The Eighth Man

Collegiate Cup Recap

Credit: Emily Crouch

 

After the Midwest and Northeast Regional Tournaments, The Eighth Man put together its all-tournament selections, praising the highest-performing players from each team.  The National Confederation of Broomstick Athletes’ (NCBA)  inaugural Collegiate Cup showcased an explosion of talent, the final four teams bursting at the seams with high quality players so that you could take any number of players for a tournament team. Texas A&M, Marquette, LSU, and Baylor all played amazing tournaments, and each deserve a complete analysis.

The Tournament

The Collegiate Cup was the first tournament hosted by the NCBA, which was organized to create a more competitive atmosphere with higher-level teams playing in a greater number of quality tournaments.  The tournament from the onset had a plethora of powerhouses.  No. 1 Texas A&M, No. 8 Marquette, No. 11 LSU, and No. 12 Baylor were all at one tournament, along with a dangerous if unranked Kansas team and the Silver Phoenixesn who have never disappointed. In the end, it was the four top 12 teams facing off in the Final Four, and each matchup deserves plenty of attention.

The Semi-Finals

No. 8 Marquette vs. No. 12 Baylor

Both of these teams play a very high-paced and physical game. The differences lie with each team’s style of defense. Marquette plays a standard man-to-man  defense that initiates contact early in a drive and then uses beaters to gain an easy turnover r. On the other end, Baylor employs a more conservative zone defense, which eliminates any long-distance options. The Baylor keeper positions himself in front of the middle hoop with a chaser at each side hoop. A point chaser mans the ball carrier, while the beaters float around further up. It’s a crash format, and very effective with beater control. Without it, the system is harder to run successfully.

The match-up was very physical to say the least. There were a lot of big hits, and each team showed no signs of backing down. Both had a little time to rest after the quarterfinals. Baylor jumped out to a 30-0 lead in the first eight minutes, but, from there, Marquette pushed back and challenged the tough Baylor defense.

It became a back-and-forth fight, and the snitch came back with the score 70-30 in favor of Baylor. Marquette scored and caught the snitch in quick succession, sending the game to overtime and giving Marquette the momentum.

In the overtime period, the seekers were the main focus, opening up both team’s offenses to go to work. With less than a minute left, Baylor led by 10.

Running out of time, Marquette put freshman chaser, Nick Haraus, in for their seeker to add some speed to the position for one last go at the snitch. With five seconds left, Marquette pulled and won the game, 140*^-120.

Overall the teams played a very close and physically demanding game. The edge went to Marquette with the seeker game, something that seems to be quite the strength for the team this year. Both teams, Marquette and Baylor were missing a few key players, but a rematch between these two would undoubtedly be interesting.

No. 1 Texas A&M vs. No. 11 LSU

This matchup seems to be a tournament staple in the southwest, and is usually a coinflip. A&M came in boasting an undefeated record, while LSU planned to give them a game and put that record to the test.

With a beat up and short squad — a mark of many teams at the tournament — LSU looked to take the scrappy approach, and when the game started, LSU and A&M brought the pain. There were a few stops in play early on, and a lot of really good hard hits in this game. The best part about this all-Southwest powerhouse matchup was that not only was it a physical masterpiece, but they provided a great game of solid and legal hits. The two teams both have huge and physically dominant players, and it showed.

The final five to ten minutes of the game turned into a rough and tumble scuffle for the snitch as he had returned to the pitch. With only a few minutes remaining, A&M held a solid 40-point lead. LSU was guarding the snitch at this point, but it allowed A&M to better access for their offense, which kept LSU at arm’s length. When the Tigers altered their strategy to focus more on the chaser game, it gave A&M the chance for a grab and a  120*-40 win.

The Finals

No. 1 Texas A&M vs. No. 8 Marquette

This was a rematch of an earlier pool play game, where A&M beat Marquette 200*-90 in a game that was closer than the score may indicate. Both teams expected a rematch in the finals, and when it did come to fruition, both were full of energy and fire.

They lined up, A&M looking very strong and conditioned, as they have been for most tournaments they appear in. Comparatively, Marquette looked tossed around and beaten down, as they came missing a few players after the previous weekend’s regional, but they fought to get their chance at A&M for a rematch. Both teams came out hot, but A&M was so much hotter this tournament.

A&M pulled ahead to a 50-0 lead before Marquette finally got on the board. Marquette had to utilize their long shot this game, as A&M kept beater control most of the way to compliment their physical defense. The final ended up a monstrous 180*-40, and A&M was rightfully crowned the first ever Collegiate Cup champions.

Conclusion

You can expect great things from all four of these teams come World Cup VI. Of the four, Marquette is the only one to have already qualified, but the others are expected to easily qualify in the upcoming Southwest Regional Championship this February. This tournament had very much a “Day Two feel” when it comes to World Cup stages. Look for these matchups to really play a part in who wins and who moves on for this next World Cup.

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