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.

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