Photos by Sandy Canetti and Paul Andris – Ultiphotos.com
The Philadelphia Spinners announced today that two of their most important offensive pieces from their Championship roster will return for the 2017 Season.
Continuing their recent announcements of returning players for 2017, the Spinners announced today that handlers Nick Hirannet and David Brandolph will both be returning to the team for the upcoming season.
As soon as the team brought Charlie Hoppes on board, the new coach placed an emphasis on retaining both Brandolph and Hirannet.
“Nick and Brando are two of the most talented and productive offensive handlers in the open division,” said Hoppes, who coaches both players on the club team Philadelphia Patrol. “They are both strong leaders and they each make the other better. To bring them back is huge for our team and what we hope to accomplish this season.”
“I’m excited to be returning to the Spinners for another season,” said Hirannet, one of the team’s captains. “The experience gets better and better each year and I’m excited for what the league has planned for this upcoming season. I’d say I’m most excited for our first [regular season cross-divisonal] game in Seattle. I’m also thrilled that we were able to secure Charlie Hoppes as our Head Coach. Although it seemed impossible to replace a coach like [2016 Head Coach Darryl Stanley], we’ve been able to do so here with one of my favorite people to work with in the ultimate world.”
For Brandolph, a 5-foot-8 handler out of Arcadia University, the 2017 season will be his third in the MLU. Joining the team in 2014, the Philadelphia native made an immediate impact on the team, setting the course for the Spinners to become a powerhouse in the Eastern Conference. Last season, Brandolph tallied 5 goals, 11 assists and 4 blocks in his return to the MLU. Possessing an impressive arsenal of throws, Brandolph has completed 92.9% of his passes on his career.
“I am obviously incredibly happy to be back with the Spinners, MLU, and my teammates,” said Brandolph. “It was an easy decision for me to make. We all look forward to playing under Coach Hoppes, and try to repeat as MLU champions.”
His coach couldn’t be happier to have him locked in for 2017.
“Brandolph is the best thrower I’ve ever been around,” said Hoppes. “The bigger MLU field plays into his strengths. He can put passes to space in ways that no one else can.”
Sidelined by a torn ACL in 2015, Brandolph returned stronger and faster in 2016, leading the Spinners in assists (21) on their way to the franchise’s first MLU Championship title. Following the season, Brandolph was named as a finalist for the Eastern Conference Most Valuable Player award.
“[Brandolph’s] defense took a huge leap forward in 2016, so I think you can expect him to get some points with the defensive unit,” Hoppes said. “But the biggest thing is that I’m looking forward to the offense taking another big step this season, and I think folks will be talking about Brando as an MVP candidate.”
Hirannet, a 5-foot-9 handler out of the University of Delaware, has been an integral part of the Spinners since the team’s inception. The quick footed Hirannet has been the field general of the Spinners offense for years, holding the MLU career records both for throws (1,414) and catches (1,247), and is one of only two players in MLU history to have played at least 700 points in his career.
“The most incredible thing about Nick Hirannet is that he is always the same player,” said Hoppes. “He almost never turns it over, all while making challenging breaks and hucks look simple. He is perpetually open, and never misses an opportunity to take advantage of a defensive miscue.
With Brandolph and Hirannet back, the Spinners have already returned a solid core of players for the upcoming 2017 MLU Season, with team already having announced the re-signing of veterans Dave Baer, Gabe Colton, Himalaya Mehta and Billy Sickles, as well as second-year players Brice Dunn, Ethan Fortin, Mike Arcata, Vince Reydams and Nick Patel.
With more and more players from the 2016 Championship roster returning, the Spinners are positioning themselves to defend their title, a goal that Brandolph seems eager to achieve:
“It won’t be easy, but we don’t want it to be.”