had to go one up for our first true home game. Our coach Charlie Mercer called the rows ‘dirty’ before the game. I guess that energy translated over for this play!”
Neeley and the rest of the Rainmakers are preparing to hit the road for a rematch with the San Francisco Dogfish this Sunday, May 17 at 2:00 p.m. PT.
For more Rainmakers highlights, head to Rainmakers TV.