In the most wide open pool at Mid Atlanitcs, any number of teams could win and exciting evenly matched games will be plentiful.
Pittsburgh QC is one of the oldest teams in Quidditch and were a trendy pick to knock off Middlebury at World Cups 4 and 5. Now, they are no longer as feared especially with the loss of former senior Matt Panico. After what appeared a disappointing result at the Turtle Cup, many may have counted Pitt out. But, at Turtle Cup, they lost to UMD in pool play and were eliminated by the Hoth Rebels, a Merc team consisting of players from various New York teams such as LoveCup runner up Hofstra. Hoth beat Pitt in overtime, on a snitch catch. I wouldn't exactly call that a decisive victory.
Richmond is considered by many, including the Eighth Man, the best team in the VQL. I disagree because they have been inconsistent. They are not able to push inferior teams out of the snitch zone. In other words, they haven't been keeping a large lead. Games against VCU turned hectic at Turtle Cup when the snitch came on the field because Richmond hadn't built up a large enough lead. If Richmond can either, catch the snitch more often, or score more points, expect to see them at the ptop of their group.
Johns Hopkins put on an impressive performance at Turtle Cup going all the way to the Semifinals. Many quidditch followers did not expect this of a team that played Division 2 at World Cup 5, but great chasing tactics, led by Mike Matesich, led them past Chestnut Hill and almost past UVA. Hopkins has had mixed results against Mid Atlantic powerhouses, losing 160*-20 against Maryland, but beating Villanova 120*-100.
The Dark Horse
Duke, the lacrosse and basketball powerhouse, might also surprise some teams at Mid Atlantics. At World Cup 5, Duke seemed out of place in Division 2. The Blue Devils were very aggressive and competitive. If they have found a way to turn the agression into well-oiled machine of a quiditch team, Duke could burst onto the quidditch scene overnight much like UT.
Pool 3 is also the deepest pool in my opinion. Lafayette played well at LoveCup and were eliminated on a heartbreaker (I forget who they lost to!!). Lafayette has shown they can put up points against good teams (they scored 50 against PSU at Turtle Cup) but the defense and physicality is lacking.
Christopher Newport is experienced in the VQL and has played good Virginia teams often, but a last place finish at the Blacksburg Brawl is not promising.
Kutztown also was not impressive at the Turtle Cup, coming in 15th out of 16th after pool play and losing to Penn State 190-30*. But, I saw a lot of determination from this team at LoveCup and any team that fights to snatch the snitch when they are down 190 is a team to look out for. Resilience is a key factor.
Since its crowded and confusing at the top, I put each team's losses in parentheses next to their record.
1. Pittsburgh 5-1 (Johns Hopkins)
2. Duke 4-2 (Pittsburgh, Richmond)
3. Johns Hopkins 4-2 (Duke and Richmond)
4. Richmond 4-2 (Pittsburgh and Lafayette)
5. Lafayette 3-3
6. Christopher Newport 1-5
7. Kutztown 0-6