Macaulay Honors College Marauders
By Mike Pascutoi
Macaulay, a team previously nationally renowned for defensive-minded play, overachiever status, and arguably the best cheer in quidditch (who doesn’t want to believe that they can fly?), is back in the show. A year removed from being a snitch grab away from qualifying for US Quidditch Cup, Macaulay impressed the Northeast with tough defense and clutch seeking. A well-earned qualification, coupled with a 12-5 record entering US Quidditch Cup 10, is a surprising turnaround for a team that lost 16 games last year.
The Marauders enter the tournament with a consistent roster without any real star player. A chaser rotation featuring former Philadelphia Honey Badger Alvin Arnold, New York Titan’s veterans Zach Diemer and Steven Ficurilli, and Chris Pinto will be able to match the aggression of opposing teams on the defensive side of the ball. However, a lack of fluid passing will force the team to adopt a more drive-heavy style of play in order to limit turnovers and fast break opportunities for opponents. With one of the hardest draws in the tournament facing Lone Star Quidditch Club, University of Miami, and Arizona State University in pool play, Macaulay will have a tough time moving beyond Day One. If Macaulay’s beaters can give seeker Abhishek Samdaria an opportunity or two with the snitch, his clutch play may help Macaulay pull an upset and sneak into bracket play.
By Mason Davis
The Warriors are a team defined by the name recognition of their leader and recent successes. Their signature win over fourth seed Michigan Quidditch Team in the round of 32 at US Quidditch Cup 9 was a hard-fought game where the physical dominance of the Michigan chasers was on full display as they scored several goals through the strength of their legs and pure will, all the while battling against a Warriors beating corps that controlled the tempo of the game. From there, the Warriors proceeded to the Round of 16, where they fell to the Los Angeles Gambits out of range.
Following last year’s success, the Warriors were a favorite to make a deep run and even win the Mid-Atlantic Regional Championship. While the results did not disappoint, their average point differential before snitch catch, number of swim games, and SWIM losses should make any viewer cautious before believing they can make a similar run this year. At the Mid-Atlantic Regional Championship, the Warriors played eight games, four in pool play and four in bracket play. In these games, they had an average pre-catch point differential of 45 points (compared to UMD: 56.25 and Rutgers: 58.3 for the same tournament), and played 5 swim games, going 3-2 in those games as they split Virginia Quidditch Club 1-1, beating the Philadelphia Honey Badgers in pool play, beating Rutgers University Quidditch in double overtime (Rutgers caught to force overtime), and losing to University of Maryland in the finals. These results show that the Warriors are a well-disciplined team that doesn’t get blown out, but also lacks the explosiveness to blow out mid-level talent – unsurprising for an experienced but not superiorly athletic community team.
Currently, the Warriors are a top–ranked team who many see as capable of another bracket run. This perception has been fueled by a few well-timed snitch pulls, such as their 13 second pull against University of Virginia in the quarterfinals of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Championship. They are overall 4 for 9 in SWIM games, constantly playing on the flip of a snitch tail. This team could make a splash, but don’t be surprised if a pull goes against them, and they find themselves against a superior team in the Round of 32, or not playing on Day Two at all.
Appalachian Apparators Quidditch
By Carrie Soukup
Currently sitting at 12-14, it does not appear that this is likely to be the Apparators’ year. With just one win in 2017, and an 0-4 record in SWIM in that same time, Appalachian is entering the tournament trending in the wrong direction as injuries and departures have wrought the Western-North Carolina based squad.
Given their recent struggles, the Apparators are a long-shot to advance to bracket play. The team has been aided this season by standout rookies Devin Klasic and Jose Estela, a beater and chaser respectively. Unfortunately for the team, injuries and waning commitment has seen the team’s chaser line fall off since its qualification for US Quidditch Cup in November. The team often plays four male quaffle players to bring physicality to the chaser lineup. The Apparators are able to do so as the team deploys a rare double female beater set anchored by co-captain Gabby Allerton and coach Maggie Hancock. Appalachian isn’t the largest teams in number or statute, but it plays with physicality and will push the pace in forcing teams to keep up. Still, in a difficult pool, a win is probably the best it can hope for and more likely the team faces an 0-4 finish.
Trey Pressley contributed information.
Boston University Quidditch
By Christopher Dewing
Boston University (BU) Quidditch is one of the older and more storied teams in quidditch, dating back to 2008 and attending World Cup III. Despite a long history that has included regional championship titles, this year’s team had to struggle through the final consolation bracket to qualify for the trip to Florida. Two tough losses to Tufts University may mask what is a tenacious and dedicated team. Led by captains Curtis Stoychoff and Dyllon Carlson, Boston University will bring a strong and deep roster to US Quidditch Cup that certainly has the capability to exceeding expectations.
Led by experienced and aggressive beaters, BU has been competitive with much of the Northeast region this year. While not as physically big as other teams, extensive conditioning practice has turned what could have been seen as a weakness into a relative strength. Their 15-6 record includes a handful of victories over USQ Cup qualifying teams, but some blowout losses also leave concerns. BU hasn’t faced elite teams such as Quidditch Club Boston and Rochester United this year, it is uncertain just how competitive the team will be at USQ Cup. Having only played two games since the Northeast Regional Championship in October, rust could be a factor. As they start competing competitively again, how quickly players that have practiced in snow and freezing temperatures can adjust to the hotter conditions in Florida might be a crucial decider in what will be a tough fight to qualify for bracket.
New York Quidditch Club
By Andy Marmer
Attending its very first tournament at World Cup IV in the Big Apple, New York Quidditch Club (NYQC), enters US Quidditch Cup 10 12-11 on the season, though just 5-11 against US Quidditch Cup qualifiers. With just a handful of games under its belt in 2017, the team will be looking to simultaneously improve on its fall performance and shake off the rust typical of many northern teams.
While 16 games against qualifiers and playing in the highly-competitive Big Apple Quidditch Conference is good experience, NYQC’s performance in those games is indicative of a team that might struggle at US Quidditch Cup. The team lost numerous key players from last year’s squad to graduation, with many joining the BosNYan Bearsharks as key contributors. Senior co-captain Kyle Carey is a key figure at keeper and will be looked upon as both the on-pitch leader of a relatively young team and to carry the brunt of the team’s offense through his physical drives. Coach and chaser Molly Potter is another key figure, adept at finding seams in the defense and converting near the hoops. NYQC was drawn into a pool that will give it a lot of trouble, with three stalwart community teams, and while a win over inTENNsity is within its capabilities, it is unlikely to make bracket play.