The Eighth Man

Countdown to Kissimmee: Rochester Institute of Technology

Credit Jessica Clayton

Credit Jessica Clayton

Rochester Institute of Technology was something of an unknown in the broader quidditch world until they burst onto the scene at World Cup V, taking second in Div. II. They have since proven quite capable of keeping pace in Div. I, overcoming a rough start to their conference season with their first victory over cross town rival University of Rochester in the Snow Belt Conference finals before doing just enough at Northeast Regionals to earn one of the regions final spots.

Best Wins: vs. University of Rochester (Dec. 1, 80*-0), vs. SUNY Geneseo (Dec. 1, 70*-20, Oct. 27, 70*-50)

Worst Losses: vs. Macaulay (Nov. 18, 80*-30)

Key Players: As one of RIT’s longest playing and most experienced players, Brian Herzog is a big contributor on both offense and defense. A chaser who started playing quidditch in high school with Ives Pond, he has the speed, agility and physicality to be a threat on offense while maintaining the ability to get back and act as a strong first line of defense.

Aaron Pinzer a tall, fast keeper with excellent reach and a deft touch for passing and shooting, bolsters RIT’s passing defense picking passes and shots out of the air, while also serving as a strong candidate to bring the ball up and either pass or make a run to score.

Players to watch: RIT’s beaters have long been one of their weaker points, as they have run a very defensive beater set up in which the bludgers rarely stray far from the hoops. This however is changing, and Josh Kramer is leading the change. Josh is a quick beater with a solid arm and a willingness to attack, who has allowed RIT to win back bludger control and exploit fast breaks and disorganized defenses to a greater extent.

Strategy: RIT takes advantage of the depth and power of their chaser line to create goals on fast breaks and transitions before opposing defenses are fully set. Their modus operandi is to have a chaser with the ball who can either beat the point defender with speed, or more likely simply power through them. Depending on opposing beater positioning they are then able to drive to the hoop or make a simple pass, generally to a passing option behind the hoop to score. On defense, they run a very compact and physical defense which is very effective at shutting down running offenses.

Strengths: RIT’s raw physicality and depth allows them to grind down many opposing defenses and lock down opposing offenses. The development of their offensive beater game has also given them more opportunities to drive to the hoops to score.

Weaknesses: RIT’s passing game is still somewhat raw and underdeveloped; while they can make good passes in games, their passing options are a bit too predictable behind the hoops at times, and they tend to choose to run the ball rather than passing a bit too often. They also often don’t have passing options because their chaser with the ball will be the furthest forward offensive player, which leads to difficulties against defenses which are set, or in which a quick defender is able to get to the ball carrier to slow him down.

Prediction:  RIT has a decent chance of making it out of pool play, depending on their match ups, but they are likely to have to rely on their seeker for one or more of the games they need to win to advance. If they do advance to day two, I would not expect to see RIT survive the round of 32.

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