The Eighth Man

Countdown to Kissimmee: Bowling Green State University

Rising out of the ashes, Bowling Green seems poised to make a name for itself on the international stage. Credit: Loyola University-Chicago Quidditch

Rising out of the ashes, Bowling Green seems poised to make a name for itself on the international stage. Credit: Loyola University-Chicago Quidditch

In the months leading up to World Cup VI, the Eighth Man will be publishing a daily scouting report for one of the 60 teams that will be competing to become World Cup Champions. A full list of reports can be found here.

Bowling Green State University entered the 2012-2013 with just about nothing going for them. After finishing dead last at the inaugural Midwest Cup and 59th out of 60 at WC V, they were on no one’s radar, to say the least. That all changed at November’s Midwest Regional Championship, when Bowling Green shook the quidditch world, taking the No. 1 seed and advancing all the way to the finals before falling to Marquette University. There’s no argument that Bowling Green has arrived. The only question that remains is whether Midwest Regionals was a one-time run, or if they can sustain that success into the World Cup and beyond.

Best wins: vs. Michigan State University (110*-30, Nov. 11), vs. University of Kansas (90*-70, Nov. 10)

Worst Losses: vs. Central Michigan University (110*-70, Oct. 27), vs. Ohio State University (40*-30, Oct. 21)

Key Players: Everyone has heard about chaser and co-assistant captain Dan Daugherty by now, and for good reason. Daugherty is an amazing chaser in every facet of play. He has a great long shot, is a great distributor, can run through people, juke people out, block and dodge bludgers, play physical defense, and shut down a man in coverage.

But Daugherty is far from Bowling Green’s only stud. Captain Katie Milligan, also a chaser, is one of the best defenders in the game, and finds ways to strip even the sturdiest of ball-carriers. Her positioning on offense is impeccable, and she always seems to be ready to catch and shoot. Beater Anthony DeCapite is a relentless player with fearsome speed and incredible hands. He can catch almost anything, and will always win a footrace to a loose bludger, making him one of the game’s most deadly players when it comes to winning back bludger control.

Players to watch: Zak Hewitt isn’t the most imposing keeper in the game, but he never seems to make a mistake. He will never back down from giving a hit, can make some pretty athletic saves, and is quick and savvy enough to start a fast break. He’s an all-around athlete, and while he won’t amaze you with any one part of his game, he plays every part of the keeper position so well that it’s impossible to not be impressed. Make no mistake, Hewitt is a vital part of this team’s success.

Beater Joe Pavlik has a cannon for an arm, and has a firm grasp on the strategy of the game. While DeCapite makes plays with pure energy and hustle, Pavlik relies on his arm strength and positioning to be able to bring opposing offenses to a halt. The pair of them make up one of the most feared beater lines in the Midwest.

Strategy: Bowling Green runs a very unique strategy, and team’s struggling to adjust to it has most definitely played into their success so far this year. The team starts two female chasers, allowing them to start both DeCapite and Pavlik, who monopolize bludger control with Pavlik’s arm and DeCapite’s hustle. Playing two male beaters allows for their beaters to cover more territory due to their extra arm strength, making BG’s defense much harder to penetrate.

Bowling Green’s chasers play an aggressive defensive game, never allowing the opponents to get to midfield without putting a body on the quaffle-carrier. All of BG’s players are able and willing to give hits, so any of their players can be used to stop the quaffle efficiently. This gives them an added flexibility on defense that many teams lack.

Offensively, Bowling Green’s beaters tend to stay back, leaving it to their chasers to find open space and pass through the defense. Daugherty’s ability to distribute is incredible, and he can find his fellow chasers in perfect position by the hoops from midfield.  But it’s not all about Daugherty. Yes, he’s a huge part of the team, but their team functions just as well when Dan is off the pitch. Bowling Green has a plethora of hard-hitting defenders and accurate passers on offense, making them very difficult to beat.

Strengths: Bowling Green’s passing is stellar. Off-ball chasers always find open space, and the quaffle-carrier always finds the open man. BG very rarely turns the ball over carelessly. Their communication is also excellent, both in defensive assignments and offensive positioning.

Weaknesses: Bowling Green doesn’t have a lot of size. Their players are determined and play very physically, but teams with a substantial number of bigger players may be able to impose their will on BG in longer games.

Prediction: Bowling Green finishes in the top 16.

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