Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Mid Atlantic Regional Pool 1

In the first of a four part series, I will be evaluating and predicting gameplay in all three of the pools at the Mid Atlanitc Regional Tournament and finally predicting Bracket play. Mid Atlantic Quidditch is my specialty. I live in the Mid Atlantic and follow scores and tournaments very closely here. I hope to bring you the most accurate predictions possible and if your team believes I have pre-judged them, go out and prove me wrong. So, without further ado, here is Pool 1.
Carnegie Mellon
Penn State
Philadelphia Honey Badgers
Steel City QC
UNC Greensboro

The Favorite
Villanova came out strong this season with a win at LoveCup 2012. They play fantastic defense led by chaser Zach D'Amico and there isn't a snitch alive that has eluded seeker Billy Greco. Villanova is deep and is coached and prepared very well with useful warm up drills and tacital, strategic game plans. I expect Villanova to go 6-0 in this pool taking care of everyone but PSU and UVA easily. Billy Greco will save them in these games with clutch, come from behind snatches.

The Contenders
Virginia is a upstart team who was gained momentum from the Blacksburg Brawl and the Turtle Cup.  They have the ability to score against solid teams so look for Nova-UVA to be high scoring, but are vulnerable at the seeker position. In clutch situations at Turtle Cup, UVA was unable to snatch the snitch. If UVA can have more consistency at the seeker position, they will be able to knock off Villanova.
Penn State is a scrappy team who also has shown that they can score. PSU put up 50 points against Maryland in the Turtle Cup final and was only down 40 when the snitch was caught. If Penn State's defense can keep them in the game, the offense should be able to challenge any team at Regionals.

The Dark Horse
The Philadelphia Honey Badgers are a strange team. Going by the name of the Delaware Valley Dragons last year, the team is still fearsome. They have size and a monstrous power-keeper. Philadelphia sends their keeper up the pitch on every offensive possession and leaves both beaters behind to guard the net. While this is an effective defensive strategy, Quidditch now needs beaters to be used offensively. Any team that can expose this and use their own beaters offensively will able to beat Philadelphia. Low scoring games cause panic and no one likes low scoring games,so beware of the Honey Badgers. (Also, they have this one player who has a history of violent red cards-she is kind of short and has cornrows)

The Rest
Out of the rest, UNC Greensboro has the best chance to come in 4th because they have played against the Virginia teams this year already. Experience against better teams is valuable and make teams better. Still 2-4 is UNC-Greensboro's likely record.
Steel City QC and Carnegie Mellon have played already this year. The game ended SC 80*-CM 50. All that this tells me is that the teams are evenly matches and the game could go either way.

1. Villanova 6-0
2. Penn State 5-1
3. Virginia 4-2
4. Philadelphia HB 3-3
5. UNC Greensboro 2-4
6. Carnegie Mellon 1-5
7. Steel City QC 0-6

Monday, October 29, 2012

Weekend Tournament Results

Hollywood Bowl

Pool Play
USC 5-0 +630
Miami 4-1 +510
UCLA 3-2 +430
Lost Boys 2-3 +/-
Hollywood Harpies 1-4 -730
Claremont College 0-5 -840

USC 100* – University of Miami 80
The days of the low scoring West are gone with players such as USC's August Lurhs (10 goals according to the Southern California Quidditch Conference's tumblr site) and Remy Conatser (13 goals)

Texas State Diamond Cup
Pool Play
Texas A&M 3-0 +300
Texas 3-0 +270
Baylor 3-0 +260
Texas State 2-1 +200
Austin QC 2-1 -60
Texas Tech 1-2 -100
Rice 1-2 -230
Roadrunner 0-3 -130
Silver Phoenixes 0-3 -150
North Texas 0-3 -220
Mercenaries 1-2 -50

Bracket Play
Roadrunners 150* – Rice 40
Silver Phoenixes 80* – Texas Tech 20
Quarter Finals
Texas A&M 150* – Roadrunner 40
Texas State 110* – Austin Community 60
Baylor – Sam Houston State University (victory by Forfeit)
University of Texas 250* – Silver Phoenixes 20
Semi Finals
Texas A&M 50* – Texas State 0
Baylor 90* – University of Texas 80
Consolation Final
Texas State – University of Texas (Victory by Forfeit)
Texas A&M 70* – Baylor 30

Thank you to the Eighth Man for providing scores and standings.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Thoughts From Brotherly Love Cup 2012

Villanova is good. Nova was dominant throughout the tournament with their fast high powered offense lead by Zach D'Amico. D'Amico was the first line of defense against opposing chasers and kept chasers with the quaffle away from the keeper zone. Nova's keeper was also dangerous. A "power keeper" that reminded me of ASU's Willie Jackson, he would take the ball up the court like a point guard then either score or dump it off to D'Amico or one of Vllanova's other talented chasers behind the net. To stop Villanova, one must stop their passing game. I heard D'Amico yelling from the sidelines, "Let's go back to what we are good at, passing!" Fast, one handed, broomless drills run before the game seemed very effective and I would guess that they practice that drill often. Lastly, Villanova has new uniforms and they are awesome.
The New York teams could be a threat to the Boston 4 at the Northeast Regionals next month. Vassar, Stony Brook, Hofstra, and CUNY (not to mention the Badassilisks, who won NY's first tournament) can beat anyone of the major Boston teams. Hofstra is a scoring machine. They won their quarterfinal 190*-0 (I can't remember the team they beat but 190*-0 is impressive no matter who it is) Very athletic, Hofstra will get the quaffle behind the hoops and slam it in with authority. Stony Brook could also knock off a NE favorite. They played from about 40 behind Villanova for the entire game, which is more than most teams could do. A snatch and one more goal would have sent them to overtime. Lastly, Vassar is always there. Their beating core led by Peter Lee and seekers make up for weak chasing with excellent defense and clutch snatches. On twitter, Olympians Brad Armentor (LSU) and James Hicks (UMD) were remarking on the talent of Peter Lee. Hicks- "I just witnessed the best beater I've ever seen today. Plays for @VassarQuidditch." Armentor- "He impressed me at World Cup 5... Wonder if he's gotten better." Hicks-"YES!"
Those Guys... Those Guys were a "mercenary" team of the Chestnut Hill lacrosse team. They had no idea about the rules. Refs were constantly sending them to the penalty box and they were essentially winning by brute strength. I understand some Merc teams, but I think you should have to have prior experience to be on a Merc team. Thankfully, Those Guys lost in the Semifinals to Nova.
Whimsy-ness. LoveCup2012 was definitely more whimsy that LoveCup2011. The absence of serious teams such as Penn State, Pitt, or Maryland really hurt the tournament. The Brotherly Love Cup takes place at the same time and with a Harry Potter Festival in the town of Chestnut Hill. Seeing old people in death eater costumes and little kids dressed in their Harry Potter Halloween costumes kind of hurt the competitive atmosphere. Also, playing Harry Potter Showtunes didn't help. Oh, and the field size was way to small.
Overall, LoveCup2012 was fun though. It was my first Quidditch Tournament of the year and every time I go I am reminded why I love quidditch.

Projected November Rankings

After losses by three of the top four teams, the Eighth Man's poll is bound to be shaken up. I project that USC, with wins over Miami and UCLA will move into the number 1 spot with Diamond Cup champions Texas A&M in second.

1 University of Southern California
2 Texas A&M  
3 University of Maryland
4 University of Texas-Austin 
5 Villanova University
6 University of Miami
7 Louisiana State University
8 University of California-Los Angeles
9 Baylor University
10 Ball State University
11 Emerson College
12 Marquette University
13 Boston University
14 University of Kansas
15 Middlebury College
16 University of South Florida
17 Hofstra University
18 University of Minnesota
19 Michigan State University
20 University of Michigan

Saturday, October 27, 2012

#1 Texas and #2 Miami go down

Both of the top teams in the country, according the Eighth Man's poll, have gone down at tournament's today. At their first tournament of the season, #1 Texas started of well going 3-0 in pool play at the Texas State Diamond Cup. A&M and Baylor also went 3-0. Here were the Standings after Pool Play.
1.A&M, 2.UT, 3.Baylor, 4.TXST, 5.Austin, 6.SHSU, 7.Tech, 8.Rice, 9.Roadrunner, 10.Silver Pheonix, 11.UNT, 12.Merc
After destroying the Silver Phoenixes 250*-20 in the Quarterfinals, UT took the field against Baylor, a rising star in the Southwest Region. The biggest upset of the season was complete when Baylor caught the snitch to come from behind and win 90*-80. A&M, who beat Texas State in their semifinal 50*-0 (and avoided UT and Baylor by taking the #1 seed) beat Baylor in the final by a score of 70*-30 to spoil the Cinderella Story.
The #2 team in the land took the pitch today at the Hollywood Bowl. Playing Quidditch powerhouses 4th ranked UCLA and 8th ranked USC. After beating a few of the other Community teams at the Hollywood Bowl, Miami beat UCLA 120*-90 on the snitch snatch. But the 4th ranked Bruins weren't Miami's greatest threat. USC played very well against Miami, winning 150*-90. However, the score is misleading because if Miami had caught the snitch, the game would've gone to overtime, so it really wasn't a blowout. Next was the Crosstown rivalry of UCLA and USC. USC caught the snitch in a clutch moment once again winning 100*-80 to sdvance to the finals against Miami. Miami came out of the gates strongly, taking a 40 point lead at one point. But USC fought back and scored 3 goals so that USC seeker and Hollywood Bowl MVP David Demarest could make another come from behind sntach. USC surprised many people with their victory in the Hollywood Bowl going 7-0. Expect them to move up in the Eighth Man's November Quidditch Rankings.
Lastly, I attended my first Quidditch Tournament of the year!!!! It was the Brotherly Love Cup at Chestnut Hill. Villanova and Hofstra were far and away the best teams at this increasingly whimsy tournament. The competitive nature of these teams almost seemed out of place at this tournament which seemed really sad to me. As I've said before, Quidditch must have balance between whimsy and competitiveness to work. Anyways, the two teams met in the finals and Villanova, which was fast and physical won 130*-60. Olympian Zach D'Amico really played like an All Star and was the Tournament's MVP in my mind. I would say all of the NY teams (Hofstra, CUNY, Vassar, and Stony Brook) are a danger to knock of Boston teams at the Northeast Regional. It is also amazing how former Quidditch greats and some of the first programs have fallen into irrelevance. Chestnut Hill and Rochester, both teams that attended World Cup 3, looked beat by the newer teams.

The Eighth Man

The Eighth Man is a new Quidditch media site dedicated to bringing the Quidditch Community news, scores, rankings, and articles. It is really cool! Here are their rankings which I think are the best out there. A panel of 6 voters, one of whom is popular blogger The Golden Snitchy, vote on the top 20 teams in Quidditch every month. At DEPAB, I am going to accept these rankings as the best and most accurate out there and when referring to a team's ranking, I will refer to the Eighth Man's poll.
Here are the October 2012 Rankings.
1 University of Texas-Austin (4) 118
2 University of Miami (1) 111
3 University of Maryland 102
4 University of California-Los Angeles (1) 98
5 Texas A&M 97
6 Villanova University 81
7 Louisiana State University 68
8 University of Southern California 66
9 Ball State University 64
10 Emerson College 62
11 Marquette University 61
12 Boston University 54
13 University of Kansas 52
14 Middlebury College 52
15 University of South Florida 30
16 University of Minnesota 28
17 Baylor University 25
T-18 University of Michigan 23
T-18 Michigan State University 23
20 University of Florida 14

Other receiving votes: Penn State University 13, University of Pittsburgh 9, McGill University 3, Northern Arizona University 2, University of Richmond 2, Hofstra University 1, Arizona State University 1

Sunday, October 21, 2012

World Cup Predictions

Every week, I will reveal updated World Cup Predictions. Based on tournament I will move teams up and down the lists for each region.

Spots per Region
Midwest:  10 bids
Northeast: 11 bids
Southwest: 10 bids
Mid-Atlantic: 8 bids
South: 6 bids
West: 6 bids
Eastern Canada: 3 bids
Oceania: 1 bid
Europe: 1 bid
Other International: 4 bids

Ball State
Michigan State
Ohio State
Central Michigan
Crimson Warhawks

New York Badassilisks
SUNY Geneseo
Stony Brook

Mid Atlantic
Johns Hopkins
Penn State
Virginia Tech

Texas A&M
Oklahoma State
Texas Tech
Texas State


Arizona State

Eastern Canada

Region by Region Analysis

Both Emerson and Tufts looked strong in the first round of MQC games. As usual Boston and Harvard are right behind them. Other schools such as Smith and UMASS will benefit from playing the "Boston 4" and might be able to sneak one of the 11 Northeast regional spots. Also, earlier in the season, in New York, the Badassilisks took home the Zombie Tournamnet trophy but Hofstra and Vassar were also impressive.

Mid Atlantic
Maryland is one win over Villanova from being the best team in the Mid Atlantic. After going 5-0 at the Turtle Cup including wins over Pittsburgh, Penn State and Johns Hopkins, Maryland is 11-0 on the year. Other teams to watch for are Virginia, Richmond, and Johns Hopkins.

Upstart teams Tampa, Florida State, Florida Gulf Coast, Florida Atlantic, and hosts UCF played in the only tournament of the year so far in the Sunshine start. Miami won asserting itself as the favorite in Florida. USF and FGSU traveled to Loyola NO this past weekend to play LSU and other  NCBA Gulf teams. Both teams made it to the Semifinals and it took a snatch from 20 behind for USF to defeat newbies FGCU 40*-30. USF and LSU ended in a tie and I'm still not sure why they didn't play overtime. Miami travels to LA next weekend to play UCLA and USC!

At the Dmbledore Tournament hosted by IUSB, Ball State defeated Marquette in the finals and Michigan and Michigan State advanced to the Semifinals. But, last year's Midwestern champs Kansas did not play in the tournament. In the Kansas Cup, I know that Kansas advanced to the finals after beating Arkansas is the semis but I don't know who they will play in the finals.

A&M and LSU are still on top of the region, but Texas hasn't played yet. UT, many people's favorite to win the World Cup, kick off their season next weekend at Texas State for the Diamond Cup. Baylor and SHSU also had strong showing at the Breakfast Taco tournament.

NAU and Arizona State faced off in Arizona for round robin play (also with Arizona) and Utah won the Denver Quidpocalypse. We get our first view of the California teams next weekend when Miami comes to play USC and UCLA and Stanford and Cal okay in their annual rivalry match.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

A&M and Ball State Open Seasons with Victories

Breakfast Taco Tournament in Houston
Pool Play Results
1) A&M 3-0
2) LSU 3-0
3) SHSU 3-0
4) Baylor 2-1
5) Silver Phoenixes 2-1
6) Texas State 1-2
7) Bruins 1-2
8) Plastics 1-2
9) Rice 1-2
10) UTSA 1-2
11) UIW 0-3 
12) UNO/USA 0-3

All teams made bracket play
First Round
Silver Phoenixes-UNO/USA 170-70*
Plastics-Rice 50*-10
Texas State-UIW 130-40*
Bruins-UTSA 30-80*

Texas A&M-Plastics 100*-0
Baylor-Phoenixes 210*-0
SHSU-Texas State 60*-30
UTSA-LSU 10-70*

Texas A&M 70*  Baylor 40
LSU 130*  SHSU 30

Texas A&M 120* LSU 90

SHSU=Sam Houston State
UTSA=Texas San Antonio
UNO/USA= New Orleans/South Alabama
UIW= Univrsity of the Incarnate Word
Bruins=Baylor Comunity Team
Silver Phoenxies=A&M Community Team
Plastics=Merc Team

Dumbledore Memorial Tournament
Michigan 40 Marquette 60*
Michigan State loses to Ball State (score unknown)

Ball State 140* Marquette 80

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Tournament Updates

Breakfast Taco Tournament
Favorites' Pool Play Records
LSU 3-0
Texas A&M 3-0
Silver Phoenixes 2-1
Baylor 2-1

LSU beat Baylor in an Overtime thriller 130*-90. I believe that Baylor will exact revenge in the semifinals.

Dumbledore Memorial Tournament
All four of my projected semifinalists have made the Semifinals!!!
The matchups will be Marquette vs. Michigan and Michigan State vs. Ball State. Marquette has looked very dominant winning 170*-20, 80*-40, and 230*-20 over Loyola, Central Michigan and Miami. Central Michigan also looked good coming in 5th out of 14 teams (narrowly missing bracket play) with a 2-1 record losing only to Marquette.

Brief Predictions for Breakfast Taco and Dumledore Tournaments

The Breakfast Taco Tournament in Houston and the Dumbledore Tournament in South Bend will give us the first glimpses of the Southwest and Midwest regions. Big name teams such as Texas, Kansas, and Pittsburgh won't be attending these tournaments, but a good lineup of experienced teams are set to make 2 great tournaments. Here's what I expect to see:
Breakfast Taco Chicken and Waffles Tournament
Sam Houston State University (SHSU)
Silver Phoenixes
University of New Orleans (UNO) + University of Southern Alabama (USA)
Louisiana State University (LSU)
Texas State University
Baylor Bruins
Merc Team
University of Incarnate Word (UIW)
University of Texas - San Antonio (UTSA)

Texas A&M,  Silver Phoenixes, Baylor, LSU (or the Merc team if its made up of almost all UT players)

Baylor 90* Texas A&M 80

Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore Memorial Tournament

Pool A: Purdue, MSU, NIU, IU, St Marys.

Pool B: BSQL, U of M, SIUC, IUSB, Purdue Community Team. 

Pool C: Marquette, Miami (OH), Central Michigan, and Loyola.

Michigan State, Michigan, Marquette, Ball State (or Purdue depending on new recruits)

Marquette 120* Michigan State 50

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Maryland Quidditch: Keys to Success

This past Saturday, 10 teams gathered in Blacksburg, Virginia for the 2nd Sirius Blacksburg Brawl. 8 of the 10 teams were from the Mid Atlantic, there was one Mercenary team and Ohio State also made the journey for some good inter-regional play. Many teams played well, but one team dominated, scoring more than 100 points, holding the opposing team to less than 50 and catching the snitch in every game. And that was the University of Maryland. As Kitty Schaffernoff, a Virginia Tech player and organizer of the Blacksburg Brawl said, "These kids REALLY know how to play Quidditch."
 I contacted Sarah Woosley, UMD Quidditch President and newly appointed IQA Development Director to find out how Maryland has become so good. Sarah said, "our growth in the past few years has been great. Going from 'what's a broom' three years ago, to... we can compete but probably not win last fall, to our current standing of being a well known team across the country." As someone who is in the stages of forming a quidditch team, I would ask, so how do you get from being a new inexperienced team to being successful. "(Maryland) prides itself on working together and communication," Sarah explains, "This means both chasers and beaters coordinating with each other.  We maintained bludger control for almost the entire tournament thus allowing our chasers to run in through a much easier defensive field." I think many teams do position specific drills, but to be one of the best in quidditch, a team has to practice and utilize multi position skills. Beaters can be used in a very wide variety of ways, some more effective than others.
All great teams, the Middleburys, Floridas, and Emersons, are cohesive units and to hold those units together, your team has to be properly conditioned. "Our conditioning is probably unusual in quantity for a quidditch team, in that we run sprints after every single scrimmage and have two (ninety minute) conditioning sessions a week," describes Sarah. In addition to the two conditioning sessions, Maryland practices 3 times a week.   "At the practices we have a smattering of scrimmages, drills, and games," says Sarah as she goes into detail.
The Blacksburg Brawl also told us about a rising star in the Quidditch game, who I think, has a great opportunity to be the Tufts of the Mid Atlantic Regional in November. Virginia was praised by both Sarah and Kitty, who said of UVA, "definitely a Virginia team to watch out for. They beat UR via a snitch catch and gave VT a run for their money. I would predict that they'll become a real contender this year. They're going to the Turtle Cup, too, so watch out for that." Sarah described the relatively new team as Maryland's greatest challenge at the Blacksburg Brawl. "They played very well and their growth from the previous year is remarkable.  If they continue the way they are going they will certainly be a force to be reckoned with in the region." Virginia finished in 6th overall behind VCU, Ohio State, Virginia Tech, Richmond and champions, Maryland.
In this article, I focused on a great tournament, a new quidditch powerhouse, and a rising team. Last week, I related the New York Badassilisks' success to how whimsy+competitive=IQA's success. This week, I want to talk about how amazing the growth of the IQA has been. 2 years ago, most teams were not competitive and all competitive teams were from the Northeast. Now, we can identify favorites to win each regional. Regionals didn't even exist 2 years ago. The World Cup was a bid from an outside source (not the IQA) and it will be outside of the Northeast for the first time ever.  We as a quidditch community have to thank the teams like Maryland, the teams that have worked and trained to become one of the best. Our sport, once goofy and cape-bearing now has uniforms and trained referees. At my school, I am trying to start a Middle School Quidditch team and the hardest part is to make Quidditch serious. If I could only sit them down to watch a Maryland vs. LSU game... I asked Sarah what she thought of Maryland's chances at Regionals, "beyond that any team can grow insanely with the new school year.  So as far as regionals go I would be confident to say that we will be a challenge for anyone we play."