Monday, June 17, 2013

First Team All Stars

(K) James Hicks
Maryland's transformation into a top-tier quidditch program can largely be credited to Team USA keeper James Hicks. Maryland's "Diamond Shell Defense" has been a major reason for success in 2012-13 only allowing an average of 30 points a game. In the back of Maryland's D, Hicks is a formidable presence, often charging out to meet driving players and receivers. Able to knock out the quaffle with hard hits, he causes and recovers many turnovers, then quickly runs down the field. Hicks possesses surprising agility and light-footed-ness in transition and his juking is the best I've seen from a keeper of his size. Hicks heads and paces an offense terrifically, with great patience and passing. Maryland's offense is very controlled and reminds me somewhat of a basketball offense, with Hicks being the main ball handler along the perimeter. Maryland was the elite team in the Mid Atlantic in 2012-13 and disappointment at World Cup doesn't change that
Created by James Hicks

(C) Drew Wasikowski
Photo by Kat Ignatova/IQA Staff
When he is on his game, Texas A&M chaser Drew Wasikowski is the most dominant player in quidditch including players from UT and UCLA. A sub-par performance against Texas in the World Cup VI quarterfinals has overshadowed the fantastic season "Drewski" has had. Leading Texas A&M to a Collegiate Cup championship, Diamond Cup championship and topping the standings at the unofficial BTCW Tournament, the Aggies were the consensus number one team in the country for most of the year. Wasikowski does it all for A&M. He can play at the point or off the ball, always contributing to the offense. He stands out on his team and at each tournament. Your eye is drawn to him because he is the perfect chaser, holding exceptional tackling, driving, passing, shooting and defending skills.

(C) Daniel Daugherty
Photo by April Gonzales
While BGSU's Daniel Daugherty isn't the most physical chaser, I believe he is the best shooter quidditch has ever seen. Daugherty's ability to make even half of his long range shots is an amazing weapon that can befuddle the best defenses. Able to evade top point defenders with tackle-breaking and help from beaters, Daugherty only needs a second to look up and fire. Opposing keepers, who can have obscured vision and be as far as 25 feet away, need stay very aware and be able to make diving stops. Daugherty is also a fantastic passer and driver. Number 19's point play stretches the field unlike any other player and creates a harder job for the defending team's beaters. With more open space, he can weave through the defense and shoot closer to the hoops--sometimes off balance, on the run or while being tackled. On defense, Daugherty is most valuable as a keeper. Against Texas in the World Cup VI semifinals, he blocked five shots from strong, powerful Longhorn chasers with a mixture of stuffs and deflections. BGSU was a semifinalist at WCVI and a finalist at Midwest Regionals in 2012-13 and it's a shame that comprehensive statistics do not exist to show that Daugherty probably has one of the highest points per game averages in the country.

(C) Melissa White
Photo by Elizabeth Barbier
It seems quidditch was made for LSU's Melissa White. She is outstanding at breaking tackles and dodging bludgers, a skill that only a very few female chasers have (and none do it as well as White). A talented offensive point guard, her head is always up looking to pass or make a good shot. She tracks down errant shots and receives passes behind the hoops as well as assists and finds open teammates. White creates her own chances at goals doing more than simply getting open, catching and shooting. Often spinning and trucking through 2 or 3 bigger defenders on her way to the hoops, she is really hard to tackle. On defense, the Olympian dishes out hard hits and precise take downs and she will always be at the bottom of a scrum for the quaffle.

(B) Kody LaBauve and (B) Kyrie Timbrook
Photo by Elizabeth Barbier
Photo by Monica Wheeler
Kody LaBauve of LSU and Kyrie Timbrook of the Silicon Valley Skrewts are two of the most aggressive beaters in the country. With their beating partners playing more conservatively, LaBauve and Timbrook can pick up and intimidate the point player. Unafraid to make long or difficult beats, LaBauve, nicknamed "Sniper," and Timbrook, a former collegiate softball player, have amazing arms. The two beaters can cover ground quickly, rarely losing bludger control, and halt the opposition's transition game with extraordinary half pitch beats. Each assisting their offenses too, LaBauve and Timbrook are smart and strategic. Possessing every skill you could want from a beater, the pair have yet to win any big tournaments--perhaps the reason they do not receive as much attention.

(S) Steve DiCarlo and (C/K/S) August Lührs
Photo by Isabella Gong/IQA Staff
Created by James Hicks
Both playing for teams in the City of Angels, Lost Boys' seeker Steve DiCarlo and USC's August Lührs have different seeking styles. DiCarlo's consistency and number of clutch snatches is unmatched in the quidditch world. While many seekers get hot, cold, and streaky, DiCarlo has been reliable to catch the snitch all year for the Lost Boys. DiCarlo has grabbed three tournament winning grabs and countless others that propelled his team to important wins.

By now, everyone knows that USC's August Lührs can take the quaffle the length of the pitch, run through the entire defending team, and slam it through the hoops past the best keepers. With immense physical talent and ability, the Trojan and Olympian will win every loose ball and will always be moving on offense without the ball. He may be an even bigger weapon at seeker though. At World Cup VI, he overwhelmed every snitch he faced with size, aggression and tirelessness. Lührs' lower body strength makes him impossible to throw and as his grappling improves, he will become an even more dangerous seeker.

 First Team
Keeper-James Hicks
Chaser-Drew Wasikowski
Chaser-Daniel Daugherty
Chaser-Melissa White
Beater-Kody LaBauve
Beater-Kyrie Timbrook
Seeker-Steve DiCarlo
Utility-August Luhrs

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