With the season kicking off tomorrow, the 2014 Spinners have a deep roster of newcomers, including old faces making their return to the team after a year’s hiatus, as well as MLU rookies from the college and local circuits. Here’s an inside look at the top five newcomers in Philadelphia.

David Brandolph | Offensive Handler

College: Arcadia University | Hometown: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

The Spinners handler core was stagnant at times last season, with Dave Baer and Nick Hirannet ending the year each with 300 throws, two of just five players in the entire league to do so. Unlike D.C.’s Alan Kolick, who led the league with 488 throws and had the offense run through him, many of the throws for Baer and Hirannet came between handlers.

By bringing David Brandolph back to the Spinners’ attack, coach Billy Maroon hopes to vary the looks that come out of the handler position, relying on Brandolph to take chances with the disc, both in regards to breaking the mark and sending the disc downfield. In addition, Brandolph will stretch defenses from the handler spot and look to pull in some discs on deep shots.

Marcus Ranii-Dropcho | Offensive Cutter

College: University of Pittsburgh | Hometown: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Spinners fans should be counting down the minutes until the six Pittsburgh players that Philadelphia has brought on for 2014 finally join the squad. Each player’s impact will be great, but Marcus Ranii-Dropcho will be a game changer when he and his fellow Pitt stars join the roster in late May.

At Pitt, Ranii-Dropcho works alongside Max Thorne as the main offensive handlers for the squad, and while his throws, especially his hucks, are a strong suit, he is at his most effective chasing the disc downfield. Ranii-Dropcho’s height and his ability to use his body while in the air are what made him a Callahan candidate, and that’s what will make an impact for the Spinners this year, especially while cutting with Jake Rainwater.

Jake Rainwater | Offensive Cutter

College: Dickinson College | Hometown: Highland Park, New Jersey

Rainwater was the runner up for MVP in 2012, and after a year off, he returns to the field ready to prove that despite the time away, he is still one of the best cutters in the league. He is the biggest talent that the Spinners acquired over the course of the offseason, and if he can have a big year, then the Spinners will be primed to compete with D.C. and New York for a playoff spot.

Matt Esser | Defensive Cutter

College: Millersville University | Hometown: Kutztown, Pennsylvania

Esser will have his hands full this season, as he will more than likely be the one to face off against either the Current’s, the Rumble’s or the Whitecaps’ best offensive cutters. He and Leon Chou are the face of the Spinners D-line, and if Esser can raise his level of play to potentially shut down Peter Prial or Josh Markette, the Spinners will contend.

Once the defensive line has the disc, Esser can cause trouble all over the field. He was the only player in the AUDL last season to have 35 goals, assists and defensive plays.

Max Thorne | Offensive Cutter

College: University of Pittsburgh | Hometown: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

At Pitt, the offense runs through Thorne, who has the disc in his hands to begin most points off the pull. While Ranii-Dropcho may play a flashier style of Ultimate, Thorne has all the fundamentals down.

What will be interesting is to see how Thorne adapts from the leader of the offense in college to a cutter for the Spinners, especially on such little practice with the team. But if he figures it out, he could help a Spinners squad that could use an energy boost late in the season.


Catch some of these players and the rest of the Spinners tomorrow for opening day at Franklin Field. The game begins at 7:30 p.m., but join us for pre-game festivities at City Tap House in University City, just a short walk from the stadium.

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