No longer bothered by the injuries that dogged him last year, Morgan Hibbert is putting together a monster season that makes him a leading candidate for Major League Ultimate’s Most Valuable Player award this year. The play that won him the Spikeball Defensive Play of the Week Award is a perfect example of why he is the most feared defender in the league, way out in front of everyone else with 17 Ds on the season.

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The Nighthawks’ Allan Cowan had the mark on this play. Adam Simon, who has thrown 45 more passes than any of his Seattle teammates so far this season, had the disc in his office, right in the centre of the field where he likes it. You can see how Cowan at first marks him tightly, then steps off as the play develops.

“I originally stepped back to stop a break force, but once I realized that wasn’t an option for him I stepped over to a more straight up mark to try to make his throw not be a flat throw to space,” said Cowan. “During this game we were focusing on being tight to our defenders to take away their first choice and force more risky throws like the one he eventually got off. Once the risky throw was up Morgan made a great athletic play to win the battle.”

And what a battle it was. Donnie Clark is tied for the league lead in goals, and Hibbert covered him for the entire point.

“I knew Chicken (Adam Simon) had the disc,” said Hibbert. “Donnie first cut long, but when no huck came out, he cut under and I shut him down. As he turned to go long again I could see their other handlers were shut down by our defenders. Since I was on Donnie and Chicken had the disc, I knew he was hucking it to my guy. I put my head down and ran to catch up with Donnie, and as he looked like he was about to catch the disc I turned to locate it as I was jumping and the timing all worked out. There was the disc by my hand.”

Hibbert makes it sound like the play just happened, but it took a remarkable combination of speed, athleticism, experience and understanding of the game, and a willingness to sacrifice his body to pull it off. It was the most eye-catching of the no fewer than six Ds he got in this game.

You’ll be able to watch Hibbert and their teammates strut their stuff in a rematch against the Seattle Rainmakers this Saturday, June 7 at 7 p.m at the University of British Columbia’s Thunderbird Stadium.

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