By Nathan Ross and Serena Cheong
While not every set of scheduled Quidditch Conference of the Northwest (QCON) matches were able to take place over the February 18 weekend, the ones that did had lots of upsets and makes for a dramatic finish before the upcoming QCON playoff weekend on March 18-19, 2017.
Simon Fraser University, University of Victoria Valkyries, University of British Columbia Thunderbirds (UBC), and University of British Columbia Quidditch Club (UBCQC) postponed their matches due to most teams having incredibly reduced roster sizes; the games fell over reading break and most students took advantage of the time off, returning home and going on vacation. These games have since been rescheduled to March 4 in Vancouver.
Meanwhile, over in Seattle, Washington, the Vancouver Vipertooths made up ground, winning against the Rain City Raptors (RCR) thanks to some timely snitch catches as well as a bevy of strong players missing from RCR. With key players like Ross Schram von Haupt, Jake Ronhaar, Nicole Jackson, Sarah Bollard, and Cody Spoelstra missing from RCR, the Vipertooths were able to defeat their opponents in a thrilling 80*-60 match, thanks to a key catch by Vipertooths’ seeker David St. Germain. The Vipertooths also defeated the Western Washington Wyverns (WWU), 90*-50, before falling to the Emerald City Admirals (ECA) in their last match of the day, losing 100*-40.
The most anticipated match of the day was the rematch between WWU and RCR, since WWU beat its former teammates last month at the Subdued Excitement Showdown 2, and it was RCR who would pull out a dramatic victory in overtime. After WWU seeker Conner May made the initial snitch catch to tie the game at 90*-90, RCR was able to catch the snitch in overtime to make up for being outscored in quaffle play, bringing the final score to 130^-110*. In their final game against ECA, RCR won the only game that weekend that was out of snitch range, 170*-90.
The overtime game against RCR was the closest WWU won throughout the weekend, as it also lost 80*-50 to ECA. With only two more sets of matches to be played before the playoff weekend, RCR has just a three point lead over WWU, with Vancouver Vipertooths taking advantage of their play this weekend to overtake UBC for third place
Three Quick Takeaways
1. Raptors ain’t looking so dino-mite as of late
After two lackluster showings in a row, the Rain City Raptors now head into both USQ’s Northwest Regional Championship and QCON’s playoff weekend as somewhat of a question mark Through still considered a top team in the Pacific Northwest, RCR’s dominance of the region is now coming into question with unlikely losses and closer-than-comfortable wins. Though a long winter break and missing key players can account for the Raptors’ uncharacteristic performances at Subdued and QCON, respectively, it remains to be seen if they can regain their pre-2017 form. If the Raptors’ struggles continue into the playoffs, we might be in for a more exciting weekend than anticipated.
2. It’s a shame the Vipertooths aren’t in Quidditch Canada
With an unlikely win against RCR, the Vipertooths have become the new talk of the town, but they have been trending up this season. Western Canada gets a bad rep for not being very competitive, and losing the Vipertooths this season, especially in light of their much-improved play, has not helped. With the national championship being held in Victoria this April, and with a (very likely) low number of eastern Canadian teams making the trek across the country, adding the Vipertooths to the pool of teams going to Victoria would have added another competitive team to the mix. It would have also been nice to see how the revamped Vipertooths stack up against non-Pacific Northwest teams. However, it does not seem like the team is ready to re-enter Quidditch Canada league play, so QCON will be the only league the team will compete in for the foreseeable future.
3. Crunching the numbers: QPD vs. Snitch Catch Percentage
The argument for and against the importance of the snitch catch is as old as the game of quidditch itself. Though the numbers are skewed by the forfeits of both UBCQC and the Portland Augureys (who has since dropped from QCON play), snitch catch percentage is very strongly positively correlated with points acquired, while the same cannot be said for QPD. This can be explained by the number of games played, but it will be interesting to see the final statistics once every team has played the same number of games. Despite a conscious effort to decrease the impact that the snitch catch has through the points system (awarding teams who lose within range with a single point and “punishing” teams for winning by a snitch grab), it seems that snitch catches are still heavily influencing the standings.
Jordan Kubichek contributed to the reporting.
GP – Games Played
W – Out of SWIM Range Win – 3 points
SW – Within SWIM Range Win – 2 points
SL – Within SWIM Range Loss – 1 point
L – Out of SWIM Range Loss – 0 points
P/G – Points Per Game
QPF – Quaffle Points For
QPA – Quaffle Points Against
QPD – Quaffle Point Differential (QPF – QPA)
SC – Snitch Catch
SC% – Snitch Catch Percentage (SC/GP)