Unpopular Opinion: USQ Cup 12


Winter has arrived in the Northeast Region. For years, rumors of unnatural talents from far off lands usurping the title from its original home remained nothing more than that due to the valiant efforts of Middlebury. But last year, the five-time champions looked more like residents of Flea Bottom than kings, and their early exit left no one to retain the throne.

Now, it the region will need to go to war to get take their honor back. But first, they will fight for control of their own lands. On the throne in the Northeast sits House Boston University, the often despised but always respected leaders. The house  has a deadly queen in beater Katrina Bossotti, who will need to return to her former levels of play after studying abroad in the spring, and perhaps the region’s best swordsman, err, keeper, in Brendan Stack – also missing in the spring – but the house’s true power lies in the undersized but strategically gifted Max Havlin. Havlin, who often ran the point last year in the team’s fast-break offense, will be converting to beater after an extremely successful summer at the position, which culminated in helping take Zach D’Amico’s Northeast Fantasy side to the semifinals. Havlin and Bossotti could be the scariest beater pair this side of the western region.

"Those are brave men knocking at our door. Let's go kill them!"

“Those are brave men knocking at our door. Let’s go kill them!”

House Boston’s most hated rivals, House Emerson, has long been at war with the crown, boasting an impressive family lineage and a long and proud history. David Fox is the King in the North these days, an elite driver who can also pass while playing defense in a way that would make The Wall proud. In his chaser line’s, Pablo Santiago is the often overlooked star. Mixing speed, surprising strength, and incredible technique, Santiago is the perfect cog in Emerson’s pass-first offense. Add in the play of their beating corps, led by Aaron Wohl and CJ Junior, and you get one of the most well-rounded teams in the region.

However, Emerson will have to deal with one of the most gruesome moments in quidditch history, the Red Massacre, in which House Massacre did House Boston a huge favor by taking a handful of current Emerson students, most notably keeper Victor Viega, from them. With their ranks scattered, and key players gone, we will have to see if Emerson can respond.

"BU sends their regards."

“BU sends their regards.”

But while Emerson picks up the pieces, House Massacre could take over their spot as true competitor for the throne, mixing Viega with what was already one of the scariest chaser lines in the Northeast. Kedzie Teller proved over the summer that even with a season off his speed and physicality are as good as ever, Zach D’Amico will be using his deep knowledge of the game to help lead his new team, and Jayke Archibald add the perfect combo of skill and flair. Expect them to look a lot like a combination of Villanova’s precision passing with the fast break offense of Boston University. Backing that all up is beater Kara Levis, ready to bring west coast beating strategy from her time at UCLA to the Northeast.

House Tufts, meanwhile, continues to make attempts at grandeur, but remains under the iron grip of House Boston, who blew them out multiple times last season, including the Northeast Regional semifinals. While their fast farm lands have produced plenty of new young talent for the coming year, it’s hard to say they’ll have enough after losing talented seeker and beater Nick Ryder. But beater Mike Sanders impressed in the Northeast over the summer, and keeper Steve Mulahoo has only gotten better since his one-man defensive stand kept his team in a game against Maryland back in February. But taking over the throne seems like a stretch for this squad.

While those in Boston might have the clearest claims to the throne, others on the outskirts can make moves as well. Rumors of true power are sprouting from the far-off lands of Rochester, where House Rochester is easily disposing of all opposition. And they are doing it with some of the most powerful weapons in the region, with both chaser Devin Sandon and seeker Justin Keiber-King set to take flight. Sandon had a phenomenal summer, leading two different fantasy teams to the finals with his mix of speed, agility and physicality. Keiber-King, meanwhile went 3-for-3 in SWIM situations at Champagne Cup and could be the elite seeker the region has long been looking for. But like most stories built on rumors, Rochester may not truly be tested until the region comes to them to compete for the throne that sits on their once hallowed grounds.

"I will take what is mine with fire and blood."

“I will take what is mine with fire and blood.”

House Hofstra continues to be a menace to the region from its island perch, where it is capable of taking down even the region’s strongest houses, as it proved last year when it blew out Tufts. But the times of successfully pilfering often come to an end, and with the loss of captain Jayke Archibald to graduation, the team is at risk of cracking. Alex Leitch remains a dominating presence at beater, but when he was locked up at World Cup – thankfully with no torture involved – the team fell apart. Will he be enough to keep things going strong this year?

Another squad that will struggle with losses is House NYU, which benefitted greatly from Amanda Dallas, the “Master of Coins,” whose dealing allowed her to acquire some of the best unclaimed talent in the region. But she has left for greener pastures in the Mid-Atlantic, and the Merchant Marines are mostly gone with her, leaving her house scrambling to recover. Kyle Jeon seems to be a proven male beater, and Lucy Miller is perhaps the most underrated female quaffle player in the region, but NYU was never much before the marines were there, and it remains to be seen whether they can be with them gone.

Game of Northeast 4
House Macaulay has long been the darlings of the region, getting by on an underdog image and a good attitude. But when war comes, everyone has to fight, and it appears they will be coming back with a bit more sting this season. Andrew Zagelbaum will be back from injury and impressed all summer as a seeker, including for the Northeast Fantasy champions. Shenuque Tissera has long watched the teams around him develop, and seems ready to take his side to the next level while serving as a vital utility player. But whether they have enough size and talent to compete with the best in the region remains to be seen.

It’s hard to imagine many other teams competing for the throne, though there are plenty of World Cup spots for someone else to make a name for themselves. House Middlebury remains locked up in their castle, refusing to take place in the wars. House RIT has strength, but can’t seem to get out of the shadows of big brother Rochester, even with the development of players like Andrew Hollenbach. A better set of beaters could be their key to victory. House Geneseo seems to have taken a step in the wrong direction, getting outgunned in their first tournament of the year, while House Badassilisks has to deal with a minor Red Massacre of their own, losing valuable players to the Capitalists.

What it all boils down to is that there is plenty up for grabs in the Northeast. Will anyone rise up to challenge the players of the Boston area? Can House Emerson recover? Can Rochester finally take the jump to true regional contender? All that remains to be seen as we take our first steps into the new season.







Archives by Month:




Archives by Subject: