Friday, October 11, 2013

Review Preview 10/11

 Review: Weekend of 10/5-10/6
Although this is about five days late, last weekend was very interesting around the country. The season is here and in full swing! The QuidKid is here to break down the madness from Lumberjack to Trial by Fire. We now know more things about the top teams in the Southwest and have many more clues about who is gonna come and take it. #1 in the country lost, but to great competition and #2 won a tournament championship but against tier two teams. With no new coaches poll this week, I'll give some of my thoughts. Enjoy the recaps and opinions!

Lumberjack Invitational
As expected, the Lost Boys (#2) went into Northern Arizona and dominated, despite having an imcomplete roster. The California community team showed their offensive might, putting up at least 150 points in every game except their eleven minute semifinal against Arizona. New chasers Jeff Lin and Vanessa Goh shined, providing the terrific ball handling the Lost Boys have needed to become elite. I think that the these results confirm that the Lost Boys are a top ten team, but no more yet. I still do not have confidence in their ability to defend against giant keepers like Zach Luce or August Lührs, especially after they allowed 120 points to NAU. In two weeks, when they play UCLA (#6) and USC (#10), we'll know if they are worthy of their lofty number two ranking.
Photo by Kat Ignatova/IQA Staff
Although Arizona State defeated Northern Arizona twice, comments surrounding NAU's performance have generally been more positive than comments surrounding ASU's. From what I've heard, the Narwhals showed both a lot of improvement from last year and lots of potential for improvement going forward this year. However Arizona State seemed to run strange beating strategies and rotations, including limiting star beater Duston Mazzella's play time, that makes me doubtful of their ability to make a run at big tournaments. New recruit Aaron Hill is a bright spot for 
the Sun Devils, as he proved to a rock defensively and a sound replacement for someone nicknamed "Stonewall." Alex Makk was spectacular as always, playing both chaser and beater.
Photo by Kat Ignatova/IQA Staff
MQC Meet
Emerson (#9) took 2 out of 3 games from BU (#8) leveling their season head-to-head record against the Terriers to 2-2. While both sides were missing a few important chasers, the losses evened out creating a series of matchups that we can accurately judge. David Foxx starred for Emerson with 8 goals and BU's Brendan Stack one-upped Foxx for a series high 9 goals. Each game came down to a snitch pull with Emerson's Nate Charles and Sean Caldwell getting the snatches in the first and last games. While neither team was at their best, Emerson showed that they aren't going to let BU win any of these rivalry games easily. Seeking, which has turned into a real strength for Emerson, might be the edge that the Lions need to finally dethrone BU in a big tournament.
Photo by Michael E. Mason/IQA Staff
Trial by Fire/Nittany Lion Cup
The main thing Trial by Fire and the Nittany Lion Cup did for me, was make me super excited to see the NYDC Capitalists (#15), and the Maryland (#12) face off for the Mid Atlantic crown. While NYDC played against the best of Canada, Maryland made quick work of the middle tier in the Mid-Atlantic Region. Looking at the scores, NYDC's defensive performance wasn't too impressive to me. The Capitalists allowed 100 points each to Gee-Gees Quidditch and McGill. While those two are definitely the best Canada has to offer, I generally regard them as a tier below Maryland. I think of Gee-Gees and McGill as in the same category as Penn State and Ball State, two teams Maryland handily beat. I think NYDC has a more talented roster than the Terps, but the results this weekend bumped Maryland past them in my mind.
Photo by Kat Ignatova/IQA Staff
In Canada, I see a three horse race for the fast approaching Canadian Cup. McGill, Gee-Gees and Carleton were reviewed well after Trial by Fire each posseing potent offensive weapons and skilled beater lines. McGill impressed, with players like defensive, physical force Patrick Qi Wang and chaser Andrew Asejibutu. Gee-Gees, who had several players go to the Ottawa Maple Rush, are developing a new team reputation for physicality and gave NYDC a big scare 120^-100*. Carleton, who are likely under the radar after Trial by Fire, arguably played the best. Boosted by very experienced players at every position, Carleton went undefeated in their pool, thumped Queen's 140*-0, and then almost beat McGill. The fourth World Cup qualifying spot is going to be a fight between Queen's, led by Chris Radojewski and the Ottawa Maple Rush, led by Jamie Lafrance.
Photo by Michael E. Mason
Breakfast Taco
Lone Star QC (#4) defeated UTSA 120*-110 in their debut at Breakfast Taco, but the runners up clearly stole the show. Powered by explosive chasers Craig Garrison, Cullen Carter and Luke Langlinais, UTSA earned the number two seed going into bracket play and advanced to the finals. With a promising beating duo in Chris Scholz and Jacob Wilson and several good female players, could have a chance at actually defeating Lone Star or any of the other "Big Four" teams at an official tourament. Garrison is terrific leader of this promising UTSA team and if it weren't for a series of bad cramps he got in the finals, UTSA might be Breakfast Taco champions. 

Otherwise, the reigning champions, Texas (#1), somehow made it through a pool with Texas A&M, Lone Star and Baylor. UT's chasing corps, despite all the losses, showed that they could stay with top teams, but all three games were in snitch range at the end. Returning chasers Aryan Ghoddossy, Audrey Wright and Ryan Davis stepped up into bigger roles and based on what I've heard, beater Freddy Salinas might be able to keep UT's beating corps as one of the best nationally. Then there's new recruit, chaser Hector Peralez. From the way people are talking about him, he sounds like a phenom. Only a freshman, Peralez might not only become a first string chaser this season, but could end up as the face of Texas Quidditch for the middle part of this decade. There is no player is the world that I want to see worse than Peralez. I want to say that he is going to be an All-American by the end of the year, but I haven't seen him, so I will have to wait. He looks like a natural athlete and with Augie Monroe as a mentor, all aboard the Hector Peralez hypetrain!! (Peralez is in the middle).
Photo by Becky Schmader
Let's not forget about the winners, Lone Star QC. I feel like Lone Star could only have done bad things this weekend. People expected them to win. Rebounding from a close loss to UT in pool play, Lone Star defeated the Aggies and Longhorns in bracket play before escaping defeat to UTSA. It' sclera to me that Lone Star is a very dangerous team to be in snitch range with. Their players are cool under pressure and put on a solid seeking performance in clutch situations this weekend. While chemistry between former teammates probably propelled Lone Star to the tournament championship, lack of chemistry between the team as a whole was a problem. As the season continues, strategic and athletic teams like UT and A&M will surely be able to exploit that problem
Photo by Becky Schmader
Texas A&M (#5) will continue to fly under the radar after Breakfast Taco. The Aggies just came out on the wrong end of the snatch against UT and Lone Star. While I could raise questions about A&M's normally reliable seeking game, I think that they'll figure it out and Breakfast Taco was just a bad weekend for the A&M seekers. What Texas A&M did prove, is that they can hang with the best teams in the Southwest. Scrolling through pictures from the tournament, Texas A&M has some new, big, athletic guys. According to captain Drew Wasikowski, old players who were not improving were cut in favor of newer, more athletic players with more potential. Also looking to take defensive dependence off veterans Drew Wasikowski and Kifer Gregorie, the Aggies are in it for the long haul this season.
Photo by Becky Schmader
By the looks of the scores, Baylor (#3) is going to have a rough fall season compared to what was expected. The Bears were out of snitch range of UT and UTSA and failed to catch the snitch in either game. Even worse, LSU was able to stay within snitch range of Baylor with a very depleted roster. None of this is the fault of bad strategy or poor performance. With a loaded disababled list, Baylor is just going to have to grind out games until they reach full strength. Even with their current situation, Baylor is still a top 15 team in my mind, but I don't think they are a threat to win any tournaments until injuries heal. Before we count them out, what team was plagued by injuries last fall? UT. What team won World Cup? UT.

Preview: Weekend of 10/12-10/13
Preview time. This weekend's pretty mellow, but there should be interesting developments in the Midwest and South. With the Midwest Regional only two weeks away, the Dumbeldore Memorial Tournament will be the first serious look at several contenders in their own region. Although the tournament has several big names team attending like Ball State, Marquette, Michigan and Michigan State, the rest of the field is very weak. With the right seeding and bracket play matchups, a middling team like Missouri could end up in the finals. In the South, FGCU is hosting the Dunk City Invitational. This tournament is awesome just because of the name. For those who don't know, the FGCU men's basketball team advanced to the Sweet Sixteen last year as a 15 seed. They beat Georgetown, San Diego State and were leading UF well into the first half in the Sweet 16. They were so fun to watch because of all of the high flying dunks and alleys (alleys!) and it all happened it Philadelphia! Good name and scheduled matchups between USF, Miami and Florida's Finest equals a tournament to watch. 

Dumbledore Memorial Tournament
The reigning Midwest Regional champions, Marquette, will be making their season debut. Coming off a bad World Cup VI performance, I'm eager to see how many of Marquette's players have returned. From the talented frontman, Bobby Roth to the vicious keeper Pat Doyle, Marquette hits as good as any other team. A serious lack of beater strategy doomed the Golden Eagels at World Cup. If players like Roth, Doyle, Cecilla Ware, Carolina Villa, and Joe Simonelli are still there, Marquette should plow through the teams at the Dumbeldore Tournament no matter how bad their beating is. 
Photo by Kat Ignatova/IQA Staff
Best Case: With a strong cast of returning players hungry to avenge their embarrassment, Marquette wins every game with pure physicality and wins the tournament. 

Worst Case: Not many of Marquette's hard hitting players are still there. Marquette looks about even with teams like Ball State and Michigan State. They are eliminated in the semifinals.

After a mediocre, 2-2 performance at Nittany Lion Cup, Ball State will return to their home region this weekend for regionals preparation. Ball State was carried by beaters John Lenderts and Trevor Campbell. Lenderts and Campbell will not be going against the likes of Scott Axel and Ricky Nelson this weekend, so expect an even more dominant performance. Ball State's offense never really caught fire in State College, but against familiar opponents, Ball State should be motivated and very flamable. 
Photo by Monica Wheeler
Best Case: Lenderts and Cambell provide great defense while Devon McCoy and Erin Kelly score points in transition. Ball State wins the final over a strong Marquette team.

Worst Case: Ball State tries to out hit a dominant Marquette team in the finals, but cannot match the Golden Eagels and end up playing very sloppily. Ball State places second. 

Michigan and Michigan State both did interesting things at World Cup VI. For Michigan, it was a close game with Texas A&M. For Michigan State, it was a Sweet 16 run and being a snitch grab away from the Elite 8. Both teams lost key players and will be working to train new players and develop new team identities. As everyone is the Midwest knows, regionals are only two weeks away and two very proud programs are not going to be embarassed at a regional championship. Although both teams should safely qualify for one of the 15 spots, Dumbledore is a warmup. 

Best Case: Great new recruits lead Michigan and Michigan State through a relatively weak field. On snitch grabs, they both advance to the finals.

Worst Case: Michigan and Michigan State look like very middling teams. They each take two or three losses including at least one blowout and one loss to a bad team.

My Prediction
Quarterfinals Marquette def. NIU, Michigan State def. Michigan, Ball State def. Toledo, Missouri def. Mercs
Semifinals Marquette def. Michigan State, Ball State def. Missouri
Finals Marquette def. Ball State

Dunk City Invitational
Florida's Finest (#11) played very well at their debut tournament, winning the championship and going undefeated. Sean Pagoada and Austin Clooney starred as offensive playmakers and clutch seekers. Beater Bobby Padan, who played great defense at the Titan's Fury Tournament, will be joined by Daniel Velazquez this weekend. Dunk City will be Velazquez's Florida's Finest debut. Florida's Finest will start off their day with two difficult games against Miami and USF and also has FGCU later, who will be looking to make an upset on their home field.
Photo by Kat Ignatova/IQA Staff
Best Case: Florida's Finest rolls over Miami and USF en route to another easy championship. The Florida's Finest hypetrain gains momentum and they assert themselves as the Sunshine State's top team.

Worst Case: Losing to either Miami or USF early, doubts are raised about the community team. The same team beats Florida's Finest again in the finals.

I believe that same team could very well be Miami. I think chaser Sean Beloff is one of the most underrated players in the game and maybe the best player is his region. I don't know why everyone's down on Miami. I have the feeling that they didn't play to their potential at the Titan's Fury Tournament and were happy to walk away quietly after being beat by UF. Miami has also apparently gotten lots of new recruits, and at a program like Miami, I bet a good bit are pretty athletic. 
Photo by Michael E. Mason/IQA Staff

Best Case: Miami breaks out at Dunk City, looking like the team that dominated the South last year. Lots of dunks are thrown down as the Hurricanes win the championship.

Worst Case: Miami is beaten badly by Florida's Finest to start the day and loses again later on. They look like the team that Southern Coaches ranked as fifth in the region.

My Prediction
Semifinals Florida's Finest def. FGCU, Miami def. USF
Finals Florida's Finest def. Miami


  1. I heard recently from a very strong source that Chris Scholz is not apart of the beater duo at utsa. Matter of fact he isn't even in the rotation. You obviously didn't watch the tournament cuz Chris never played against big time opponents but did play plenty of keeper. Abel Costilla is the second beater and has been pretty dominate in his play so far. He is exactly what utsa needs and is honestly the peanut butter to Jacobs jelly.