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Preseason Preview: Players to Watch in 2024

A NEW… QUARTERBACK?


Offensive heavy hitter and former Los Angeles Astra star, Maggie O’Connor, traded her stars for scales for the 2024 season. In 2023, O’Connor recorded 10 goals and 19 assists over 6 games for the Astra.


“I think our biggest signing this year is Maggie O’Connor,” said founder and team captain, Helen Eifert. “She was their [LA’s] main person. We picked up a quarterback from another team.”



Kody Lippincott high fives Maggie O’Connor after the 2023 LA Beach Bowl.  (Photo by: Nathan Brodie)
Kody Lippincott high fives Maggie O’Connor after the 2023 LA Beach Bowl. (Photo by: Nathan Brodie)

O’Connor – a 2023 Western Ultimate League Offensive Player of the Year nominee – will join a group of talented handlers in Arizona, including Chip Chang and Paige Applegate – also 2023 OPOTY nominees – giving O'Connor more flexibility as to where she plays.


“Handling, cutting…She does everything on the field well… She can truly do it all,” Eifert added.


O’Connor’s dynamic throwing will be welcomed by a core of speedy downfield receivers. In 2022, she tied for first in goals (18) and was third in receiving yards (1,074) with LA. Last season, O’Connor wowed fans by racking up 4 goals and 7 assists in a single game.


O'Connor catches an upfield throw during a match against the Sidewinders in 2023 (Photo by: Nathan Brodie)

The Comeback Kids


After missing the 2023 season, two Sidewinders will make their triumphant return in 2024. 


Laura “LP” Prelsnik-Aragon welcomed her daughter Parker into the world in April 2023. While juggling being a new mom, she stayed involved with the team assisting with tryouts, coach hiring, and leadership development.


Lindsey “Z” Doyle was a 2023 captain but suffered an early season foot injury and subsequent surgery that sidelined her for the entire season.


Now, both former co-captains are ready to suit up for the Snakes again in 2024.

“[Doyle and Aragon] were the glue of our O-Line. LP has some of the most incredible break throws and huge full field bombs,” said Eifert. “Lindsey is one of the best receivers, she is just an incredible athlete. Getting the two of them back – a big thrower and a deep cutter – we didn’t have much of a deep game last season... I think having them back will bring the deep game back.” 


Aragon’s hucks contributed to her standout stats – second in assists (15) and throwing yards (1,800) in 2022. Meanwhile, Doyle put up 10 goals and 7 assists in 2022.




On The Rise


A complete nuisance on defense and one of the fastest players in the league, Lauren Pisani is the player to watch for Arizona in 2024. Pisani was a reserve player in 2023, playing in only 25 defensive points. But, after a USA Ultimate club season with Lawless, Arizona’s top mixed team with 2x Nationals appearances, she’ll be ready to bring her speed and height to the Sidewinders defense.


Lauren Pisani celebrating a goal against the San Diego Super Bloom (Photo: Nathan Brodie)

“I think she really had a summer of massive improvement getting to play against all of these top level matchups,” Eifert said.


The summer experience could lead to a bigger role with Arizona in 2024.


Championship Bound?


With the addition of talented handlers Aragon and O’Connor, offensive powerhouse Doyle returning to the roster, and Pisani’s potential breakout season, the Sidewinders rightfully have their eyes set on Championship Weekend. But will they break through the seasoned rosters and back-to-back league champions and runner-ups, Seattle Tempest and San Diego Super Bloom?


Catch the drama of the 3rd season of the WUL opening weekend on March 23, 2024! The season kicks off with Arizona at Colorado Alpenglow, Bay Area Falcons at Utah Wild, and San Diego at Seattle.

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