By Sofia de la Vega and Cameron VomBaur
A few of the Quidditch Post’s volunteers based in the West were unable to make it to Arizona this weekend. Instead, they have been at home glued to Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, the livestream and anything they can get their hands on to figure out what’s happening at the West Regional Championship. At the end of day one they’ve given us their thoughts.
Surprises Across the Board
NorCal without Cal
Some of the most surprising outcomes from Day One at the West Regional Championship have come out of the Northern California area. The Silicon Valley Skrewts and the Silicon Valley Vipers both ended the day 3-1 in their respective pools, a result unexpected from teams with inconsistent performances throughout the season so far. They outperformed national bid favorites the Long Beach Funky Quaffles (LBFQ) and the Northern Arizona University Narwhals (NAU), causing spectators to question how tomorrow’s fight for the nine bids will look. However, the biggest takeaway from the performance of the Northern California teams was Cal Quidditch’s underwhelming performance. A lot was expected from the Pot 1 team, especially after being placed in a pool with two mid-tier teams with losing records against other Pot 1 teams. While Pool D was perhaps the most evenly matched pool of the tournament, Cal’s inability to beat either team has brought into question whether they will be capable of acquiring a national bid, especially entering the bracket tomorrow as the ninth seed.
UCLA emerged from a pool with the most evenly-matched top three teams in dominant fashion. While the Fighting Farmers of Arizona (FFA) and Cal Quidditch started the day with a hard-fought, 31-minute, 170*-140 game in favor of FFA, neither team had a close contest against the Bruins. UCLA dispatched of FFA 180*-70, and had a similarly convincing 150-110* performance against Cal. These out-of-range barnburners are something of a surprise for a team without a true quality win on the season (their five victories include three wins over Anteater Quidditch and two over the University of Southern California). However, these results also demonstrate a realization of the potential the team showed last month at the Anthill Funkdown Invitational in snitch-range losses to higher competition, including the Lost Boys (130*-90) and the Long Beach Funky Quaffles (100*-60). While its average point differential of 85 wasn’t enough to beat out any of the other pool winners, UCLA’s 4 seed puts it in a very favorable position to earn a bid, and perhaps even make some noise in the later stages of the championship bracket.
How to Get Out of a Funk
Since their win over the Los Angeles Gambits at Next Best West: The End of an Era, the Long Beach Funky Quaffles have become a favorite contender for best in the west. Their 2-2 record on Day One says otherwise. Their first game of the day resulted in an overtime loss to the Silicon Valley Vipers, a Pot 3 team. The Vipers caught to send the match into overtime at 110*-110, and then again shortly after to result in a 140*^-110 win over the Funky Quaffles. Whether this match was the cause of the their funk or merely the beginning of it, the Funky Quaffles would not see any improvement in their next game. In what was the most anticipated game of the day, the Gambits’ and the Funky Quaffles’ rematch was nothing but a revenge blowout with the Gambits winning 140*-10. While Long Beach pulled themselves together to win their final two games of the day against University of Arizona and Wizards of Westwood, their snitch percentage is the second lowest of any of the teams continuing to bracket play.
So, how do the Funky Quaffles pull themselves out of this funk? Due to their poor bracket seed, LBFQ will not have an easy road to qualifying for US Quidditch Cup 10, nor to winning the regional championship. This team will get a do-over match against the Vipers tomorrow morning; if they can bring the version of their team that handed the Gambits their only loss of the season, LBFQ can expect to at least make it to the quarterfinals. After that, they will have to beat Arizona State University (ASU), a team they lost 100*-60 at the beginning of the season, to secure a US Quidditch Cup bid. Long Beach will have no room for error tomorrow if they want the chance to win a regional championship. After seeing their performance today; however, their best case scenario will be getting a US Quidditch Cup bid through the primary bracket.
Championship and Bid Predictions
Final – Gambits over Lost Boys
The Lost Boys seem to have the easiest road to the semifinals. If they can maintain their very strong Day One performance, they’ve got the all-around experience and seeking depth in Justin Fernandez, Alex Richardson, and Tye Rush to beat ASU and return to the finals of the West Regional Championship. However, the Gambits are simply too deep and too talented to not be considered the favorites. Despite nagging injuries to superstars Tony Rodriguez and Margo Aleman, the Gambits have a number of phenomenal role players who are either making their season debut for the Gambits or haven’t been in attendance for tournaments in the west, including Andrew Murray, Caylen McDonald, and Ryan Sparks. If any team can test them, it’s the Lost Boys, especially given their stellar performance at the Tegan & Sara Invitational in a 110*-80 loss. Regardless a more interesting question than “Will the Gambits win their third consecutive regional title?” is “Will any team give them a scare?”
- Lost Boys
- Crimson Elite