The Eighth Man

Countdown to Kissimmee: Loyola University Chicago

Loyola University Chicago is most well-known for their uniforms, as they were the first Midwest team to feature customized jerseys . Loyola has been at the middle of the pack all season in the Midwest. Their best result was also their most recent, when they reached the finals of Grindylow Cup, only to fall to No. 11 Ball State, 50*-20.

Best Wins: vs. Illinois State x2 (110*-60, 90*-50)

Worst Losses:  vs. Toledo (40*-20)

Key Players: Captain and chaser Joe Gendusa is the heart and soul of this team, both offensively and defensively. He uses his incredible speed to his advantage, and oftentimes simply outpaces his defenders en route to a goal. Defensively, his quick lateral movements and raw speed make him difficult to get around and he always sticks with his man. Gendusa is most comparable to Devin Sandon of Rochester, in that he has incredible speed and quaffle-handling skills, but not a lot of size to go with it.

Beater Amanda Lofgren is one of the most intelligent at the position and has turned Loyola’s beater game into its biggest strength. Lofgren has impeccable positioning and an accurate arm, which help to solidify Loyola’s defense. Offensively, Lofgren is often used in order to help clear chasers off the quaffle and create space for the goal scorers. She rarely loses her bludger and has very good field awareness. Lofgren focuses on short-range throws in order to best control the rebound and is always reliable to secure loose bludgers.

Players to Watch: Beater Dominick Frasca is a great compliment to Lofgren and utilizes many of the same techniques as Lofgren in order to effectively operate as a pair. Frasca also takes more close-range throws to retain control, is not drawn out of position easily, and has quick reactions to threatening situations.

Keeper Chad Dorger is an athletic prospect, and has all the talent necessary to become a great keeper. However, he does not have a lot of experience and will have to find his legs at World Cup. If he’s able to step up to the challenge, he could be an impact player.

Strategy: Offensively, Loyola tends to use beaters to clear out chasers and create space for shots, but with Gendusa, they also have the ability to run an up-tempo game and push fast breaks often. Loyola also has a tendency to leave their keeper back to prevent fast breaks, a strategy which is seen less and less in the quidditch world. This could hurt their offensive productivity. On defense, Loyola plays a man-to-man game with their beaters in support.

Strengths: Loyola’s biggest strength, by far, is their beating game. While their beaters alone are not standouts or game-changers, they have great chemistry and work together very well to create a stout defense and assist on offense.

Weaknesses: Using their beaters on offense leaves Loyola vulnerable to fast breaks with no beaters. Also, Loyola does not have much size at all and has a lot of difficulty against larger opponents.

Prediction: While Loyola is a sound team in theory, they simply do not have the size to compete with the teams at World Cup. Loyola will likely be eliminated in pool play.

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