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.

US Quidditch Cup 10: The Road to the Final Four

Photo by Nikki Smith

Written by Kevin Oelze

With pool play finished, and the bracket finalized, we can really start looking at the roads that different teams are going to have to reach the US Quidditch Cup 10. Let’s take a look at each of the top four seeds after Day 1 – Lone Star Quidditch Club, Texas Cavalry, Mizzou Quidditch, and Texas State Quidditch – and see what they’ll have to face on their potential routes to the US Quidditch Cup 10 Final Four.

A-Lone Star At The Top

Lone Star pretty much marched through the day, the only team to cap point differential in every game they played. As a reward, Lone Star received a brutal bracket full of high potential. While they should have no problem with either a UTSA or Lake Erie Elite, those both feel like nastier draws than you might expect for the 32nd seed. The path starts getting really arduous once they they reach the Sweet Sixteen, where they will face the winner of the University of Maryland and the BosNYan Bearsharks match.  These two potential opponents both had disappointing pool play results, but will likely go into Day 2 poised to potentially upset Lone Star. BosNYan, though they dropped a game to Cal, are eagerly awaiting the arrival of Leanne Dillman for the second day. Maryland looks to get on track with a deep, talented squad that took an upset from a Mario Nasta-led RPI team.

Of course, the true test waits in the quarterfinals, where whichever team survives gets to face either the Lost Boys or – more likely- the defending champions QC Boston. QC Boston lagged a bit in their Kansas matchup on Day 1 but still easily won their pool.  With their tournament life on the line so early in bracket, Lone Star will need to overcome this exceedingly difficult barrier to reach the Final Four.

The Cavalry Arrives

Texas Cavalry began Day 1 in the Pool 11 “Pool of Death,” and marched out of it triumphantly, capping their point differential in every game except one and taking the second seed into the bracket. The bracket draw was much kinder to Cavalry than Lone Star. Cavalry should easily be able to handle the winner of the play-in round between Crimson Elite and Central Michigan in the Round of 32 game. They will then face either the West champion Arizona State University or University of Kansas. Cavalry should be able to match up well with Arizona State’s physical style, but Kansas could be a potentially troubling matchup. Kansas is well known for being able to play teams that look unstoppable in snitch range. It remains to be seen if they can produce a similar matchup out of their hat.

Assuming Cavalry can handle their Sweet 16 game, they’ll likely face either RPI or the Los Angeles Gambits  in the quarterfinals. While the idea of the Gulf Coast Gumbeaux upsetting the Gambits isn’t unbelievable, they seem to be less of a threat to Cavalry than either of the other teams. The Gambits struggled about as much as you can imagine for a team that won their pool and went undefeated, but they still remain a team with some supremely talented pieces and potentially terrifying seeking. If they can turn the quaffle play into the Tony Rodriguez show, the dual seeker threat of Margo Aleman and Eric Dreggors is going to ensure Cavalry wants to put itself well out of range before snitch play. First, though, the Gambits have to overcome an RPI team that’s already defeated Maryland and won an extremely tough Pool 10. Mario Nasta will attempt to impose his will on that Sweet 16 matchup, while also hoping the Gambits aren’t prepared for the RPI triangle offense or the deadly combination of Teddy Costa and Sam Nielsen. Cavalry seems a safe bet to advance to the quarterfinals, but there are multiple interesting matchups possible which might be able to stop them from reaching the Final Four.

Mizzou-ry Loves Company

Mizzou’s standout season continued with an absolutely dominating display in its pool play games. David Becker continues his breakout year, with his hyper-aggressive beating style helping to position Missouri in the easiest corner of the  bracket. A potential first round matchup with Michigan looms as a bit frightening, but nothing suggests that the Tigers can’t handle that matchup. They’ll move on to play the winner of Texas A&M and the Warriors. Both teams are very strong, but Missouri looked like arguably the class of the tournament outside of the Southwest in pool play, and will be heavily favored to advance over either team. Missouri has been using strong, hyper-aggressive beating to open lanes and allow Jacob Parker to pass off to their female chasers for easy goals. This drive-and-dish offense looked unstoppable in pool play against some lesser competition. They’ll likely have to expand their offensive repertoire as they move deeper into bracket play.

In the bottom half of this bracket, Rochester United looks to have a relatively safe path to the quarterfinals. Florida’s Finest might be the most athletic team in the tournament, but they have struggled most against smart play, and the veteran RU squad looks poised to make another deep run, though their first round opponent in Rutgers could pose an interesting matchup as well. However, the featured matchup that we could see here is an excellent clash of styles in Mizzou and Rochester United. One of these teams looks like a strong favorite to advance to a potential matchup with Texas Cavalry.

Texas State-ment

Texas State’s marvelous spring semester continued into US Quidditch Cup 10. They look poised for a relatively easy first round match against either UCLA or the Silicon Valley Skrewts based on the results of the play-in round. From there, they move onto a date with either DCQC or Penn State. DCQC is the more likely foe after having arguably the most impressive run of any team in their pool (even if the Lost Boys won the pool). However, I can’t imagine either of these teams giving Texas State much of a scare, which could set up an extremely exciting World Cup VII finals rematch between Texas State and Texas in the quarterfinal round. However, a strong  Bowling Green State University team which won an extremely deep pool over BosNYan and UC Berkeley could definitely provide a closer matchup for Texas than they did in the Final Four of World Cup VI four years ago. Bowling Green could easily overtake Ball State and become a roadblock on Texas’s path to the finals.. Still, if Texas can hold off the Falcons, a replay of the World Cup VII finals looms.

University of Texas at San Antonio vs. Kansas Quidditch

Written by Matthew Pello

The matchup between Kansas Quidditch from the Midwest region and University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) from the Southwest region was highlighted by strong beater play by both teams and a standout game by Kansas freshman beater Adam McMorris who made several bludger catches to help Kansas regain bludger control and keep the game on their terms.

The game started out with both teams trading goals on fast breaks before either could solidify bludger control. Kansas settled into a routine and made UTSA uncomfortable with a slow pace and tempo which gave Kansas the upper hand. “Slowball” quidditch requires discipline, technique, and accuracy on a level that UTSA couldn’t quite match. UTSA has a strong and fast point offense, but without it, the team loses a major part of its quaffle game.

Kansas maintained quaffle control for a majority of the game, making it next to impossible for UTSA to score. UTSA hung around for as long as it could, keeping the game close, but could not make it into snitch range. UTSA’s seekers excelled at keeping Kansas from the snitch after freshman seeker Brian Weary had an early catch that was called no good. It took multiple handicaps before he was able to secure the winning catch lifting Kansas to victory *160-80.

Michigan Quidditch Team vs. The Warriors

Written by Mike Pascutoi

In a low scoring game of defensive prowess, The Warriors pulled a snitch catch win against Michigan Quidditch Team.

The game remained scoreless with both bludger control and shots on hoop exchanged between teams. Nothing hit the target until Zach Fogel put one through for Michigan at four and a half minutes of game time. Michigan scored once more before The Warriors could get on the board, but at seven and a half minutes of game time, the score remained only 30-10 in favor of Michigan. Michigan made another goal before The Warriors scored back-to-back bringing it to 40-30 Michigan.

Tackling was on point as defensive stop after stop took place on both sides. The game remained scoreless for another few minutes before The Warriors were able to put one away at 13:30 to tie the game at 40 all.  

Scores were deadlocked as seekers entered the pitch, until The Warriors received a card for delay of game and gave Michigan the opportunity to get one more goal and bring its total to 50. Despite the run, The Warriors caught the snitch shortly after to give the team the win 70*-50.