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?

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