Monday, April 29, 2013


I am thrilled to be joining the IQA Editorial Staff for writing Monday Snitch and miscellaneous other articles. I will keep blogging and be sure to post my Monday Snitches on this blog!

Submissions for The Senior Class Yearbook can still being sent to even though this blog's name has been changed to The QuidKid.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Senior Class Yearbook: The Kansas Four

Doug Whiston

Connor Drake

Hai Nguyen

Ronell Sharp

Photo I and IV Kat Ignatova

Doug Whiston, Connor Drake, Hai Nguyen and Ronell Sharp are the core of an Elite Eight Kansas team. Whiston is great beater strategist and founder of Kansas Quidditch. Drake was on Team USA and was a Snitchy Games participant. He is described by incoming Kansas captain Colby Soden as "a rock." Nguyen is lightning quick, and the 2012-13 season's captain. Sharp, who joined the team in Fall 2011, completely transformed the Jayhawks into a Regional Champion and World Cup Contender.

All four have had profound impacts during the first three years of Kansas' existence. Off the pitch, Soden described that each of the graduating seniors showed leadership in their own way. On the pitch, these four will be missed even more. Drake, "ran a smart offense on the pitch," according to Soden while Sharp, "delivered some big hits on defense that really gave us a spark." Soden went on to call Sharp, "easily the most athletic person on the team and most sports minded."

As previously mentioned, advancing all the way to the Elite Eight at World Cup VI was big for Kansas. The Jayhawks went into Randall's Island with big expectations. They ranked in the top five and had recently been crowned Midwest Champions. But, Kansas ran into a hot Minnesota team in the Sweet Sixteen losing 70*-40. The beginning of this season was hard too and Kansas did not meet the expectations of many. Going into World Cup VI, Kansas was vastly underestimated. "Before World Cup," says Soden, "we all had a chip on our shoulder because we knew how good we were and didn't have the opportunity to prove it to all our haters."

At World Cup, Kansas beat two regional champions, in Baylor and Marquette, with the latter being eliminated because of the loss. Nguyen and Whiston each devised strategies that especially helped beat Baylor and Sharp's defensive ability shutdown Marquette's Bobby Roth. Drake acted as a "general on the pitch," and his leadership was "invaluable" to the team. Advancing all the way to the Elite Eight and hanging with a team like UCLA was a fitting way to end the college careers of four fantastic players.

Thank you to 2013-14 Kansas captain Colby Soden for the nominations!

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Senior Class Yearbook: Missy Sponagle

Missy Sponagle

Without Missy Sponagle, UCLA might not have taken the Championship Field opposite Texas at World Cup VI. With their precise passing, fantastic beater strategy, and great female chasing core, UCLA was one of the most fun teams to watch under the sun in Kissimmee. Almost everything that UCLA is known for, says UCLA keeper Alex Browne, "can be traced back almost directly to Missy's input to the team."

Photo by Kat Ignatova

In addition to being one of the most feared female chasers in the game, Sponagle has been crucial behind the scenes for the Bruins. Browne says she "changed UCLA team culture for the better, making the team more inclusive, fun, strategic, and focused on the individual improvement of all players."

On the pitch, Sponagle was described by the Golden Snitchy as being a "huge physical threat." Sponagle gained national attention for taking down USC's August Lürhs at Western Cup III. She was selected to Team USA following her junior year along with fellow UCLA female chaser Vanessa Goh. Throughout the 2012-13 season, Sponagle played a huge part in UCLA's high octane offense. Pool play at World Cup VI was easy for UCLA, as was bracket play up until the Final Four. As Browne points out, UCLA's matchup with Baylor was a tighter game than most remember. When star beater Kara Levis was injured, Sponagle entered the game donning a black headband. Several key beats from Sponagle prevented Baylor from scoring for nearly 6 minutes and her presence continued to be felt for the rest of the game. Browne says of her critical performance in the semifinal, "she once again saved all of us without anybody ever really knowing."

UCLA went on to win that game but lose in the finals to Texas. Looking ahead to the 2013-14 season, it is unclear whether or not Sponagle will join a community team. She currently does not know where she will be following her graduation. Browne added, "It's also unclear whether or not she could bring herself to join a new team, since it is impossible to replace the love that one has for the UCLA team."

Nominated by UCLA keeper Alex Browne. Thank you to Alex for the first nomination, a great nomination of a great player.

Quidditch Senior Class Yearbook 2013

As Graduation time rolls around for many colleges across the nation, it can be a bittersweet time for quidditch teams and players. Many players have played their last collegiate quidditch game and have enjoyed a fantastic career. Teams are losing key players and when they take the pitch next year, they will look completely different than now.
On the other hand, community teams are growing stronger than ever, especially in recruiting. Are these graduating players just transferring to another club?

So... I want to start a project. I want to showcase great graduating players on my blog to
1) honor the players and their careers
2) create a database of sorts that documents who will or will not be playing quidditch for a certain team next year

And it's simple and involves reader-participation! Teams or teammates of the graduating player can send in the following...
picture of the player (preferably in action)
*name of the graduating player
significance to your team
quidditch memory
*joining a community team?

All starred categories are required. Just email me at and the player you submit will be featured on A Death Plot Against Baseball.

This will not work if there isn't reader-participation!!!

Sunday, April 21, 2013


There was one team at World Cup VI that was head and shoulders above the rest. Chaser depth and non-stop scoring made the Texas-Austin Longhorns unstoppable. Texas' campaign for a World Cup championship began long ago. At Randall's Island, Texas jumped onto the national scene posting one of the best point differentials in pool play before being knocked out by Southwest foe, Texas A&M. Spring of 2012 led to tournament championships for UT and the popular quidditch talk show, The Pitch. Sarah Holub, Kody Marshall and Jacob Adlis not only brought us the best quidditch news at the time but also publicized that Texas was a WCVI favorite. Many people began to predict a Texas-UCLA final over the summer seeing players from both teams at the Olympic Exhibition and at Fantasy Tournaments.
The Fall of 2012 brought troubles for Texas though. Texas lost to Baylor, a team that, before that game, had yet to prove themselves, at the Texas State Diamond Cup. Texas A&M won that Diamond Cup and won over public opinion as the consensus number one. Texas did win West by Southwest, but not before suffering a pool play loss to UCLA. In the finals, star players Kody Marshall and Augustine Monroe put on a clinic but, Texas was not at full strength. Beaters Jacob Adlis and Lauren Carter were injured depleting Texas' beater core.
By Spring, injuries had healed for Texas. The Mardi Gras Cup was a breeze for UT. I imagine their chasers were running rampant over teams like D2 finalists Sam Houston State (150*-10) and Loyola (250*-10). I talked to Lori Lopez, who is working on a documentary chronicling Texas journey to World Champions, who talked to Texas keeper Augustine Monroe. Monroe explained that by the spring, Texas learned from their losses, revamped their strategy, recruited new players and played smarter  Even though Texas was so dominant (the finals was a 150-40* win over LSU) the Mardi Gras Cup could not prove that UT was number one because Texas A&M did not attend. By Southwest Regionals, Texas was ready to prove they should be number one going into World Cup VI. Texas breezed through pool play on their rivals home field and won in the quarterfinals and semifinals by a combined score of 510**-0 over the Silver Phoenixes and Texas State. All was looking good for Texas...until they ran into a hot Baylor team who had just come off a victory against number one ranked Texas A&M. Baylor hung with Texas' offense and with a hot seeker, snatched the championship, 100*-80. Alex Benepe was staying with Texas for the tournament and the night after Southwest Regionals, a Texas player let Benepe sleep in his bed, saying, "beds are for winners." Texas had failed to prove that they were the best. Monroe told Lopez that losing to Baylor was a tough loss and that Texas would not be satisfied or celebrate until they had the World Cup victory.
In pool play at World Cup VI, Texas routed every team they played. I watched the Richmond game and the Tufts game and neither team, while both good teams, had any answers for Texas. I knew how good Kody Marshall and Augustine Monroe were, but Marshall and Monroe are small. Speedy and really good, but small. Chasers/Keepers Stephen Bell, Simon Arends, Chris Morris and Sarah Holub are big and intimidating. Texas' whole warmup and huddle adds to the we are focused and ready to bring home the cup aura.

Texas was given the number two seed and a bracket section with Texas A&M lined up in the Elite Eight. When they found out they would have to go through A&M to get to the Final Four, Monroe indicated that Texas was focused on redemption. Texas A&M had knocked Texas out of World Cup V and Texas was determined to return the favor. As Team Starkid performed in the background, two of the most serious teams in an incredibly hyped matchup warmed up on the field closest to the silly Starkid. Parents and second teams of both universities gathered around the field as well as interested players from other teams and 14 year old quidditch bloggers. Bleachers were packed. People pulled folding chairs from a D2 field semifinal and chair rows went six rows back. Only one of these two teams, ranked 1 and 2 in the IQA rankings would advance to the final four. At Brooms Up, tension reached its peak of the entire tournament so far. That tension went away quickly. From the first possession, it was clear that Texas was superior. Texas seemed to score every time down the pitch and force sloppy A&M turnovers in their defensive zone. Monroe told Lopez that the theme of WCVI for Texas was domination. Texas would conquer the world. Star UT players could rest for later though, including Kody Marshall, who watched from the bench for much of the middle part of the game. As the crowd drifted away to watch the classic marathon happening on the Championship Field between the Lost Boys and BGSU, Texas secured their place in the final four.
The semifinals were a well played game by Bowling Green State but when one team had just played one of the longest games in World Cup history and the other had breezed through their game, I can't hold BGSU to the same standards. Then, the Longhorns began to prep for the final vs. UCLA.

The finals were no different than any other game for Texas. Scoring on every possession from a variety of players continued. Bludger control, a central part of Texas' game led by Jacob Adlis, helped minimize the power of UCLA beater, Asher King Abramson. Kody Marshall kept up with UCLA keeper Zach Luce at the beginning of the game and Augustine Monroe helped UT to pull out of snitch range. They'd stay out of snitch range with help from Morris, Holub, Arends and Audrey Wright. Finally after a few unsuccessful minutes at seeker for "the Chosen One," Jake Alford, Kenny Chilton came in. The World Cup winning snatch was pulled as the snitch was falling to ground. Maybe in a closer game, it would have been called no good, but with UCLA out of snitch range badly and Michael Maben going for a suicide snatch, the snitch ref called it good. Texas was already on the field celebrating and Austin Quidditch and much of the Southwest had joined them on the pitch. Someone was waving the Southwest flag among the joyous victors. Middlebury's reign was over. Texas had #hookedthecup. On the victory, Monroe explained that everything Texas ever worked for - all the blood, sweat, tears, dollars and hours invested into the dream - it all finally paid off.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

My Top 20

1. Texas
3. Texas A&M
4. Baylor
5. Miami

My top five is pretty straightforward. Texas and UCLA were by far the two best teams earning the two top seeds and advancing to the finals. Texas won. UCLA lost. 1. 2. I placed Texas A&M ahead of Baylor because A&M only suffered one loss to the eventual champions and they have been the consensus number one all season with good reason. Baylor comes in fourth due to their Final Four run, but they didnt get the 3 because they lost to Kansas in pool play. I have Miami in fifth because Miami looked really good on Day One. They won the group of death with an 100 point victory over LSU and a 60 point victory over ASU. Miami had their chances to beat BGSU, but in the end, it was not meant to be.

6. Bowling Green State
7. Lost Boys
8. Kansas
9. Boston
10. Maryland

Bowling Green State and the Lost Boys both had amazing weekend capped with perhaps the best game in World Cup history. The two teams beat quidditch powerhouse after powerhouse. Maryland, Miami, USC and Maryland again were beaten by either the Lost Boys or BGSU. BGSU is placed above the Lost Boys because they won head to head. I have Kansas at 8 and Boston at 9 because each team had a different result against a common opponent, Baylor. Kansas hung with Baylor and won on a snatch while Boston was eliminated. At 10, I have Maryland. Maryland had to overcome the injury of James Hicks against Arkansas. Maryland advanced to the Sweet Sixteen but were bounced by a quick "Sunshine" snitch catch.

11. USC
12. Emerson
13. Michigan State
14. LSU
15. Marquette

USC beat Emerson and won their pool, so USC is 11 and Emerson is 12. Both teams advanced to the Sweet Sixteen. Michigan State won a challenging pool with Texas State and Pittsburgh and also advanced to the Sweet Sixteen. LSU played like they'd played for the past year or so, so they're ranking stays about the same. Although they had a very poor performance at the World Cup, Marquette is still a regional champion and Collegiate Cup runner up.

16. Hofstra
17. Ohio State
18. Ball State
19. Michigan
20. Villanova

Hofstra is hard to assess because the won their pool but lost in the Round of 32. I rank them 16. Ohio State earned my 17. OSU beat Penn State and Tufts and scored 60 on Texas A&M. Ohio State has moved onto the radar. Next is Ball State and Michigan, two quality second place pool play teams that didn't get past the Round of 32. Villanova, another regional champion, disappointed at World Cup VI, but manage to earn my number 20 rank.

Friday, April 19, 2013

BGSU: The Team, The Run, The Games

How did Bowling Green State go from 0-4 to Final Four in a little over a year? How did they go from not being able to secure a single win, to lacing together victory after victory against top-notch teams. How did Bowling Green State end up on top of Miami and Maryland? How did they secure a place in history beneath the sweltering Florida sun as the victor in possibly the best World Cup game ever? How did they advance all the way to the Final Four?

From what I observed at World Cup VI, Bowling Green State is a team that plays very well together. Their unique two male beater set and two female chaser set causes problems for many teams. Standout player Dan Daugherty can score from midfield in addition to find open teammates. The whole team plays hard, with good defense and determination.

Daugherty, an assistant captain for BGSU's says, "I do my best to lead by example...I'm going to go down fighting."

At Midwest Cup, BGSU burst onto the scene. Earning the number one overall seed going into Bracket Play, BGSU advanced all the way to finals before losing to Marquette. Daugherty earned the Eighth Man's Sportsman of the Year Award. BGSU trained throughout the winter, practicing indoors and outdoors in frigid conditions. But, BGSU remained around 15 in the Eighth Man's rankings and dropped off the radar of many other quidditch fans/teams/14-year-old bloggers. Some went as far as to call Bowling Green State overrated or a fluke team. Daugherty talks about pre-WCVI skepticism of BGSU explaining, "Before World Cup a lot of people were talking about us not being very good and saying we were a lucky team who did well in one tournament."

Day One at World Cup did not go well for BGSU. Against Rochester, a game which they lost by a snitch grab, BGSU looked tense and their offense had not gotten into a rhythm. BGSU defeated Paris Phénix, but as expected, lost to UCLA. Facing elimination against Oklahoma State, Daugherty recalls that captain Kate Milligan, "sat us all down.. and basically told us that we needed to start playing our game and have fun doing it."

In a 32 minute game (perhaps a hint at marathons to come) BGSU scored 200 points on Oklahoma State, winning 200*-70. The offense clicked and BGSU lived to play another day.

As the sun rose on Day Two, BGSU squeaked out a victory against Tennessee Tech, then took to the Championship Field opposite Miami. The metal bleachers were almost completely empty. The temperature hadn't soared yet. It was comfortable. Miami waited around the field, as if eager to just survive and advance. BGSU talked in a huddle and Daugherty says he and his teammates, "were just having fun and were excited to play more."

Strategy wise, BGSU was determined to control the pace of the game. Since he played the entire Tennessee Tech game, Daugherty rested until around the seeker floor was lifted and came in with his team down 30-0. Two long range, floating shots, threaded through the hoops to bring BGSU within 10. Miami's strategy quickly shifted to completely revolve around Daugherty. A beater was kept on him constantly. A lesser player might've tried to outplay the beaters and ignore the shift in strategy. Daugherty though, began to distribute, acting like a point guard in basketball finding the open man for a jump shot or a quarterback in football, squeezing passes through tight windows to receivers for a touchdown. Momentum had really begun to swing the way of the black and orange when the snitch came back to field and Miami seeker, David Moyer came charging out. It didn't look good for BGSU and when Moyer raised the snitchsock over his head, their run could've been over. However, the snatch was called no good (Moyer had been beat) and BGSU bounced back from near defeat to complete the biggest upset of the round of 32. Seeker Sam Roitblat was mobbed by his team as Miami dropped their brooms in disbelief and fell the grass. Following a lengthy delay and protest by Miami, one thing was clear: "Dansanity" had begun.

BGSU returned to the Championship Field, which practically became their home on Day Two, for a Sweet 16 matchup against Maryland. The Maryland game was very similar to the Miami game. Maryland jumped out to a lead with great passing and efficient scoring, but made their mistake when they centered their strategy around Daugherty. "My favorite game was the Maryland game because after I went in and scored two quick goals they kept a bludger on me and thought they could beat us by stopping me. That is when I deferred to my teammates to score 40 unanswered points."

The forty unanswered points knotted the game at 60, just in time for the snitch to return to the field. A quick hands move on snitch Alan Black and BGSU seeker Sam Roitblat had the snitchsock in his hand again. Roitblat hoisted snitchsock above his head and ran towards his bench before being mobbed by the team. On the 90*-60 victory, Daugherty says, "My teammates are some of the most underrated players in the world. I'm a lucky player to have them by my side."

After a break, Bowling Green's Elite Eight matchup against the Lost Boys started uneventfully. At first, majority of spectators were at the neighboring field to see Texas and Texas A&M. As the BGSU's game wore on and the score rose, fans began to migrate to the Championship Field, possibly sensing something historic was in the making. The bleachers became packed with large regional cheering sections. Spectators rushed in assistance to each team's bench with water and support. It seemed as if both teams faded in exhaustion, player by player, until only two remained: Daugherty and Lost Boys' keeper Tony Rodriguez. "I played through whatever exhaustion I had for my team," says Daugherty. "I wouldn't say I put them on my back, I would say their constant love and support and family atmosphere put me on their back and allowed me to continue to perform at a high level."

Dripping with sweat and doubled over during stoppages of play, Rodriguez and Daugherty faced off at each end of the field while Roitblat and Lost Boys seeker, Steve DiCarlo fought for the snitch. The snitch refused to be caught. Bowling Green State's beaters focused completely on DiCarlo extending the game. The score was 210-200, with the Lost Boys in front, when Roitbalt performed another extraordinarily quick move on the snitch for a snatch. 230*-210 was the final tally. On the game as a whole, Daugherty said, "The Lost Boys game was a battle of pure heart and determination. Neither team would allow the other to get out of snitch range and it was so much fun to be a part of."

One of the most amazing and touching moments came post-game when spectators poured onto the field to form two, long, snaking tunnels leading the players back to their bench. The support from the quidditch community after that game, Daugherty states, was an "amazing feeling."

The final four was set now. Bowling Green Stats would be playing Texas, after UCLA and Baylor faced off. Some BGSU players, hot and tired, fell asleep in the shade beneath the bleachers. It seemed as if no time had passed before BGSU was back on the field opposite Texas before hundreds of people. Just to be there, in final four of World Cup VI, "meant the world to us," according to Daugherty. Texas didn't completely overwhelm BGSU, and at one point it looked possible that Bowling Green State might be able to claw their way back into the game, but in the end Texas proved to be the better team. Ending the run fittingly, BGSU grabbed a suicide snatch. Texas won 140-50*.

On the tournament as whole, Daugherty acknowledged the magical feel of a Cinderella run and thanked his teammates."Making it that far while overcoming great odds is a feeling that is impossible to put into words. The way my team played was nothing short of spectacular and they all deserve my gratitude for giving me one hell of a year!"

BG Quidditch walked away from the World Cup with immense respect from the quidditch community. The way they handled themselves throughout the tournament and fought through tough games speaks a lot about the team's character. How spectators and other teams rallied around BGSU not only shows the excitement of a Cinderella, but also what kind of team BGSU is. That widespread respect wasn't just given to the black and orange, it was earned. Congrats to BGSU for shocking the world and it was really fun watch you guys!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

I'm the Coach!

As my team goes into the huddle, preparing for a tough bracket play game on April 14th, 2013, I clear my throat, and assess the competition.

Vs. Texas
"Do not let Texas go into the transition game. Turnovers are inexcusable. Play smart and calm on the offensive end. Good passing is vital. Find the open man. Driving to the hoops won't work. Have beaters take out Texas' point defenders because they will disrupt your offense. Put as many bodies on their driving chasers as possible. Do not get carded."

"Be very physical with their chasers and be relentless with your legal physicality. Hitting UCLA might affect their stellar passing game. Play all of your most physical players at once. Letting UCLA gain bludger control and sustain it is not good. Don't be intimidated by Abramson. But if you get bludger control, be conservative. Get a quick snatch. If you need a defensive seeker, get size out there. Maben and Lin are small."

Vs. Baylor
"Force Baylor to play a half-court offense. Fast breaks are deadly. Play a conservative zone defense. Do not be overly aggressive with point defending. Baylor will wait until your defense breaks down to shoot or drive. Drive to the hoops on offense. Baylor's D behind the hoops is pretty good. Reset on plays if no one's open. Baylor won't point defend much."

Vs. Bowling Green State
"Don't underestimate the quality of BGSU's chasers not named Dan Daugherty. Instead of focusing on Daugherty, eliminate his passing options. Play tight defense on BGSU's other quaffle players. Daugherty will be forced to expend more energy and the whole team has to take longer shots. Beaters: BGSU will be very aggressive in trying to regain bludger control. Hold on to your bludgers. Don't underestimate "Sunshine.""

Note: this article is strictly considering how teams played at the World Cup VI and is not intended to harm any team in any way. This article is completely hypothetical and states the game plan I would give to "my team" if they were playing on of the Final Four participants.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

A Snitch Floor

With a ten minute seeker floor, surprisingly 25% of pool play games at World Cup VI only lasted 10-15 minutes. The snitches were coming back to the pitch almost immediately after the seeker floor ended in some games. Snitches coming back too early (Too early for me is before the 15 minute mark) has great consequences on teams. In the games that lasted fewer than 15 minutes, 62% of them were within snitch range before the snitch was caught. For instance, Villanova's 60*-50 loss to Central Michigan was only 13 minutes and 32 seconds.

That being said, the rest of the short games were mainly blowouts. I am all in favor of snitches coming back quickly in blowouts. Blowouts are no fun to watch and they skew point differential unfairly. To end having long blowouts and short close games, I propose having varying set times for snitches to "come back" to the field. I put come back in quotations because the snitch would never leave the field. There would be a snitch floor. Depending on the score, the snitch floor would end at certain times during pool play at major tournaments.

If after ten minutes, the point differential is over 60 points, the snitch floor would end immediately. The snitch would run onto the pitch and so would the seekers. If after ten minutes, the point differential is not over 60 points, the snitch floor would end in five more minutes at the fifteen minute mark. I choose over 60 points because any point differential above 60 is more than twice out of snitch range.

Off pitch seeking and "the snitch is loose!" would be gone. The seeker floor would be the same length as the snitch floor at each game. With quidditch growing more competitive, off-pitch seeking/snitchery just has too many variables. With a longer seeker floor, the IQA is already trying to eliminate off-pitch seeking. The majority of games would be over 15 minutes and teams could prepare strategies to prevent quick snatches. A lot of the time, when the snitch comes on the field, chaos breaks loose, the beaters aren't ready and the snitch is caught quickly. That's no fun for spectators or players. Overall, snitch floor eliminates short games, lopsided blowouts, questionable off-pitch seeking/snitchery and the chaos with an unexpectedsnitchappearing on the field. All of these are steps that quidditch should and can take to become more legitimate.

What do you think?

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

World Cup All-Tournament Team

Zach Luce-UCLA

Zach Luce's stats for the finals are telling. Luce scored 70 points (the highest total in the 2013 Final Four) against Baylor and 30 against Texas. UCLA is a very deep and all around talented team, but their offense flows through Luce. Driving to the hoops seems easy for Luce and he will go through your defense.

Honorable Mention:
Augustine Monroe-two key goals pulled Texas out of snitch range in the finals. Slipstream was a presence all weekend
August Lurhs-Although USC didn't advance past the Sweet Sixteen, Lurhs was dominant in his games, and every team's strategy was targeted at Lurhs.

Male Chaser
Daniel Daugherty-Bowling Green State

Dan the Man. Who else? In addition to a great on-field player, Daugherty is an amazing leader. Daugherty led his team through sitting around while Miami protested their loss, one of the longest most intense games in IQA history and a Final Four matchup with Texas. He single handedly took over his team when towards the end of the Lost Boys game, everyone else was doubled over with fatigue. His long distance shot is the best I've seen and he is great at finding open chasers for goals.

Honorable Mention:
Reed Marchman-Baylor played much better when the gold shorts were in the game. "Ridiculous" played fantastically.
Sean Beloff-Miami looked really on Day One with whooping of LSU and ASU. Beloff's forcing of turnovers and point defending was a big reason

Male Chaser
Kody Marshall-Texas

It would be insane not to include Kody Marshall. Marshall is a leader on the World Cup championship team. Marshall is one of the strongest players on the pitch and his tackling is superb. Marshall can drive through any defense and score past any keeper.

Honorable Mention:
Kifer Gregorie-Gregorie seemed to be the only player able to score at times for Texas A&M. Against Michigan and NYU, Gregorie led his team to victory
Jake Tieman-one of UCLA's players I was not familiar with going into World Cup VI showed how valuable he was when he was red carded. The game went downhill from there for UCLA.

Female Chaser
Sarah Holub-Texas

I'd have to ask Sarah Holub what her favorite moment was in World Cup Six: scoring in the World Cup Final or tackling Casey Ortiz? Behind the hoops, Holub receives pass after pass and works to get it through the hoops. A lot of the time, she jukes and drives for her goals past bigger male keepers. Also, Holub is one of the only women I've ever seen point defending and she does it effectively.

Honorable Mention:
Vanessa Goh-Although she didn't score in the finals, Goh scored plenty of times and racked up a few assists too against Emerson and Kansas.
Melissa White-White and Brad Armentor played fantastically together. White is a great scorer and her stats in pool play are impressive.

Male Beater
Asher King Abramson-UCLA

Asher King Abramson is everywhere on the pitch.. Although his team struggled to get bludger control in the final, Abramson did an amazing job on defense as well as offense throughout the tournament. On offense, Abramson took out opposing teams point defenders. Beating opposing teams point defenders allowed for players like Zach Luce and Alex Browne to drive to the hoops and distribute. All in all, there is reason UCLA had the best point differential going into bracket play.

Honorable Mention
Kody LaBauve-LSU's beater, nickname Sniper, kept the Miami game within a hundred points and caused problems for every seeker he played.

Female Beater
Brittany Ripperger-Baylor

I hadn't heard of her before the World Cup, I'll admit, but seeing her in Baylor's semifinal against UCLA, I made a mental note that Ripperger was the best female beater I had seen. The way she fought for and obtained bludger control against one of the best beating cores in the country impressed me. Ripperger's beating helped keep Baylor in the game.

Honorable Mention
Katrina Bossoti-Bossoti shut down Billy Greco against Villanova and helped Boston keep bludger control practically all of Day One it seemed.

Sam Roitblat-Bowling Green State

Roitblat pulled all three snatches against Miami, Maryland and the Lost Boys to ensure that Bowling Green State would advance to the final four. Roitblat out seeked David Moyer, Harry Greenhouse and Steve DiCarlo. All three were on the Alan Black of the Eighth Man's seekers to watch list. "Sunshine" should have been on that list. There isn't much to describe about Roitblat'a strategy besides that he gets the job done. It's safe to say that Bowling Green State would not have made the final four without Roitblat.

Honorable Mention:
 Steve DiCarlo caught the snitch for the Lost Boys against Arkansas, Maryland and Illinois State in Pool Play and NYU and USC in Bracket Play to get the Lost Boys to the Elite Eight.
Keir Rudolph had several key snatches for Kansas. Rudolph had an especially spectacular snatch against Baylor to win Pool 1.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Finals Box Score

C-Vanessa Goh............0 points
C/S-Jeff Lin.............10 points
K-Zach Luce..............30 points
S-Michael Maben..........0 points [Y]
C-Corey Osto.............0 points [Y]
C-Adam Richardson........0 points
C-Missy Sponagle.........10 points
C-Jake Tieman............10 points [Y] [Y]
C-Brandon Scapa..........10 points

Note: K-Alex Browne did not play. UCLA also scored a "mystery goal." The game footage does not show it.

C-Simon Arends.........10 points
K-Stephen Bell............0 points [R]
C/S-Kenny Chilton.....40 points, snitch snatch included
C-Aryan Ghoddossy....20 points
C-Sarah Holub............10 points
C-Kody Marshall.........30 points
C-Chris Morris............20 points
K-Augustine Monroe...30 points
C-Audrey Wright........30 points

I encourage everyone to check out the championship game footage at

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Day One WriteUp

I arrived at the World Cup Fields, beneath an overcast sky, with excitement in the air. Regional cheers broke the silence of anticipation. This day was especially exciting for me because I would be running the Eighth Man's twitter feed. Teams marched to the fields. National anthems were sung and Benepe went into his yearly speech on how quidditch is awesome. Benepe was wearing white from head to toe. I sent off a few tweets to over 500 followers. I was not used to the immediate retweets and favorites which come with a ton of followers. After a Harlem Shake, teams left for their fields. I headed off to Silicon Valley Skrewts vs. Univ. of Florida.
The Skrewts were bigger and Florida had bludger control for the first half of the game. Florida's passing looked really good. Everything changed when the Skrewts took bludger control. Kevin Oelze began to drive through the UF defense and UF's passing became sloppy. The Skrewts got the snatch for a victory. After the game, Dre Clements said, "we kind of rushed. We could have played better."
I walked around after that and seeing parts of NYU vs. A&M (NYU played pretty well before A&M pulled away), Kansas' victory over Cal and Miami's victory over Purdue.
Next game I sat down to watch was USF vs. USC. South Florida made it a strategy to go after August Lurhs with bludgers and Lurhs was taken out of the game. Both teams had good beating especially #1/2 on USC. USC also had great keeper play with several key blocks.
 Bowling Green State vs. Rochester was clearly a matchup between two players: Devin Sandon and Daniel Daugherty. I underestimated the skill of both players come into this game. Sandon is amazing. He's quick and comes out of nowhere to pick up loose quaffles. Daugherty has a better supporting cast than I thought. He stands out from the rest of the players on his team, but not quite like Sandon. Rochester wins.
LSU-ASU in the pool of death was a very physical matchup. Austin-Tindall Park was beginning to heat up and more and more people were shading themselves with umbrellas. Sniper, or Kody LaBauve, impressed me with his, well, sniping. ASU's strategy was puzzling me, as I tweeted. Willie Jackson and both of their bludger wielding beaters stayed back on defense. ASU never got in an offensive rhythm. Chasers Brad Armentor and Melissa White worked well together with White scoring a few times behind the hoops. Otherwise though, the Honey Badger can be a one-man team.
Paris vs. Oklahoma State. A clash of cultures I imagined. The crowd got really into this one. It is safe to say that Paris is a crowd favorite, with their seeker, who wears "Tarzan" on the back of his jersey. OSU kept bludger control and tackled well (Paris hasn't really worked out the finer points in quidditch) but Paris rallied towards the end for a snitch grab win. The crowd went crazy.
I briefly saw UCLA run away from Rochester. UCLA looks great. Alex Browne and Asher King Abramson can't be fully appreciated with YouTube. You have to see these guys. UCLA is probably the deepest team at WCVI. Their perfect, accurate passing leads to high-scoring games.
The Miami-LSU game seemed like one of the longer ones of the day. LSU played similarly as they did against ASU. Physical, and no shortage of the Honey Badger. Even though LSU dominated time of possession, Miami was able to force many turnovers and fast breaks. On Miami, Belioff and number 1 (sorry that's all I know about those players) impressed me with some of the most disruptive point defense I've seen. Sean Pagoda and Matt Ziff played well at beater. I didn't get to see enough of David Moyer in the game. Moyer didn't catch the snitch in Miami's game against Purdue, so I was eager to see Moyer seek. However, Miami pulled Moyer out after about two minutes and rotated through as many as five other players at the seeker position. Kody LaBauve made it nearly impossible for Miami's seekers. Finally, Campbell, number 13, caught the snitch for a 100 point win.
Ok, so during the Miami-LSU game, I was watching Arkansas-Maryland on the field next to me. I knew Arkansas was giving Maryland a close game and out of the corner of my eye, I saw UMD keeper James Hicks leave the pitch and sit in the spectator seats. I jumped to the conclusion that he had gotten red carded, because he didn't look like he was limping. I tweeted it. Turns out, Hicks was injured. If anyone on Maryland or James Hicks especially is reading this, sorry! I should have been more careful. Anyways, I arrived at the field just in time to see Harry Greenhouse with a quick snatch.
I wanted to scout out Penn State next because with Yada and Jason Rosenberg, I thought Penn State could go far in bracket play. I saw that Parada is a fantastic passer, especially behind the hoops where Rosenberg is always waiting. Yada isn't as physical as Rosenberg too. The snitch in this game ignored the seeker floor and came right back after 10 minutes. Grrr.
Bowling Green State vs. Paris was next and when I got to the field, Paris was mounting a furious comeback to get back in snitch range. Towards the end of the game, BGSU pulled slightly out of snitch range, but I don't think Tarzan, Paris' seeker understood and he pulled a suicide snatch. I think Paris thought they won... :)
Another "State" from the Midwest, Ball State, impressed me as a very cohesive unit. Number 2, chaser, I think his name was Kevin McCoy, is an emotional leader. Against the Silver Phoenixes (not A&M), who had bludger control for parts of the game, Ball State did well. Ball State isn't super fast, but they transition well from Offense to Defense if that makes sense.
USF-Minnesota which was practically a must-win for Minnesota was dominated by USF chaser, number 1, Louis. His long shots showed that Minnesota's defense was weaker. USF's beaters probably deserve the credit for winning the game though, because they held off Minnesota's seeker. USF wins.
I looked over the schedule and planned that I'd go to three more entire games. Baylor vs. Kansas on the Championship Field was the first. Baylor's beating was underwhelming and Kansas held bludger control a lot. Kansas keeper, number 6, Jordan Callison (right?) impressed me. His build is similar to other great keepers like Zach Luce and Slipstream. Baylor was fast and accurate with their passing, it in the Keir Rudolph, who has really long arms, grabbed the snitch for a win! Rock Chalk.
Villanova vs. Boston, probably the most hyped game of the day, was also on the Championship Field. Villanova ran intense pre-game drills while BU sorta stood around talking, but once the game began, BU's athleticism shone. Boston was great at making interceptions and taking the quaffle the length of the pitch for a score. Boston kind of played sloppy though. On many occasions, they blew opportunities. Villanova's beating was sloppier though. Billy Greco didn't catch the snitch. Greco was beat and as he ran back to his hoops, BU's tall seeker snatched the snitch.
In the meantime, USC had roared back to beat Emerson and take the pool championship and Michigan had given A&M a scare. There were about 3 minutes where Michigan was in snitch range and had several close calls. A&M eventually pulled away to win. Their "hydra" of seekers is very effective.
Last game of the day for me was Tufts vs. Texas. My assessment of Tufts is that they are a really good offensive team, just as good as Nova or Baylor, by their defense lets them down. Texas, who looks unbeatable, carves through that defense. Both Marshall and Monroe and over three goals and chaser Sarah Holub, beater Jacob Adlis and everyone else in UT's chasing core looks really good. I think UT's the team to beat after day one.
We left the fields then, so that's all the first hand info I can give you! Thanks for reading.

Overall Predictions

I'm not going to do a bracket, but here is the order in which I think the teams will finish.





Friday, April 12, 2013

Pool Play Predictions

On the Eve of the World Cup, as I sit here in my hotel in Orlando!!!, I thought I'd roll out my predictions just for kicks.

Pool One

Baylor 4-0
Kansas 3-1
VCU 2-2
California 1-3
Qwertyians 0-4

Baylor wins pool but Kansas chasing core puts up a good fight. Keir Rudolph is shown to be inexperienced and fails to catch the snitch. VCU grabs the last spot.

Pool Two

Penn State 4-0
Skrewts 3-1
Florida 2-2
RIT 1-3
Loyola 0-4

Parada outplays Oelze and Clements to win the pool. Some of the closest, fun games come from this pool. RIT gets unlucky, losing to Florida and the Skrewts while still in snitch range. 

Pool Three

Texas A&M 4-0
Michigan 2-2
NYU 2-2
Johns Hopkins 2-2
Fleming 0-4

Texas A&M wins pool and cards hurt Johns Hopkins, who miss bracket play. Michigan and NYU advance due to clean physicality and tenacity. A&M looks unbeatable with great play all-around.

Pool Four

USC 3-1
Emerson 3-1
Minnesota 3-1
USF 1-3
UTSA 0-4

USC, Emerson and Minnesota split games. USC takes the pool victory due to a blowout over UTSA. August Lurhs, David Fox, David Demarest and Jared Sipe shine. USF's troubles continue at WCVI despite home-field advantage.

Pool Five

UCLA 4-0
Paris Phénix 3-1
Bowling Green 2-2
Rochester 1-3
Oklahoma State 0-4

UCLA wins pool easily but Paris upsets BGSU on a snitch catch. Devin Sandon and Rochester just do not have the size to beat BGSU. Oklahoma State keeps games close but is weak at the seeker position.

Pool Six

Marquette 4-0
NAU 3-1
Ottawa 2-2
Boston Riot 1-3
Florida State 0-4

Marquette wins easily. Takes the second overall seed. NAU takes second place with a sntich catch over Ottawa and Ottawa squeaks out a win against the Boston Riot to become the only Canadian team advancing.

Pool Seven

Pittsburgh 4-0
Michigan State 3-1
Geneseo 2-2
Texas State 1-3
Toronto 0-4

Pittsburgh wins pool due to the fact that they don't have to play Maryland. Michgan State and Geneseo defeat pot one team, Texas State to advance into bracket play.

Pool Eight

Boston 4-0
Austin Quidditch 3-1
Villanova 2-2
CMU 1-3
Tec Quidditch 0-4

Austin Quidditch completes the upset of the day over Villanova, who barely makes bracket play. Boston wins pool. The Villanova-Boston matchup does not meet the hype.

Pool Nine

Hofstra 4-0
Ball State 3-1
Silver Phoenixes 2-2
Tennessee Tech 1-3
QC Carolinas 0-4

Hofstra wins pool with a win over Ball State. Seeker Tyler Macy is unable to influence the game because Hofstra takes the game out of snitch range. Tennessee Tech and QC Carolinas do not make bracket play showing the weakness of the Carolinas-Tennessee region.

Pool Ten

Texas 4-0
Richmond 2-2
Tufts 2-2
Ohio State 1-3
Southern Miss 1-3

Texas blows out everyone to take the number one overall seed on Sunday. The rest of the pool is very exciting though. Richmond beats Tufts but loses to Ohio State. Tufts loses to Richmond but beats Ohio State and Southern Miss loses to everyone, except Ohio State.

Pool Eleven

Maryland 4-0
Lost Boys 3-1
Macaulay 1-3
Arkansas 1-3
Illinois State 1-3

Maryland and the Lost Boys meet in a great game of day one. Harry Greenhouse bests Steve DiCarlo after 15 minutes of the snitch being on the pitch. The Lost Boys strategy keeps Greenhouse away from the snitch with beating. Macaulay breaks a three way tie on point differential.

Pool Twelve

LSU 4-0
Miami 3-1
Arizona State 2-2
Purdue 1-3
UMass 0-4

The records tell the story. LSU upsets Miami with great beater play from Sniper and Sarah Kneiling. Brad Armentor dominates despite being double-teamed. ASU proves to not be deep enough to beat LSU or Miami. Purdue and UMass get screwed by the pool of death.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Spectator's Guide to WCVI

9:00-Field Three-Texas A&M vs. NYU
Arriving just in time for the start of QWCVI, jump over to Field Three to see the consensus #1 ranked team. This will be A&M first game at a major tournament since suffering a loss to Baylor at the Southern Regionals. Texas A&M's lineup and skill should get you really pumped for a great weekend of quidditch. It will also be interesting to see if NYU holds down the point differential because they will likely be competing for Pool 3's final spot.

Also see Emerson vs. Minnesota on Field Five or UCLA vs. Oklahoma State on Field Six

9:40-Field One-Penn State vs. RIT
This game might not be the biggest thriller, but be there to see Michael Parada. As I said before, if Parada is on the top of his game, Penn State could go from being a Round of 32 team to an Elite Eight team. Against RIT, Parada will be tested physically. RIT will also likely be competing for the third spot in a weaker Pool 2.

Also see Boston vs. Austin Quidditch on Field Six or Miami vs. Purdue on the Championship Field

10:20-Championship Field-Michigan State vs. Pittsburgh
Although the rosters have certainly changed, Michigan State and Pittsburgh are two older teams with a lot of World Cup experience. At WCIV, MSU and Pitt came closest to defeating Middlebury at a time when the sport was still new. Michigan State is probably the favorite here due to keeper Lawrence Lazewski and seeker Jacob Heppe.

Also see Michigan vs. Johns Hopkins on Field One if you like physical quidditch

11:00-Championship Field-Arizona State vs. Louisiana State
Even though neither team in this game came out of Pot One, both of these teams are really good. LSU has a great core of players including chaser Brad Armentor, and beaters Sarah Kneiling and Kody LaBauve. People forget that LSU played dominantly at the last World Cup but was ousted on a Minnesota snitch catch. LSU hasn't forgotten, but ASU's monstrous keeper Willie Jackson will try and stop the Tigers.
Also see Tufts vs. Ohio State on Field Two. A good measure of Northeast vs. Midwest

What can I say? This time slot isn't exactly packed with exciting games. Grab an early lunch.

12:20-Championship Field-Emerson vs. USF
Both the Northeast and the South have been trashed as regions that aren't as good as others by some. Emerson, a school that lives and breathes quidditch's even more than Middlebury possibly, will be going up against USF, a team that burst on to the scene on Randall's Island. Both teams will show with high levels of skill, physicality and strategy that their regions aren't as bad as some think. Watch David Fox and Benny Nadeau of Emerson.

Also see Baylor vs. Cal-Berkeley on Field Four or Texas A&M vs. Johns Hopkins to see the might of the Southwest

1:00-Field One-Marquette vs. NAU
Although LSU-Miami is in this time slot, I wanted to look at this matchup between Marquette and NAU. NAU barely qualified out of the West but still is Marquette's toughest competition in an easy day of pool play. Marquette captain Curtis Taylor, joked that many of his starters would be resting on Day One. My guess is that fans will get to see Marquette's full strength only once on Saturday: in this game.
 Also see LSU vs. Miami on the Championship Field and Texas vs. Ohio State on Field Seven

1:40-Championship Field-Bowling Green State vs. Paris Phénix
If Paris Phénix is anything like the French team which placed second at the Olympic Exhibition in England this summer, Paris Phénix might beat some good American
?teams. Paris will be put to the test against Daniel Daugherty and BGSU.

Also see Stanford vs. South Carolina on Field Seven for a good Division Two game

3:00-Field Five-Tufts vs. Southern Miss
Tufts is a team full of freshman, so in four years, you can say, I saw Nick Ryder and WCVI. Seriously though, Ryder is developing into one of the best seekers in the IQA. Tufts caught the snitch in six out of seven games at NERC. Southern Miss will be an interesting team to watch because they play a very unique style. USM will slow the pace  the pace of thue game down tremendously and advance the ball in a sort of bubble. At the World Cup, a spectator has the chance to see so many different styles of play. Don't miss USM.

Also see Ball State vs. Silver Phoenixes on Field Three or Arizona State vs. UMASS on Field Seven

3:40-Field Two-Johns Hopkins vs. NYU
Again, see a whole different style of quidditch. Hard-hitting, physical quidditch courtesy of the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast. (Quid-Atlantic and Northeast physical quidditch is completely different fromSouthwest physical quidditch)

Also see Florida vs. RIT on Field One for a dose of Dr. Dre, Florida's exceptional chaser

4:20-Championship Field-Baylor vs. Kansas
When Baylor beat Kansas 160*-30 at the Collegiate Cup, many people counted Kansas Quidditch out. Now with new seeker, Kier Rudolph, Kansas has a shot again. A win against Baylor would likely mean a much higher seed and pool victory for the Jayhawks. At full strength, Kansas' chasing core can also match up well with Baylor. Watch Paul and Mark Williard on the Bears.
Also see, Texas A&M vs. Michigan on Field One or SV Skrewts vs. Penn State on Field Eight

Seriously IQA? We can't be in ten places at once? Haha. Emerson vs. USC on Field Two, UCLA vs. Bowling Green State on Field Three, Texas State vs. Michigan on Field Six, Hofstra vs. Ball State on Field Eight, and Villanova vs. Boston on the Championship Field. All of these games will decide the pool champion. Go root for your favorite team at this time. Chances are, they'll need it.

5:40-Championship Field-Maryland vs. Lost Boys
If Parada vs. Sandon was the matchup of great chasers, Maryland's James Hicks and the Lost Boys' Tony Rodriguez are facing off as two of the best chasers in the IQA. Maryland has blossomed into a Mid-Atlantic powerhouse this season and the Lost Boys were changed with the transfer of Rodriguez from the Hollywood Harpies. The Lost Boys proved they were one of the best of the West, but can they beat Maryland? Also a battle of regional runner-ups!

Also see Texas vs. Tufts on Field Two or Miami vs. Arizona State on Field Three

6:20-Championship Field-Tennessee Tech vs. Silver Phoenixes
Tennessee Tech surprised everyone by placing second at the Southern Regional, but the Silver Phoenixes have not had a fair chance at a major tournament achievement. A&M or Texas has always been in the way. The Silver Phoenixes will look to qualify for bracket play against TTU and hopefully not get stuck in an infamous "teams from Texas" side of the bracket.

Also see NAU vs. Boston Riot on Field Two.

7:40-Field Four-Penn State vs. Florida
Michael Parada vs. Dre Clements. Two teams fighting for better seeds in bracket play. Awesome game
Also see Ottawa vs. Florida State to watch everyone's favorite Canadian team :)

8:20-Field Three-Villanova vs. Austin Quidditch
Similar to the Silver Phoenixes, Austin has always been in UT's shadow. A win over dominant point defender, Zach D'Amico and feared seeker, Billy Greco of Villanova would be an amazing way for AQ to prove themselves. Villanova will be coming off a win or lose against BU, so it will be interesting to see if they can be caught off guard.

Also see Ball State vs. QC Carolinas on Field Four to see the other Team USA seeker, Tyler Macy of Ball State

9:00-Field Two-Texas State vs. Toronto
At this point, Texas State could be 0-3 or 1-2. They will have already played Pitt, Michigan State and Geneseo, three very experienced World Cup teams. Texas State won't get to play their pool's pot five team until now and this game will matter. Toronto isn't exactly a great team, but Texas State may be so demoralized at this point, Toronto might be able to squeak out a win.

Also see Skrewts vs. Loyola on Field Six. The Skrewts could be in a similar position as TxState, but I doubt it. OR UCLA vs. Paris Phénix on the Championship Field

9:40-Field Four-Texas vs. Southern Miss
Since we started the day with the 1st ranked Aggies, let's end it with the second ranked Longhorns. Texas is one of the fastest teams I've ever seen. Fastbreaks with Slipstream and Kody Marshall are unstoppable unless the opposition is truly special. Southern Miss will try to slow the game down. Also, UT might go for the blowout, which could lead to  the number one seed.

Also see, bedtime.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Quidditch World Cup from A to Z

Abramson. Asher King Abramson is the best beater I've ever seen. His field presence makes you want to watch him more than the seeker or the chasers. (And that's something on UCLA- a team full of exciting seekers/chasers) He is intimidating and I will be watching when he faces off against BGSU's Daniel Daugherty in pool play.

Bludger Control. While in some teams can win without bludger control, certain big games could be influenced based on who has two armed beaters. Baylor could run into trouble against great beater play and UCLA with dominate bludger control, is a death knell to any team.

Cards. It will be interesting to see how lenient the refs are in giving yellow and red cards, especially in bracket play. No ref wants to give a card that might ruin a team's chances, even if it is deserved. I'm smelling a lot of cards out of the A&M, Johns Hopkins, Michigan, NYU and Fleming pool. We all know that Fleming is ruthless.

Dr. Dre. The Florida player that electrified World Cup V, leading his team to the finals and grasping the lead against Middlebury right before the snitch was caught. I'm curious to see if Dre can do it again. I don't think he has been mentioned enough recently and has almost been forgotten by some. Get ready for the Gators and Dr. Dre to win their pool and go to the Sweet Sixteen.

Emerson. One of the oldest teams left now with Vassar and Middlebury failing to qualify. David Fox and Victor Viega two bulldozer-like keepers with great passing ability could lead one of the smallest schools at WCVI deep into bracket play.

Forgetting. We are all forgetting about Division Two! D2 is loaded with teams that are rapidly improving like Stanford and NY Badassilisks. For many teams, D2 will be their first World Cup experience. My pick for winning D2, is Ringling.

Goliaths.  Bracket play will certainly produce many David vs. Goliath matchups and who knows whether David can win. Right now, I consider Texas, Texas A&M, Baylor, UCLA, Marquette, Maryland and Miami Goliaths. Emerson, BU and Villanova get honorable mention.

Hicks. James Hicks, Maryland and Team USA keeper, will be hard to stop. Hicks is an outstanding player and Maryland's success really comes down to the supporting cast of Hicks.

IQA. Led by Benepe and Alicia Radford, the IQA has come a *really* long way since the first World Cup. WCVI is the first to not be in New York or at Middlebury. The IQA seemed to address the problems at WCV in planning for WCVI. WCVI will have war at every field, enough food vendors and (hopefully) good, trained referees. And thank God there's no Middlebury because I can't stand the conspiracy rumors.

Jackson. Willie Jackson of Arizona State is a brick wall. Known in the past for dirty play, as well as dominant defense, Willie Jackson has apparently cleaned up his game as of Western Cup IV. The more time Willie spends on the field (not in the penalty box) the more ASU wins. A Jackson red card is really bad for ASU in the pool of death.

Keeper. Normally, a team's most important offensive player plays at the keeper position. I'll be watching the keepers specifically in Emerson vs. USC, Lost Boys vs. Maryland and Boston vs. Villanova in pool play.

Lurhs. Coming back from an injury that prevented him from playing at the Western Cup, August Danger Lurhs is the key to a USC team that was ranked #1 in the fall. As I said in another post, I think Lurhs will lead USC to the top spot in their difficult pool and all the way to the Elitte Eight.

Maryland, Marquette, Miami. I have these three teams practically tied in terms of skills. Seekers Harry Greenhouse, Alex Busbee and David Moyer are all really good and each team is backed up with World Cup experience, super-athletic chasing cores and world-class beaters. I would love to see semifinal or quarterfinal matchups between these teams.

Northeast. The Northeast has the most to prove at World Cup VI. Although I don't believe this is true, many quidditch fans think the Northeast is inferior to all of the other regions. This spring, Hofstra especially, has had encouraging results. Look for Tufts, Emerson and BU to play well too.

Overtime. Overtime games at World Cups are intense. With the Snitch on the field and the crowd cheering at full strength from "Brooms Up" to snatch, an overtime game also puts a lot of pressure on the players. The favored team has a sense of urgency to put 30 points up on the board, which I have seen teams do, but in an even game, the players might as well sit down and watch the snitch. Anyways, OT is chaos!!

Pools. The Pools are pretty fair, I think. There are no outrageously difficult pools and I think at least two teams have a shot at the pool championship in every pool. Last year, the three Florida teams burst onto the scene by winning their pools. Will any specific region make statement in pool play?

Quidditch!! The sport we are flying across the country and spending time and money on. We wouldn't have it any other way though. Yay Quidditch!

Roth. Marquette's key chaser is physical and smart and was been a huge part of Marquette's championship at the Midwest Cup and the finals appearance at the Collegiate Cup. Bobby Roth has an amazing powerful arm which he uses for long distance shooting and passing, which stretches the field vertically.

Southwest. All I hear going into the World Cup, is how good the Southwest is. UT, LSU and A&M proved how good they were at WCV, but the rest of the crew coming from the Southwest has little or no World Cup experience. For teams like Texas State or UTSA, I've heard arguments that since they play the best teams in the country (see "T") on a regular basis, that they must be really good. The problem is, none of these teams have ever beaten the Big 3/4. The bottom of Southwest has something to prove and the top has a reputation to uphold...

Texas/Texas A&M. There's a reason these two teams are one, two in both the IQA Standings and the Eighth Man Rankings. While both teams are physical, they play completely different styles of quidditch. Texas plays a fast break, almost frantic and out of control type game through Augie Monroe and Kody Marshall. And A&M runs the best half-court offense in quidditch. The Aggies' precise passing and truck-like drives are impossible to stop. If neither of these two teams make it to the final, it is a travesty for quidditch.

Unstoppable. Will there be any team that is far and away the best? Will it be Ucla?

Victory. One team will claim victory and hoist the Cup. And, for the first time, it won't be Middlebury.

Weather. Writing this article exactly one week before the games begin, the forecast for World Cup isn't the best. The weather will be hot. Highs in the low 80s- which will be hard for the Northern team. There is currently a chance of a thunderstorm on Sunday afternoon, which could really put a damper on the WCVI finals. Partly cloudy all weekend.

Xs and Os. Whoever is drawing up the Xs and Os, aka the team coach, is going to have a big role at WCVI. A team's strategy needs to be able to shift and change according to the opposition and the coach, on field or off field, needs to guide his/her through the change.

Yada. Michael Parada, Penn State chaser, has the ability to lead his team on a run in bracket play. Penn State is another one of my upset picks to make the Elite Eight, and its because of Yada. This Spring, at the Shell-Shocking Spectacular, Parada's team, the Dallas Yadas, beat Maryland. Parada's leadership and on-field skill, combined with fellow PSU chaser Jason Rosenberg, is dangerous for any team.

Zero. Will any team have zero losses? It hasn't been done at a World Cup since Middlebury did it in 2010.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Four Unpopular Opinions on WCVI Pools

I guess I'll give my own version of the most recent Eighth Man article.

1) USC will advance to the Elite Eight. Stuck in a pool with Emerson, USF and Minnesota, a few bloggers haven't even picked to USC to advance into bracket play. I think, that not only will USC win their pool, but will win it with a good point differential. August Lurhs is one of the scariest players to play because of his experience, intelligence and size. While the matchup with David Fox might challenge Lurhs, he will lead his team past Minnesota and USF, who can't matchup with USC's size. Although they didn't make it to the finals, parts of USC's Lurhs-less performance at Western Cup was impressive, especially the first ten minutes of the UCLA game. USC hung with the highly-ranked Bruins. With Lurhs, USC is an Elite Eight team.

2) The team with the best point-defending (not seeking, or beatsr-play) will win the World Cup. Keepers or the chaser that brings the ball up the field is normally a team's best player. (ex. David Fox, August Lurhs, Zach Luce, Dre Clements, James Hicks, I could go on...) So, the team that is able to foil that player, and make him/her ineffective, will win. For instance, in the Western Cup finals, the Lost Boys' Tony Rodriguez was met every possession at mid-field with a physical UCLA player. Adam Richardson's take down and Corey Osto's harassing of Rodriguez turned the game around and won the Western Cup for the Bruins. Good point defending can disrupt an offense like a full court press in College Basketball. Passes become harder to make, drives to the hoop become impossible and a loss becomes probable.

3) Marquette will make it to the finals. Marquette is an all-around talented team that is quick and good at long passes. Marquette is the kind of team that feeds off an excited crowd. (Exhibit A: when they jumped out to a 40-0 lead against Middlebury at WCV) Bobby Roth is one of the most impressive shooters I have ever seen, and with the luck that comes with World Cup bracket runs, Rth could be draining goals from half-field. Marquette also has two of the best female chasers in the game, Caroline Villa and Cecila Ware. The entire Marquette team is physical, especially Chaser Joe Simonelli and Keeper Pat Doyle, and Ware and Villa bring it too! With tactical genius Curtis Taylor and, in my opinion, the Midwest's best Seeker, Alex Busbee, Marquette is a finals team.

4) The reffing will be good. I have confidence in the referees and the referee-certification process. The IQA will not put someone out there who isn't ready or good enough to be ref. Saying this, I'm scared I'll be proved wrong, but I have gut feeling that the refs will come through this year.