The Eighth Man

MWRC: Daugherty’s Day-One Diary

Credit: BG Quidditch

Credit: BG Quidditch

Proud Moment
I am going to start off by taking complete advantage of my position as a correspondent for The Eighth Man and talking about Bowling Green State University’s B-team, the Falcon Warriors. This team has played top-tier Midwest teams every single tournament this season. Coming into today, they had a 1-9 record in official games and never got discouraged. Then pools got drawn and they were stuck with a tough pool featuring Michigan State University and University of Minnesota, but it was not impossible for them to move forward, only needing to win their other two games. The pool then got even tougher. Highly regarded as the Midwest Regional Championship Pool of Death, Marquette University was then re-drawn into their pool. Led by captains Alex “Alejo” Matheny (beater) and Alajuwan Brown (chaser), the Falcon Warriors could not have had a better attitude. They kept within 70 of their Pot One team, Michigan State, before suicide catching to only lose by 40. Their second game came around and they took blows while dishing a few out themselves to only be down 50 when they opted to suicide catch again to focus on point differential. Their third game of the day was against Marquette, who beat Michigan State earlier in the day. The Falcon Warriors went blow for blow and defended the snitch while being down 40. They were on the cusp of snitch range. If they pulled off the win, it would have been the biggest upset of day one. However, they instead ended up with the only game where they did not catch the snitch. Lastly, they faced Southern Indiana State University. A huge game where they knew they needed to win and win in dominating fashion. They did just that, taking the game by 90 with the grab. They are now the 18th seed going into day two with a better point differential than the team that placed third in their pool.

Even though I could write for pages and pages on this team and these players, nods must be given to Max Portillo (beater), Justin Warren (keeper), Jacob Gusching (chaser) and Korey Johnson (chaser/seeker). Portillo is the fastest player in the entire Bowling Green program but is also probably the smallest. The small size is in reference to his body, not his heart. He went toe to toe with any and all beaters of any size and dominated the play whenever he was on the pitch.  Warren is one of the most athletic players on the pitch in just about every game the Falcon Warriors play. His ability to get up and down the pitch and make some incredible saves at the hoops has given this B-team a whole new element. Gusching is a scrappy, quick player that can do anything the team needs him to. He can go off-ball, tackle the opposing teams biggest players or even run an offense. His progression since last year has been incredible to witness. Lastly, Johnson does not have anything below first gear as he gives 100% at all times, while constantly wearing his heart on his sleeve. He went three for four on snitch catches today, with the one he was defending being the only one he didn’t catch. Having the idea to suicide catch for point differential is one thing, having a weapon at the seeker position like Johnson is a completely different thing.

Predictability
I am quite confident that for the most part today Ethan Sturm was thinking to himself, “I told you so.” Today was, by and large, exactly what people expected. Every Pot One and Pot Two team is playing on day two, and the bottom is a little murkier, mainly because of people dropping seeds for the penalty for not playing enough games. Other things that essentially went as predicted: troubles with keeping on time, weather (for part of the day) and teams not being where they were supposed to be. First off, teams were showing up to check-in (somehow Friday night check-in didn’t work, my team arrived to the hotel a half hour after it ended) and the pitches weren’t even close to being ready. There were, maybe, three tournament staff setting up pitches while players stepped in to assist. Across the way, Sarah Woolsey did her best to check-in an insane number of people on her own. What a horrendous start to day one of a regional championship.

Once the tournament was finally in full swing, we were so far behind scheduled and the pitches were located so far apart that teams were generally nowhere in the vicinity of their games when they were scheduled to start. I refereed six games, played four and snitched one with my team having three games they needed to assistant referee. We were always on time and in the correct spot. Captains and other leaders need to ensure their teams are getting where they are scheduled to be on time. If you don’t know how something will be changed when things aren’t going as initially scheduled, ask someone. I can’t emphasize this enough: Teams need to be more active and focused between games during all tournaments, which a particular emphasis on their regional championship.

Michigan State vs. Marquette
I was unable to watch this game first hand, but the outcome is shocking to me. I have been down on Michigan State all day, but Marquette, in my mind, is a squad of big, hard-hitting players sans strategy. I expected a seasoned program like Michigan State would be able to take care of business in this one. Michigan State was up 20 on Minnesota when the latter had a quick catch against a lack-luster snitch performance by yours truly. Knowing this score, I was very much taken aback by Michigan State taking the third seed in their pool. That being said, I think most top teams in the Midwest (Ohio State, Bowling Green, University of Michigan, University of Kansas and Ball State University) can beat any of these three teams the majority of match-ups as long as they figure out Minnesota’s zone defense. Of course, I get an opportunity to eat my words tomorrow if both of our teams make the Elite Eight.

Central Michigan University vs. Miami University (Ohio)
A game that I thought would be a well-fought battle, Miami University got blown out by Central Michigan. Again, I was unable to watch this game or see Central Michigan today, but two things had to have happened for us to reach this outcome. Either Central Michigan has finally figured out their beater play, or their quaffle play was absolutely dominant from “brooms up.” My guess is that it was completely and entirely the latter. Miami is solid, but Central Michigan came into this year promising to have one of, if not the best, quaffle games in the region. A combination of David Preuter, David Wilber, Adam Landis and Chris Fisher must have kept Matt Mignery and Miami’s offense in check while scoring at will. I wish this game were caught on film so We Breathe Quidditch could figure out in which clip Central Michigan scored on two bludgers. It could be a very telling game for the Centaurs.

Day Two
Some prospective match-ups that I am excited for today are Kansas vs. Ball State, Michigan vs. Michigan State in the Sweet Sixteen (I expect a Michigan victory, but Michigan State always gets up for this game) and the re-match of all the re-matches in Ohio State and Blue Mountain Quidditch Club. Blue Mountain is missing Chris Barnard, a major cog in their offense and defense, but they are much deeper at beater at this tournament with the likes of Alex Leitch being in attendance. While the Mid-Atlantic Regional Championship did not see many interesting games until, essentially, the finals and maybe one semifinal, the Midwest Regional Championship will get very interesting as soon as we hit the Elite Eight. Expect many snitch-range games and get excited. It will be a wild ride.

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