Monday, September 30, 2013

Quidditch Coaches Poll 9/30

World Coaches Poll
1. University of Texas-Austin (559)
2. Lost Boys QC (509)
3. Baylor University (508)
4. Lone Star QC (506)
5. Texas A&M University (487)
6. University of California-Los Angeles (352)
7. Boston University (344)
8. Bowling Green State University (241)
9. Emerson College (228)
10. University of Southern California (219)
11. Florida's Finest QC (140)
12. University of Maryland (137)
13. University of Kansas (129)
14. Louisiana State University (94)
15. NYDC Capitalists (89)

Top Five Others Receiving Votes: QC Boston: The Massacre (88), University of Miami (60), Ohio State University (40), University of Arkansas (40), Ball State University (37)

Regional Coaches Polls
Mid Atlantic
1. University of Maryland (27)
2. NYDC Capitalists (26)
3. Pennsylvania State University (11)
3. Villanova (11)
5. QC Pittsburgh (8)

1. Bowling Green State University (37)
2. University of Kansas (29)
3. Ball State University (24)
4. Ohio State University (20)
5. Marquette University (7)

1. Boston University (30)
2. Emerson College (24)
3. QC Boston: The Massacre (17)
4. Tufts Univeristy (7)
4. University of Rochester (7)

1. Florida's Finest QC (39)
2. University of Florida (25)
3. Tennessee Technological University (23)
4. University of South Florida (17)
5. University of Miami (14)

1. Baylor University (32)
2. Lone Star QC (29)
3. Texas A&M University (27)
4. University of Texas-Austin (24)
5. LSU (3)

1. Lost Boys QC (25)
2. University of California-Los Angeles (16)
3. University of Southern California (15)
4. Arizona State University (8)
4. Northern Arizona University (8)

Voters: Brad Armentor (Lousiana State University), Jacob Barrett (Florida Gulf Coast University), Evan Bell (Santa Barbara Blacktips), Patrick Callanan (University of Rochester), Mitch Cavender (Lost Boys QC), Jeremy Day (University of Richmond), Clay Dockery (New York Badassilisks), Chisa Tko-Br Egbelu (Rutgers University), Hank Dugie (Cougar Quidditch), Matt Dwyer (Miami University), Blain Falone (University of South Florida), David Foxx (Emerson College), Craig Garrison (Roadrunner Quidditch), David Gilbert (Baylor University), Ian Hoopingarner (Michigan State University), David Hoops (Ohio State), Allick Jorgensen (University of Central Florida), Nicolas Kubicki (University of Southern Mississppi), Erin Mallory (University of Maryland), Max Miceli (University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill), Marina Montenegro (Horn Tailed Horcruxes Quidditch), Brain Nackasha (Eastern Florida State University), Ben Nadeau (QC Boston: The Massacre), Cody Narveson (University of Minnesota), Stephen Nettles (Rollins College), Sean Pagoada (Florida's Finest QC), Michael Parada (NYDC Capitalists), Jordan Parisher (Texas State University), David Prueter (Central Michigan University), Adam Robillard (Gee-Gees Quidditch), Tye Rush (Riverside Runners), Brandon Scapa (Universtiy of California-Los Angeles), Alex Scheer (University of Toledo), Landon Smith (Tennessee Technological University), Colby Soden (University of Kansas), Ethan Sturm (Tufts University), Shenuque Tissera (Macaulay Honors College at CUNY), Tyler Walker (Ball State University), Tad Walters (Loyola University), Drew Wasikowski (Texas A&M University), Alex Wilson (University of Arkansas); Regional Poll Voter Only: Cooper Davis (Northern Arizona University), Kyle Jeon (New York University), Dan Shapiro (University of Missouri

Thursday, September 26, 2013


The Massachusetts Quidditch Conference and the Southern New England Quidditch Conference will kick off their seasons this weekend with a 15 team invitational. Along with many of the conferences' regulars, McGill and the New York Badassilisks will be joining in. Here's a quick preview including best and worst case scenarios for each of the top teams.
Photo by Michael E. Mason/IQA Staff
All eyes will turn to QC Boston: The Massacre this weekend as the much hyped community team will make their debut. Led by Kedzie Teller, Zach D'Amico, Jayke Archibald and Ben Nadeau, the chasing core of the Massacre is sure to be quick, crisp and accurate. Expect lots of passing and movement: a nightmare for defenses. Archibald and Teller's speed will allow for lots of fast break goals and a great transition offense. Keeper Victor Viega will take on a bigger role as QCB's go to power player and will face off in pool play against former teammate David Foxx. In Kara Levis' first Northeast games, she will face off against the region's best offenses. I think QC Boston certainly has the pieces in place to win the MQC/SNEQC Invitational.

Best Case: QC Boston wins their first tournament setting the tone for a successful season. Their offense looks precise and unstoppable and the defense doesn't disappoint.

Worst Case: QC Boston loses to Emerson in pool play, but rallies to advance to the finals. In the finals, their passing game is picked apart by BU and doubt about QCB's chances this year spreads across the nation.
Photo by Monica Wheeler
Although some think Emerson was gutted by graduations and the Massacre this summer, I think Emerson will feel like a relatively similar team and have a good shot at upsetting QCB. While the losses of Jo Lam, Matt Lowe, Ben Nadeau, Victor Viega, and Griffin Conologue will be felt, I think David Foxx, the most physically dominating player in the Northeast, will be able to carry the team offensively from the point. Expect the breakout of chaser Pablo Calderon-Santiago, now a certain starter for Emerson and probably one of Foxx's most targeted receivers. With Aaron Wohl anchoring the beating corps, I think Emerson is in a very good position and I truly don't think they've fallen off much from last season.

Best Case: Emerson beats QC Boston in pool play and advanced to the finals, possibly knocking out defending Northeast champions BU in the semifinals.

Worst Case: Emerson is not ready for so many losses of key players. Foxx struggles as teams meet him at the point with multiple defending chasers and a beater every possession. Emerson is bounced in the quarterfinals.
Photo by Michael E. Mason/IQA Staff
The MQC/SNEQC Invitational will be the return of Brendan Stack to a BU team that went to the Sweet Sixteen without him. Stack, a vital part of the Terriers attack on transition, is well known among these teams although he seems to have been forgotten nationally. Stack and Michael Powell, one of a few BU chasers/keepers who thrived during Stack's absence, should be a fast, productive, duo. Also watch for BU beater Max Havlin, who's spectacular beating for Blue at Northeast Fantasy boosted them into the semifinals. Havlin's impenetrable defense frustrated his fantasy opponents. With BU's lack of physical defense and solid tackling, (the strength of BU's chaser defense is interceptions) Havlin and elite beater Katrina Bossoti will be the key to BU's success this weekend.

Best Case: BU dominates the competition making QC Boston look bad in the finals. BU rockets to the top of rankings

Worst Case: BU gets bounced in the semifinals. Stack's return is disappointing and powerhouse players like David Foxx are not stopped by Havlin and Bossoti 

McGill will travel down into the States, and for the first time since World Cup V, they will be put to the test against top US teams. As the only non-American team in the Eighth Man's top 20, McGill will look to prove that they belong there. Winners of the last Canadian Cup, McGill hasn't been seen on the big stage since, so all there is to look at is players' fantasy performances. 

Best Case: McGill surprises teams who haven't played them before, wins their pool and advances to the semifinals. 

Worst Case: McGill is easily beaten in the quarterfinals and drops out of T8M rankings.

*an incorrect earlier version of this article stated Hugh Podmore played for McGill. Podmore has graduated and now plays for York University, where he goes to graduate school.

With no elite teams, all of SNEQC teams will be looking for a chance to break out and assert themselves as contenders with a win over an MQC team. SNEQC Champions, the India Point Ashwinders have a tough road to bracket play, going against QC Boston  and Emerson in pool play. New Haven, however, will get three reasonable shots at good teams in Tufts, McGill and Harvard. I think New Haven can upset at least two of these three teams. If UNH could pull even one of those upsets off, it would be huge for the SNEQC.

Best Case: New Haven (who places second in their pool defeating McGill and Harvard) and India Point advance to bracket play. New Haven plays a tight snitch range game in the quarterfinals, but loses.

Worst Case: No SNEQC teams advance to bracket play and people remember this tournament as the MQC Invitational. 

My Prediction
Finals BU def. QC Boston
Semifinals QC Boston def. McGill, BU def. Emerson
Quarterfinals QC Boston def. New. Haven, McGill def. UMass, BU def. Badassilisks, Emerson def. Tufts

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Lone Star Roster: Day Three

Day Three
Lone Star QC announced seven names for their roster today on their facebook page including top beaters, Hope Machala and Savannah Allison. With players coming from all positions and four different alma maters, the group announced today is diverse in talent and playing style. Adding their first out-of-region collegiate players in Kansas chasers Connor Drake and Ronell Sharp, Lone Star adds more solid defense and lots of experience. Rounding out today's list was Texas A&M chaser Nicole Galle, LSU beater Seth Segura and chaser/seeker Nash Mock.

Lone Star will have the best female beaters in the country. Already with Mollie Lensing, the additions of Hope Machala and Savannah Allison are really exciting for the future of female beating. As some top teams move towards playing two male beater sets, Lensing, Machala and Allison might be able to reverse the trend. Quick, strong, smart, experienced and well-rounded, these three have handled pressure in big games, debuting new strategies that lead their teams to victory.
Photo by Lauren Carter
A crucial part of Texas' championship run and season, Machala became a household name after her World Cup performance. Arguably the best female beater in the nation, Machala clings to bludger control while being extremely efficient. If total number of beats were tracked, Machala would probably be in the top five due to her mobility, accuracy and time of with a bludger. She is focused and always on top of her game.

Photo by Lauren Carter
I've been waiting for Savannah Allison to break out and become dominant for a while now. Allison has the athleticism and pitch awareness to be a great beater, but with Texas A&M tanking in the quarterfinals of World Cup VI, she wasn't given a chance to play in the final four. If Texas A&M had won the World Cup, Allison could easily have gotten as much attention as Machala. Lone Star is going to win a lot and playing at the level she has played, Allison should start to get recognized as an elite beater.
Photo by Kat Ignatova/IQA Staff
Connor Drake, former Jayhawk keeper, is the first big name quaffle player Lone Star has added that I think might have trouble fitting into the UT style offense at first. Drake's greatest skills are his ball handling, decision making and control of the offense. If LSQC keeper Stephen Bell is RG3, then Connor Drake is Andrew Luck. Drake is not bad in transition, but the transition attack Kansas ran this past season is nothing like the attack Texas ran. Andrew Luck can run, but not like Robert Griffin. Being able to play well in the half court is incredibly important for Lone Star, as I'm confident some team (Baylor, UT and the Lost Boys have the best shot I think) will find a way to stop the fast break offense championed by guys like Marshall, Arends and Bell. That's where Drake become essential. Lone Star's captains need to have confidence in Drake even though he doesn't have the transition speed of Stephen Bell. If you place the right weapons around him, and let him take the quaffle up the pitch, he will ease into a comfort zone and be very dangerous. In particular, I think a dual point guard system with Drake and Simon Arends would be dynamite. A sudden change in pace and style can be brought on with one substitution in Connor Drake and throw off the opposition's gameplan.

Photo by Kat Ignatova/IQA Staff
Next we have Drake's former Kansas teammate Ronell Sharp. Sharp is known for his tenacious point defending and with Lone Star, he will team up with two more of the world's best point defenders in Kody Marshall and Simon Arends. All three can learn from each other and make each other better point defenders. If Marshall and Arends become Lone Star's primary point defenders, Sharp is a terrific off ball defender, keeping up with his man and intercepting telegraphed passes.

Nicole Galle is a big addition behind Sarah Holub on the female chaser depth chart. Galle, a former Aggie, will have to get used to the fast paced offense I expect Lone Star to run, as Texas A&M played most in a half court style offense. Seth Segura provides much needed male beater depth, seeing that besides Reed Duncan, LSQC doesn't have a single male beater that has played a season before.

Will we see two female beater sets from Lone Star QC? How will UT's Machala work with A&M's Lensing, Duncan and Allison? Will the two schools' difference in strategy be a barrier at first?

Although she will probably end up third on the female beater depth chart, will 2013-14 be the year Savannah Allison becomes a household name? It will have to be if Lone Star's going to win World Cup VII.

Will Connor Drake fit into a fast paced offense? Will Drake stay primarily a point guard keeper or will he be playing off ball chaser more? Can the Lone Star captains figure out how to use Drake?

I asked yesterday who would point defend more between Marshall and Arends, but does Sharp have what it takes to beat out the former Longhorns and become the primary point defender?

Friday, September 20, 2013

Lone Star Roster: Day Two

Day Two
Today, Lone Star QC released their second of four lists of names on their facebook page. Picking up Simon Arends, Stephen Bell and Sarah Holub from last year's World Champion UT team plus Texas A&M beater Reed Duncan and LSU keeper Beto Natera, the moves bring Lone Star into the top five in my opinion Arends, Bell and Holub are truly elite quaffle players on both ends of the pitch. The three will continue to play alongside UT teammates Kody Marshall and Chris Morris, and I don't think anything will change in their production. Expect spectacular defensive plays from Arends, great transitions from Bell and jump dunks from Sarah Holub.
Photo by Jonah Wagoner
Keeper Stephen Bell and chaser Simon Arends have a lot in common. Before World Cp VII, almost no one knew who they were. Bell had an impressive performance at West by Southwest and Arends played well at Southwest Regionals, but outside of the Southwest, they received nowhere near the attention of teammates Kody Marshall and Augustine Monroe. Terrific athletes and elite on both ends of the pitch, the talents of Bell and Arends powered Texas through their tough games at WCVI. At the end of the season, they were each rewarded as All-Americans. Bell and Arends will no longer fly under the radar in 2013-14. The good news is, I still think there is room for improvement for both players. With their athleticism, determination and effort on and off the pitch, Bell and/or Arends could become the most dominant player in quidditch. For each player, it starts with them getting more playing time and touches. Injuries to LSQC's chasing corps might not be a bad thing for Bell and/or Arends. Neither player has really ever been expected to carry his team and having that leadership experience would be good for their development. On the pitch, I think Arends' could benefit from having Bell's vision in transition and distributing skill and Bell needs to be able to improve at grinding through tackles in the half court, Arends' speciality. Either way, these are two outstanding pickups for Lone Star QC.

Photo by Lauren Carter

You have to be excited to see Reed Duncan and Mollie Lensing back on the pitch together. It feels like forever since Duncan and Lensing were one of the most dominant beating pairs in the IQA with Texas A&M. In one year, beating strategy has come a long way. While Duncan and Lensing certainly played ahead of their time, one of the biggest questions for Duncan especially, will be how he adjusts to playing against much more strategic, athletic beaters. Duncan was known for eliminating passing options, then gunning for the ball carrier at a time when most beating strategy centered around the ball carrier. He will have to play more conservatively than what feels natural, as teams hold onto bludger control much tighter and longer now than before. Another big question is whether we will see the return of Duncan's crazy, skin tight pants.
Photo by Lauren Carter

Sarah Holub, a consensus All-American, will continue to do what she does so well for Lone Star. She has tons of existing chemistry with all of the former UT players and as she showed in fantasy tournaments, will be able to develop chemistry with new teammates very quickly. As updated in Rulebook 7, the bigger, wider quidditch pitch will be fun to watch Holub play in. With more space behind and to the sides of the hoops (Holub's sweet spot), she has more opportunities to spread the pitch. While I still expect a lot of jump dunks, I think with more space, Holub will receive the quaffle further from the hoops more often, forcing her to truck through defenders or juke them out. I think the new pitch size creates lots of opportunities for new strategies especially with a player with the skill of Sarah Holub.

Although he is not an official captain, former LSU captain Beto Natera brings lots of leadership experience to Lone Star QC. A power chaser with speed, Natera is good on the fast break and will love the up tempo, UT style attack. Also joining LSQC is Bo Roth. Roth, a first year player, will be playing beater according to the website. Unless he can get some great training from Reed Duncan and Mollie Lensing, I don't expect to see much of him on the pitch this fall. Beating is getting more complex every year and raw athleticism won't cut it.

Will Simon Arends be Lone Star's go to point defender?

With Augie Monroe still at UT (at least this year) does Stephen Bell start at keeper for Lone Star?

Is the beating pair of Duncan and Lensing able to outplay Baylor's beaters? How do they compare to other top regional beaters like Kody LaBauve and Matthieu Gregorie?

Does the change in pitch size really matter for Sarah Holub? What new strategies will Lone Star attempt using Holub?

Does Beto Natera fit into the half court offense style of Lone Star's UT players? How much of an impact will he have?

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Lone Star Roster: Day One

After a bracket plays out, two teams meet in the final and a championship is won, the next question is always, who will be hoisting the trophy next year. The quidditch community knew that dominant, World Cup VI Champions, Texas would be losing a lot of players. Rumors began to circle that these graduating UT players would join forces with graduating players from other regional schools to form a super team of experienced, talented and athletic stars. Lone Star QC became the favorite to win World Cup VII in the quidditch community, despite the roster of the Texas-based community team being uncertain. Throughout the summer, Lone Star had to be in the back of the minds of captains across the country. Even if the captains truly believed their team could beat every other team in the IQA, they couldn't make any assumptions about Lone Star before knowing their roster. The question became, how good is Lone Star going to be? How many All-Americans will they have? How many World Champions from UT? And boy, did we all want to have those questions answered. It was almost unfair to the Capitalists, the Massacre, the Lost Boys and Florida's Finest because every time roster news came out about them, the response was always, "Cool...Any news on Lone Star?"
Photo by Kat Ignatova/IQA Staff
Well, during the next four days, those questions will be answered. Lone Star QC's facebook page will be releasing five or six names daily. The public will soon know the complete roster of one of the most hyped teams ever to take pitch. As the season kicks off and fall regionals near, predictions for World Cup VII are going to finally be complete and without roster-guessing. Is Lone Star really number one? What about Baylor? Texas A&M? Can Texas defend their title? Which teams matchup well with Lone Star and have the ability to upset them? Over the next few days, the QuidKid will be answering those questions and providing quick analysis once the information is made public each day on Lone Star QC's facebook page. 

Day One
Lone Star QC released the names of five players that will join the team for the 2013-14 season today. Headlining today's list were captains, Kody Marshall, Chris Morris and Mollie Lensing. Although the three were commonly known to have a connection to the team, we now have the official word from the team. How will each player perform with Lone Star? What do they bring to the team?

Photo by Kat Ignatova/IQA Staff
Right away, Lone Star has a consensus first team All-American and World Champion on their team in Kody Marshall. Known for his outstanding stamina and tireless defense, the quidditch community knows how dangerous Marshall is. He can really do it all. Marshall covers so much ground on offense, on and off the ball. He is a nightmare to cover and I have never seen a team's defense really affect him. It is often forget that Kody Marshall is also a very good seeker. If seeker was his only position and he had fresh legs when the snitch returned to the pitch, Kody Marshall would be the best seeker in quidditch. Even after playing minutes at chaser, Marshall will still be a valuable asset at seeker. Sustaining an injury at THE Fantasy Tournament this summer, Marshall played the following week at Northeast Fantasy, although he clearly wasn't 100%. Injuries are a far greater threat to Marshall's success this year than any defender.

Photo by Kat Ignatova/IQA Staff
Former UT captain Chris Morris was there from the beginning at Texas and practiced, recruited and trained his way to the top. Now Morris will start from scratch captaining Lone Star. Morris is outstanding in transition offense and has a really accurate mid range shot. He is one of the best ball handlers in quidditch and his passes are always perfectly on the mark. While Morris prefers not to run through the defense like Kody Marshall, he is agile and has a wide variety of moves to get past defenders. In a half court offense, Morris is extremely valuable taking the ball down the wings. The defense collapses on him, but he is still able to find his teammates with bludgers flying at him and chasers wrapping him up. If I was choosing a single quidditch player to build a franchise around, Chris Morris would be in my top three because of his skill as a distributor and his leadership.

Photo by Kat Ignatova/IQA Staff

One of the best beaters in the Southwest during her time with Texas A&M, Mollie Lensing will captain Lone Star. With excellent pitch awareness and extensive knowledge of beater strategy, Lensing is the perfect all around beater. Frustrating offenses with her accurate, distance beats, the combination of Kody Marshall's chaser defense and Lensing's beating will be very tough for opposing point and perimeter players. To beat Baylor, Lensing and the rest of Lone Star's beating corps will need to hold bludger control, because Baylor's signature defense is nowhere near as effective with only one bludger. Also, in the minds of many, Baylor beater Brittany Ripperger took Lensing's spot as the best female beater in the nation in 2013. As Lensing looks to lead Lone Star QC and take that title back, the health of the former A&M star will be a major factor.

Photo by Brad Armentor
Lone Star QC also announced that Rice keeper Brian Stevens and Texas intramurals beater Jared Apilado will be joining the team. Stevens is very strong and is a classic power quaffle player. Playing with some of the best in the world, I think Stevens will improve a lot. Apilado obviously has experience playing against and with great players in the UT intramurals, but the level of intensity when LSQC plays teams like Baylor, A&M and UT will be new to him.

Marshall, Morris and Lensing provide the all important base of veteran leadership on and off the pitch. Some of have doubted that LSQC will have the drive to win another World Cup, but I just don't see how fierce competitors like these three aren't going to give 110% on the pitch. With that in mind, Lone Star QC is going to have a target on their back. It will almost be like they are defending a title. I think that will only motivate them more.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Meet UNC: Minerva Cup Champions

Founded in 2010, UNC was unofficial through last season. Said captain Max Miceli, "This year that will not be the case. Our squad is too good and too committed to not try to go for the World Cup." 
Photo by Nicole Harrig
UNC Chapel Hill was expected to do well at the season opening Minerva Cup. When scores started to come in, it was clear that the team was exceeding expectations. Putting up an average of 156 points per game for the tournament, UNC blew past all competition. The finals pitted a WCVI Round of 32 team, VCU, against the Tar Heels. Could the newly official UNC beat a respected VCU squad? Goals from Amit Katyayan and Ed Bartels propelled UNC into a commanding lead and after a few minutes with the snitch on the pitch, Max Miceli sealed the tournament victory with a snatch. Miceli, a team captain, said, "we told (the newer players) that the toughest competition they face is at practice. I'm just not sure they totally believed it until they saw it. Once they went out and started to dominate teams with no problems, they started to realize, "hey, these other schools really can't keep up with us.""

With lots of athleticism and speed, UNC thrived on turnovers, immediately going into the fast break when they recovered the quaffle. With VCU struggling to get back on defense, UNC's chasers broke tackles and dodged bludgers en route to a 200*-30 victory. Although tackling is probably a weakness for UNC, they made up for it with excellent beating and interceptions. As soon as UNC's defense recovered the ball, they shoved it right back in VCU's face on the fast break. With lots of different talent and no positional weaknesses, UNC is a threat to make a run at the Mid Atlantic Regionals and World Cup VII.

Top Players
Max Miceli is the heart of this up and coming Tar Heels team. When UNC decided to stay unofficial for the 2012-13 season, Miceli was recruited by QC Carolinas. A leading scorer for community team last season, Miceli brings valuable experience to Chapel Hill. He understands and utilizes the strategy of spreading the pitch better than any of his teammates. Making sharp cuts to shake off defenders, Miceli likes to drive up the wings. Against VCU in the Minerva Cup Finals, he demonstrated great decision making, as he will not force passes and will go the hoops himself when he has the chance.
Photo by Nicole Harrig
Amit Katyayan and Ed Bartels are right up there with the most fun to watch chasing duos in the IQA. Playing loosely but incredibly focused at the same time, their energy on the pitch translates to their teammates. Katyayan is quick and agile and reminds me a lot of UCLA's Corey Osto, while Bartels is very strong and will run right through anything but the best tackles. Combining for eight goals in the finals, Katyayan and Bartels put on a dazzling display of spinning, juking, breaking tackles and dodging bludgers.
Photo by Nicole Harrig
Defending the point was tall, athletic beater Luke Miller. Miller kept constant pressure against VCU when he was in the game, always rushing the VCU point players into a bad pass or beating them himself. Commanding the pitch and earning the respect of the offense with his cannon of an arm, Miller moved quickly to shut down any opportunities for VCU to score. Miller and the the Tar Heel beaters are vital to UNC's fast break offense. The turnovers they cause lead to goals for Katyayan, Bartels, or Miceli.

Players with Potential
Providing UNC's physicality is new recruit Lee Hodge. In his first tournament, he defended point and proved to be UNC's best tackler. Never shying away from a hit, Hodge trucked defending chasers and exploded off the hits. In space, Hodge is just as dangerous as Katyayan or Bartels. With a mesmerizing stutter step to go with his strength, Hodge will beat any chaser one on one on a fast break. Hodge's finishes are dunks and on his final goal of the day, the hoop just couldn't handle it anymore and broke. As Hodge gains experience, I expect him to be a much bigger part of the gameplan and it will be interesting to see how he is used.
Photo by Nicole Harrig
Identical twin chasers Ally and Courtney Reynolds have a lot of potential. The Reynolds sisters look more comfortable in a traditional half court offense than the high speed attack led by Katyayan and Bartels. From a few plays in the game, I can see that they are able to break tackles, drive and shoot. Either way, Ally and Courtney Reynolds are scrappy and recover missed shots really well. In the fast break style offense, the outlet pass often comes from a Reynolds. Paired with the right male chasers, the Reynolds sisters will give UNC the chance to try out a two male beater set.

Also a new recruit, seeker Alex Crawford is one to look out for. He has all the physical traits of a good seeker, including long arms and quickness. For Crawford to become elite though, he can't spend so much energy trying to get past a defending seeker.

From what I saw on video, I don't think UNC can beat the Capitalists right now, but I would say Maryland, Villanova, Penn State and Pitt should be on high upset alert come regionals. I'm confident the Tar Heels can reach a whole new level against one of the Mid Atlantic powerhouses, as teams always seem to up their game against better competition. There is certainly confidence and hunger to face tougher competition in Chapel Hill. If they do find a way to play tougher teams, I think UNC can be this year's Baylor and end the season as a top ten team.

"Last weekend, I heard a couple of my first year players ask one of the other leaders if we were going to get a chance to play Texas this semester," said Miceli. "That's the mentality our players have. They want to play the best, beat the best and be the best. The drive is there, and so is the talent in my opinion. Now it's just about execution and preparation."

Monday, September 9, 2013

Community Team Update

Lots has happened in the past two weeks in the world of quidditch community teams. I haven't been writing recently due to the start of high school, but I'm back! Here's an update on five community teams that will contend for a regional championship.

1. Ending the Darkseid Elite saga, the Lost Boys officially added five former UCLA players on August 26th. Vanessa Goh, Jake Tieman, Jeff Lin and Tiffany Chow will join the Los Angeles community team for the 2013-14 season along with ex-UCLA coach Mitch Cavender. It's easy to say that the five former Bruins will push the Lost Boys from good to great, but the West is going to be stronger than people think next year. USC still has August Lührs and David Demarest, UCLA has Zach Luce and Adam Richardson and the Skrewts' beating game is one of the toughest in the IQA.

Photo by Kat Ignatova/IQA Staff
Photo by Kat Ignatova

The Lost Boys' will surely rely on rapidly improving keeper Tony Rodriguez to distribute the ball to their talented, new, off ball chasers, as well as score himself. The speedy Jeff Lin is known to be one of the best off ball chasers in the IQA, Jake Tieman's powerful presence in the lanes will probably make him one of the Lost Boys' top scorers, and Vanessa Goh is an outstanding ball handler and passer. Mitch Cavender will bring his strategic mind to Lomita and look to transform the beating pair of Chris Seto and Michael Mohlman into a dominant, elite duo. Despite a top-notch chasing corps and a beating corps under the direction of Cavender, the Lost Boys may lack the depth to beat Western powerhouses UCLA and USC. Their "bottom third," (players 14-21 on the depth chart) looks to be much weaker than their top 14 players. Also, the West's abundance of large opposing keepers (Luce, Lührs, Huggins) are sure to cause mismatches against even the best of the Lost Boys' point defenders.

2. Bay Area Quidditch announced the inception of their casual team on August 30th, the Silicon Valley Skyfighters. Along with the Skyfighters, the Silicon Valley Skrewts, the competitive team, released their roster for the 2013-14 season. Skrewts' star beater Kyrie Timbrook and Willis Miles are back for another season as well as keeper Kevin Oelze. While much is unchanged, chaser Greg Weber is noticeably absent from list. Weber rose to prominence last spring as working terrifically with Oelze to score many points. During the final match of the Beachside Brawl on May 18th, Weber broke his arm badly. Entering the 2013-14 season, Weber is still out due to the broken arm. Co-captain Oezle informed The QuidKid that Weber's status for the 2013-14 season will depend on his recovery. Named Beachside's Most Outstanding Player, Weber's contributions will be greatly missed by the Skrewts' offense.
Photo by Kat Ignatova/IQA Staff
3. QC Boston: The Massacre released an 18 player roster on September 7th. The additions weren't nearly as flashy as the Massacre's first eight players, but QCB did pick up some quality role players such as Emerson's Griffin Conlogue and Ryan Barnarda. Team captain and founder Kedzie Teller was "very pleased" with tryouts and noted, "We were looking for a variety of things, from players that will fit the speed and passing game of the players we already have, to big-hitters that will bring added depth to our team. We really wanted variety-- this is, after all, a new team, and combining various styles will allow us to develop our own game and our own signature way of playing." 
Photo by Emily Oliver
Conlogue is just another piece in what I believe will be an excellent chasing corps with exceptional chemistry from the start. Barnada is known best for his success at seeker with Emerson, but is listed under beater on the Massacre's roster. He will likely rotate with Bobby O'Neil as the team's top male beater alongside Kara Levis. The Massacre's beating style isn't nearly as predictable as their offensive style when looking at the list of players. Barnarda, O'Neil, Levis and the rest of the beating corps are pretty good all around beaters--they don't play especially aggressive or conservative, but they do everything well. Although the losses of Conlogue and Barnarda will hurt Emerson, the biggest piece in the Boston Quidditch puzzle, hulking keeper David Foxx, a junior, will remain with ECQ.  College players (especially from Emerson) have never flocked to a community team so much before and a Foxx-to-QC Boston move would have likely frustrated many college players across the country. 

Like the NYDC Capitalists, QCB Boston did not take exactly 21 players to give the team greater flexibility. However, the Massacre are under 21, while the Capitalists have 29. On having only 18 players, Teller said, "We want to have the ability to keep recruiting both new and veteran players." 

4. Speculation has been swirling about the possibility that former UT beater Jacob Adlis will join the NYDC Capitalists. The Capitalists only have two male beaters, both with limited experience playing  beater at a high level. Although their female beaters are very strong, beating still looks to be a weakness for the community team, especially compared to their stellar chasing lines and reliable seekers. The addition of  "The Professor" would be huge for the Capitalists World Cup VII championship hopes. The Capitalists do not have a single player who played in the Elite Eight at World Cup VI and of course, clutch and consistent beater play from Adlis helped Texas secure their championship.
Photo by Jonah Wagoner

5. Community teams look to be strong Regional contenders or favorites in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and West. Add the home of World Cup VI and VII to the list of regions that could be won by community teams. Former USF chaser and Miami utility player Sean Pagoada founded Florida's Finest, a community team with branches in Miami and Tampa, this summer. Drawing from USF, Miami, FIU and Ball State as well as players with no school affiliation, Florida's Finest plans to release their full roster a week or two before their first tournament--the first FQC Meet on September 28th. The Sunshine State's most promising community team will compete at all the FQC Meets, Mardi Gras Cup, and will attempt to qualify for World Cup VII.

Photo by April Stratemeyer
In addition to Pagoada, the club leaked seven names that we can expect to see on their roster. Florida's Finest will have former USF players Sean Snipes, Austin Clooney, Daniel Velazquez, Robert Padan, and Michael Malakoff as well as Christina De Nicola and Team USA/Ball State seeker Tyler Macy. As a utility player, Pagaoda has the ability to be a huge factor at every position and if Florida's Finest achieves a lot of success, Pagaoda will be a lock for All-American teams. Snipes and Pagaoda starred at chaser for USF during the 2011-12 season providing speed and physicality for the Bulls. Reuniting this summer at the CQC Fantasy Tournament with Michael Malakoff, Snipes and Pagaoda led their team to the tournament championship. Robert Padan and Pagoada, who honed his skills at beater this past season with Miami, should provide reliable beating. In the seeking game, I like the duo of Macy at seeker and Pagoada at beater. With seeking experience, Pagoada should be able to think like a seeker and give Macy the space and time he needs to make clutch snatches.