Thursday, August 21, 2014

2014 Departing Players Database: August Revamp

IAs we are now closer the 2014-15 season, I think it's appropriate to revisit the 2014 Departing Players Database. Analysts want to provide the most accurate predictions and previews as possible, but without the help of the quidditch community, we cannot deliver. Comment below or message Jack ThePhan on Facebook with the names and positions of your team's departing players.

Christopher Newport University
Anthony Rieger - beater

Pennsylvania State University
Eliott Bryson - chaser
Alyson Brooks - chaser (graduating in Fall 2014)

Jason Rosenberg - chaser (graduating in Fall 2014)
Randy Slosburg  - chaser/seeker 

Nick Romano - chaser (graduating in Fall 2014) 
Clifford Moll - chaser

Philadelphia Honey Badgers
Alex Amodol - beater/chaser/seeker
Amanda Hamlin - beater
Lanie Duff - beater
Ryan Cease - chaser/seeker
Erin Heintzelman - chaser
Sarah McGowan - chaser

University of Maryland
Samantha Medney - chaser

University of Richmond
Paco Darcey - chaser

Virginia Tech University
Ian Walker - chaser
Jack Harver - chaser


Ball State University
Sara Makey - chaser

Erin Kelly - chaser
Danielle Anderson - beater
Devon McCoy - chaser
Zach Rupp - chaser

Bowling Green State University
Katie Milligan - chaser
Ashley Seman - chaser
Cara Leach - beater
Evan Adkins - chaser
Joe Pavlik - beater
Sean Kelly - chaser

Central Michigan University

Andrew Derry - beate
Tom O'Neil - beater
Jeff Fisher - seeker

Amanda Shepard - chaser
Ashley Calhoun - beater

Eastern Michigan University
Kern Stanley - chaser
Nathaniel Gibson - chaser

Miami University
Kate Rapnicki - chaser
Brendan Kelly - keeper/seeker

Jeremy Ferlic - beater
Nathan Graber - chaser

University of Michigan
Evan Batzer - chaser/keeper
Dai Phuc Do - chaser
Michelle Busch - chaser
Danielle DuBois - chaser
Andrea Byl - chaser
Lucas Mitchell - beater
Natalie Friess - beater
Robert Morgan - seeker

Michigan State University
Jack Norgen - seeker
Ben Ackland - keeper

Danielle White - beater
Luke Changet - coach

Purdue University

Alex Chelminski - keeper
Ariana Filippini - beater

University of Minnesota

Leah Vogel - chaser
Zach Meier - chaser
Conor Johnson - beater
Cody Narveson - keepe

Jacob Drewa - seeker
Jared Sipe - chaser
Tyler Zastrow - beater
Matt Thostenson - chaser
Ryan Berg - chaser

University of Toledo
Graham Giles - chaser
Alex Scheer - chaser
Taylor Hahn - chaser
Jessica Torres - beater
Ryan Sparks - seeker
Abby Williams - beater

Boston University
Max Havlin - beater
Katrina Bossotti - beater
Brendan Stack - keeper
Michael Powell - chaser
Brett Engwall - chaser/seeker
Nick O'Connor - chaser
Tom Ford - seeker

Chris Schretzenmayer - beater
Alice Crowe - beater

Emerson College

Jackson Maher - chaser
CJ Junior - beater
Aaron Wohl - beater
Wes Weiss - keeper/chaser
Cassie Samuels - beater
Maddy Smeaton - chaser

Gee-Gees Quidditch
Rebecca Alley - coach
Alex Bassa - beater

Harvard University
Gillian Manley - beater 
CJ Curtis - chaser/seeker 

Hofstra University
Alex Leitch - beater 
Brittany Bissonnette - beater

Emma Hauer - chaser 
Alyssa Michnevitz - beater (graduating Fall 2014)

New York University
Lucy Miller - chaser

Macaulay Honors College
Jenna Jankowski - beater
Catherine Dinh-Le - chaser

Cesar Andrade - chaser

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Erin McAllister - beater/captain
Tom Thayer - keeper

Rochester Institute of Technology

Jeff Sherman - keeper
Josh Kramer - beater

Kyle Leslie - beater

Sarah Smacher - beater

SUNY Geneseo
Kyle Hoyng - keeper

Christian Perfas - chaser
Rob Terreri - chaser/beater
Adam Zaczek - chaser

Stony Brook University

Konstantinos Plakas - chaser
Seamus Peterson - chaser

Hannah Gzemski - chaser
Thomas Potter - seeker
David Narain - chaser
Edward Li - chaser

Tufts University
BJ Mestnik - chaser/seeker
Michael Sanders - beater
Max Leonhardt - chaser (during 2014-15 season)

University of Massachusetts
Robert Vortherms - beater

University of Rochester
Patrick Callanan - keeper/chaser/beater
Chris Demme - chaser
Kyle Sanson - seeker
Sam Rovner - keeper/chaser


Florida's Finest QC
Austin Clooney - keeper
Lili Le - beater
Sarah Carter - beater

Tennessee Technological University
Kellie Davis - chaser
Hilary Barker - chaser
Kaila Raulston - chaser 

Gabe Greene - chaser
Jonathan Bass - chaser
Michael Ferowich - chaser
Logan Hartman - chaser
Joe Stephenson - beater
Elisa Tanksley - beater
Landon Smith - keeper

University of Florida
Zachary Thorne - keeper

University of Miami
Stephen Ralph - keeper
Sean Beloff - chaser
David Moyer - seeker

Baylor University
Drew McBrayer - keeper
Paul Williard - chaser
Chris Rhodes - beater
Stephen Ciccolela - keeper
Beissy Sandoval - chaser
Alicia Wallum - beater
Dylan Greenleaf - chaser

Lone Star Quidditch Club
Beto Natera - chaser
Nicole Galle - chaser

Louisiana State University
Brad Armentor - chaser
Jason Winn - beater/seeker

Daniel DePaula - beater
Melissa White - beater/chaser
Sarah Kneiling - beater
Panya Kroun - president/chaser (ACL tear)
Duncan Ferguson - seeker
Jake Smith - chaser
Dennis Arbour - chaser
Seth Segura - keeper

Sam Houston State University
Wayne Jones - chaser

Texas A&M University
Becca DuPont - chaser
Drew Wasikowski - chaser
Joe Wright - chaser
Casey Faulhaber - beater
Luke Wigley - keeper/chaser/seeker
Rachel Harrison - beater

Texas State University
Matt Zakrewski - keeper

Texas Tech University
Philip O'Brien - chaser

University of Arkansas
Jim Curry - keeper
Ethan McCormick - beater

Paul Shoemaker - chaser

Vincent Berrios - chaser
Peter Reynebeau - chaser

Arizona State University
Duston Mazella - beater/chaser 
Wes Rose - keeper/chaser/seeker
Ashley Bleicher - beater/chaser

Lost Boys Quidditch Club
Tony Rodriguez - keeper
Steve DiCarlo - seeker/chaser
Alyssa Burton - beater/chaser
Amanda Turtles - beater
Dan Hanson - chaser

Northern Arizona University

Cooper Davis - chaser 
Justin Regan - chaser/beater 
April Gonzales - beater 

Santa Barbara Blacktips
Evan Bell - captain/beater
Ren Bettendorf - chaser/keeper
Chris Lock - keeper/seeker
Lauren Mosley - beater
Lee Weinsoff - beater
Kayla Martyn - chaser
Tayler Lightle - chaser
Trace Martin - chaser/seeker

University of California-Los Angeles
Brandon Scapa - chaser/beater/seeker

University of Southern California
August Lührs - chaser/seeker
Harrison James - keeper

Nick Metzler - beater
Nicté Sobrino - chaser/beater
Tony Likovich - keeper/chaser

Sunday, August 17, 2014

NERF Thoughts

As the final major of the summer fantasy season, Northeast Fantasy presented an opportunity to look ahead to the 2014-15 season. Here are ten lessons from Northeast Fantasy.

1. Jayke Archibald needs to be running the show for QC Boston: The Massacre. During the 2013-14 season, QC Boston's offense never really flourished. The Massacre's ball handlers couldn't distribute well enough and QCB's off-ball chasing talent was wasted. Archibald, who played primarily off-ball with QC Boston, dazzled at Northeast Fantasy as a keeper and a ball handler. Making accurate passes and launching counterattacks, Archibald seized control of games. The former Hofstra star quickly identified the best way to tear apart opposing defenses and executed his drives, passes and shots. With weapons like Team USA's Kedzie Teller, the Massacre need a duel-threat ball handler.
Photo by Michael E. Mason
2. Harvard's Carli Haggerty is the kind of player that separates a World Cup team from a non-World Cup team. Most fringe World Cup teams do not have a player like Haggerty. Haggerty routinely resurrects dead plays, using execellent field awareness to find an open teammate. She is comfortable handling the ball behind the hoops and can draw in defenders. In any given game, the odds that Haggerty drops a pass are lower than the odds that a Northwest team wins World Cup VIII. Furthermore, Haggerty has the endurance to play whole games for Harvard. Come the Northeast Regional Championship, teams like New Haven, SUNY Geneseo and Syracuse will have to mark Haggerty tightly if they want to go to Rock Hill.

3. If Maryland can make a trip to Diamond Cup in the spring, I think the Terps have a legitimate shot to win World Cup VIII. Maryland's experienced and inexperienced players shined at Northeast Fantasy and its chasing corps is the deepest and most athletic I've ever seen outside of Texas. After nearly toppling UT in the Sweet Sixteen and losing only one player to graduation, Maryland is entering the 2014-15 season with a ton of confidence. However, the level of physicality on the East Coast isn't high enough to prepare Maryland for playing elite Southwest teams.
Photo by Michael E. Mason
4. As try-outs for the 2014-15 season begin, many top Northeast teams will struggling to replace experienced beaters. However, BU's loss of Katrina Bossoti and Tufts' loss of Michael Sanders shouldn't hurt too badly because Lulu Xu and Matt Cardarelli are ready to step into bigger roles. Neither Xu or Cardarelli is physically imposing, but each beater has demonstrated an exceptional ability to read opposing offenses. As the back beater in a defensive set, Xu anticipates passes well and never loses focus. Cardarelli, who mainly played front beater with my Blue Team, is a student of the game and knows when and where to apply pressure on opposing offenses. Regaining bludger control is a weakness for both Xu and Cardarelli, but with the right beating partners, each could make a big impact on the race for the Northeast Regional Championship.

5. Curtis Taylor and Tim Keaney could be used more effectively by their community teams. Taylor, who logged most of his minutes at beater for Florida's Finest, showed that he could be a valuable off-ball chasing weapon at Northeast Fantasy. Flying up and down the field for the Dark Green Team, Taylor provided an outlet on the fastbreak for keeper Sean Beloff. If Taylor plays more chaser during the 2014-15 campaign, the former Marquette captain could help Florida's Finest add speed and finesse to an offense known for size and physicality. My take on Keaney is a bit more complicated. With NYDC, Keaney had a tendency to drift out of the game. He wasn't being targeted enough by NYDC's ball handlers to make an impact. On Randall's Island, Archibald targeted his former Hofstra teammate again and again, and Keaney didn't disappoint. For Keaney to be successful, the Warriors need to keep him involved in the offense.
Photo by Michael E. Mason
6.  Aggressive, bludger-less beating didn't work. Northeast and Mid-Atlantic beaters have figured out how to fend off unarmed beaters. Dark Green's Mario Nasta had Baby Blue's Alex Leitch running in circles. Leitch's confrontational style of play was torn apart game after game. However, the Hofstra graduate wasn't alone. Against the Gray Team, my beaters held a firm grasp on bludger control when Jimmy Pritts was on the field. Like Leitch, Pritts didn't get many chances to lay bone-crunching hits because more often than not, the Maryland graduate was running back and forth from the hoops.

7. Sam Medney is a terrific pick-up for Capital Madness. Medney brought a lot of energy to Archibald's Pink Team, especially on the offensive end. With sharp cuts, Medney was constantly communicating with her teammates and asking for the ball. Not many Maryland players have continued playing after graduating, so Capital Madness is fortunate to gain Medney's energy and experience.
8. RPI will stay relevant thanks to beating from Mario Nasta. It's not often that esteemed quidditch analysts collectively marvel at an unknown player, but midway through the day at Northeast Fantasy, Nasta put on a performance to remember against Jamie Lafrance's Baby Blue Team. Nasta couldn't miss. The RPI phenom was firing bludgers left and right and sending Baby Blue back to hoops one by one. Billy Quach could have made a whole highlight video of Nasta against Baby Blue. As the Northeast Regional Championship approaches, nobody will be looking forward to a date with RPI.

9. Sean Beloff could be the perfect fit for the Warriors. Warriors' captain Michael "Yada" Parada has long resisted the green headband, but Beloff's keeping was impressive at Northeast Fantasy. Watching the Miami graduate run a fast break is a beautiful thing. Beloff has always been known for his speed, but he has developed a delicate floater that he unleashes in transition. If chemistry between Parada and Beloff is as strong as it is rumored to be, the Warriors could have an experienced, talented one-two punch.
Photo by Michael E. Mason
10. Luke Changet will be a bright spot for Blue Mountain Quidditch Club. I have lots of doubts about the Midwest's newest community team. BMQC's depth is questionable and in a region driven by star players like Daniel Daugherty and Jacob Heppe, BMQC lacks an elite offensive player. However, I have confidence that Luke Changet will make his return to competitive quidditch with guns blazing. During the pool play match between the Pink Team and the Blue Team, Changet displayed an ability to execute a gameplan to perfection. The Pink Team seized bludger control, played conservative defense and took Harry Greenhouse out of the game. In addition to a dominating field presence and good communication, Changet showcased improved decision-making on Randall's Island.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Resigning From US Quidditch

Readers of The QuidKid,
I have decided to resign from my position as a staff writer for US Quidditch. I will be writing original content solely for my blog during the 2014-15 season. 

I have enjoyed my time with US Quidditch immensely and I feel satisfied knowing that my articles have helped to grow the sport of quidditch. With a challenging school year approaching and a tournament to plan in October, I was forced to make a choice between The QuidKid or US Quidditch. I am very attached to The QuidKid and I couldn't let it die. I proud to say that The QuidKid is and will continue to be the oldest active source for quidditch news and analysis. I hope to return to US Quidditch for World Cup VIII in Rock Hill, SC.

I want to thank Amanda Dallas for her terrific leadership of the IQA's Editorial Team during the 2013-14 season and I am excited to see what she can do as the Eighth Man's second Editor-in-Chief. 

Finally, I want to thank Andy Marmer. Before I was the quidditch community's favorite teenage writer, Andy took a gamble and hired me to take over the Monday Snitch. Andy was patient with me and helped me refine my writing skills. Under Andy's guidance, I've matured as a writer and opened endless opportunities for my future. I wish Andy the best of luck during his stint as USQ's Interim Editorial Manager.

Once again, I have decided to resign from US Quidditch to focus on producing content for The QuidKid during the 2014-15 regular season.


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Becoming a Champion: Northeast Fantasy 2014

Sometimes, fairy tales do come true. A 15-year-old kid can put together team of quidditch players who have never played before. The players can drive from as far as Minnesota to compete. Through tips, scouting reports and handling substitutions, the kid can gain the respect and adoration of his players and his opposition. A million different things can go right when hope seems lost. A million different things can go right when the kid had doubts from the beginning. By the end of the day, the kid can hear his name chanted on the sidelines, feel the exhilarating rush of storming a field in his first tournament and be hoisted in the air by his team. 

I arrived at Randall's Island 30 minutes before the scheduled start of Northeast Fantasy 2014. For some reason, I always get nervous before attending quidditch tournaments. I get afraid that I will attract more strange looks than friendly waves. That nervous feeling was amplified at Northeast Fantasy. Ever since World Cup V, I've gone to quidditch tournaments as a reporter. I've followed teams and rooted for teams, but I had never been affiliated with a team. I had no idea how much my Northeast Fantasy team would want me involved and I was planning to stay away from the sidelines. As I walked on to the fields, I knew that I had a team waiting for me. It was new. It was scary.

I found most of my team in a classically awkward, pre-fantasy-tournament circle underneath the bridge. We forced a conversation about our nickname, the Blues Bludgers. When I did little to initiate any ice-breakers or introductions, one of the elected captains took the lead and started a warm-up. However, the tournament was running on quidditch time and another elected captain called the warm-up off. The team dispersed. I took out my notepad and started scouting teams from Pool A. I felt comfortable doing what I normally do at quidditch tournaments. I wasn't looking forward to our first game against Ethan Sturm's Bright Green Team. I was afraid we'd get mauled, my players would be angry and our chances would be out the window by 10:30.

As our first brooms up approached, I hovered near the bench and near the warm-up, but I didn't take control of anything. When the game started, Harry Greenhouse put my team ahead by a couple of goals. We were playing good defense and converting on offense. Then, one of my captains came over to me and I suggested a substitution of our entire chaser line. We made the substitutions and Sturm's Bright Green Team pounced. We conceded three or four goals and lost our lead. We were suddenly in danger of going out of snitch range. 

By the time the snitch was released, we had lost all momentum. From my position around midfield, I thought we needed to switch our beater line. I jogged over to our bench and proposed the substitution. I turned to jog back to my position away from the bench, but within seconds, I saw Bright Green's seeker make the snitch catch. None of my beaters were in sight. I whirled around, looking for blue shirts with black headbands. I looked back at the bench and there were my beaters, making the substitution I had suggested. I immediately felt terrible. I had assumed someone else would make the judgement call on when to conduct the substitution. However, at that moment, I realized that my players were relying on me to make that judgement call. My beaters probably knew that I was calling for a substitution at a bad time, yet they followed my suggestion instantaneously without questioning it. My players' trust in me cost us our game against the Bright Green Team, but ultimately, it won us Northeast Fantasy.

I walked away from the field with the captains, discussing strategy and personnel changes. I tried to hide my doubt and reinforce positive-thinking. Sturm's Bright Green Team had more depth and we weren't organized well. I realized that if we were going to win, we couldn't have bad substitutions or miscommunications. We had to be managed to perfection. I was reluctant to start coaching, but since my team seemed to trust me, I decided to give it a shot. 

Photo by Michael E. Mason
As we warmed-up for Clay Dockery's Orange Team, I started to participate in the drills. I retrieved shots and no one seemed to mind. When I gave a scouting report in our pre-brooms-up huddle, all eyes were on me and my team was listening intently. As the game started, I positioned myself in front of our bench and way outside my unmarked technical area. All communication between the field and the bench began to go through me. I managed the chaser lines better, bringing in one player at a time. If our offense or defense didn't look right, I could easily figure out what was wrong and reverse the substitution. My team jumped out to a lead against Dockery's Orange Team and didn't look back. A Greenhouse snitch catch locked up our 100*-40 victory. 

An hour later, we repeated our performance against Erin Mallory's Black Team. We had developed a routine. We went through the same warm-up, same pre-game huddle for the scouting report, same starting lineup and similar substitutions. My team played even stronger against the Black Team. Greenhouse played practically all game, scoring goals at will and catching the snitch within seconds. Matt Cardarelli, Mike Iadevaia and Lulu Xu were anchoring the beating game and fighting for control. Hofstra's Adam Kwestel was a force on and off-ball and Maryland's Cody Nardone was the king of loose ball recoveries and gritty offense. Aaron Wade, a chaser for Old Dominion and a former cornerback, became our go-to off-ball defender. Harvard's Carli Haggerty showed terrific ball security, expert decision-making and could always find an opening for a pass or shot. 
  We defeated the Black Team 100*-30 and improved to 2-1. Morale was high and my team was determined. Having a winning record was an awesome feeling and I tried to savor it. I knew we had two tougher games coming up against Jayke Archibald's Pink Team (2-1) and Andy Marmer's Gray Team (2-1). I wanted to focus on the positives but I kept having flashbacks to our loss to Sturm's Bright Green Team.

Photo by Michael E. Mason
After we went through our pre-game routine and I stopped complaining about a couple of drooping hoops, it became clear that the Pink Team was on another level. The Pink Team systematically dismantled my team. Xu was double yellowed around the five-minute mark and Luke Changet and Robert Vortherms seized bludger control. Changet and Vortherms played conservatively and took Greenhouse out of the game. Watching my 340-galleon player spend the majority of his game running back and forth from the hoops was an incredibly helpless feeling. Meanwhile, Archibald was deadly on the fast break and ruthlessly efficient in the half-court. Pink's best off-ball weapons, Tim Keaney, Andrew Zagelbaum and Sam Medney, shook off our defenders too easily and hauled in pass after pass from Archibald. Greenhouse miraculously summoned the strength and energy to lead a comeback near the end of his chaser shift, but Zagelbaum caught the snitch for a 90*-40 Pink Team win. 

With our loss to Pink, my heart sunk. We had dropped to 2-2 and things didn't look bright. Only the top two seeds from each pool were advancing to bracket play. I had told my team prior to the Pink game that it was a must-win. As one of my players remarked, the s**t smell drifting over the Northeast Fantasy fields from the Wards Island Water Pollution Control Plant was the least of our worries. 

Nevertheless, I tracked down the official scoresheet and started furiously calculating records and point differentials. Archibald's Pink Team was at 3-1 and would face Dockery's Orange Team in their final game of pool play. Assuming the Pink Team took care of business, it would be through to the semifinals as a top seed. Here's where it gets complicated. My team was playing Marmer's 3-1 Gray Team in our final game and Sturm's 2-2 Bright Green Team was matched up against Mallory's 1-3 Black Team. If my Blue Team and Sturm's Bright Green Team won, it would come down to a three-way tiebreaker between Blue, Bright Green and Gray. I quickly figured out that if it came down to point differential, my team was in very good shape.
Photo by Michael E. Mason
I spread the news amongst my team and by brooms up, my team was determined and ready to pile on the points. Cardarelli, Iadevaia and Xu held a firm advantage over Gray's trio of Matt Eveland, Jimmy Pritts and Julie Fritz. Gray's defense left a lot of space and Haggerty exploited it, tallying three or four goals. With the final score of 120*-40, my team had bolstered our point differential and made it nearly impossible for Sturm's Bright Green Team to advance. Somehow, a 3-2 team was headed to the semifinals.

In our first elimination game, we would be playing Ricky Nelson's Union Jack Team. I couldn't believe my good luck; I had scouted the Union Jack Team heavily and was confident that my team could pull out the W. The Union Jack Team's stellar beating corps hadn't clicked like I thought they would and its offense wasn't quick or skilled enough to push my team out of snitch range. I started to believe that my Blues Brothers could win Northeast Fantasy. I didn't have time to give a long, motivational speech, but I wanted to articulate my new expectations to the team. I told the team that if we won Northeast Fantasy, I would put a big team photo with the caption "Northeast Fantasy 2014 Champions" on my blog. I was hoping it would be a silly, little thing that my team could rally around. I peered around our huddle and saw wild grins. The idea of winning a tournament for a 15-year-old's blog was too good. With a boisterous cheer of "For the Blog!" we were off and running. Our beaters played another fearless game, never letting Scott Axel or Aaron Wohl take control of the game. Greenhouse had another absolutely phenomenal performance and Luke Zak and Kwestel each put in effective shifts at keeper. A snitch catch from Greenhouse capped the victory. 

Hearing the final whistle, my team went crazy. I was jumping up and down. My team mobbed me and we shouted out an exuberant "One More!" We were going to the 'ship! I quickly realized that many of my players had never been close to championship in quidditch. The feeling of the later rounds of bracket play was as foreign to them as it was to me. However, a rematch against Archibald's Pink Team loomed. Suffering another humiliating loss was a real possibility. I heard someone suggest a team picture (#ForTheBlog, of course) and we summoned over Michael E. Mason. As we posed for the photo, I couldn't help but wonder if we'd be posing for a happy photo again. I needed to focus on the Pink Team and I knew I would have to make a few changes.
Photo by Michael E. Mason
With darkness enveloping the Big Apple and tournament organizers trying to get the final underway, I had to gather my tired team. We skipped our usual warm-up and focused on staying loose and being mentally and strategically prepared. I told my beaters that we simply couldn't let the Pink Team dominate bludger control. The Pink Team had neutralized Greenhouse in pool play, but in the finals, we were going to use bludger control to take Archibald out of the game. We also changed our starting chasing line. Nardone took the green headband and I inserted Wade at chaser to defend against Keaney and Zagelbaum. 

Following brooms up, we traded blows with the Pink Team like two long-time rivals. Pink's passing game was clearly superior and Archibald continued to air out half-court passes to Keaney and Medney. The Pink Team played stout defense around the hoops, making forceful tackles and blocking shots. However, my Maryland duo of Greenhouse and Nardone kept grinding out second and third-chance points. I was holding my breath every offensive possession and jumping for joy every time a Blue chaser muscled through for a dunk or scored a mid-range shot. I began to notice that thanks to my animated celebrations, the crowd was getting behind my team. I kept the sidelines antics coming and snuck in a nice joke about Luke Changet. During a stoppage of play, Greenhouse motioned for me to run onto the field and stretch him out. The crowd loved that.

As the game progressed, Greenhouse and Archibald locked into a riveting duel at both ends of the field. Each star chaser was determined to out-do the other on each possession. The twelfth, thirteenth and fourteenth minutes rolled around. I knew that I needed to get Greenhouse out of the game to rest. As I pulled my 340-galleon star, I held my breath. Archibald, Keaney and Medney were still in the game for Pink. For the next few minutes, my team kept the game in snitch range by pouncing on Pink's missed opportunities and slowing the game's pace. I breathed a sigh of relief knowing that my chasers had the game under control. 

I surveyed the field. Snitch Jamie Lafrance had trotted out onto the field and was waiting for Greenhouse and Zagelbaum to charge at him. Both sets of beaters were ready. When the eighteen-minute mark struck, all I could do was watch. As Lafrance fended off the seekers, it was clear that Greenhouse was getting more time with the snitch and he was using it well. I was watching the chaser game when play suddenly stopped and the crowd got really quiet. I turned and saw Greenhouse on the ground, holding the snitch sock. There weren't any beaters in sight. I was about to start nervously pacing when the snitch catch was confirmed! We were Northeast Fantasy 2014 Champions!

The instant I saw head referee Ethan Sturm's arms raise an inch, I was bolting onto the field to mob Greenhouse. I don't even remember hearing the whistle. I could have run to Lower Manhattan if I had to. Rushing the field after a championship is such a unique, purely happy feeling. Time for reflections would come later. I savored all the happy, triumphant, validated and proud thoughts, enjoyed the post-championship photo shoots and thanked everyone for their congratulations on my way out.

Looking back, the win feels even better. We weren't the tightest team. Our Facebook group had no activity prior to the tournament. My team rallied around one outstanding individual performance and trusted their teenage coach to put the right pieces in the right places. Not once did I hear a complaint about playing time or an obnoxious remark. My team was the perfect team to coach from the first brooms up to the final whistle. I will always remember Saturday, August 9th. It was the day I made my successful coaching debut. It was the day that I became a Northeast Fantasy champion.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Northeast Fantasy 2014 Preview

Players from the Northeast, Mid Atlantic and more are traveling to New York City for the third annual Northeast Fantasy. With twelve teams comprised of regional stars, under-the-radar players and impact performers, here's a preview of the summer's final major fantasy tournament.

The QuidKid Focus--These players will be under a microscope at Northeast Fantasy. Why and what you should watch for.

Julia Baer, B, Richmond, Hawaiian Shirts
As the most expensive female player at Northeast Fantasy by a whopping total of 100 galleons, Richmond utility Julia Baer will be facing extraordinarily high expectations against the backdrop of leis and tacky Hawaiian garb. While Baer has always impressed me with her smarts, technical prowess and ability to outplay her opponents, she has never seemed to be a truly game-changing player to me. Maybe it's because Richmond has too many other shortcomings and I am too quick to dismiss good players on weaker teams. Maybe it's because Baer's greatness is naturally more subtle. Maybe I haven't been watching closely enough. Who knows?

Either way, the stars have aligned for Baer to have a terrific tournament. First, while Hawaiian Shirts Team GM Ben Nadeau made some questionable decisions during the Northeast Fantasy Draft, Nadeau's fun-loving play is contagious at fantasy tournaments and his teams often exceed expectations. Furthermore, Nadeau knows to play with elite female chasers. Second, the best male beater wearing a Hawaiian Shirt will be Macaulay's Luke Espina. Espina plays moderately conservative, a style that should be tailor-made for Baer and the Hawaiian Shirt Team. Third, 2014-15 might finally be the season that Richmond makes the jump to a top-tier Mid-Atlantic team. With excitement for the new season building, a game-changing performance from Baer could set the Spiders up for a breakout 2014-15.

Alex Leitch, U, Unaffiliated, Baby Blue
Snagged in the supplemental draft by Baby Blue GM Jamie Lafrance, former Hofstra utility Alex Letich will making his last hurrah in the Northeast before likely joining a Midwest community team for the 2014-15 season. Leitch, who sustained a devastating leg injury at Northeast Regionals, didn't regain his previous beating form in time to propel Hofstra at World Cup VII. However, with Hofstra's offense struggling and beater Mike Iadevaia gaining confidence, Leitch continued experimenting at different positions. Using his trademark fearlessness, Leitch proved to be an explosive driver and a capable seeker. 
Photo by Isabella Gong
At Northeast Fantasy, Leitch could line up alongside Jamie Lafrance, Shane Hurlbert and Leanne Dillman in the quaffle game. If Leitch can play a dual point guard offense with Lafrance, Hurlbert can slide over to the wing. In my opinion, Hurlbert is at his best when he is hovering around the hoops, waiting for passes. The RIT phenom has the wingspan and soft hands to pull down errant passes and is an elite finisher. As a beater, look for Leitch to blaze a trail for Lafrance. While Lafrance certainly doesn't need much help bulldozing through a defense, it could be Leitch's beating that enables Lafrance to conserve enough energy for bracket play.

How and where Leitch plays could determine the role he fills this season, especially if Leitch is headed to Luke Changet's Blue Mountain Quidditch Club.

Sheldon Bostic, B, QC Boston: The Massacre, Black
The time has come! A little less than a year after Sheldon Bostic entered quidditch as a promising QC Boston recruit, the famed pump-up man will have to double as his team's most important player. Bostic, who showcased improved beating instincts at World Cup VII, is rumored to be preparing for a switch to full-time chaser. Whether Bostic dons the black, white or green headband, he will need to be the heart of the Black Team's defense, barking out directions and organizing his teammates. With question marks surrounding Bostic's Massacre teammate Zach D'Amico, a strong, physical defense might be the Black Team's best hope.

If he does chase, I'll be watching Bostic's ball handling skills and acceleration. Adding a soft touch and increased speed to Bostic's massive frame could be the key towards giving the Massacre a go-to power chaser.

Hugh Podmore, C, Valhalla Quidditch, Gray
Like many Global Games analysts, I share the belief that Canada only looked like a deserving bronze medalist when Hugh Podmore was keeping. As the United Kingdom's Luke Twist and Australia's Raj Kapoor were starring, Podmore kept Canada in contention by giving it a ball handler and distributor it could trust. At Northeast Fantasy, where trustworthy ball handlers were at a premium, Podmore should shine for the Gray Team.
Photo by Janet Hoffar
Podmore's most important role will be enabling Gray to space the field. The Gray Team lacks a top-tier female chaser, but thanks to Podmore's passing accuracy, Gray chasers/keepers Steven Gambino, Michael Pascutoi and Brandon McKenzie can drift closer to the hoops and deeper down the wings. A high support chaser isn't needed because Podmore's decision-making is nearly flawless. If Gray's male chasers can spread the field, Podmore will likely find himself in more isolation situations with opposing point defenders. 

Defensively, Podmore's shot-blocking and tackling will be crucial, as Gambino and Pascutoi should shut down the point and the Ohio State duo of Julie Fritz and Matt Eveland will clog up the middle. If Podmore can live up to my lofty expectations outside a Team Canada jersey, Andy Marmer could add another summer fantasy championship to his general manager resume.

University of Maryland Players, B/C/K/S, Maryland, Various Teams
With uncertainty in the West and graduations at Boston University, the University of Maryland looks to be the non-Southwest favorite for the 2014-15 season. Maryland is bringing by far the largest out-of-region contingent and I have high expectations for many of the lesser known Terps. Jeremy Dehn and Emily Camardo will anchor the Purple Team's beating corps, while Dehn's usual beating partner, Isabella Newton, plays with Erin Mallory's Black Team. We will see what chaser Chris Thomas can do without much help around him on Ricky Nelson's Union Jack Team. Steve Sleasman and Steven Gambino will play big parts for Ethan Sturm's Light Green Team and Andy Marmer's Gray Team, respectively. Because of Northeast Fantasy's weak chaser pool, players like Thomas, Sleasman and Gambino should stand out thanks to their superior athleticism. If Maryland players (especially young Maryland players) have strong performances at Northeast Fantasy, Maryland's confidence will be through the roof by Turtle Cup IV.
Photo by Nicole Harrig
Dynamic Duos Rankings--Duos of players are one of my favorite things to analyze about fantasy tournaments. Here's a countdown of who I believe will be the most fearsome one-two punches of the tournament.

10. Robert Vortherms and Luke Changet B: Both experienced, effective and bludger-wielding field generals, Votherms and Changet should give the Pink Team stability and reliability in the beating game.

9. Matthew Zeltzer and Curtis Taylor S/B: I like Zeltzer's chances to make a couple of key snitch catches, but Taylor will have to open the door for the Badassilisks seeker with attentive seeker beating.

8. Ben Nadeau and Victor Viega C/K: Former Emerson and current QC Boston teammates, the chemistry between Nadeau and Viega should be strong, but I'm expecting to see each player to swap roles. For the Hawaiian Shirts Team to be most successful, I believe Nadeau needs to be the primary ball handler and Viega needs to play as an off-ball power chaser.

7. Nik Jablonski and Emily Hickmott K/C: Jeff Sherman's White Team is loaded with quick off-ball chasers, but Jablonski is the best passer of the bunch. The Loyola keeper will need to find Hickmott early and often for the White Team to advance into bracket play.

6. Matt Eveland and Julie Fritz B: With all the talented beaters available in the Northeast Fantasy Draft, Gray Team GM Andy Marmer might have landed the best starting pair at a reasonable price. Facing high expectations for the 2014-15, Eveland and Fritz will try show Northeast beaters why Ohio State was a quarterfinalist at World Cup VII.

5. Scott Axel and Amanda Dallas B: For the Union Jack Team to even think about putting points on the board, Axel (and Emerson beater Aaron Wohl) will need to tear apart opposing defenses. With Axel flying around the field, Dallas will have to fight to maintain bludger control and limit fast breaks.
Photo by Nicole Harrig
4. Sean Beloff and Hannah DeBaets C: Beloff and DeBaets have to be the most electrifying duo of the tournament for Dark Green to stand a chance. Fortunately for GM Shannon Moorhead, I don't think that's too much to ask.

3. Jayke Archibald and Tim Keaney C: Archibald put on a show at West Fantasy, but as the new QC Boston co-captain looks to notch a Northeast Fantasy title, he'll look to an old, trusted teammate in Keaney. If Archibald can start fast breaks for the Pink Team, look for Keaney to be streaking down the sidelines, expecting a last-second pass.

2. Wesley Weiss and Jon Jackson K/C: Considering the huge World Cup performance he had for Emerson, Weiss' 110 galleon pricetag is even better value than Jackson at 130 galleons. Let's see if Ethan Sturm's disciplined drafting can pay off again. Expect give-and-goes galore from Weiss, Jackson and the rest of Light Green's chasing corps.

1. Jamie Lafrance and Shane Hurlbert K/C: I've already dedicated a big portion of this article to Lafrance and Hurlbert, but in case the message didn't get across: Lafrance and Hurlbert will be extremely fun to watch. It is not uncommon for Lafrance and Hurlbert to score more than 50% of their teams' goals.
Photo by Ben Holland
My Prediction--Who's gonna win?!

Ehhh, I think I'll pass. We will have our answer soon enough! #BleedBlue