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.

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