The people have spoken! With over 500 votes determining 5th place, 3rd place, and 1st place... we officially have our top 6 defenders in the world!
Thank you all for voting, the community has spoken!
#6- Max Model
Max is from Summit, New Jersey and has been playing roundnet for the last couple years with his brother Cole on Hilltop Spikes. Hilltop has consistently been ranked in the top 5 teams in the world but unfortunately has not competed as a team this year due to an injury Max suffered late last season when he tore his ACL. Currently 8 months into rehab Max's recovery has been going very well. However, he may not be making it back for the remainder of this season as he wants to be confident and 100% when he returns to competitive play. We hope the recovery continues to go well so we can see the #6 defender in the world back at full strength soon!
#5- Anthony Alvino
Anthony is one of three players who hails from Long Island, New York on this list. He and his teammate Ryan Fitzgerald (who you will see later on this list) compete together on Anchored LI. Anchored is arguably one of the most entertaining teams to watch as they consistently make highlight plays which feature their defense and athleticism. They have been featured on Sportscenter multiple times and likely will appear again soon as they continue to wow spectators with their play.
#4- Kenny Ortega
Kenny is one of two players from the West on this list. Previously he had played on Point Loma. However, this year he plays on Mauktega Roundnet with previous national champion Troy Mauk. The team is from San Diego, California. In the past couple years Kenny has been known for his athleticism, body defense, and diving all over the place on defense. His abilities land him at #4 on our list.
#3- Tyler Cisek
Tyler is the second player on this list from Long Island, New York. He currently plays on the Cisek-Showalter roundnet team which has been consistently ranked #1 in the world for the past couple years. They are back to back national champions in 2017, and 2018. Tyler and his partner PJ are known for their scary serves, but Tyler has also been considered one of the top defensive players over the past couple years as well. His quickness, athleticism, and speed allow him to track down balls that typically don't come back to the net... He lands as #3 on this list.
#2- Jarratt Rouse
Last season Jarratt finished as the second best team in the world as part of Wabi Sabi along with his former teammate Preston Bies. This season Jarratt has teamed up with Travis Core as part of Flexual Healing roundnet. Jarratt is one of the most experienced players on this list. Well known and established several years ago, he was initially known for his days on Strange Embrace roundnet (His previous partner Devin is pictured on the cover photo of his post). Jarratt is known for his quick relflexes, body defense, and overall coverage around the net. He lands as #2 on this list.
#1- Ryan Fitzgerald
With nearly 68% of the 500+ votes for the best defender of the world- Ryan Fitzgerald is very deserving of the title- #1 defender in the world. The 3rd player hailing from Long Island, New York. He team up with Anthony Alvino on Anchored LI. Anchored is the only team to take down Cisek-Showalter in a series the last two years. Their scrappy, athletic, overwhelming defense tends to force errors and create opportunities that simply doesn't exist for other roundnet teams. Safe to say, Ryan is a beast on defense so don't be surprised if we continue to see him on highlight plays!
Thank you to everyone who took part in this round of 'The Best Ballers in the World' Series. Keep an eye out for our part 2 of this series... We will be crowning the 'Best Ballers Outside the US'