The Eighth Man

The Eighth Man 2012-2013 Second Team All-Americans

The Eighth Man’s All-American teams were selected by the site’s staff using a simple ballot system. A first-team vote was worth three, a second-team vote two, and a third-team vote one. Each team contains seven players: two male chasers, one female chaser, one male beater, one female beater, a keeper and a seeker. Today, we present our second team, with our first team to follow in the coming days. Check out our third team here.

Chasers

Drew Wasikowski – Texas A&M

Credit: Kat Ignatova/IQA Staff

Credit: Kat Ignatova/IQA Staff

Drew Wasikowski had a disappointing world cup, sure. However, when you spend your season tearing through the opposition and then play at World Cup on a broken hand, that’s unfortunately bound to happen. Like many top players, Wasikowski uses and pushes his athleticism as far to his team’s advantage as possible. He has an excellent build for speed and doesn’t waste it. This allows him to win races for possession and seemingly effortlessly get around defenders to drop an easy dunk. Then he’s already back in his position on defense waiting for the other team to attack.

He’s not just an athletic body, though, as he also has the strategic understanding to know how to use it. Texas A&M’s success this season had a lot to do with their ability to use their many specialized players to their full advantage, and the second part of that formula was ensuring their utility players adapted to what was required of them based on who else was on the field. As one of those utility players, Wasikowski spent some tournaments as a defensive powerhouse and some as a scoring machine. Either way, it never took long for him to figure out exactly where he was most useful and step up, and that understanding carried the Aggies to the No. 1 ranking for much of the season.

Simon Arends – University of Texas

Credit: Lauren Carter

Credit: Lauren Carter

If someone who had not been following Texas’s quidditch season had taken a look at the box score from their quarterfinal game against Texas A&M, the game’s star may have surprised. With Kody Marshall and Augustine Monroe largely shut down, the Longhorns still cruised, as the best chaser in the game for either team was Texas’ Simon Arends.  This was little surprise to those who had been following Texas closely, as Arends had become arguably Texas’s best chaser during the year.  In this game, Arends scored a full five of Texas’s 17 goals, and was a monster defensively, consistently shutting down the point man for A&M and forcing turnovers.

This performance is nothing new: while the World Cup may have been Arends’ stage, he has been an absolutely dominant two-way player for the best team in the country all year, exceeding at everything Texas has asked him to do, from run point in the offense to defend the point defensively to play off-ball offensively or defensively or simply to be a phenomenal target for easy alley-oops. Simon has done everything, and ultimately was one of the biggest reasons the Quidditch World Cup finally left Vermont and moved to the Lone Star State.

Vanessa Goh – UCLA

 

Credit: Harry Clarke

Credit: Harry Clarke

Plenty of female chasers have mastered the art of standing near an open hoop and catching passes for quick scores.  While Vanessa Goh does have that in her repertoire, what really separates Goh from almost every other female chaser is her ability to play in open space as well.  Vanessa is extremely quick, unafraid to take a hit, and still quite strong, which means she will frequently take a pass deep behind the hoops, drive and force all available defenders to move to her, and kick it out for an easy goal, or simply finish it herself.  She boasts strong shooting, passing and receiving abilities, and is utterly unafraid to wrap up an opposing chaser and make a hit on them.  Anyone simply calling Goh a fantastic female chaser is underselling her: not only is she a fantastic female chaser, she is a fantastic chaser, period, and one of the biggest keys to UCLA’s success, as their strong array of female chasers frequently allows them to play an all-male beater line to maximize the talents of Andy Abayan and Asher King Abramson.

Beaters

Colin Capello – University of Texas

Credit: Lauren Carter

Credit: Lauren Carter

Colin Capello’s performances on Day Two of the World Cup were nothing short of spectacular. Going up against some of the best beaters in the game, from LSU’s Kody LaBauve to Texas A&M’s Mathieu Gregoire to the Bowling Green triumvirate to UCLA’s Asher King Abramson, Capello got the better of his opposition time and again, retaining bludger control for almost entire games and quickly getting it back when he’d lose it. Such control is what allowed the Longhorns to run rampant, picking apart one-bludger defenses with ease.

One might assume that his success came largely on the back of his well-known aggression and physicality. But it is the maturity of his game, which was forced into overdrive thanks to the injury to Jacob Adlis in the fall, that truly bred his improvement. Capello has become as strategic as he is physical, capable of adjusting on the fly to whatever opposing beaters throw at him. Multiple times at the World Cup, when Texas found themselves briefly frazzled by a new strategy, it was Capello making the adjustments on field to put them back in control. There is no chance the Longhorns waltz their way to a title without him.

Katrina Bossotti – Boston University

Credit: Emily Oliver

Credit: Emily Oliver

While two male beater sets grow more and more common in quidditch, the two female beater set remains a relative rarity. The reason being that you need a female who has both the arm strength and physicality to compensate. For Boston University, the two female beater set is one of their go-to strategies, and Katrina Bossotti is the one that makes it possible.

With a ball, Bossotti mixes a powerful arm with a strong concept of proper positioning that allows her to constantly be in the right place for a beat. But she is also more than competent fighting for bludger control, whether going to ground with an opposing beater or using her impressive hands to snag an opposing bludger headed her way. Because of this, the Terriers could run their free-flowing fast break offense all the way to the Round of 16, confident that she had their backs.

Keeper

Tony Rodriguez – Lost Boys Quidditch Club

Credit: Liz Fisher

Credit: Liz Fisher

If anyone could make an All-America team on sheer willpower and desire to win, it would be Tony Rodriguez.  However, Rodriguez’s strengths hardly end at his impressive determination.  Defensively, Rodriguez combines impressive height and length with incredible quickness, which allows him to shut down nearly any passing lanes crossing over his hoops, singlehandedly neutralizing many team’s offenses.  But he also has enough strength behind his frame to also bring down would-be scorers as they attempt to drive on the hoop.  In addition, Rodriguez’s usage rate is borderline absurd, as he essentially ran point for nearly every possession of his team’s offense this year, almost never taking a sub or taking a step back.  On offense, he combines his quickness and strength with both an extremely accurate long shot and the fiercest spin move in the game, making him a nightmare for chasers to stop and forcing teams to frequently design their entire defensive game plan around him.

However, it’s difficult to talk about Rodriguez without centering on his insane willpower.  Despite playing with a broken hand for most of the season, Rodriguez played almost every second his team was in a close game this season, even taking his turn at seeker in their Bowling Green quarterfinal in the World Cup.  Since Rodriguez has started playing for the Lost Boys, only once, in the Western Cup finals against UCLA, have they been put out of snitch range, and even that was only by 40 points.  As the least experienced player on this list, the future is bright for the Lost Boys’ keeper.

Seeker

Keir Rudolph – University of Kansas

Credit: Kansas Quidditch

Credit: Kansas Quidditch

Kier Rudolph is a pure athlete at the seeker position. He’s tall, strong, fast, and has a very large wingspan. In other words, he’s the perfect physical example of a seeker. Rudolph can power through almost snitch, or reach around almost any snitch. His speed gives him an advantage in the open field, and he has the endurance to keep up with all but the speediest of snitches. Rudolph rose to stardom by carrying his No. 7 Kansas team to a victory at Spring Breakout, snatching 4-of-4 snitches in his first ever tournament at seeker. At World Cup, Rudolph’s form continued, and he helped Kansas — who had struggled this year with their seeking game — to the Elite Eight, including a victory in pool play over No 3. Baylor. The best part? Rudolph is only a freshman. Quidditch has found its next dominant seeker.

2012-2013 Second Team All-Americans

C Drew Wasikowski – Texas A&M
C Simon Arends – University of Texas
C Vanessa Goh – UCLA
B Colin Capello – University of Texas
B Katrina Bossotti – Boston University
K Tony Rodriguez – Lost Boys Quidditch Club
S Keir Rudolph – University of Kansas

7 Comments

  1. Jordan

    June 5, 2013 at 3:42 am

    Very nice, yet with a domain like eighthman don’t you think you should include and eigth man and showcase a killer snitch?

  2. Will

    June 5, 2013 at 2:00 pm

    I think Keir Rudolph is amazing, one of the best players in the sport, and quite possibly the future of quidditch.

    But he’s only played in two tournaments ever, right?

    • Dan

      June 5, 2013 at 2:07 pm

      Yeah. That’s why I find it crazy that he was picked over people who have been seeking at an elite level for years and have far more than one highly notable snitch win under their belt. He’s great, surely, but probably not worthy of this level of recognition YET.

      • Common Sense

        June 5, 2013 at 11:10 pm

        And Johnny Manziel shouldn’t have won the Heisman because Collin Klein and Geno Smith were both Senior candidates while Manziel was a Freshman, right?
        The best players make the AA teams. Rudolph is an AA caliber player, looks like an AA player, and plays like an AA caliber player. Rudolph = LeBron James of Quidditch

        • Will

          June 6, 2013 at 12:48 am

          Well Manziel played a whole season….

          A better comparison might be, should Jeremy Lin have won MVP for being an unstoppable force over the course of 8 games or so?

    • Ian

      June 5, 2013 at 4:35 pm

      He played other tournaments, but not at seeker. He was keeping at Midwest Cup if I remember correctly.

  3. Colby Soden

    June 6, 2013 at 11:11 am

    Keir played Keeper for the Crimson Warhawks (KU’s second team) all Fall semester but then switched to seeker and was moved up to the Kansas squad for Spring and played at Spring Breakout and WC. There might be a small sample size but he went against many of the top snitches at WC and had success.

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