Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Texas vs. Texas A&M: WCVI

New Series! I will break down interesting games this year that were captured on video. I will take extensive stats to the best of my ability for these games. All times and stats are not official and may not be exact. The stats are the most correct as humanly possible. 

Texas vs. Texas A&M
World Cup VI. Kissimmee, FL

Why This Game Is Important/Interesting:  Texas A&M was ranked 1. Texas was ranked 2. The Southwest powerhouses had yet to meet during the entire 2012-13 season. The first meeting of the two teams takes place in the Quarterfinals at World Cup VI. Texas A&M eliminated Texas from World Cup V. This was Texas' shot at redemption. It was certain to be a close game
But it wasn't. Texas A&M got blown off the pitch by the high-powered Texas offense and dominated in the bludger game. The final score was 200*-40 and Texas ended up winning the sixth World Cup.

Texas 200*.....................................Texas A&M 40
65%.................Shot Percentage........................25%
16:04..........Time with Bludger Control...........2:25
87%.......Percentage with Bludger Control......13%

Why Texas won: Texas' beating core, which featured Jacob Adlis, Hope Machala, Colin Capello and Lauren Carter, kept bludger control for roughly 87% of the game. Both of Texas' beaters stayed back, allowing the Longhorns' keepers to advance up the field on every offensive possession. In addition, Texas was not susceptible to A&M fast breaks. On defense, Texas' beaters frustrated A&M's chasers by disrupting their passing game and forcing bad shots.

MVP: Simon Arends. Arends scored a game-high 5 goals with 1 assist and 3 blocked shots. Arends was a part of the game in all facets: scoring, passing, tackling and fast breaks. Arends' goals put and kept Texas way out of snitch range.

Starwatch: Texas superstars Kody Marshall and Augustine Monroe combined for zero goals. Marshall did not play much, and the fact that the Longhorns were able to destroy A&M without one of their star players shows their insane depth. While Monroe didn't score either, he helped propell Texas to the blowout victory with several key blocks and assists.
A&M playmaker, Drew Wasikowski was shut down by Texas' stellar point defending and relentless beating. Wasikowski never got into an offensive rhythm and had no effect on the game.

Stat of the Game: Texas A&M shot 25%. (4/16) Seriously though, it seemed as if every A&M shot hit the edge of the hoop or was fantastically blocked by one of Texas' keepers. If a few of those shots had fell, (especially some from Drew Wasikowski before Texas opened up the lead) the game's momentum might have switched and A&M might have gotten a shot at the snitch.

C/K Simon Arends.............5 Goals, 1 Assist, 3 Blocks, [Y]
K Stephen Bell...................0 Goals, 2 Assists, 2 Blocks
C Kenny Chilton................1 Goals, 1 Assist
C Hank Dugie....................2 Goals, 2 Assists
C Sarah Holub....................2 Goals, 0 Assists
C Kody Marshall................0 Goals, 1 Assist
K Augustine Monroe..........0 Goals, 3 Assists, 3 Blocks
C/K Chris Morris................2 Goals, 1 Assist, 2 Blocks
C Audrey Wright................1 Goal, 0 Assists
C #79..................................3 Goals, 0 Assists
C #35..................................1 Goal, 0 Assists
C #94..................................0 Goals, 1 Assist

Texas A&M
C Keri Callegari..................0 Goals, 0 Assists, [Y] [Y]=[R]
C/K Andrew Dinwoodie.....0 Goals, 0 Assists, 0 Blocks
C Becca DuPont..................1 Goal
C Kifer Gregoire.................3 Goals, 0 Assists
C/K Casey Ortiz..................0 Goals, 0 Assists, 0 Blocks
C/K Drew Wasikowski......0 Goals, 0 Assists, 2 Blocks

0-5:20 Jacob Adlis & Hope Machala
5:21-11:09 Colin Capello & Lauren Carter
13:40-18:25 Jacob Adlis & Lauren Carter

Texas A&M
11:10-13:39 Matthieu Gregorie & Rachel Harrison

Numbers before each beater pair lists the game time that they had bludger control. For instance, Jacob Adlis and Hope Machala had bludger control from brooms up until 5 minutes and 20 seconds when they were subbed out and replaced by Colin Capelo and Lauren Carter, etc.

Jake Alford.....................2:30
Kody Marshall................0:59
Kenny Chilton................0:20, Caught Snitch

Texas A&M
Dirk Hryekewicz.............2:55
Luke Wigley...................:34, Surrendered Snatch

Monday, May 27, 2013

The Future of Quidditch

In this article, I'm going to examine a bunch of events in the hope that readers get to see what the future of our sport is going to look like. I'm going to quote the State of the League Address and also provide my own opinions and ideas. Enjoy!

National Cup
What the State of the League Address says: "The IQA hopes to start off next season with at least five National Leagues, including the United States, although National Cups will not technically begin (at least in name) until 2017, with the advent of the evolved World Cup."

  • prize given to the best official member quidditch team in every country with a national league
  • US's National Cup would be what we now know as the Divison 1 World Cup and would go by that name until 2017. 
  • National Cups would be for teams that qualified at regional tournaments.

My thoughts: World Cup is going to get better every year, regardless of whether it's name changes to the US National Cup.

Quidstock (place-holding name for this event)
What the State of the League Address says: "Additionally, the IQA will be creating a massive annual invitational tournament open to every single official member team, which may grow in size to host hundreds of teams and dozens of fields. The goal of this event will be to retain the spirit of the original, all-inclusive World Cup, as the current World Cup and other championships grow to become more exclusive."

  • inclusive, fun tournament much like World Cup III or IV. 
  • less competitive, open to any official member team in any country 

My thoughts: I hope this event would still be competitive, but would target the teams who don't do extensive training, and just like to play quidditch. This event would please the Middleburys and Vassars so they dont have to hold a "screw you IQA" tournament. In addition, I hope this event would focus on bringing spectators a hilarious, fun, and exciting day. Therefore, announcers would be improv comedians, snitch antics/props are highly encouraged and Kidditch would be available to play. Originally the atmosphere is what I fell in love with about quidditch- not strategy and blogging.

Global Games
What the State of the League Address says: "Last, but not least, as a hold over until World Cup X, the IQA will be hosting the Global Games, a national team-only event, in summer 2014, similar to the Summer Games event in Oxford last year. The IQA is currently in talks with several cities in Canada for hosting, and will also approach the Olympic organizers in Rio.”

  • Olympic Exhibition type event, two years after the Olympics
  • National team only

My thoughts: The Global Games sound awesome. I couldn't have waited another four years for Olympic Quidditch. Also, this gives players who might have been Freshman in 2012 a chance to make a national team during their collegiate career. The Global Games are said to be a "hold over until World Cup X" so in my opinion, they should try a WCX-like event at the Global Games to see how it works. If the National Team Competition took place on Saturday and Sunday, the best club teams from each country should be invited to play exhibition matches on Friday. The clubs might not be able to field a full team, but for instance, Texas could take players from their JV team, Austin Quidditch to complete the team. Seeing Texas or the WCVII champions play other countries' champions would give the IQA an idea about whether we are ready for an event like WCX.

What the State of the League Address says: "Regional tournaments will ideally find centralized, highly-populated urban centers to remain in for several years at a time. By finding central cities to host and keep regional tournaments, the audience will build year after year to the point that regionals have tens of thousands of attendees and generate a significant amount of revenue to fund other regional events throughout the year. These “quidditch cities” will serve as regional hubs for the sport, and may one day hopefully stimulate the construction of quidditch fields and possibly even small stadiums."

  • regionals take place in cities to attract audience and revenue
  • quidditch cities build stadiums for quidditch 

My thoughts: The idea of quidditch cites and small stadiums being constructed is the coolest and best idea the IQA has ever come up with. Hopefully, the Mid-Atlantic chooses Philadelphia and the Northeast chooses New York so I can go every year! Thinking about revenue from fans is also really smart. This revenue will be used to "fund other regional events throughout the year." In my opinion, this revenue should go to a new type of event, Interregionals. Each region would partner with two other regions to create a total of six Interregionals throughout the year. Each team that wanted to participate in the World Cup would be required to attend at least one Interrregional Tournament. Each team would receive some funding (from regionals) to travel to the Interregionals. Here is an idea of what the Interregional schedule could look like with ideas for location. ****this is just an idea****

Northeast vs. Mid Atlantic.......New York, NY
Midwest vs. Mid Atlantic.........Pittsburgh, PA
South vs. Southwest..............New Orleans, LA
Southwest vs. West................Los Angeles, CA
West vs. Midwest...................St. Louis, MO
South vs. Northeast...............Miami, FL

Other Events
What the State of the League Address says: "As early as next season, every region will host events like open-enrollment fantasy tournaments, uniquely structured tournaments like the “Bottom of the Bracket” tournament held in Houston"
"The IQA is currently scouting a location for a High School World Cup, and next season each regional championship will have a high school division, in addition to the High School World Cup. The league is also discussing the possibility of an event specifically for community teams."

  • the IQA is looking into doing many cool new types of tournaments 
  • fantasy tournaments run by the region, bottom of the brackets, high school WCs, and community team only events are among the possibility

My thoughts: 
Fantasy Tournaments: Awesome. Thank you Kody Marshall and Augustine Monroe.
Bottom of the Bracket Tournaments: Yep! These tournaments give teams that want to be the best a taste of victory!
High School World Cup: My team (yet to be formed) is winning the first one these things. So excited!
Community Championship: First step to the Professional Quidditch World Series/the Professional Quidditch Super Bowl. One day community teams are going to be professional.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Midwest 2013-14

In one year, Bowling Green State has switched from underdog to favorite. BGSU's lineup will be almost unchanged going into the 2013-14 season and that lineup seems to have an all-star caliber player at every position. Chaser Daniel Daugherty and offensive weapons such as keeper Zak Hewitt will be returning. Joe Pavlik will continue to be one of the most effective beaters in the Midwest even though his partner Anthony DeCapite will not be returning. After his performance at World Cup, seeker Sam Roitblat will have big expectations to face in the Midwest next year. Retaining her position as captain, is chaser Katie Miligan. From top to bottom, BGSU has no glaring weaknesses. For the black and orange, it's all about adding depth and continuing to get better.

Right with Bowling Green State at the top, will be Marquette. Despite their underwhelming performance at World Cup VI, Marquette is retaining many of their talented players. Chaser Bobby Roth's excellent point play and the female chasing duo of Cecilia Ware and Caroline Villa are the keys to Marquette's success. The Golden Eagles have so much size and physicality in players like keeper Pat Doyle, and if that athleticism isn't wasted by reckless play, Marquette will see fewer cards and more victories. Recruiting beaters should be Marquette's priority because a solid beating core with an understanding of beater strategy is what Marquette lacked in 2012-13. I give BGSU the edge over Marquette solely because of BGSU's superior beaters.

Five teams that have traditionally been at the top in the Midwest are losing their most well-known players.

Michigan State has built a deep roster full of consistent contributors, so the loss of Olympian keeper Lawrence Lazewski shouldn't hurt the Spartans terribly. Taking over at keeper, Tyler Rafferty can change games with his athleticism and strategic input. At chaser, Nic Dziadosz and Ian Hoopingarner are good ball handlers, while Meyessa Mansour is a threat behind the hoops. Michigan State will be most successful if they can tighten up their chaser defense. The Spartan's conservative beater strategy will work much better if their beaters are not left scrambling to beat open players.

The trio of keeper Connor Drake and chasers Hai Nguyen and Ronell Sharp will be leaving Kansas. Nguyen's speed, Sharp's physicality and Drake's point guard skills made Kansas a very versatile team in the past. Next year, keeper Jordan Callison will step into Drake's shoes as Kansas' primary ball carrier and scorer. Whether Kansas can replace Sharp or Nguyen waits to be scene, but don't be surprised if star seeker Keir Rudolph experiments with the white headband and becomes a Harry Greenhouse-esque chaser/seeker.

Michigan is losing chaser Andrew Axtell and keeper Evan Batzer. Axtell had explosive speed and the ability to carve up defenses, and Batzer was a great passer and defender. Together, they allowed Michigan to compete and play close games with any team in the IQA. During the 2013-14 season, Axtell and Batzer did a lot of Michigan's scoring and playmaking. Michigan possibly faces the toughest rebuilding job in the Midwest. With no young offensive stars, Michigan might become an entirely different team strategically, and focus more on passing and beater-play.

Graduating senior Tyler Macy is perhaps the most well-known player from Ball State due to his position on Team USA, but as long as Ball State has chaser Devon McCoy, they will be fine. McCoy is an outstanding emotional leader and provides an unmatched level of energy on the field. He is a power chaser who leads a fantastic Ball State transition game. Macy was reliable and clutch, but he is not irreplaceable. Ball State has amazing depth at every position and although they might have a seeking problem in the fall, by WCVII, someone trustworthy will don the yellow headband.

Ohio State will have trouble in the fall without captain and beater, Luke Changet, but by the spring, the Buckeyes will have worked out the kinks. Chaser Braden Stevenson and keeper David Hoops will be Ohio State's best offensive players. Stevenson and Hoops have great chemistry and will work together to punch the ball though the hoops. Ohio State has been gradually improving for the past two years and although the loss of Changet will hurt, it won't stop the progress.

Team to Watch
Miami, who were Division Two semifinalists at World Cup VI, have lots of young athletic players. Chasers Matt Dwyer and Katie Graham both were chosen to be on the Eighth Man's Honorable Mention Midwest Cup team. Miami came in second at the Rocky Top Rumble this spring and were third (out of eight teams) at their own Phoenix Cup in the fall. Other players to watch are towering keeper Morgan Jacobson and former football player Brian Neibecker at chaser.

Rising Star
I know most people already know the name Keir Rudolph (Kansas' seeker), but he is going to get better. Rudolph's has really long arms and it seems every time he goes out onto the pitch, he returns with a snitchsock in hand. Rudolph is determined, athletic and smart. He swoops in for the snatch with perfect timing and makes quick, hard-to-parry moves on the snitch. In his sophomore year, Rudolph can only gain new tactics, experience and become even more frightening for opponents in bracket play.

Three Questions
Can Bowling Green State and/or Marquette reach a level where they are far and away the best in the region? This is possible but, BGSU needs more depth and Marquette needs good beaters.

The Midwest may have the best seekers in the country. Who's the best seeker?! Who will rise to the occasion at MWRC? (Keir Rudolph, Sam Roitblat, Jacob Heppe, Alex Busbee...)

What's happening in the Chicago quidditch scene? Whole quidditch conferences have been organized around NYC and LA. Why hasn't the same happened in Chicago?

1) Bowling Green State
2) Marquette
3) Michigan State
4) Ball State
5) Kansas

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Monday Snitch-May 20

The following was originally published for the IQA's May 20th edition of the Monday Snitch.

beachside brawl slider
 Photo by Kat Ignatova/IQA Photo Editor. 
Beachside Brawl
In an epic rivalry game between the Silicon Valley Skrewts (Mountain View, CA) and the Lost Boys (Lomita, CA), Steve DiCarlo caught two snitches to lead the Lost Boys to a 120^*-80 victory in the tournament championship game. The Skrewts and the Lost Boys were clearly the two top teams at the Santa Barbara Blacktips’ (Santa Barbara, CA) Beachside Brawl. The final of the Beachside Brawl completed a highly anticipated trilogy to the California community teams’ rivalry, with the two combatants having faced off in tightly-contested matches in the Sunshine Bowl final and the Western Cup IV semifinals. The finale proved to be as epic as its predecessors.
There was no clear hierarchy below the Lost Boys and Skrewts. The University of Arizona (Tucson, AZ) defeated Remus’ Riverside Runners (Riverside, CA) 90*-70 in the preliminary round and Riverside beat the favored Blacktips 100*-80 in the quarterfinal. Riverside advanced to play the Skrewts, who they lost to 150-30*.  Excluding the Skrewts, the Blacktips played the closest game against the eventually victorious Lost Boys in the preliminary round, 140-90*.  Also, the Long Beach Funky Quaffles (Long Beach, CA), made their debut. Long Beach didn’t win a game, but they played close games with the Blacktips and Arizona. Long Beach co-captain Caylen McDonald commented, “We progressively got better as we got more play time, and we are excited and optimistic about the direction our team is going.”
Top: Funky Quaffles seeker embraces the snitch after his succesful catch. Bottom:Riverside chaser Tye Rush looks for a pass while Blacktips keeper Chis Lock goes for the tackle.  Photos by Kat Ignatova/IQA Photo Editor. 
To get to the finals, the Lost Boys defeated the Blacktips and Long Beach in preliminaries and Arizona in the semifinals, posting a +250 point differential. Keeper Tony Rodriguez had another great tournament and keeps showing, week in and week out, that he is one of the West’s best players. On the Lost Boys’ performance at the tournament, Rodriguez said, “We went out there and played as a team, when some of us weren’t playing to our potential others stepped up and filled that void.”
The Skrewts brought a depleted roster to the Cinco de Mayo Cup, but had most of their best players back for the Beachside Brawl. Heading into the finals, the Skrewts were 3-0, 3 for 3 on snitch grabs and had a +340 point differential. Greg Weber, a chaser who defended point and ran a great one-two passing game with keeper Kevin Oelze, was the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player. Beater Willis Miles also had a fantastic tournament, clearing out the opposition’s defense for Oelze and Weber to score, and was rewarded with a Most Outstanding Player nomination. Chaser Tye Rush of Riverside was the third nominee for the coveted MOP award. DiCarlo of the Lost Boys was named the tournament’s Best Snitch, with Henry Raschke of the Blacktips also being nominated. With DiCarlo seeking, Raschke was given the honor of snitching the championship match.
Top: Lost Boys chaser Liz Fisher, right, defends Skrewts chaser Tom Cantwell. Bottom: Skrewts seeker Sam Fischgrund wrestles with snitch Henry Raschke in the final game.  Photos by Kat Ignatova/IQA Photo Editor. 
In the final, the Skrewts jumped out to an early lead and were out of snitch range by the time the seeker floor was lifted. Then, with the score at 60-30, Weber went down with a broken arm. Following a twenty minute stoppage, the Skrewts and the Lost Boys traded goals until the snitch returned to the pitch. In the rivalry’s first two installments, the Skrewts either put the game into overtime or won on off-pitch snatches. The opposite happened when Lost Boys’ seeker Steve DiCarlo caught the snitch sending the game to overtime. Said DiCarlo, “My first catch putting them into OT almost felt better than just flat-out winning. But at the same time, that put more pressure on me than I’ve felt all season.”
In overtime, DiCarlo and his beaters handled the pressure well and gave the Lost Boys a tournament championship with a quick grab. The final score read 120^*-80. Of the second snatch, DiCarlo declared, “It was definitely one of my favorite moments as a Lost Boy so far.”
Lost Boys embrace
Dan Hanson embraces fellow co-captain Michael Mohlman during closing ceremonies. Photo by Kat Ignatova/IQA Photo Editor. 
Rodriguez added, “I’m so happy to win my first trophy as a Lost Boy and I’m sure it won’t be the last.”
“[It] was a pretty incredible game,” says Skrewts captain Kevin Oelze. “Both teams showed tons of heart. [It] was our best game of the year, and [the Lost Boys] took our best shot and just absolutely refused to go down.  All credit has to go to them for refusing to give.”
Logan Anbinder contributed reporting.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Departing Players Database

Repost. Let's get this going!

Since the Senior Class Yearbook project has died down thought I'd post what I hope becomes a giant database of all graduating players. This has the potential to be 1) a great resource for bloggers and analysts who want to write/predict over the summer and 2) really good for scouting other teams at the beginning of next year.

Update: 2:30 Saturday 5/18
Name changed to Departing Players Database. Most schools will lose players to graduation, but teams lose players for other reasons. This list will now include all types of departures for IQA official teams.

Missy Sponagle - Chaser/Beater
Alex Browne - Keeper
Jake Tiemann - Chaser
Niran Somasundaram - Keeper
Charlie Wong - Chaser
James Luby - Chaser/Seeker
Jeffrey Lin - Chaser/Seeker
Tiffany Chow - Chaser
Vanessa Goh - Chaser
Andy Abayan - Beater
Asher King Abramson - Beater
Kara Levis - Beater
Steven Tindula - Coach (ex-beater)
Tom Marks - Team Founder

Julia Thomas - Beater
Charlie Capron - Beater
Diana Henzler - Chaser
Heidi Mettler - Chaser

Santa Barbara Blacktips
Mara Howes - Chaser
Tina Langeland - Beater

Miles Dawson - Chaser/Beater

Michael Montgomery - Chaser/Seeker

Lee Weinsoff - Chaser

Sloane Viola - Beater/Chaser

Arizona State
Willie Jackson - Keeper
Ryan Padilla - Beater
Ryan Cancinco - Seeker
Ben Little - Chaser/Captain
Sean Pretti - Chaser
Alexis Bristor - Captain

Northern Arizona
Eric Andres - Chaser/Coach

Jenn Baumgartner - Beater
Todd Grimm - Chaser
Sean Pagoda - Beater/Chaser

South Carolina
Jacqui Ahearn - Chaser

Dan Miller - Chaser
Steven Wong - Chaser
Anthony Sherburn

Southern Miss
Tyler Edwards - chaser

Texas A&M
Keri Callegari - Chaser
Savannah Allison - Beater

(Information obtained from a Muggle Net video pointed out to me by Ian Hoopingarner and confirmed by a source who wished to remain anonymous. If any of the following players are continuing to play for the Longhorns or the list doesn't include a player, be sure to point it out).
Simon Arends - Chaser
Chris Morris - Chaser/Keeper
Stephen Bell - Keeper/Chaser
Jacob Adlis - Beater
Lauren Carter - Beater
Hope Machala - Beater
Hank Dugie - Chaser
Kody Marshall - Chaser
Augustine Monroe - Keeper
Jake Alford - Seeker
Sarah Holub - Chaser

Sam Houston State
Brandi Cannon - Chaser
Randi Sampson - Beater
Ryan Bowers - Chaser/Keeper

Oklahoma  State
Corie Jo Fegel - Chaser
Julie Glenn - Beater
Chase Thackerson - Chaser

Andy Iverson - Beater

John Whiteaker - Chaser/Beater

None: Baylor, Loyola,

Theresa Fuller - Chaser
Harrison Goldspiel - Chaser

Max Blaushild - Chaser/Keeper/Seeker
Jo Lam - Chaser
Matt Lowe - Chaser
Ryan Barnada - Seeker/Beater

Carly Boxer - Chaser
Howie Levine - Chaser
Zara Fishkin - Chaser
Rose Eilenberg - Chaser
David Meyers - Seeker
Laurie Rabin - Beater

Jayke Archibald - Chaser
Tim Keaney - Chaser
Michael Bufardici - Chaser
Colleen O'Mara - Chaser
Taylor Crawford - Keeper
Fred Varone - Seeker
Amanda Salvucci - Beater

Alex Linde - Chaser
Kristin Lamonte - Chaser

India Point Ashwinders
Moi Arriaga - Chaser

John Glynn - Beater
Junghune Nam - Chaser
Allison Rabent - Chaser
Conor Murphy - Chaser

Katie Mariah - Keeper
Alex Murray - Keeper
Casey Aten - Chaser
Sam Hayes - Beater

Haley Moffitt - Beater
Scott Behler - Coach (ex-beater)
Katryna Fernandez - Chaser
Sam Rosenberg - Chaser/Keeper
Nicholas Waddell - Beater

Zach D'Amico - Chaser
Blaise Sceski - Keeper

Penn State
Michael Parada - Chaser/Keeper/Seeker
Kelly Gambocurta - Beater
Steven Hysick - Chaser
Ben Kolmer - Beater
Joe Tucker - Chaser 

James Hicks - Keeper
Patrick Rardin - Chaser
Sarah Woosley - Beater
Jimmy Pritts - Beater
Liz Miles - Chaser

Nick Candido - Chaser
Billy Rothert - Beater

Horn Tailed Horcruxes
Rob Val - Chaser

Illinois State
Rowan Young - Seeker/Chaser
Isaac Mitchell - Keeper/Chaser
Bill Johnson - Keeper/Chaser
Erin Reynolds - Beater

Ronell Sharp - Chaser
Doug Whiston - Beater
Connor Drake - Keeper/Chaser
Hai Nguyen - Chaser
Nicole Denney - Beater
Mark Sidener - Beater
Jodi Murphy - Chaser
Jordan Dauer - Chaser

Central Michigan
Christin Gostola - Chaser
Kori Marvin - Chaser/Keeper
Dylan Clauson - Beater 

Michigan State
Lawrence Lazewski - Chaser/Keeper
Will Hack - Beater

Kaity McGinn - Chaser
Matt Yost - Beater

Ohio State
Luke Changet - Beater
Kristin Malhotra - Beater
Josh Maher - Chaser
Kevin Segall - Chaser/Keeper

Loyola (Chicago)
Amanda Lofgren - Beater
Kara Romanosky - Beater
Christyne Stephenson - Beater

Travis Zimpfer - Captain/Chaser

Eric Lovell - Chaser/Seeker
Ari Filipini - Beater

Evan Batzer - Keeper
Andrew Axtell - Seeker
Danica Whitfield - Coach
Camille Duet - Photographer
Juliet Slutzker - Beater

Anthony DeCapite - Beater
Emily Dick - Beater
Alyssa Rybinski - Beater

Curtis Taylor - Chaser/Captain/Founder
Jimmy Seter - Keeper

Clare Hutchinson - Beater
Chris Radojewski - Chaser/Coach

Andrea Hill - President/Beater
Mike Wark - Captain/Chaser

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Paris Frog Takes Italian Tournament

This was originally published for the IQA's May 13th edition of the Monday Snitch.

1st Quidditch Lunatica Tournament
Paris Frog (Paris, France) and the Milano Meneghins (Milano, Italy) traveled almost to the tip of the Italian boot to play the hosts, Lunatica Quidditch Club (Brindisi, Italy), in the first Quidditch Lunatica Tournament. The tournament took place on May 4th and 5th and the format was a double round robin. The first round had a 12-minute seeker floor with games lasting up to 25 minutes. Round Two was played using overtime snitch rules (no off-pitch snitching) but with a 5-minute seeker floor. Games in the second round were shorter and lower-scoring. Ben Morton, captain of Keele and UK Quidditch, and QuidditchUK chairman, snitched every game of the tournament. Said Morton, “I did snitch every game. It was incredibly fun. Fortunately it was not until the adrenaline left my system that I realized just how tired and ‘quinjured’ I was.”
Italy 7
Photo courtesy of Paris Frog Quidditch.
Paris Frog, a very physical and tough defensive team, won the tournament, going 4-0 and only allowing 20 quaffle points the entire tournament. The captains of both Milano and Lunatica cited Paris Frog’s bludger control as a major aspect of their fantastic defense. When they had bludger control, Paris Frog’s beaters played conservatively, always staying back on defense. Two armed beaters plus a rugby-style chaser defense made scoring on Paris Frog nearly impossible. Morton, who travels throughout Europe for quidditch, remarked that Paris Frog has improved greatly since the European Regionals: “Their teamwork and fitness is of rival to any team I have seen. Stopping this team from winning the tournament would’ve been a near impossible feat.”
Italy 4
Photo courtesy of Paris Frog Quidditch.
Milano Meneghins went 1-3, losing to Frog twice and going 1-1 against Lunatica. Milano is considered by many to be the best team in Italy right now due to their strategy and tactics. Milano captain and IQA European Expansion Team Manager Michele Clabassi was happy with the way his team played. He noted, “What we did well, I think, was limiting the physicality of our opponents… and answering it with teamplay.”
This was Lunatica’s first time competing in a tournament, and their opponents were experienced teams that placed second and third at the European Regionals in October. Prior to the final match of the day, Lunatica was 0-3. To earn their first win, Lunatica caught the snitch in regulation and overtime for an 80*^-70 win over Milano. Team captain Andrea Miglietta said, “I’m happy about the debut of my team, considering the strength of our opponents. I’m especially proud of how we reacted after the first 3 defeats, earning a win in our fourth match.”
Italy 6
Photo courtesy of Paris Frog Quidditch.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

2013-14: West

I'm starting a new series where I'll go region by region and evaluate the top storylines going into the 2013-14 season.

UCLA is going to be a completely different team next year. UCLA has long been known for superb beating led by Asher King Abramson and Kara Levis, execellent female chasers such as Vanessa Goh and Missy Sponagle, and great passing with players like Alex Browne, Jeff Lin and Jake Tieman. All of the aforementioned players will be gone next year. New recruits are going to have to step into the shoes of some of the best players to ever take the pitch. Quality role players, who gave UCLA the depth any team needs to reach the World Cup finals will also be departing. So, what familiar faces will put on a Bruins jersey next year?
Let's start with Zach Luce. Luce was dominant at the World Cup, scoring 70 points against Baylor in the semifinal. Luce drives to the hoop at will, weaving through the defense. He can create his own scoring chances, and his shot is very accurate. I think we can expect UCLA's half-court offense to be a lot of Zach Luce. Korey Osto and Katelynn Kazane will also be offensive contributors. On defense, Adam Richardson should return to being UCLA's primary point defender.

USC had a lot of trouble with injuries this past season, but I think they have developed an amazing three-some of male keepers/chasers. August Lurhs, David Demarest and Harrison James are big, physical and know the game. The Big Three keep getting more experience and if they can add role players around them, USC will be favorites at WCVII and WCVIII. You see, Lurhs and Demarest will only be juniors next year and James will be a sophmore.
USC also needs the Big Three to lead the team. Captain Nicté Sobrino, who has my vote for captain of the year, is graduating. There is also the slim possibility that the Trojans could lure Remy Conatser back to quidditch and the Big Three could become the Big Four.

The community teams in California are perhaps the best in the world. The Lost Boys and the Silicon Valley Skrewts have already established themselves as elite community teams and the biggest challengers to UCLA and USC, but expect the Santa Barbara Blacktips to join that league. Led by captain Evan Bell, keeper Chris Lock and beater Brian Vampola, 2013-14 could be the Blacktips' breakout year. Our first look at the Blacktips in a while will come May 18th at the Beachside Brawl.

Rising Star
I wouldn't expect a back-up keeper playing behind August Lurhs to get that many minutes in his sophomore year, but Harrison James will. James' specialty at World Cup was defense. He is an outstanding shot blocker and nearly impossible to score on. When opposing teams would center their strategy completely around Lurhs at WCVI, USC would take him out and put James in. For James to become a truly elite player, he needs to improve his passing and field awareness on offense. I'd also expect James to log some minutes at chaser next year.

Team To Watch
Sierra College intrigues me. They were widely praised after attending their first major tournament, the Cinco de Mayo Cup. Sierra was physical but clean and described as great athletes. My hope is that Sierra will make some more appearances at tournament in 2013-14 and improve their strategy, experience and understanding of the game.

Three Questions
Where will UCLA's graduating seniors go? These players love quidditch too much to just forget about it. The question is which community team will they be playing for. If they choose to stay in the Golden State, both the Lost Boys and Skrewts would be eager to welcome them into the red and black.

Can the Big Three stay healthy, recruit role players and lead USC? The future of USC quidditch lies in the Big Three's hands. (Demarest, Lurhs, James) It's up to them to build the program into a juggernaut and they have to stay healthy.

Can the Arizona/Utah teams keep up with California? The first step for these Rocky Mountain teams, is either to travel to more California tournaments, or start hosting/competing against each other more often. The distances they have to travel to play quidditch though are really just unfair.

1. USC
3. Lost Boys

*An incorrect earlier version of this article stated that chaser Michael Montgomery was one of the Blacktips' key player. Montgomery will be leaving the team.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

High School Quidditch

What I love about quidditch has always been writing about it. Before I discovered quidditch, I loved college basketball and I had always loved college sports. Quidditch was all so cool and new to me: the gameplay, the strategy, the teams. I jumped right into blogging and two years later, I am writing for the IQA and my blog has 10,000 views. I have never played real quidditch. I have never felt the exhiliration of racing down the pitch with the quaffle. I have never felt pre-tournament butterflies. I have never given a scouting report to my team in the huddle.

This year, I am graduating Eighth Grade. When I went to World Cup IV, high school seemed like the promised land for playing quidditch. I knew forming a team in Middle School would be hard, especially considering how many assholes there are in Middle School, so I told myself I'd wait until high school. At World Cup V, I was a year closer to playing high school quidditch, so shouldn't I have taken more interest in the ten or so teams playing? No. Generally, they were less exciting, slower and more boring. I hadn't heard of any of the high schools whereas I knew the names of almost all the colleges from other college sports.

I blogged and blogged covering the top college teams in the nation, recapping tournament and interviewing team captains. I devised my own rankings and predicted which teams would make World Cup VI. I left out high school teams because frankly, I didn't care. College quidditch continued to expand. Fantasy tournaments, Olympics and Interregional Challenges took place; it was all over the Internet. Since World Cup V, I don't think I've heard of one high school tournament.

The quidditch community has figured out, I think, that college kids can't play against high schoolers. And it just so happens that the IQA was founded by college kids, more college kids play quidditch and college quidditch players are very vocal on social media. High school quidditch has been forgotten.

Kidditch has perhaps outweighed high school quidditch too. Yes, Kidditch is cute, but it's not "building a future" for quidditch. It's just giving kids an hour or so of quidditch and then, chances are, the kids forget about it. High school quidditch gives colleges incoming freshman, who know the game and are interested in joining the team. This is what colleges should be focused on! Instead of going out and organizing a Kidditch game in their area, contact quidditch captains from local high schools. Bond with them! Help them! Practice with them, even!

Now, this blog will always be devoted to covering the top college quidditch tournaments, but I'm going to try to be the voice of high schoolers. I'm still in Eighth Grade, but next year, I will form a team, and organize tournaments and the like. I have a gift, in my readers, and I can help put high school quidditch back on the map, I think.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Skills Competiton

The tumblr-blogosphere has been buzzing about possible skills competions at fantasy tournaments. Takingmytalentstoquidditch pointed out that it could allow players to shine through displaying their unique quidditch abilities. Here are five competitions that I would do.

Shoot Out
Chasers and keepers would show off their accuracy from all around the field in a competitive beater-free zone. Each player would take ten or more shots and the player with the best shooting percentage would win. Teams can heavily rely on long-shooting chasers, especially in long games or tiring tournaments. Driving through opponents and dunking isn't a possibility for some of the less physical teams and so they need a lights out shooter.

Seeker's Bracket
Analysts, bloggers and players have long debated who the best seeker in the game is. Why not take the variables out of the game (opposing beaters or defensive seeking) and just allow the seekers to go 2 on 1 against the snitch? "Matches" would be shorter, as the snitch would get tired quickly, and so setting up a bracket for the seekers could work. Taking stats for a Seeker's Bracket would be awesome, too.

Beater Games
Many beaters would enter this Hunger Games-esque competition. The rules are simple. Start in a circle around a "cornucopia," containing a number of bludgers. (The amount of bludgers would ideally be 75% the amount of contestants) When the whistle blows, contestants try not to get beat and beat other contestants. This would go on in a strictly enforced space until a victor emerged.

Broom Races
High school track stars would love this 4 person relay event with brooms. Spectators, especially those new to the sport, would love to see speedy people zipping around the pitch on brooms. The great athleticism on display would out weigh the silliness of running with broom to the spectators. Each leg of the race would go once around both sets of hoops. After running his/her leg of the race, the runner would hand off the quaffle, Broom Races' version of the baton. The gender ratio for each team would be 2:2.

Dunk Competition
The most fun and least statistically relevant competition would be the slam dunk competition. Diving through hoops, ally-oops and behind the back dunks would be performed for a roaring and laughing crowd. Like in the NBA, the big personalities of quidditch would shine and twitter would buzz about "that amazing dunk by player X at Tournament Y!"

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Graduating Players Database

Since the Senior Class Yearbook project has died down thought I'd post what I hope becomes a giant database of all graduating players. Right now, I only have UCLA and Kansas, but anyone can help by adding name/position in the comments section!

Missy Sponagle - Chaser/Beater
Alex Browne - Keeper
Jake Tiemann - Chaser
Niran Somasundaram - Keeper

Charlie Wong - Chaser
James Luby - Chaser/Seeker
Jeffrey Lin - Chaser/Seeker
Tiffany Chow - Chaser
Vanessa Goh - Chaser
Andy Abayan - Beater
Asher King Abramson - Beater
Kara Levis - Beater
Steven Tindula - Coach (ex-beater)
Tom Marks - Team Founder

Ronell Sharp - Chaser
Doug Whiston - Beater
Connor Drake - Keeper/Chaser
Hai Nguyen - Chaser
Nicole Denney - Beater
Mark Sidener - Beater

Kaity McGinn - Chaser
Matt Yost - Beater 

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Snitchy Games Finale

So after a few days waiting, the final matchup for the Snitchy Games was posted on the popular tumbkr blog, The Golden Snitchy. It was a matchup between two World Cup finalists, one being Augustine Monroe, a keeper for Texas and Asher King Abramson, a beater from UCLA. Two players at different positions, from different regions, who recently faced off. With Monroe being the World Cup champion, I thought he had an edge. But, I personally think Asher is an incredibly unique player. While Slipstream may be the best keeper in the game, there are many others right behind him. At beater, Abramson is so far ahead of the others in terms of how he controls the game.it was going to be an exciting finale.

But, no! Slipstream and Asher escape the arena...
All right, come on! I know it's what happened in Catching Fire, but we in the Capitol, aka the quidditch blogosphere, want a Victor! We need to know who the Golden Snitchy thinks is the best! It's practically become quidditch's MVP award! You can't just leave us hanging. I am bloodthirsty!
 If a number of tributes were going to escape, I would have written it so the top six escaped.
Asher, Vanessa, Porter, Slipstream, Barricade and Daniel.
Also, it was weird enough that top players like Yada, Drew Wasikowsi and Chris Morris were not in this Snitchy Games because they died in last year's Games. The Golden Snitchy did a good job in choosing mostly seniors to avoid this problem, but there are still some juniors. Dan Daugherty has risen to become one of the best in the game. By next year, he could easily be the best. But, he will not participate in the Snitchy Games cause he died.

Overall though, I loved the Snitchy Games: Catching Fire. They were exciting, insightful and fun.