For the Quidditch Post’s recap of Quidditch Canada’s Eastern Regional Championship on November 12 and 13, we have put together a roundtable discussion to recap the weekend.
Joining Serena Cheong, QP’s Canada Director and moderator, are the following participants: Courtney Butler (University of Waterloo Ridgebacks), François Carabin (Quidditch Lionel-Groulx), Mathew McVeigh (University of Guelph Gryphons), Edgard Ngalissamy (Canada’s Finest Quidditch Club), and Arjun Patel (UTSC Phoenix).
In Part 2, our roundtable gives their two cents on the remaining teams and how each team did at the Eastern Canadian Regional Championships.
Canada’s Finest Quidditch Club (CFQC)
Mathew Mcveigh (MM): CFQC did not have the depth it had in the past, and Stephen Camozzi also transferred to Université de Montréal (UdeM). Quidditch is a game that needs to have everyone working together, and CFQC didn’t have that this year.
Courtney Butler (CB): Its captain/keeper is a solid player and gets a lot of points, but I think that can also be CFQC’s downfall, as it has a lot of players that go unused.
François Carabin (FC): CFQC got gritty goals and was pretty solid on defence. Matt Connolly, CFQC’s big keeper, helped the offense run smoothly, but I feel like CFQC uses a lot of switch plays at the top of the key, which makes it predictable. Its wing chasers clean up, but they rarely receive any passes.
MM: There’s a lot of heroballing.
Edward Ngalissamy (EN): We do have an overreliance on keeper play, and the point man was severely underused. I think that we have amazing beaters this year, and the beating game was on point. Charles [Favreau], our seeker, is someone to watch in the future. I believe he caught the snitch in all but one of CFQC’s games.
Arjun Patel (AP): CFQC’s plays could be a little faster.
EN: Definitely; fast breaks don’t happen very often with us.
AP: The beaters could have been used a little more on offense. Going beyond recovery and working more fluidly with the chasers, etc., would have been more ideal.
FC: The beaters do lots of work in defense but don’t seem to advance with the chasers on offence.
EN: Not nearly enough communication, but I think that’s down to experience, as CFQC is mostly rookies. We need to talk a lot, and the lack of communication made our plays very segmented and not nearly fluid enough.
Carleton Ravens Quidditch
CB: Carleton lost a ton of players this year. That being said, it was able to recruit a lot of rookies and some ex-Waterloo beaters, which has helped the team a lot with the experience factor. However, Carleton struggles a lot with passing and has a lot of heroballers, which is definitely its downfall.
FC: This is another team that doesn’t use speed as part of its offence; it is very physical though. If its beaters helped on offense, Carleton could get some easy goals just by plowing through.
MM: Carleton got Katie Brown, who was able to provide beater leadership. Someone I wish I would have seen more of is Colin Wallace. He showed up the Vive Le Quidditch Libre III tournament in Montreal and had a huge impact on his team’s play, but hasn’t been seen since.
Serena Cheong (SC): Anything that stood out to you?
MM: Carleton has some bigger slow guys; the team needs to be more aggressive on the bludger and slowball it. Wes Mackie and Wren Bradley are experienced keepers, and I wish I would see them slow it down and then drive. That’s not to say there weren’t successful drives, but Carleton’s beaters need to really get into their opponent’s zone. Slowballing is great for teams like Carleton because it throws off the faster teams with that change of pace.
CB: Definitely needs to be more aggressive on the beater end, but I feel that will come with time, as a lot of its beaters are new to the game.
MM: There’s being new but then there’s also teaching the type of beating style that works best for the team. I hope to see Brown use her Team Canada experience to teach what needs to be taught.
Queen’s Quidditch Club
EN: Sloppy. Very, very sloppy. For a team that is considered one of the faster ones, Queen’s didn’t use that asset a whole lot. Its passing is very good, but I think Queen’s became over-reliant on it over the course of the tournament.
FC: Kind of disappointing, as Queen’s was great in uOttawa’s Great Balls of Fire tournament, but not good enough against bigger teams this time. Queen’s can make some great plays on cuts when it plays well; its keepers throw very accurately and its chasers make efficient cuts, but it just didn’t work this time.
CB: Its offence is strong: a lot of driving and a lot of big chasers with notably strong female chasers. However, Queen’s defence is lacking, and its beaters get distracted by offensive beaters in its own end very easily, making it easy for strong teams to capitalize by using 1.5.
MM: Queen’s has this offensive play that I think needs to be tweaked a bit: the players all line up with beaters running protection, but it breaks down too easily when it gets attacked by a beater-chaser duo from the side. John Nicholson had a good show; so did Hailey Yhap. I thought also Kyle Ross played well. Both [Nicholson] and him really anchored their team.
CB: Agreed about Queen’s beaters; they are easy to pick apart when you go against them offensively. They get distracted by the other beaters and can’t stay on quaffle. Nicholson is a great tackler though, and I think his defence is probably one of the best on the team.
Quidditch Lionel-Groulx (LG)
MM: It lacks experience and size, with Julien [Bernier] being the exception. I understand not wanting to lose bludger superiority, but if you don’t use it, it’s like you never had it.
EN: Lionel-Groulx is a very fun team, but its beater game is a bit lacking compared to some stellar chasing play. Performances on Day One vs. Day Two are like night and day, so I think there can be arguments about inconsistency. With that said, very fun, solid, and physical team.
CB: I loved watching Lionel-Groulx play! For a first-year team, it really came out with a great showing. The game it played against UdeM on Day Two was amazing. Definitely lacking in the beater department, but considering this is its first year, I think it did very well. Beater strategy is something that takes time to form, and I feel it will grow that over time.
FC: I think our beater play is underrated; we try to be aggressive, but sometimes that leads to losing bludger superiority. Our top two beaters (Louis-Charles Dupont and Jacinthe Pilette) understand the game very well and rarely make mistakes, but our beaters did rotations in this tournament, which led to some miscommunication. We were overconfident in some games; that’s why we were poor in some of them, but then we gave UdeM a run for its money twice.
EN: But you lost to CFQC.
AP: LG needs to improve its beater game. I think LG had Solid chasing. It seems to rely more on physicality and speed, but improved beater play and incorporating them for offense could take LG to a next level.
SC: What do you think contributed to its great play as a first-year team?
AP: Certainly there’s that transition from the CEGEP that eased things a bit, and Bernier’s experience helped too.
EN: I think the fact that it inherited some UdeM players, most notably Bernier, really made its transition to a high level much smoother.
CB: I think its ability to play up to the level of the team it was playing was great. Most teams that get started end up being lower tier generally in its first year of forming, but LG has been able to pick right up in the mid-pack and stay pretty competitive with those teams, even making top-tier teams sweat a bit, as we saw in the UdeM games.
FC: We also lost one of our keepers on Day One to an injury and Guillaume Wolfe was playing with a swollen knee. Apart from that, we played good static defense but found it hard to stop bigger chasers from driving to the net. We’re fast, but not very big as a team.
Royal City Quidditch
CB: The team has grown so much from last season,most notably its beating, which has gotten a lot better this season. I’d say it is the best developed B team the league has seen thus far.
FC: Royal City had great keeper play, lots of long shots that went in, and chasers that cleaned up after misses. It could use its wing chasers more, as Royal City was a bit over reliant on its keepers.
EN: Royal City is my favourite team of the tournament. I think calling it a B-team is just not going to cut it anymore. Fast breaks, long shots, and a very improved beating game; I think beating is where it really improved as a team.
SC: How was it last year compared to this year?
CB: It has started to play as a more cohesive unit, [with] beaters and chasers playing together. Last year it was definitely lower tier; a lot of blowout games were played against it. But this year I would put it midpack and say that it has challenged a lot of top-tier teams too. It doesn’t necessarily take things in range, but it doesn’t lose in blowouts anymore.
EN: I agree with Courtney. Actually, a lot of its issues are similar to CFQC’s in that there was not a lot of synergy between chasers and beaters.
EN: Ryerson had a weird tournament. The team got completely gutted by injuries and absences. When we played Ryerson, it barely had enough players to form a team.
FC: Ryerson had a great seeker! It showed attitude, but man, it needs to catch with two hands. Some great passes were made but it couldn’t catch them, plus it tried attacking through the middle but didn’t do much else.
AP: It is having some recruitment problems; that led to a very small roster size. One of its co-captains, Ben Légere, broke his collarbone right before regionals. I think that’s the seeker you were talking about, François. Anyway, with a small roster and injuries, I’d say Ryerson put up a good fight despite not winning any games, although it did end up forfeiting that last consolation game against UTSC (which led to a friendly match against CFQC). Its beater game has deteriorated from last year, and it also lost a few key chasers from last year. That didn’t help.
University of Toronto Centaurs (UofT Centaurs)
AP: I’d say UofT did well. They have more teamwork than last year. [Hannah] Mazurek did a decent job of filling in the hole [Sarah] Basciano left.
FC: Surprisingly good, but another team that relies a lot on its keepers and long shots. Solid beaters, though.
CB: I think UofT’s beaters are doing fairly well this season and are working on becoming more offensive than they have in previous seasons.
AP: Part of the reason I think is that Basciano has a very defensive style, which kind of shaped their overall plays in the past. Their beaters could use more communication with the chasers, but I think they have improved a lot and will continue to improve throughout the season.
EN: UTSC’s beating game seemed a tad too passive for me. Not enough offensive plays, mainly hoarding bludger superiority while not truly taking advantage of it. Not enough pressure plays too.
FC: I feel it was more aggressive when we played it in Scarborough. It was slower in building up the play at the regional championship.
CB: I’d say UTSC has a few standout players and definitely did a better job at recruiting this year, but it lacks strategy. The standout players it does have get lost in the mix of the game and don’t have a ton of direction. Its beaters are very passive, and it often doesn’t matter if they have bludger superiority or not because they only hang back on defence.
AP: We could be more offensive with our beating. The part of the problem is that more than half of our team is made of rookies who didn’t get a lot of tournament exposure before the regional championship – which is why we had to stick to a more conservative playstyle. Although, I’d say our beating is at least on par with UofT and CFQC. We lost both those games by a snitch catch (and having our primary seeker, Tim Lee, sprain his ankle a week before the tournament didn’t help).
SC: We’ve talked extensively about Valhalla previously, but feel free to add anything we may have missed.
EN: I have a statement for Valhalla from Ittaana Krow, its captain:
“Our expectation going into every tournament is to win, and anything short of that is considered a disappointment. That being said, I think we also have a lot to be proud of in terms of our performance. When we had slow starts, we effectively used our time-outs to keep games close. We adapted well to both slow-paced and face-paced teams. And even after our losses, we kept our heads held high and worked to target our areas of weakness. I also want to highlight some of our players’ outstanding performances. Nina Patti did a wonderful job leading our beating unit, half of whom had never played with one another before; we can only expect our beating squad to get better as the season progresses. Cory Smithson is someone I consider to be an under-the-radar player and was instrumental to our success in the seeker game. Michael Howard and Erin McCrady brought in their veteran leadership, particularly through their pregame routines and tactical meetings with captains. Our speaking captain, Devin Dutt, constantly takes on the difficult task of controlling us and putting up with us during heated matches. And this year we were fortunate enough to have Simon Marsello as a non-playing coach to help us control substitutions and manage our lines for us. Going forward, we plan on working to limit the amount of penalties we receive in games. We’re also aware that we’re a team that’s capable of pushing the pace to get out of snitch range, and this is another aspect of our play that we will be working on throughout the season. Finally, we’ll be dedicating considerable efforts towards integrating our new rookies and pushing our recruitment efforts.”
University of Waterloo Ridgebacks
EN: I think we could better assess Waterloo by talking about what happened during its game against UdeM.
FC: I feel like it was tired. That’s not the main reason, but it might have helped the result. Plus, it didn’t cope well with UdeM’s quickness.
CB: Waterloo did really well in the beginning of Day One in its pool. It crushed Carleton, forced McGill to cold catch, and beat Queen’s by 100 points. By the time we finished our game against Queen’s (which was a 40-minute game), we were exhausted and nowhere near ready to face Valhalla or uOttawa, but we still showed up and played those games hard.
We were pretty dead by Day Two, and I think that showed in our UdeM game. We also had a lot of injuries, which is unfortunate (and it’s not an excuse). We played poorly in the game against UdeM, and it caught us when we were down. UdeM started strong, and it took us until mid-game to show up. UdeM capitalized and we paid for it.
MM: Waterloo has a lot of good key players, [such as] Brock [Lowery], [Jon] Keates, Mark Ferhman, but it took a hit losing players like [Jonathan] Golla, John Ferhman, and Alexander Sherger. The schedule definitely hurt group two teams because there were four instead of three.
CB: I think an important thing to note is that this is a rebuild year for Waterloo. Half our team is rookies, and I think people haven’t realized that because we’ve done a pretty good job at integrating them into our defence and playing style in general.
MM: For sure. I still think Waterloo is one of the higher teams; I just think it took a hit. John Ferhman was a one-man wrecking ball, though I think [Lowery] is filling the shoes nicely. In quidditch, it’s so important to have depth, and because of the turnover, I think Waterloo had lost a lot of it. Still a good team though, and I thought it showed well over the weekend.
CB: We took a hit, but now we have to rebuild and the rookies we have are stepping up to do just that. Jake Arnold in particular as a beater is shaping up super well, and Adam Fischer is a new keeper this season and is probably our top scorer.
If you missed it, here is the first part of our roundtable discussion. The final installment of our roundtable will look at issues surrounding regionals, and what this all means for Quidditch Canada’s national championship in April 2017.