The Eighth Man

Cream of Crop Rises Amongst Children of the Corn

University of Michigan and Michigan State University both made it to the semifinals of a hotly-contested Dumbledore Memorial Tournament. Credit: Camille Du

 

In the past, a tournament the size of the Dumbledore Memorial, which took place Oct. 6 at Indiana University-South Bend, was typically only seen in the confines of the World Cup or Regionals.

 

But with the changes to the makeup of competitive quidditch this year, the Midwest Region was treated to a 16-team tournament to kick off the 2012-2013 season. The team list was chock-full of contenders for the Midwest Regional title, and after a long day of quidditch, the cream of the crop made its way to the top, with semifinal matchups that pitted No. 9 Ball State University against No. 18 Michigan State University and No. 11 Marquette University against No. 18 University of Michigan.

 

In the end, it was Marquette and Ball State fighting for the tournament title, and Ball State once again came out in top in the matchup in a high-scoring affair. After building up a modest lead, a snitch grab gave them the win, 140-80

 

With regionals right around the corner, the Dumbledore Memorial gives us the perfect opportunity to analyze the teams and players that will be in attendance in Warren County on Nov. 10-11. So, we’ll give you an all-tournament team as well as a brief breakdown of the four semifinalists and one dark horse. So let’s go.

 

 

All-Tournament Team

With 16 teams to choose from, there was an awful lot of talent demonstrated at the Dumbledore Memorial. But we believe that each of these players was on his game that day, and each provided a spectacle with their performance.

 

The tournament team consists of eight players, with at least enough players to fill every position and maintain the gender rule. We’ll explain our rationale for each, so that you’ll understand better the method to our madness.

 

As final note, it’s worth mentioning both members of Team USA that were in attendance, Michigan State’s Lawrence Lazewski and Ball State’s Tyler Macy. We chose to focus on lesser known players for our team, but both performed up to expectations throughout the day.

 

John Lenderts, Keeper, BSQL. Lenderts kept the ball out of his hoops and kept the energy up. Like most seasoned players, he knows how to land a tackle and make the save to keep his team in the game. It was also easy to be  impressed with his ability to work the ball around, see the field, and understand what his team needed at the right time.

 

John Stephens, Beater, Purdue: Stephens impressed not only for his talent at maintaining bludger control but his willingness to outwork opposing bludgers again and again. Over the course of a match, that kind of effort definitely makes a difference.

 

Ashley Calhoun, Beater, CMU: Central Michigan did not have much of a reputation coming in to the tournament. But Calhoun’s play and competitive drive were impressive, as was her understanding on how to keep possession of her bludger and to how to play defense without having bludger dominance.

 

Kristi Todd, Beater, BSQL: This female beater from Ball State was extremely impressive in her overall play and aggression with the ball. She was definitely one of the best female beaters at the tournament that weekend.

 

Andrew Axtell, Chaser, Michigan: Axtell was on top of his game and a very impressive player at this tournament. His ability to cut, drive through defenses and simply dismantle teams from mid-field was so impressive that you should expect him on many tournament teams in the future. Along with his chaser play, he also made an impact as team captain and doubled as an on-field seeker when necessary.

 

Caroline Villa, Chaser, Marquette:  Probably one of the most impressive girls in the game outside of the Southwest region, Villa has the capabilities to play extremely well on and off the ball. Her height, awareness and speed give her the advantage over most girls at her position. Of all girl  on this list, Villa stuck out more throughout the day than any.

 

Ben Ackland, Chaser, Michigan State: Ackland is the second strongest player on his team, only behind Lazewski. Throughout the day, he was able to work off of his Team USA teammate and  really develop into a solid part of the high-powered offense that Michigan State demonstrated at the tournament.

 

Alex Busbee, Seeker, Marquette: Alex Busbee played extremely well, especially as a player new to the game this season. He was a very effective on-field seeker, catching 4 of 5 snitches, including two game-deciding snatches, with his only lost snatch coming against Macy.

 

 

Teams to Watch

 

No. 9 Ball State University: Continuing their success from the previous semester, Ball State is looking to prove that their No. 1 ranking in the IQA standings at the  end of last year was not a fluke. Their performance was very solid throughout, with hard hitters, experienced beaters and a chaser lineup that has proved to be a top-class line with a lot of chemistry. Look for Ball State to work its way into the later rounds of the Midwest Cup, with a legitimate shot at winning it all.

 

No. 11 Marquette University: Marquette looked good, period. After breaking out last year, they looked strong and much more experienced at this tournament. With a team of only 14, they still threatened constantly on offensive, putting up a lot of points throughout the day. The team still has the high-powered attacked that they showed last year, and with a couple of key additions to their line-up, including a new seeker in Busbee, look for them to content for the regional title as well.

 

No. 18 University of Michigan: This team looks a lot like their team from last year: a scrappy, small, but quick, team. Michigan passing was good, but their driving was even better. Their strategy seemed to pay off, as they were the only team to defeat the tournament champions. Michigan should earn a World Cup spot fairly easily, and still be hanging around in the later portions of day two.

 

No. 18 Michigan State University: Michigan State has powerhouse chasers in Lazewski and Ackland, but weren’t playing at their full potential without starting keeper Tyler Rafferty, who measures in at 6-foot-8. Without him, they were less of a threat, but overall still a solid team. When they have him for regionals, they are definitely a contender, but a young team that occasionally relies too much on Lazerski might run into some pitfalls along the way.

 

 

Dark Horse

 

Central Michigan University:  Keep an eye on this team. They can definitely earn a World Cup spot, and their strong game play has been often over looked in the past. This team is on the rise and will continue to provide exciting games to watch and tough competition for the top teams in the region.

 

(Luke Changet contributed reporting to this article.)

(This article originally said that the tournament took place at Purdue University. It since been fixed to Indiana University-South Bend.)

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