Photo by Brian Chu –

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.

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“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.

About The Author

Paul has worked in online content, freelance writing and education for the past ten years. A native of Baltimore with roots in Philadelphia and Los Angeles, Paul grew up in a family of Ultimate enthusiasts. He graduated with his undergraduate degree in English from Goucher College in Baltimore and his Masters in Education also from Goucher. Paul was the captain of Goucher College Ultimate and then played with the Philadelphia Area Disc Alliance, Central Maryland Ultimate Association and the Los Angeles Organization of Ultimate Teams. As the Director of Content, Paul handles the online content for the MLU site and eight team sites.

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