Thursday, January 30, 2014

Big Names Join LSQC Roster

Sources close to the team have informed me that Craig Garrison, Chris Scholz, Jacob Wilson and Mathieu Gregorie attended Lone Star QC tryouts on Sunday and will be joining the team this spring. The news comes as LSQC, currently ranked #3 in the Coaches Poll, prepares for the first major Southwest tournament of the season, Diamond Cup at Texas State University. LSQC went 8-3 this fall, placing second in the Wolf Pack Classic and Lone Star Cup II, as well as first place at the unofficial Breakfast Taco Tournament. 

Photo by Sue Decker
Garrison, the former captain and star keeper of UTSA, has moved back to his hometown of Austin to make money for his senior year at UTSA and therefore is not eligible to play for UTSA's team this spring. Garrison has been linked with a move to LSQC since December and has practiced with the Austin branch of the Texan community team. "The decision to play with Lone Star became one question" Garrison said, "not play the sport that I'm passionate about for the first time in a year and a half, or play with the best players in the world and win a World Cup?"
Photo by Sue Decker
Freshman chaser Chris Scholtz, a former teammate of Garrison's at UTSA, is unsure of whether he'll be attending UTSA this spring due to personal reasons. Faced with uncertainty about whether he would be able to play with UTSA during the spring season, Scholtz saw an oppurtunity to join Lone Star QC and improve as a player. "The transfer now allows me to begin playing in an entirely new environment," Scholtz said. "Being a freshman on the team, I am clearly the baby of the team, which will only allow me to improve my game for the better by learning the best form, tactics, and great leadership."
Photo by Lauren Carter

Beater/seeker Jacob Wilson, who gained attention at THE Fantasy Tournament and during UTSA's rise this fall, will look to help out LSQC's beating corps. LSQC's male beaters have had trouble this fall and the additions of Wilson and Gregorie, both skilled beaters, could fix some issues. "I do not think that being able to join such an elite team such as LSQC is a chance everyone would be given and I had to take it," Wilson said. "I joined LSQC for one reason and that is to win the World Cup, and I believe we have the talent and experience to do just that."

Of course, the losses of three star players from the #10 team in the country raises major questions about that team's future. Despite major rumors floating around that UTSA might not field a team, they will be attending Diamond Cup and Southwest Regionals. Many have wondered whether there might be a leadership problem or conflict within UTSA, but the roster issues are actually centered around personal, health or academic reasons. "Most people would expect that [our transfers] had something to do with UTSA's quidditch team, that there was no chance of a team going to regionals from UTSA or maybe some sort of conflict internally, but that is not at all the case," Scholtz said. "They will have a good team that will be a strong competition for many teams, but sometimes you just get that feeling when you know something is right and it is the move you should make, and this was that feeling for me."

Leaving the team at UTSA was not easy either for these three players, especially veterans Garrison and Wilson, who agreed that the decision to leave UTSA's team was "very" difficult. "I know a lot of the players on UTSA very well, and we were more a family than friends," Garrison said. "Team members literally call me Uncle Craig. This is what a college team brings, growth quickly as friends and a team, both on and off the field."

Before their breakout performance at Breakfast Taco in 2013, UTSA endured a 2012-13 season with great highs and lows. From reaching the final in the first Bottom of the Bracket tournament and going to the semifinals in Mardi Gras Cup II, to overcoming an 0-3 record on the first day of regionals and qualifying for World Cup on day two, to an 0-4 performance at World Cup VI, UTSA had the same core group of players. "Losing all your games at World Cup was very hard for Roadrunner Quidditch," Garrison said, "but it brought UTSA together and hardened us. I'm very excited to play with LSQC and have a chance at the title, but would have rather gone to World Cup VII with UTSA."
Photo by Sue Decker
Finally, beater/chaser Mathieu Gregorie graduated from Texas A&M this December and will practice with the Austin branch of LSQC. Gregorie, a four and a half year veteran of the sport, will reunite with former A&M beating teammates Reed Duncan and possibly Mollie Lensing, who is abroad this spring season. Gregorie will be leaving the number one team in the nation behind, transferring to the team who A&M has beaten twice to earn that title. Current Texas A&M captain Drew Wasikowski said Gregorie will be "sorely missed." However, Texas A&M has prepared themselves for the mid-season loss of Gregorie since the beginning of the season. "This past semester, we basically had him chasing a majority of the time so as not to upset the flow of our beater crew halfway into the semester," Wasikowski said, "but he was still able to pass off a lot of his knowledge and experience before he left."
Photo by Lauren Carter
The QuidKid Says: These four additions to LSQC's roster change the national picture dramatically.  Before I heard the news of all four players' transfers, I was leaning towards writing an article saying that LSQC wouldn't make the World Cup VII finals, but I believe the additions put LSQC in a very good position come April. Back in September, I predicted an LSQC victory over Texas A&M in the World Cup VII finals. With these four additions, I feel confident sticking to that preseason prediction as we head into the second half of the quidditch year. LSQC's depth and motivation have been called into question this fall, but in the additions, the Texas community team gets a player who has waited more than four years for a championship, a duo of experienced UTSA players with unfinished business and an explosive, energetic young player eager to learn.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Announcing Video/Game Film Contest

Photo by Michael E. Mason/IQA Staff
Hey Everyone!
So I have yet another one of my famous ideas. Like many other members of the quidditch community, I really want to see a ton of game film from this spring season--not only at Diamond Cup and SW Regionals, but also at tournaments like the Beantown Brawl, South Regionals and any other big tournaments this spring leading up to World Cup. My idea is basically that I really want to reward teams that post a lot of video by making indiegogo donations and I want to encourage you guys to donate to specific deserving teams too.

The way that I'm going to decide which teams to donate money to is through a competition of sorts for teams to post relevant games as quickly as possible. I will be keeping a running tally for people who post video and how many points to award them. The first complete game posted featuring anyone of these matchups will receive...

5pts: Top 15 in the Coaches Poll vs. Top 15 in the Coaches Poll
4pts: Top 15 in the Coaches Poll vs. Ranked in Regional Poll
3pts: Ranked in Regional Poll vs. Ranked in Regional Poll
2pts: Top 15 in the Coaches Poll vs. World Cup VII qualifiers (or VI qualifiers until qualifiers are determined in the SW and S)
1pts: World Cup VII qualifier vs. World Cup VII qualifier

In addition, I will announce a weekly bonus game for 7-10pts before each weekend. It is important to note that the game will only receive points if it is the first complete game that has been posted. There is a thread in IQA forums where bonuses will be announced and submissions will be posted. When submitting, videographers should make it clear which team they want the points to go to. I will regularly update the standings in that thread.

Submissions should look like...
Texas A&M vs. Lost Boys QC
Points go to Lost Boys QC

I'm hoping for a few things. 1) That the overall volume of game film on YouTube increases 2) That games are posted more quickly 3) That this competition encourages teams to not delete all the video of them when WC pools are announced because that sucks. 4) That I can help out some teams--who have helped me with my analysis and done good for the community--get to Myrtle Beach.

So, whip out those video cameras. Record games of your rivals, your own team...I don't care. Just get more video out there! 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Meet Number One

"There is no possible scenario as of RIGHT NOW where [World Cup VII] is not TAMU's to lose."  --Mitch Cavender

As we anxiously wait for Diamond Cup and Texas A&M's first test of the spring, I dove into the A&M film available on YouTube. As I watched each individual player one-by-one, I became more and more impressed. Like UT, each chaser is incredibly versatile and can take on any role in the offense or defense. The Aggies are the clear favorite to win April's World Cup VII title, and unlike last year, I see them only getting stronger this spring. Let's meet our number one team in the country and the only team playing as strong on both ends of the field as last year's championship UT team.

The Familiar Names
Holdovers from last year's roster, chasers Drew Wasikowski, Kifer Gregorie and Becca DuPont have gotten 99% of attention for A&M this fall, much like the UT trio of Augustine Montoe, Kody Marshall and Sarah Holub last year. Wasikowski can be inserted anywhere in the quaffle game from keeper to behind the hoops. Gregoire brings physicality and hard hits--something that Texas A&M could use more of, even if it means an occasional yellow card. DuPont has proved that she can jump dunk like Sarah Holub and can handle the ball like Vanessa Goh. Wasikowski, Gregorie and DuPont have played outstanding quidditch, but perhaps more importantly, they have helped a group of new recruits turn into vital parts of the Aggies efficient offensive machine. 

Other familiar names include chaser Sam Keegan Adlis, who starred last season for Texas A&M's B team, the Silver Phoenixes. Like Wasikowski, Adlis' size and experience allows him to do many different things for Texas A&M in the quaffle game. Seeker Andrew "Dirk" Hryekewicz had a monster tournament at Lone Star Cup catching five snitches. Players in the Southwest might know a few more names, but I'd say the rest of the country needs a nice, formal introduction to the players who have made Texas A&M's number one ranking possible.

Photo by Sue Decker
Brandon Laures, C
Brandon Laures is the first new member of Texas A&M's team this season that I noticed. Laures has started every major game Texas A&M has played at the Wolf Pack Classic and the Lone Star Cup. Using his speed to reach the center of the field quickly on "brooms up," Laures typically tries to use his body to allow Wasikowski to get the quaffle and beater Sean Fry to retrieve a bludger. While gaining the first possession and a bludger can be important, it's what Laures does during the remainder of his shift that has been so impressive. His off-ball movement near the hoops is superb and he is always looking to move into the open space or provide an outlet for the ball carrier. Like the rest of the new recruits, Laures is comfortable in transition and has the ability to make "the extra pass," two trademarks of the 2012-13 UT team. 

On defense, I could argue that he's been the Aggies' most important player. On a team with two of the best point defenders in quidditch, Laures has been delegated to defend the point in incredibly important situations, including the finals of both Wolf Pack Classic and Lone Star Cup against Stephen Bell and Chris Morris, respectively. Before the season began, I knew Wasikowski was determined to make more of his chasers comfortable defending the point, and watching Laures is a sure sign that he has succeeded. 

During Lone Star QC's first possession in the finals of Lone Star Cup II, watch as Laures goes up against LSQC's Chris Morris. With every burst of speed and hard cut that Morris makes, Laures is never more than a half a step behind him. Morris cuts back towards the middle with Laures hustling to get himself in position for a tackle. As Morris is releasing a pass, Laures dives in for a tackle and disrupts the LSQC keeper's follow-through.
Photo by Sue Decker
Sam Haimowitz, C
In the NBA, the sixth-man of the year award typically goes to a two-guard or forward that is a fantastic all-around player who happens to come off the bench. The sixth-man of the year will often end up playing many minutes alongside the starters in close games or the playoffs. I kind of imagine Texas A&M's Sam Haimowitz as my leading candidate for fifth-man of the year on a chasing corps. When there's a loose ball, missed shot or poor pass, Haimowitz always tracks it down and immediately has his head up looking to shoot or pass. He stretches the defense by extending possessions and with smart positioning.

Defensively, I don't think he's quite at the point defending level of Brandon Laures yet, but he's improving. When opposing teams try to run a dual point guard offense, Laures and Haimowitz can combine to form an elite point defending duo. With great communication, they execute perfect switches and quickly come to each other's assistance to cut off driving lines. Most importantly, they can keep opposing keepers in front of them. Overall, Sam Haimowitz strikes me as a very smart player who seems like he has years of quidditch experience under his belt.
Photo by Sue Decker
Wyatt Keller, Tyler Sessions, Mark Wigley, K
While I was reviewing Texas A&M's game film from this season, I began to notice just how many different players were playing keeper and running the offense. In addition to Wasikowski and Adlis, new recruits Wyatt Keller, Tyler Sessions and Mark Wigley have all played well with the green headband. When, at the beginning of the season, I heard that Texas A&M was losing two of their best keepers from 2012-13, I began to have second thoughts about whether the Aggies would compete with the other Southwest powerhouses. Although Keller, Sessions and Wigley aren't built for trucking through defenders, they will use their agility and quickness to find a lane (if one opens up). The three keepers are primarily passers though, and have a team-first mentality. 

I'm grouping these three keepers together because with their similar styles, strengths and weaknesses, the Aggies have gotten a lot of consistency from the keeper position. Their gameplan or strategy stays the same (from what I can tell) no matter which keeper is in the game. This is very important because in a tournament like World Cup VII, Texas A&M should be worrying about how to alter their gameplan depending on what their opponents are doing--not depending on their own personnel.
Photo by Sue Decker
Sean Fry, B
Texas A&M's beating corps has jumped to a new level this season, matching and outplaying opposing beaters with discipline, strategy and depth. Continuing the trend of good quaffle players becoming great beaters, former chaser Sean Fry has helped turned beating from a weakness to a strength for Texas A&M. Fry is accurate and he rarely takes himself out of the play with a missed beat. With a bludger in his hand, you can clearly see that Fry commands the respect of his opponents. 

After this fall season, Fry is well known throughout the Southwest and it's time that the rest of the country knows who he is and what he's been doing. Really, it's not just Fry that's brought Texas A&M's beating to a new level. The entire Texas A&M beating corps has held their own against tough opponents. Ruben Polanco and Maddie Franklin have been two hugely important "call ups" from Silver Phoenixes and without the speed of Matthieu Gregorie, A&M wouldn't be able to walk away from "brooms up" with bludger control so often.

Monday, January 27, 2014

The NHL Stadium Series and Marketing Quidditch

Photo by NHL
The National Hockey League has long looked for ways to appeal to a larger audience, especially in the United States. A recent survey by the Harris Poll found that only 5 percent of Americans call hockey their favorite sport. The NHL has tried many things to increase hockey's popularity in America, from expanding into the southern United States to heavily marketing young stars. Yet still, the average sports fan in the America doesn't watch much hockey. 

Then, in 2008, the Pittsburgh Penguins took the ice against the Buffalo Sabres at Ralph Wilson Stadium--the home of the NFL's Buffalo Bills. The game, which was won by the Penguins in a shootout, set TV ratings records. Ever since 2008, there has been an outdoor NHL hockey game called the Winter Classic on New Years' Day with TV ratings reaching 8.2 million viewers this year in the United States alone. And so, the NHL has expanded the Winter Classic into an annual "Stadium Series."
Photo by NHL
On Friday, the Anaheim Ducks shutout the Los Angeles Kings beneath the lights at Dodger Stadium. Sunday afternoon, the New York Rangers and the New Jersey Devils squared off at Yankee Stadium. Round two at the House that Steinbrenner Built will be on Wednesday night between the Rangers and the New York Islanders before the 2014 Stadium Series concludes in Chicago (Soldier Field) and Vancouver (BC Place) in early March.
Photo by NHL
As the NHL looks to become more popular in the United States, our young sport of quidditch should just be looking for any kind of positive attention. While Yankee Stadium and Soldier Field might be just a little ambitious, there's no reason why quidditch couldn't have our own "Stadium Series." Minor league baseball stadiums could be willing to negotiate a rental price with a local community quidditch team. College teams with good support from their university could approach officials about using the football or baseball stadiums as tournament venues. The events would need aggressive promotion, with cool-looking posters scattering student centers and public places. The posters would need to convey the fact that quidditch is a legitimate sport and that there would be official games being played--not halftime entertainment aimed at making people laugh. For instance, smack a picture of Drew Wasikowski in full A&M uniform tackling a chaser from UT over the backdrop of Kyle Field. Tell me that wouldn't at least grab the attention of the 12th Man!

Alex Scheer, captain of the University of Toledo, arranged a rivalry game between his team and BGSU that was played at Toledo's football stadium, the Glass Bowl, this fall. "At UT, we are a Club Sport, so we have access to the indoor practice facility, as well as access to the stadium once the football team is done using it, and as long as another club isn't using it," Scheer said. "We have full access to the entire facility minus bathrooms and concessions, all free of charge."

In addition to a student body turnout of 50-100 people, the Glass Bowl game between Toledo and BGSU was televised by BCSN, a local sports station, and has had positive implications for Toledo in their city. "The city of Toledo knows we exist," Scheer said. "We just surpassed 500 likes on facebook, and now have a local sponsor who will be helping us with travel to World Cup."

Scheer also attempted to book Kuntz Memorial Stadium, a soccer stadium in downtown Indianapolis, for the upcoming Big Ten-MAC Quidditch Challenge. "Kuntz Stadium was willing to give me whatever I wanted...for a huge pricetag," Scheer said. "Being a professional soccer stadium, they have a great facility, with some great things to work with."

The price Kuntz Memorial Stadium wanted was $8,000 for two days of field and press box access, and the tournament will instead be played in South Bend, IN for free. 

Although an $8,000 fee is too expensive for a regular team to organize, is isn't actually a terrible deal for a world-class soccer facility and 5,000 seat stadium. Given how successful a single weeknight game at the Glass Bowl featuring undermanned teams was, imagine the publicity a major tournament would get. How much is a lot of publicity for the sport of quidditch worth? Is it worth $8,000?

To find out more I talked to IQA Marketing Director Logan Anbinder.

"I think there’s definitely a really great marketing value in hosting quidditch at a venue like a college football stadium or minor league park," Anbinder said. "As someone who was in attendance for the finals of World Cup V, which were played in Icahn Stadium on Randall’s Island, I can definitely attest that the venue provides a unique atmosphere that’s really exciting and that I think does do a lot to push the sport towards mainstream legitimacy."

The cost and logistics of holding quididitch events at small stadiums definitely remain major challenges. "As far as the practical aspects of holding an event at a venue like this, I know in general that the cost of renting these types of locations is very significant," Anbinder said. "However, I could definitely see the draw of a stadium or ballpark being a component of a city bid sometime down the road. So while I wouldn’t necessarily count on it happening anytime soon, it’s neat to think about a regional championship or even the World Cup held in a stadium in the future!"

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Cocoa Cup 2014 Preview

Players from the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and Midwest are ascending upon Connecticut for the first Cocoa Cup. With eight teams comprised of regional stars, under-the-radar players and impact performers, here's a preview of the nation's second best winter fantasy tournament.

The QuidKid Focus--These players will be under a microscope at Cocoa Cup. Why and what you should watch for.
Victor Viega, K, QC Boston, Targaryen
I've been saying since June that QC Boston's biggest challenge will be figuring out how to use their many unique chasing weapons. At the center of this challenge has been keeper Victor Viega. By Northeast Regionals, Viega was QC Boston's clear primary ball handler on offense. The Massacre made huge strides in Rochester, scoring over 100 points in each game until they were stunned by NYU in the quarterfinals. Despite a strong regionals performance, I don't think QC Boston has reached their full potential--and a lot of that revolves around the continued development of Viega. 

Team Targaryen will throw Viega into a similar situation as QC Boston with a really strong supporting cast of versatile and skilled chasers. If Viega can create chemistry with Penn State's Jason Rosenberg, RIT's Shane Hurlbert, Rochester's Devin Sandon, Tufts' Hannah DeBaets--a group that doesn't necessarily scream "instant chemistry"--Targaryen will be the highest scoring team at Cocoa Cup by far. Hopefully for the Massacre, Viega will gain more practice with making smart passes, not forcing passes and knowing when to take it and drive himself. 

BJ Mestnik, C/S, Tufts, Tyrell
Noah Schwartz got a ton of attention after Snow Cup, but Tufts has yet another (somewhat) secret weapon that will get a chance to shine at Cocoa Cup. Mestnik, a chaser and seeker, is arguably the best all-around athlete playing for the Tufflepuffs. 30-some minutes into Tufts' epic Turtle Cup semifinal against NYDC, it was Mestnik that had the energy left to bull-rush snitch Harry Greenhouse and send Tufts to the finals. When Tufts turned in a disappointing Northeast Regionals performance exiting in the quarterfinals, Mestnik was noticably absent. 

That's the kind of difference he makes. This weekend, at Cocoa Cup, he'll be united with BGSU star Dan Daugherty and no-longer-nameless-one Brian Zhangi under the familiar direction of Ethan Sturm. In addition, the Cocoa Cup field is not nearly as loaded with seekers as Snow Cup was. I expect Mestnik to get chances and possibly string together a couple of key snatches.
Female Chasers, C, Various Teams, All Fantasy Teams
Yes. All Fantasy Teams. Maybe this is a benefit of randomly generated teams and then a period of trading, or maybe this is due to a deep group of female chasers from the Northeast, but it looks like every Cocoa Cup team has a female chaser who they can rely on heavily. It seems that every time THE Fantasy Tournament or Firemercs rolls around, I'm always questioning whether one team is going to pay for not having a solid female chaser. In the case of Cocoa Cup, many of the female chasers start for their teams and in some cases, have leadership positions. 

From Lucy Miller on Lannister to Meredith Taylor on Arryn to Erin Mallory on Stark, I can see any one of these players playing a big part for a championship-winning team.

Griffin Conlogue, U, QC Boston, Baratheon
While Ethan Sturm profiled NYDC chaser Alex Linde's venture into beating in his Cocoa Cup Preview, I would like to point attention to Griffin Conlogue's listing as a utility for Team Baratheon. Conlogue played mostly as a chaser during his career with Emerson, but has been juggled around, including stints at keeper and beater with QC Boston. At beater, Conlogue will be playing with familiar company in teammates Kara Levis and Bobby O'Neil. A winter fantasy tournament could be a great time for these three to work out some issues that the Massacre's beating corps had this fall. 

In the quaffle game, Conlogue looks to be the biggest player on the roster, and with keeper experience, I wouldn't be surprised to see him running the offense. If so, he has tons of offensive options in the form of Maryland's Matt Angelico, NYDC's Casey Sabal and Tim Keaney, and QC Boston-ians Jayke Archibald, Elise Risio and Ben Nadeau--who always seems to shine at fantasy tournaments.
Mo Haggag, U, NYDC Capitalists, Lannister
I believe the essential piece of Lannister is NYDC utility Mo Haggag. Haggag’s greatest impact is in the seeking game, where his gigantic wingspan causes trouble for all but the best snitches. Creating a killer rotation with Greenhouse, each seeker will come at the snitch with very different styles. Also, Haggag is listed as chaser-beater-seeker-keeper. As we’ve repeatedly seen at fantasy tournaments across the country, four-position utility players can turn around their team’s losing streak with a position switch. [Note: this originally appeared in Quiyk's Cocoa Cup Preview]

Nora Mueller, B, Tufts, Arryn
Tufts beater Nora Mueller should have an interesting role on the David Fox-led Team Arryn. Working with fellow Bostonian Aaron Wohl, Arryn will undoubtedly be reliant on defense and the partership of Wohl and Mueller is essential. Mueller is great at playing through chaos and staying focused, especially in the seeking game. [Note: this originally appeared in Quiyk's Cocoa Cup Preview]
Jason Rosenberg, C, Penn State, Targaryen
Finally, I believe the most important player to watch is Penn State chaser Jason Rosenberg. PSU started their season off very strong with a second place finish at Nittany Lion Cup, but an injury to Rosenberg, their most important offensive player, slowed them down at Turtle Cup and MARC. Rosenberg, a terrific all-around chaser, will be making his return at Cocoa Cup on Team Targaryen flanked by the likes of Victor Viega and Devin Sandon. If Rosenberg comes back stronger than ever, the Mid-Atlantic hierarchy could be shaken up this spring. [Note: this originally appeared in Quiyk's Cocoa Cup Preview]

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. David Foxx and Meredith Taylor, K/C--BGSU chaser Meredith Taylor is, in my opinion, the clear second best offensive player on her team behind the Emerson power keeper. A strong day from Taylor and quick chemistry development are all that's keeping Arryn from becoming a completely one-dimensional offense tomorrow.

9. Robert Vortherns and Matthew Zeltzer, B/S--Being drafted onto a team with few big names has given analysts the chance to revisit UMass beater Robert Vortherns amazing performance at Northeast Regionals. Vortherns will be doing double duty this weekend. He'll have to work to keep his offense within 30 points and if he can, he must give Zeltzer, one of the few pure seekers at Cocoa Cup, the chance to succeed.

8. Tim Keaney and Jayke Archibald, C--While I don't necessarily expect this duo to be the primary offensive contributors for Baratheon (Nadeau, Sabal, Angelico and Conlogue will all contribute heavily), I like seeing the reunion of two former collegiate teammates who now play for different community teams. As more community teams pop up across the country, fantasy tournaments will become opportunities for old teammates to play again together.

7. Brandon McKenzie and Noah Schwartz, K/C--With New Haven keeper Brandon McKenzie in the back guarding the hoops and Schwartz point defending, Stark could have a tough defense. It'll be interesting to see how McKenzie, who has to resort to playing hero-ball sometimes to get points on the board for his team, will play with Schwartz, the ultimate team player and rising star.

6. Shane Hurlbert and Jason Rosenberg, C

5. Victor Viega and Devin Sandon, K/C--If I were coaching Targaryen, I would mainly run two separate chaser lines with Hurlbert and Rosenberg on the first line and Viega and Sandon on the second. This way, I think the styles of each player are less likely to clash, and Targaryen ends up with two very solid lines. In addition, the versatile Hannah DeBaets can be added into either line.

4. Aaron Wohl and Nora Mueller, B--Very few of these fantasy teams have a starting beating pair that I have 100% trust in, but I know Wohl and Mueller will deliver for Arryn.

3. Jenna Jankowski and the #QCBeaters, B--I talked about how Griffin Conlogue would get the chance the to beat alongside his teammates earlier, but Macaulay beater Jenna Jankowski will also be in the mix. Such a deep beating corps is bound to really help Baratheon.

2. Dan Daugherty and BJ Mestnik/Brain Zhangi, K/C--Daugherty sometimes gets the reputation as a player who will shoot instead of pass. This is completely false. With Mestnik and/or Zhangi on the wings, Daugherty should be unloading pass after pass. 

1. Harry Greenhouse and Ricky Nelson, C/B--Besides working together on defense with Greenhouse point defending and Nelson beating, this pair may not have the same on field explosiveness as the others, but I highlighted it as my number one dynamic duo because of the leadership factor. With Maryland's attendance at the Beantown Brawl up in the air, this may be the chance for Greenhouse and Nelson to make a statement in the Northeast.

Predictions--Who's gonna win?!
Pool One--Tyrell, Baratheon, Stark,  Arryn
Tyrell has the best, most explosive offense by far and goes 3-0 to start the day. Baratheon's many offensive weapons overwhelm Stark and Arryn. Noah Schwartz shuts down David Fox with terrific point defending to give Stark a 1-2 record and Arryn drops to 0-3.

Pool Two--Targaryen, Lannister, Greyjoy, Frey
Targaryen takes the game of the pool from Lannister on an Andrew Zagelbaum snatch. Greyjoy and Frey are clearly outmatched by the pool's top two teams and a Matthew Zeltzer snatch is the deciding factor in that game.

Bracket Play
Quarterfinals--Tyrell def. Frey, Lannister def. Stark, Targaryen def. Arryn, Baratheon def. Greyjoy
Semifinals--Lannister def. Tyrell, Baratheon def. Targaryen
Finals--Lannister def. Baratheon

Team Lannister is my pick to take the Cocoa Cup 2014 title. Armed with the Maryland dual-threat in the chasing game of the experienced Harry Greenhouse and freshman Chris LeCompte, as well as BGSU keeper Zak Hewitt, Lannister should have a multi-dimensional offense and a solid chaser defense. Additionally, beater Ricky Nelson is no stranger to fantasy success as his team placed second at Northeast Fantasy this past summer. [Note: this originally appeared in Quiyk's Cocoa Cup Preview]

Friday, January 3, 2014

Utah Snow Cup IV Preview

Players from across the country are traveling to Austin for the fourth annual Utah Snow Cup. With ten teams comprised of regional stars, under-the-radar players and impact performers, here's a preview of the nation's premier winter fantasy tournament.

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

Keir Rudolph, S, Kansas, Grey 
Photo by Madeline Finn
Here we go again. Was Keir Rudolph's breakout performance at Mud Cup over-hyped? Is Rudolph an elite seeker? It's hard to tell. Besides his 4/4 day at the Spring Breakout, Rudolph's achievements include catching the snitch to beat Baylor on the sport's biggest stage and powering his THE Fantasy Team to a bracket play run despite the infamous Southwest snitch bunny tails. There's also plenty to suggest that Rudolph has been over-hyped including a weak Firemercs 2 performance and Kansas' lackluster 53% snitch catch percentage this season. So, the question becomes, which Keir Rudolph will show up to Snow Cup IV?

A lot of that depends on how much time Rudolph will get to use his large wingspan and how much time he'll be running back forth from the hoops. Many teams have kept a beater glued to Rudolph at all times, knowing that if they don't, he could make them pay. Grey's second pick, ASU beater Duston Mazzella, will try to prevent this from happening. In my opinion, Mazzella's biggest strength is the seeking game. In fact, video published today shows him holding off UCLA seeker Brandon Scapa in the semifinals of the Western Regional Championship. Because Rudolph is so inconsistent, it'll be hard to take anything away from his performance at Snow Cup IV, but I have a feeling that he could have a really big day tomorrow.

Noah Schwartz, C, Tufts, Green
Photo by Michael E. Mason/IQA Staff
A relatively unknown player for Tufts, Noah Schwartz was drafted onto a very talented Green team. Schwartz is a solid all-around chaser who was very important during Tufts' run to the finals at Turtle Cup. Much of the focus on the Green team has been on the duo of Drew Wasikowski and Zach D'Amico, but I think Wasikowski and Schwartz will be doing most of the damage. Like D'Amico, Schwartz is a smart passer and displays great communication on the offensive end, however Schwartz's strength and size is closer to some of the new recruits Texas A&M has landed this fall. If Wasikowski can incorporate Schwartz into the offense as quickly as he did with all of those new recruits, Green will be off and running.

DeVaughn Gamlin and Becca Mulligan, K/C, Northern Colorado, Black
A pair of really smart picks from Vanessa Goh landed UNC teammates DeVaughn Gamlin and Becca Mulligan on Black. With Southwest Regionals fast approaching, UNC will be in the mix with a lot of good teams for only a few spots, and this extra experience for two of their most important players is vital. I'm curious to see how Gamlin, a fast and agile keeper, will be used considering Goh spent her first round pick on UTSA keeper Craig Garrison. Maybe they could pull off an Emerson-dual-keeper-zone with Goh point defending? Anyways, Gamlin is going to be very vaulable to Black and can learn a lot from Garrison. 

By taking beaters Logan Trudell and Chandler Smith in the second and fourth rounds, all signs point towards the Black team playing primarily with two male beaters and two female chasers. In a traditional one male-one female beater set, Mulligan would have little playing time behind Goh, but now, she's going to see a lot of minutes playing beside the best female chaser in the game.

If Gamlin and Mulligan can pick up new strategies, gain experience playing against top-level competition, and even get some wins under their belts, tomorrow will be a really good day for UNC's World Cup qualification chances.

Katelynn Kazane, C, UCLA, White
Photo by Kat Ignatova/IQA Staff
With the departure of Vanessa Goh and Missy Sponagle from the Bruins' roster this summer, many expected Katelynn Kazane to step right into that starting female chaser spot that has been so important to UCLA's success over the past few years. While UCLA seems a bit overwhelmed trying to replace so many players, Kazane hasn't been getting enough touches in the revamped Bruins lineup and isn't making as much of an impact as we expected. In many ways, Kazane getting drafted onto the White team alongside Tony Rodriguez was a gift. 

Rodriguez is one of the best in the business at distributing the ball and getting everyone touches. He connects with Vanessa Goh like a thousand times per game with the Lost Boys and it's not just dinky tosses around half court--he's finding her open in the keeper zone and leading to goals. The Goh model is the perfect model for Kazane to succeed with the White team and UCLA. I'm sure Dan Hanson, also on White, recognizes this, and is going to do his best to make sure Kazane is putting points on the board tomorrow.

Mitch Cavender, C, Lost Boys, Pink
Photo by Kat Ignatova/IQA Staff
Drafted onto Santiago Gonzalez's Pink team, Mitch Cavender was the first quaffle player selected by Gonzalez. Cavender is one of the strongest point defenders at Snow Cup and is seeing his number of goals rise with the Lost Boys, but it does seem like a strange pick considering Cavender rarely holds on to the ball for more than a second or two. With the Lost Boys this season, it seems his main offensive duty has been to set screens and then roll to the hoops for a dunk. 

The QuidKid Focus is on Cavender at Snow Cup because I believe the Lost Boys need a few more players to be comfortable driving with the ball, distributing and making plays. While I doubt it was Gonzalez's original intent to force Cavender into this role at Snow Cup, by taking beaters in the first, second and sixth round, it has. It in addition to Gonzalez himself, ASU's Sean Pretti and Boise State's Casey Thompson are expected to provide the main offensive firepower for Pink. 

April Gonzalez, B, NAU, Pink
One of the aforementioned beaters selected by Santiago Gonzalez, April Gonzalez is going to have some interesting roles with Pink. Assuming Pink isn't going to try to play a two female beater set with first round pick Clare Hutchinson and Gonzalez, she will either be paired with Kansas' Samy Mousa or the Skrewts' Willis Miles. Each pairing presents it's own challenges and pluses.

This fall, NAU has been sending both of their beaters up on offense and it has resulted in moderate success. While Gonzalez and the other NAU beaters have created space for the Narwhal offense to score 125 points per game, the Lost Boys took advantage of the beaters being out of position and ran a very effective transition offense. So, Gonzalez should feel comfortable being paired with either Mousa or Miles as both beaters have lots of experience playing offensively. The issue is preventing what happened versus the Lost Boys. With Mousa as her partner, Gonzalez really has to be aware of staying controlled and getting back on defense. This should be a good test for her and could be extremely beneficial to NAU come April. Paired with the Skrewts' Willis Miles, who somehow fell to the ninth round, she has a bit more freedom to be aggressive. Miles' cool demeanor and smart offensive beating can teach Gonzalez a lot about how to make NAU a serious World Cup contender.

Long Beach Funky Quaffles Players, K/C/B/S, Various Teams
Photo by Kat Ignatova/IQA Staff
With two snatches against the Silicon Valley Skrewts in the round of 16 at Western Cup, the Long Beach Funky Quaffles sealed an improbable World Cup qualification. LBFQ is loaded with athletic players at every position and strategy seems to be their biggest roadblock currently. And what better time to pick up strategy than a giant fantasy tournament?! In fact, there are members of LBFQ on seven different teams! 

Perhaps motivated by their recent World Cup qualification and desire not to fly across the country for nothing, having so many players travel to Snow Cup could be a major turning point for LBFQ. With LBFQers on seven teams, the team as a whole should gain a lot of exposure to new strategies. Look for chaser Caleb White to work his way into the Wasikowski/D'Amico/Schwartz chasing lines on Green. Or checkout how Anthony Hopkins is doing as a GM. Chaser Alex Richardson will be playing on White. Dan Hanson, who was drafted in the seventh round by White, was particularly impressed with Richardson after his Next Best West performance. Hanson will be the engineer behind finding ways for Tony Rodriguez to get the ball to Richardson.

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. Marc Hubble and Justin Peters, K/C--Orange could come under the radar and catch some teams off guard due to this physical duo of an NAU chaser and UAFS star. Throw in Kansas female chaser Courtney Chediak and I think we've found our dark horse.

9. Michael Binger and Beto Natera (and Tye Rush), C--Ok. Sometimes a duo becomes a trio, but I wanted to focus on these three players on Brown. I'm not sure about Natera's second round pick of keeper Nebraska Huggins. Huggins has had periods of excellence, but is also prone to injuries and doesn't have terrific stamina--a red flag for fantasy tournaments. With Huggins being kind of unpredictable, the weight of this team will fall on three very predictable and consistent chasers. All three are talented across the board, with a wide-ranging skills set. How chemsitry develops between the trio, all from very different backgrounds, should be cool.

8. Tony Rodriguez and Devon McCoy, K/C--McCoy always gets the label of being a very emotional player, but so is Tony Rodriguez. On White, it'll be interesting to see how McCoy is used. I presume he'll only be the keeper/ball carrier when Rodriguez is resting and otherwise, he'll fill the "two" chaser spot.

7. April Gonzalez and Willis Miles, B--I kind of went over this in the QuidKid Focus, but I think these two beaters from different ends of the region could develop chemsitry quickly on Pink. Each beater plays in a way that could compliment the other's style very nicely.

6. Ren Bettendorf and Steve DiCarlo, K/C--A late addition to Snow Cup, Bettendorf has been huge for the Santa Barbara Blacktips this season along with chaser Ben Harding. Although "Ren-Snitchy" isn't nearly as catchy, DiCarlo could be making his biggest impact in the chasing game for Purple.

5. Logan Trudell and Chandler Smith, B--This two-male beater set needs to work well together if Vanessa Goh is going to repeat as Snow Cup champion GM. Although they may be tempted to beat offensively, I think it's smartest if Trudell and Smith hold bludger control conservatively. Both play terrific defense and it's not likely that Black's high-powered offense will need a ton of help to put points on the board.

4. Craig Garrison and Vanessa Goh, K/C--The headlining duo of the Black team, it's not hard to imagine this pair working really well together. Garrison is always looking to pass and Goh always finds a way to get open.

3. Keir Rudolph and Duston Mazzella, S/B--This could be the most important pairing of the tournament or it could be a flop. Rudolph is going to get his chances thanks to Mazzella, so it's matter of whether he can find his groove and push Grey through the brackets.

2. Daniel DePaula and Amanda Nagy, B--Two beaters that can cover a lot of ground while staying focused and remaining accurate. While the centerpiece of Blue's beating corps will be DePaula, the GM, and Nagy, Brian Vampola and Brendan Frisella could also contribute valuable minutes.

1. Kelby Brooks and Colby Soden, K/C--This is my favorite duo of the tournament. I see so much potential in both of these players. I think they'll work together well on both ends of the field, as well as in the huddle. With Brooks guarding the hoops and being the primary ball carrier, and Soden defending point and acting as the "two" chaser, the color Red may continue it's string of fantasy tournament victories. Besides Kelby-Colby and seeker Porter Marsh, there's not many big names, which will give Brooks and Soden the chance to take complete control.

My Prediction--Who's gonna win?!

Pool One--Red, Orange, Grey, Green, Blue
Green has to be the huge favorite in Pool One, but after them, it could go any way. Red and orange have the stronger chasing corps, Blue's beating corps is stacked and Grey has Keir Rudolph at seeker.
Pool Two--Purple, Pink, Black, White, Brown
This is the tougher pool. Black, White and Brown (in that order) are three of the toughest squads at this tournament, and I think Pink and Purple will just be too over-matched in the quaffle game.

Bracket Play
Quarterfinals Black def. Purple, Red def. Brown, Pink def. Green, White def. Blue

Semifinals Red def. Black, White def. Pink

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Mock Draft [Part Two]

Here is the second part--picks 33-64--of my mock draft of Quiyk's Fantasy Extravanganza (although not really because according to some of the GMs, there has been a rule change that prevents retired players from being drafted. So I guess I'm just doing this for kicks now.). Players are listed in order of their overall pick, with round number, position and fantasy team listed below. Enjoy!

33. Audrey Wright
R5 Position: fC Fantasy Team: A

Team A closed out the fourth round by taking a second male beater which raised the concern that Team A still didn't have a female chaser. Additionally, Vanessa Goh, Sarah Holub and Melissa White were all off the board, having been drafted already. Taking Audrey Wright with the thirty-third overall pick, Team A's GM fills one of the female chaser spots, but will have to wait until the late sixth round or early seventh to draft again.

34. Becca DuPont
R5 Position: fC Fantasy Team: B

35. Alex Browne
R5 Position: mC/K Fantasy Team: C

Even though Browne is only handling the quaffle, he should be considered a top utility pick for this draft. A fantastic option to back up Chris Morris at keeper, Browne has proved with the Lost Boys that he can play very well off-ball, getting open and making the extra pass.
36. Kifer Gregorie
R5 Position: mC/S Fantasy Team: D

37. Porter Marsh
R5 Position: S/mB Fantasy Team: E
Photo by Kat Ignatova/IQA Staff
First player drafted primarily for his seeking abilities.

38. Lauren Carter
R5 Position: fB Fantasy Team: F

39. Adam Richardson
R5 Position: mC Fantasy Team: G

40. Kenny Chilton
R5 Position: mC/S Fantasy Team: H

41. Michael Parada
R6 Position: K Fantasy Team: H

42. Craig Garrison
R6 Position: K Fantasy Team: G

43. Eric Reyes
R6 Position: mC/K/S Fantasy Team: F
What's going to be one of the more interesting things about this draft is how GMs explain drafting traditional keepers in the later rounds. GMs are likely going to build their team around a ball carrier that they take in the first or second round. By the time the sixth round rolls around, there will be several really appealing names still on the board, but taking a second ball carrier could hurt a team's perceived chemistry. In the cases of Michael Parada, Craig Garrison, and Eric Reyes, the first male quaffle player drafted to each of their respective teams is not necessarily a full-time ball carrier. Parada is paired with Daniel Daugherty--who is fully capable of running an offense and playing keeper, but also did play chaser last World Cup sometimes when Zak Hewitt played keeper. There are similar cases for Garrison's fantasy teammate Drew Wasikowski and Reyes' fantasy teammates Simon Arends or David Demarest. 
The GMs should clearly present three ways their offense can function. 
  1. Let the early round picks (Daugherty, Wasikowski, Arends/Demarest) run the offense with the later round keepers (Parada, Garrison, Reyes) on the bench. The GMs could easily explain that the styles of these players are too close and would clash. The early round picks were picked in the early rounds for a reason. 
  2. Use the later round keepers as back ups for the early round picks.
  3. Slide the early round picks over to the first chaser spot and put in the later round keepers. This way you can have both players on the field at the same time. The early round picks are versatile players. Maximize their versatility and put in another big name player. If a GM can draft players like this and successfully argue this point, they will win. Voters like seeing big names.
44. Chris Rhodes
R6 Position: mB Fantasy Team: E

Some players are going to be drafted unusually high because of potential teammates. In this case Baylor beater Chris Rhodes is united with his Baylor teammate Brittany Ripperger on Team E. By giving Ripperger a partner she knows, Team E continues to build a strong defensive team.

45. Missy Sponagle
R6 Position: U Fantasy Team: D

46. Katrina Bossotti
R6 Position: fB Fantasy Team: C

47. Sam Keegan Adlis
R6 Position: mC/S Fantasy Team: B

I love the idea of putting a younger player as the first backup chaser (would that be the fifth man because we are only considering quaffle players or the eighth man???) on a team whose starting chaser line is loaded with experience--Augie Monroe, Paul Williard, Kedzie Teller and Becca DuPont. Sam Keegan Adlis is going to be a steal in this draft, but having a lesser known chaser like Adlis start is probably not a good idea if a GM intends to get the most votes.

48. Steve DiCarlo
R6 Position: S/mC Fantasy Team: A

49. Max Havlin
R7 Position: mB/mC Fantasy Team: A

With their next set of back-to-back picks, Team A passes on a second female chaser, and stays loyal to the mantra beating and seeking wins fantasy tournaments. Steve DiCarlo becomes the second player drafted primarily for his seeking abilities and picking Max Havlin gives Team A a third male beater to work with. With a very deep female chaser pool, Team A snags two multi-position players that probably wouldn't be on the board by by their next round of picks.

50. Brendan Stack 
R7 Position: K/mC Fantasy Team: B

Brendan Stack gets picked by Team B to primarily back up Augie Monroe, but Stack has proven that he can also slide over to chaser. 

51. Devin Sandon
R7 Position: mC Fantasy Team: C

I've always wanted to see Kody Marshall and Devin Sandon play together. Marshall is the stronger tackler, but Sandon has more experience putting a team on his back. Both scrappy, small chasers and good passers, I'd bet that they'd develop chemistry pretty quickly. 

52. Scott Axel
R7 Position: mB Fantasy Team: D

53. Kaci Erwin
R7 Position: fC Fantasy Team: E

Team E continues to make picks based on defense after selecting Aryan Ghoddossy, David Fox and Brittany Ripperger in earlier rounds. Erwin is the best tackling female chaser still on the board.

54. Keri Callegari
R7 Position: fC Fantasy Team: F

55. Hank Dugie
R7 Position: mC Fantasy Team: G

56. Amanda Nagy
R7 Position: fB/fC Fantasy Team: H

Amanda Nagy is one of the best female utility players in the draft, and I'd have her going a little higher, but I think after only half a season, some people still have doubts about how well she can beat. Nagy could go much higher if a GM has been convinced by her performance with the Lost Boys with the black headband.

57. Devon McCoy
R8 Position: mC/K Fantasy Team: H

58. Keir Rudolph
R8 Position: S Fantasy Team: G

59. Michael Powell
R8 Position: mC Fantasy Team: F

60. Matthieu Gregorie
R8 Position: mB Fantasy Team: E

61. Trent Miller
R8 Position: mC Fantasy Team: D
Photo by Lauren Carter
I liked the pairing of Baylor's Trent Miller and Stephen Bell on Team D. Miller and Bell are both lanky players that are always looking to pass. With their heads up, Miller and Bell are good at recognizing when defenses aren't set and often push their teams into the transition. Each player is becoming increasingly important his teams' success too.

62. Hai Nguyen
R8 Position: mC Fantasy Team: C

63. Savannah Allison
R8 Position: fB Fantasy Team: B

64. Beissy Sandoval
R8 Position: fC Fantasy Team: A

After waiting until the end of the eighth round, Team A's need for a second female chaser is finally satisfied.

Half way through this mock draft, let's check in on how the teams are looking. Positions in parentheses indicate non-starting roles.

Zach Luce K
Remy Conatser mC
Audrey Wright fC
Beissy Sandoval fC
Asher King Abramson mB
Kody LaBauve mB
Steve DiCarlo S (mC)
Max Havlin (mB/mC) 

With the three-monster of Abramson, LaBauve and Havlin, the big LA ball carriers should be able to find driving lanes. With solid pickups at female chaser and an elite seeker in DiCarlo, Team A really  needs to focus on building chaser depth in the next rounds.

Augustine Monroe K
Paul Williard mC
Kedzie Teller mC
Becca DuPont fC
Andy Abayan mB
Savannah Allison fB
Sam Keegan Adlis (mB/S)
Brendan Stack (K/mC)

With the first quaffle player selected in Monroe, Team B has built a fast and explosive chaser line around him that includes a captain of a final four team, two members of the number one team in the country and a member of Team USA. Team B's strength is probably their experience, and they could use some good back-ups at beater, as well as a true seeker.

Chris Morris K
Kody Marshall mC (S)
Alex Browne mC (K)
Melissa White fC
Jacob Adlis mB 
Katrina Bossotti fB
Devin Sandon (mC)
Hai Nguyen (mC)

The Texas three-some of Morris, Marshall and Adlis highlight this team as well as multi-talented chaser Melissa White. Team C filled the first two spots on their bench with male chasers so look for different positions to be selected next.

Stephen Bell K
Sean Pagoada mC (mB/S)
Kifer Gregorie mC (S)
Missy Sponagle fC (fB)
Scott Axel mB
Mollie Lensing fB
Brandon Scapa (mC/mB/S)
Trent Miller (mC)

All of the utility players on this roster make Team D formidable. With Bell, a keeper with tons of endurance, running the offense, D has so many options to switch around their lineup and give it a different look. Although Team D is yet to have a player whose primary position is seeker, Pagoada, Gregorie and Scapa have all come up in the clutch this season.

Tony Rodriguez K
David Fox mC (K)
Aryan Ghoddossy mC
Kaci Erwin fC
Chris Rhodes mB
Brittany Ripperger fB
Porter Marsh S (mB)
Matthieu Gregorie (mB)

Team E is the team I was building around an Emerson style 1-2-2-1 zone--a strategy I think a few GMs will use. Rodriguez, the shot blocker, and Fox, the hard hitter, should be strong in the back on defense and UT stars Ghoddossy and Erwin can throw anyone to the ground if they manage to get through Ripperger and company.

David Demarest K (mC/S)
Simon Arends mC
Eric Reyes mC (K/mC)
Keri Callegari fC
Peter Lee mB
Lauren Carter fB
Harry Greenhouse S (mC)
Michael Powell (mC)

Built around chaser versatility, Team F is looking good. Although the focus clearly has been on chasers and keepers, F's beating corps looks pretty good with first round pick Lee and Carter. Taking a beater in the first round and then shifting the attention to chasing has given F lots of freedom in the later rounds.

Craig Garrison K
Drew Wasikowski mC
Adam Richardson mC
Sarah Holub fC
Chris Seto mB
Hope Machala fB
Keir Rudolph S (mC)
Hank Dugie (mC)

With an offense headed by Wasikowski and Garrison and a defense with Seto and Machala, Team G is looking good. Jumping to take an elite seeker in Rudolph, Team G should look for a utility player in the next few rounds to compensate for the selection of Rudolph.

Michael Parada K
Daniel Daugherty mC (K)
Jake Tieman mC
Vanessa Goh fC (fB)
Colin Capello mB (mC)
Amanda Nagy fB (fC)
Kenny Chilton S (mC)
Devon McCoy (mC)

Despite waiting until the third round to take a traditional ball carrier, Team H picked up Daugherty and Parada--the king of fantasy tournaments. Throw in Chilton, Goh and the power chasers, and there's a nice offense to go behind the beating pair of Capello and Nagy. Team H might lack the offensive explosiveness to compete with some of the other teams now. Taking a third keeper-like player wouldn't be stupid.