At the beginning of the season, the Indianapolis AlleyCats had one goal: make it to the American Ultimate Frisbee League playoffs. Travis Carpenter, who was one of the team captains for the team, said making the playoffs was the goal for the season.
“We exceeded that goal by far,” Carpenter said. “I personally set a goal for this to be the best year in terms of leadership that I have ever had with the team.”
With the team working as one cohesive group, they accomplished more team goals along the way.
LEAVING THE SOUTHSIDE AND HEADING NORTH
After starting the season at Roncalli High School with a 1-1 record, the AlleyCats decided to head north to Grand Park Events Center in Westfield, Indiana. This was due to RHS getting new turf. At Grand Park, the AlleyCats posted a 6-0 perfect record. One of those home victories was win number 10 on the season.
ALLEYCATS AMASS 10 WINS
In a season where the AlleyCats clinched a playoff berth, they also won over 10 wins. This was the first time in franchise history. Carpenter said with the amount of wins it shows maturity and consistency.
“You have to be relentless and mentally tough to get that many wins in the season,” Carpenter said. “It is very easy to get complacent after you win a few games in a row, but we never let the weaker teams slip anything by us and came ready to play every single game day.”
For head coach Eric Leonard, this was his first season coaching the AlleyCats. He led them to an overall record of 12-4, seven wins greater than last season’s record (5-9). And for the second time in franchise history, they advanced to the AUDL Midwest Championship. Leonard said he absolutely imagined his team in the championship.
“This is a talented group of guys that work really hard,” Leonard said. “I’m not surprised at all with the success we’ve had.”
For Indianapolis, there’s one player that outshined the rest this season.
RICK GROSS MVP for ALLEYCATS
Earlier in the season, Rick Gross was considered a 2018 AUDL Most Valuable Player by the AUDL. As the season progressed, Gross showed by he could be the second AlleyCat to win MVP. The first was Goose Helton in 2012. Carpenter is a little skeptical about Gross winning MVP.
“I think there is no question that Rick was the MVP of our team this year,” Carpenter said. “Stats are very important in the MVP race and Rick has certainly set himself up to be in the MVP conversation. I think the problem is that our team did not make AUDL championship weekend, nor did we come particularly close in that Midwest divisional game.”
Gross led the team in defense with 28 Ds, second on the team in goals scored (56) and first in overall plus/minus with 86. According to Leaguevine, plus/minus is calculated by “every point the player plays results in being added by one, if the player’s team scores, or decreased by one, if the opposing team scores.” Leonard thinks that Gross has a good chance to win MVP. The AUDL has not set a date for MVP to be announced.
Altogether, the AlleyCats, both players and coaches, are happy about their success this season.