EQC Preview 2018: Spain

By Miguel Vázquez

Lumos Compostela

Team Development

Lumos Compostela is the strongest Spanish team at the moment, and a strong candidate to reach the upper bracket at Pfaffenhofen. However, this has not been always the case. Lumos started as a team focused on playing, having fun, and using Harry Potter references to name their key strategies. Nowadays, they occasionally still use “Accio” instead of the “no-bludgers” call and keep that link to their origins.

In their first competitive season (2015-16), they got last place at the Spanish Quidditch Cup, and they lost all their games in the first half of the Galician League. But that was the end of Lumos defeats in Spanish official tournaments. Despite only being able to reach second place in that league, they won all games of the second half of the season. After that, it was all victories for Lumos in the national and regional arenas. They have won every official game they have played in both their regional league and won the Spanish Quidditch Cup for the last two seasons.

Pedro Muiños, in the green headband, and Pablo Rey, in black, playing for Lumos Compostela at the III Spanish Cup | Photo Credit: Ana Corbeira

As they were Spanish champions last season, they qualified for European Quidditch Cup 2017 (EQC) at Mechelen. They surprisingly defeated OSI Vikings in their group phase, with two snitch catches that meant a victory (100*^-80) in the overtime period. With that victory, they became the second team of their group, after tournament runners-up METU Unicorns, so they qualified for the upper bracket where they ended the tournament in 16th position.

Key Players

Lumos Compostela has a strong line up counting on some of the best athletes in the Spanish quidditch region, but also many substitutes who can follow the top players and perform with the rest of their teammates. Seven of Lumos’ players have recently been confirmed to be part of the Spanish national team for Florence 2018, which is a good indicator for how strong this team is.

It is time to start talking about Raquel Martínez, a female chaser who has been part of the team from its origins. She has improved over the last three years, becoming a key player on the roster, and she has been impressive during the last season, showing her strength in tackling and scoring, not only in Spain but at European Games (EG) 2017 and Valentine’s Cup V. Also, Lumos counts on two big guys, Pedro Muiños and Manuel Lago, who can play both chaser and keeper. They are known for their fast passing style and their understanding of the game, which makes them a sure threat to any team defending the hoops. However, one could argue that the key to Lumos’ success is their synergy between chasers and beaters, and that is where Pablo Rey and Jorge Martínez make the difference. These two are a great beater pair as they not only complement each other but also compete as one.

Raquel Martínez (in blue) at VC5, in Oxford | Photo Credit: Paula Marmolejo Photography

Group Phase Predictions

As Lumos Compostela reached the top 16 last EQC in 2017, they should not have much issue achieving it again this year. They will have a tough game against Southampton Quidditch Club, being the underdogs against the British team, but they can surprise again  as they did against OSI Vikings last year if their opponents do not play at their best. However, North Sea Nargles and Pressburg Phantoms should not be an issue for the Spanish champions if they perform at their highest level.

In the end, Lumos Compostela may improve last year’s result, but it will be difficult for them to reach the quarterfinals, so a realistic but good result for them would be ending up in the top 12.

Quotes

In a tournament that has been historically dominated by French and British teams, there had to be a moment in which teams like Antwerp or the Unicorns changed their mind and thought they could fight for winning the tournament. I think this is our moment, this year we will change our minds and we will put a good fight against all the teams.” – Jorge Martínez, Head Coach for Lumos Compostela

Lumos beater Pablo Rey (in red) collides with Dementores keeper Ignacio Menéndez in the III Spanish Cup | Photo Credit: Ana Corbeira

Dementores A Coruña Quidditch

Team Development

The Dementores are one of the oldest teams in Spain; they existed before there was any official competition in the country, beginning their team project in June 2012 and becoming a complete team in November 2013. The team has certainly evolved a lot since their origins.

Once they started competing in 2016, Dementores achieved some humble results, getting third (out of three teams) at their regional league and getting sixth place at the Spanish Quidditch Cup that season. However, the Dementores have slowly but consistently grown up since then. They have taken advantage of the growth of the Galician League, with four other teams to compete against regularly, including Lumos Compostela, the two-time national champions. This, and the continuous addition of new athletes throughout the seasons, has made Dementores a certain threat for any team at the national level. However, they are still fighting to finally defeat Lumos Compostela, who have defeated the Dementores in all official games for the past two seasons.

Last season, Dementores got a silver medal at the Galician League, beating all their opponents except Lumos. At the Spanish Quidditch Cup 2016, the Dementores faced Madrid Wolves, the team who had won the championship the previous season, and showed some potential in their loss against the Wolves, with a final score of 160*-50, but holding the SWIM range by the seekers’ floor. Then they got knocked out by Lumos Compostela in the first round of the upper bracket with a score of 220*-80, so Dementores got fifth place that season.

But they have not surrendered, and have improved this season. They qualified for EQC with a second position at the Spanish Quidditch Cup 2018. They beat the former runners-up, Bizkaia Boggarts, catching the snitch when the score was tied in the group phase, with a final score of 100*-70 for Dementores. But then they lost 130*-60 in the final against their nemesis, Lumos Compostela, in a game that was close until Dementores their speaking captain, Ramón Gilgot, got a second yellow card. Despite not being able to beat Lumos yet, this season they have been closer than ever to beating their rivals in their regional league, and they keep a virtual second position with a good chance to become the next league champions.This will be the first time the team from A Coruña competes on the international stage, though some of their players participated in the Barcelona Moustaches Time (BMT) tournament last summer, as part of the Galician merc team called Raiña do Norte, playing against Paris Titans and others.

Key Players

Dementores A Coruña counts on many veterans who have been playing for a long time, supplemented by some young players, such as Ramón Gil, who has a background in American football, and have the tactical discipline and the tackling skills. Some players have also been training with the Spanish national team, despite not being on the final list.

Starting with Ramón Gil Pato, arguably the star of the team and captain of Dementores, he is a strong tackler despite not looking like a big guy. His speed is impressive, and his fast changes of direction make him an unstoppable player any defender would get their hips twisted trying to stop him. Then we have Francisco José Ben and David Bergondo, who make a beater line up that is fast, tactical, and good at throwing and catching bludgers. Let’s not forget one of their latest acquisitions, Isaac Martínez, a strong driver and tackler, capable of either running straight through the defense or being perfectly positioned to catch a pass and score.

Francisco José Ben (left) and Ramón Gil (right) playing for Raiña do Norte at the 2017 BMT | Photo Credit: Laura Sayalero Platero and Bryan Cárdenas

Group Phase Predictions

It will be hard for the Galician team to reach the upper bracket, but they are a strong team who are capable of beating the Dublin Draíochta Dragons and will put up a good fight against the other two teams. While they may suffer against ODTÜ Hippogriffs, they will try to achieve what the Bizkaia Boggarts did not last year: defeating Crookshanks Lyon Quidditch and reaching the upper bracket.

Quotes

We are looking forward to going face to face with the best Europe has to offer. And we hope that this will be the first of many times to come. Nevertheless, we are aware that our tactical preparation for the games might not be as effective when confronted by a variety of strategies that we are not prepared for, or used to facing.
That is why we come to this tournament with a mindset that is open to learning all we can from our rivals’ playbook; so we can bring all those strategies back home and learn and improve from them.
We are coming [to Pfaffenhofen] to learn, to enjoy the experience, and to see how other countries face this game of ours. But let us not let our rivals forget we have reached this position thanks to great sacrifice, and we are not expecting them to see us as an easy target to beat.” – Ignacio Menéndez, Head Coach for Dementores A Coruña Quidditch [Translation: André Govett, QP]