Texas State University Bobcats – San Marcos vs. District of Columbia Quidditch Club

Written By Sam Doughton

Texas State University Bobcats used an athletic chasing line and dominating snitch-on-pitch beating to triumph over District of Columbia Quidditch Club (DCQC) 160*-100 in the Sweet 16 of US Quidditch Cup 10.

In a matchup between the Southwest regional finalist and a Mid-Atlantic regional power, both teams put forth strong defensive efforts in the opening minutes, before Texas State struck with a drive and dish from keeper Craig Garrison to TJ Martinez for the game’s first goal. This started a five-goal run for the Bobcats, as Texas State got fast breaks off of beater play in their own half, forcing no bludger situations that allowed quaffle players Stephen Vigil, Craig Garrison, and Terencio Martinez to finish at the hoops.

With Texas State up 50-0, DCQC was not ready to quit. A long shot from keeper Erik Morlock while being contested got off just before the beat flew in. Morlock’s shot rimmed through the hoop for DCQC’s first goal of the game. Morlock scored again under a minute later, when he received a lob from the right side of the hoops and slammed it through to make it 50-20.

Texas State roared back with two more goals, one off a DCQC penalty, to make the score 70-20. Afterward, Texas State received a penalty, leading to a player-up opportunity for DCQC, which was executed by former Team USA chaser Bernardo Berges slunging the quaffle through the small hoop to score. Berges came down the field a possession later and scored again with the shot, this time through the middle hoop to make it 70-40.

Texas State had a player-up opportunity of its own about a minute before the seeker floor, with Tim Nguyen dunking to put Texas State just out of snitch range, but DCQC got a goal of its own with a push-through shot next to the hoops to put the game in range just seconds before the seekers were released to make the score 80-50.

With the snitch on pitch, Texas State’s beaters kept DCQC from getting up close to the snitch, either to catch or to defend from the Bobcat seeker. Both teams had multiple cards doled out during the time frame, but the game stayed tight throughout snitch play, with Texas State working through no bludger situations and DCQC picking up the pace to stay in range. The use of a four-male chasing line proved effective in keeping DCQC in the game down the stretch.

With the score at 130-100, Texas State seeker Steve Gralinksi pulled the snitch with a smooth diving move to secure the win for the Bobcats. Texas State will face Great Lakes regional champion Bowling Green State University Falcons in the Elite Eight. The Falcons knocked off three-time national champion Texas Quidditch in the Sweet 16.

BosNYan Bearsharks vs. Lone Star Quidditch Club

Photo by Nikki Smith

Written by Cameron VomBaur

In a thrilling Sweet Sixteen matchup, BosNYan Bearsharks took a stunning 160*-80 upset win over Lone Star Quidditch Club, tabbed by many to be among the true contenders to capture the championship at US Quidditch Cup 10. The match featured many of the players involved in last year’s Lone Star/Quidditch Club Boston semifinal at US Quidditch Cup 9, with five former Boston players now playing for the first-year Bearsharks.

Photo by Nikki Smith
Photo by Nikki Smith

BosNYan imposed its will from the start of the game, with two dunks from Tyler Trudeau and two more goals from David Fox and Julia Baer. The Bearsharks sprinted to a 40-0 lead before a Luke Langlinais fast break brought the score to 40-10 at the six-minute mark. The gap would never be wider than four goals or closer than two until the snitch came onto the pitch.

Lone Star struggled greatly with obtaining and keeping bludger control. Leeanne Dillmann especially, with partners Kyle Jeon and Leslie Hargett, held control very well against the Lone Star’s much-heralded aggressive beaters. This was especially impressive given how often they pressed forward to beat out opposition to clear lanes for a series of powerful drives from BosNYan’s ball carriers.

Trudeau put on a clinic, scoring seven of the Bearsharks’ 13 goals, and assisting on two more. He was practically unstoppable once he reached the keeper, powering through double-teams from Lone Star’s usually-stingy chaser defense. Zack Gindes also managed a handful of goals, including two from broken plays cleaned up by his quick hands and hustle.

For Lone Star, goals were sourced fairly diversely. Mathieu Gregoire paced his team with three goals, but Lone Star’s famously deep quaffle player rotation did excellently in spreading the ball around. Unfortunately for them, the Bearsharks’ cerebral bludger play, Trudeau’s length at the hoops, and Fox’s crushing tackles at the top of the offense led to many possessions coming up empty.

Once the snitch came onto the pitch, chaos broke out. Lone Star was finally able to start consistently gaining bludger control with the Team USA tandem of Tyler Walker and Michael Duquette, and while they didn’t totally take control of the game, they were able to consistently create opportunities for seeker Blake Fitzgerald to secure the win. However, once again, BosNYan’s beaters came to their rescue.

While Lone Star focused heavily on seeker play to prevent a Bearsharks catch, BosNYan’s beaters excelled at owning the seeker game while also making defensive stops to push the gap further and further. Eventually, after a Fox goal to bring the score to 110-70, seeker Jonathan Ruland for Lone Star caught the snitch, which would have spelled a heart-wrenching 110-100* loss, had it not been for an impending call that invalidated the disastrous catch.

Photo by Nikki Smith
Photo by Nikki Smith

Given another chance to pull the game back in range, Langlinais scored on a blazing fast break, 110-80. However, BosNYan’s beaters chipped in to the quaffle game for two more Gindes goals to push the game to a five-goal difference, the first gap of such size all match. Soon thereafter, Jeon subbed in at seeker and made a standing catch in seconds to end the game before Lone Star could make another attempt to bring it back into range, 160*-80.

Bowling Green State University v University of Texas

Written by Matt Dwyer

This afternoon spectators found an exciting matchup between the Great Lakes Regional Champion Bowling Green State University, and three-time national champion University of Texas. The teams have only met once prior: a Final Four matchup at World Cup VI, coincidentally also in Kissimmee. Bowling Green was coming off a gauntlet of difficult games, exhausted. Texas had an easier path, and was able to dispatch the Falcons easily en route to winning its first title.

The lead up to today’s game was much different than it was four years ago. Both teams did very well on Day 1, and were seeded high enough to not have exceedingly difficult matchups to reach the Sweet 16. With sun high overhead and a clear sky, the rematch was set.

Bowling Green came out firing immediately and pushed the pace against Texas’s defense. Beater Max McAdoo ran wild around the pitch, clearing lanes for the Falcon’s chasing core to drive and score.  Bowling Green put Texas back on its heels, and took an early 30-0 lead in this fashion. The Longhorns, however, were not going to move over so easily. Showing some superior speed and athleticism, Texas chasers were able to dodge beats and drive through defenders to score or pass to a teammate. Though this play worked occasionally, Bowling Green’s physical tacklers and tight man coverage often took away chances for drives and passes.

Bowling Green continued its up tempo play into the middle of the game, constantly pressing Texas into its own keeper zone and attempting to force turnovers. Texas was prepared for the press however, and used open space to spread the Bowling Green beaters, making it difficult to actually force the turnover.  Unfortunately running the press was tiring in the hot Floridian sun, and McAdoo needed to substitute.  Like a switch, Texas beater Eddie Molina regained bludger control and dominated beater play. Texas began to play its beaters very aggressively, creating easy lanes for its keeper and chasers to drive.  However, Bowling Green keeper Daniel Daugherty still pushed the pace, avoiding beaters to find open chasers behind the hoops or take a long shot.

Though Texas was controlling the beater game more and was getting three times the number of offensive rebounds, it was still difficult for its offense to score. Many shots sailed wide or were picked off by the Falcons. With a more solid beating defense though, the Longhorns were able to consistently stay within snitch range throughout the match. Once snitch was on pitch, Texas, down 30, completely locked down the snitch. Using both a defensive seeker and Molina at beater, Bowling Green’s seeker Sam Roitblat was not able to get near the snitch. Focusing on the quaffle game instead, Bowling Green continued to keep the Longhorns at the edge of snitch range, shutting down effective passing at the hoops with beater help.

Oftentimes, a snitch catch happens in a split second decision; one wrong step, one late dive. In this case, it was one missed beat. Molina’s defense of the snitch ended as he missed a crucial beat on Roitblat, allowing him a chance at the snitch. On a dive, Roitblat catches, the Falcons up 30. Bowling Green wins the match 110*-50, and moves on to their third Elite Eight appearance in the team’s history.

The Lost Boys vs. Quidditch Cup Boston

Written by Elizabeth Barcelos

This Sweet 16 matchup featured The Lost Boys, once again the last standard bearer of the west, against the defending champions: Quidditch Club Boston.

The Lost Boys have always lived and died by their beating, featuring long time beating talents such as Amanda Nagy, Chris Seto, and Michael Mohlman. However, Emerson alumnus Ryan Smythe may have had the game of his life, stepping up against a familiar Boston foe.

On the other hand, plenty of ink has been spilled about QCB’s Team USA players: Harry Greenhouse, Jayke Archibald, Stew Driflot, and Max Havlin.

But this game wasn’t just a showcase of the big stars. Isabella Leon has blossomed with QCB after showing promise during her years on Cal Quidditch and the California Dobbys in Northern California. The Lost Boys Kelsey Allen really came into her own as a beater after transitioning from chasing for the Fighting Farmers and Santa Barbara Blacktips.

The game never left snitch range, though QCB did manage to push the score to 60-30 once the snitch was released. The Lost Boys’ beating needed to be everything that they’re known for and more. However, QCB retained bludger control, giving Driflot more chances at the snitch than Justin Fernandez of The Lost Boys.

After some very physical seeking—including a tumble that saw Driflot and the snitch roll over each other in the dirt, QCB finally managed to catch the snitch off guard and make a quick catch, keeping the dream of becoming repeat champions alive while ending the journey of the last West team standing.

BosNYan Bearsharks vs Maryland Quidditch Terrapins

Photo by Nikki Smith

Written by Elizabeth Barcelos

In a closely contested matchup that never left snitch range, this clash between a storied college team, University of Maryland Terrapins, and an upstart community team, BosNYan Bearsharks, ultimately came down to who could catch Anthony Hawkins, one of the West’s best snitches.

After being upset yesterday by lower seeded teams, Maryland and BosNYan had something to prove. Today saw the return of Leeanne Dillman to the Bearsharks; her presence is felt both on the pitch by opposing beaters and on the sideline by her teammates, providing a unifying voice of leadership.

BosNYan seemed to have learned from its slip up against Cal Quidditch on Saturday morning, changing the pace of play depending on the looks Maryland gave them instead of sticking to a run and gun style. Both teams exchanged scoreless possessions.

On the other hand, Maryland presented a strong defensive front, just barely edging out BosNYan on bludger control and forcing the Bearsharks to slow down. However, both squads were apt at regaining bludger control by drawing missed beats with ducks and dodges.

Photo by Nikki Smith
Photo by Nikki Smith

Once Hawkins took the pitch, Maryland put all its beaters, led by Mike Madonna, on the snitch and nearly suffocated any chance David Fox would have had at the snitch. However, Fox was ultimately successful. The game ended with a score of 110*-80 in favor of the Bearsharks.

District of Columbia Quidditch Club vs. Penn State University Nittany Lions

Photo by Isabella Gong

Written by Sam Doughton

District of Columbia Quidditch Club (DCQC) raced out to an early lead in the round of 32 on Sunday morning, riding the momentum of a face break offense into a 150*-30 win over Penn State and a Sweet 16 berth.

In a match-up of two Mid-Atlantic rivals, keeper Andrew McGregor gave DCQC an early 30-0 lead as he used his lethal midrange game coupled with driving dunks on no bludgers to score. Penn State was able to strike back with a set play on offense, but DCQC used the overload to fast break and keep the three goal advantage at 40-10.

Strong beater play set up DCQC’s offense throughout the entire game, as the team kept control against multiple Nittany Lion attacks while also preventing scores. This lead to several fast break opportunities, which were executed with almost surgical precision as DCQC built a solid lead before snitch came on pitch.

Photo by Isabella Gong
Photo by Isabella Gong

“We love to run on teams,” said DCQC coach Erin Mallory. “If we can run, we do, because we’ve got some big guys, and the girls will streak with them and get the nice finishes.”

Two quick dunks back to back made it 60-10 for DCQC, and a fast break with about 12 minutes gone featured nifty cross hoop passing on the break and a dunk with the Penn State beater out of position. A scrappy goal from Coach Erin Mallory right by the hoops just before the snitch came on pitch gave DCQC a 70 point advantage.

With the beaters distracted by snitch play, Penn State was able to snag a couple of goals just after the 18 minute mark, sandwiching a DCQC goal of a shot from behind the hoops to make it 90-30. Penn State put in a strong effort to prevent a snitch catch, using a seeker and beaters to box out DCQC for most of snitch play. Ultimately, the necessity of keeping DCQC’s 6’5” seeker Darren Creary off of the snitch left too many opportunities for DCQC to score, as DCQC attacked often on no bludger situations to build up its lead to 120-30.

Briefly after the one-armed handicap, Creary leaped around the defensive seeker, using his long arms to catch the snitch and earn the victory at 150*-30. DCQC will go on to face Texas State in the Sweet 16.

Florida’s Finest vs. University of Rochester Thestrals

Photo by Nikki Smith

Written by Michael Pascutoi

In a matchup defined by scrappy beater play and repeated stoppages of play, Florida’s Finest rode the strong play of its veterans to a 100 -90* victory over the University of Rochester.

Rochester moved out to a quick 30-10 lead on the back of keeper Basem Ashkar before the teams settled into a default mode of sustained, controlled offensive possessions. Rochester’s double-male beater set pressured Florida’s Finest heavily on both sides of the pitch, limiting opportunities for Florida’s Finest to take advantage of its transition attack and endurance. While Finest was limited in scoring due to the dominance of Rochester’s beaters, Rochester lost several opportunities to score from dropped passes and mental errors.

The game turned a corner during snitch on pitch, with both sides throwing all of their energy into stopping the opposing seeker. Florida’s Finest found an offensive rhythm close to snitch on pitch, rounding off three straight goals by taking advantage of mistakes from a tiring Rochester squad and strong offensive possessioning. A red card on Rochester beater Perry Wang ultimately swung the game in favor of Finest, but beater Steven Belitzky managed to hold off the experienced Florida’s Finest lineup of curtis Taylor and Sean Pagaoda and bring Rochester back within snitch range. With Finest scoring soon after to bring the score to 10-6, Rochester seeker Sean Benjamin misread the score and pulled the snitch, ultimately costing Rochester the game as the pull couldn’t make up the quaffle score deficit.

With an early victory under their belt, Florida’s Finest moved on to play Rochester United in the Sweet Sixteen matchup at 11:40.

The Lost Boys vs. Oklahoma State University

Photo by Isabella Gong

Written by Cameron VomBaur

After finishing third in Pool 3, Oklahoma State University took on The Lost Boys, who topped Pool 4, in the Round of 32. The game featured 2016 Team USA teammates Hayden Applebee from Oklahoma State and Amanda “Turtles” Nagy from The Lost Boys.

For nearly six minutes of the game, neither team was able to get points on the board. Bludger control constantly switched between the teams, with neither side holding it for longer than a minute before losing it again. Despite all of the chaos in the beater game, both defenses managed to force stops and turnovers.

However, after their initial offensive struggles, The Lost Boys found their rhythm in the middle of the game. Despite bludger control still being exchanged regularly, Oklahoma State’s chaser defense began to crack in no-bludger situations, as goals from Justin Fernandez, Duran Allison, and Alex Richardson brought the score to 40-0 at the 12-minute mark. An alley-oop to Jenna Eslocker brought Oklahoma State back to the edge of range, 40-10, before a Tye Rush fast break again lifted The Lost Boys out of range, 50-10.

Photo by Isabella Gong
Photo by Isabella Gong

As the game progressed, control stayed with The Lost Boys more often. Nagy and Kelsey Allen in particular were expertly throwing bludgers back and making quick beats on unsuspecting beaters from Oklahoma State to keep two bludgers in The Lost Boys’ hands. When no-bludger opportunities arose for the Cowboys, Richardson and Justin Bogart were there to make tackles at the top of the offense, and Allison’s lanky arms at keeper knocked the quaffle out of the air on numerous occasions.

While the goals didn’t come easily for Oklahoma State, its offensive possessions weren’t completely inept. Applebee often managed to close the distance to the hoops before the quaffle would pop loose or a beater from The Lost Boys would swoop in to kill the play, and multiple shots hit the edge of the hoop without going in. If not for a few such unlucky breaks, Oklahoma State may well have been in position to make a SWIM catch to advance to the next round of bracket play.

However, the expert snitch-on-pitch beating of The Lost Boys was able to overwhelm Oklahoma State. The Cowboys had practically no time to stage a comeback, as a diving snitch grab from Justin Fernandez secured the win for the Lost Boys, 80*-10.

Ball State Cardinals vs. Bowling Green State University

Written by Kelsey Petersen

Bracket play started off strong on Day 2 with a rematch of this season’s Great Lakes Regional Championship between #21 Ball State University and #12 Bowling Green State University (BGSU). At this point, fans and players familiar with the Great Lakes region shouldn’t be surprised to see this matchup. Ball State and BGSU are well-established powerhouses in their region and both teams finished Day 1 strong with 3-1 records.

Going into the game, BGSU already had an advantage over Ball State in terms of size, reputation, and veteran experience. Both beater corps are strong, but while BGSU has refined its beating game, Ball State’s beaters seem to lack its spark without Tyler Walker.

The game proved to be a battle of pacing, BGSU favoring its usual slow approach, while Ball State relied on its speed. After several goal attempts and trading possessions frequently, Bowling Green scored its first goal over seven and a half minutes in. BGSU then continued to rack up points while keeping Ball State at zero. Ball State’s chasers were in sync, utilizing good passing options on most plays. But time and time again, they were unable to muscle past BGSU’s brute defense to secure a finish at the hoops. On the other half of the pitch, Ball State keeper Nick Kaufman proved adept at deflecting Daugherty’s floating passes.

Ball State made it onto the board around the seventeen minute mark, and found more success when seekers entered play. Ball State started to match goal-for-goal against BGSU, its seeker Jason Bowling effortlessly slipping between protecting and attacking the snitch as the game continually floated in and out of snitch range for Ball State. Both teams sent their beaters into overdrive against the seekers, evidenced by the increased frequency of bludgers flying wildly out of the pitch boundaries. It was clear that Ball State took advantage of BG’s distracted beaters to find scoring opportunities. However, BGSU soon began to pull away and Samuel Roitblat clinched its victory with a snitch grab at 25 minutes for a final score of 120*-50.

With this victory under its belt, Bowling Green stands to face Texas in the next round.

Quidditch Club Boston vs. Cal Quidditch

Written by Nate Western

With its swift victory over Cal, 160*-10, Quidditch Club Boston (QCB) started what looks to be a deep bracket run on Day 2. As is common in matches with large talent gaps, QCB controlled the direction of play from brooms up to catch. The first seven goals were traded between Jayke Archibald, Harry Greenhouse, and Stew Driflot charging straight to hoops under the protection of Max Havlin and Lulu Xu’s beating. With the subbing of later lines Cal was more confident, but to no avail. With the exception of a single goal and a couple of solid defensive plays, Cal spent the match on its heels (but were great sports about it).  

The takeaway on this match is this: QCB’s titanic front line will create an uphill battle for every team at this tournament. That being said, behind some of the greatest players to ever pick up a broom lies a softer, less experienced second line that will have trouble holding up against even a second line from Lone Star Quidditch Club, Texas Cavalry, or even The Lost Boys.