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.

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