The Eighth Man

Ohio State Proves Unquestioned Dominance is Better than a Story

Credit: Kate Windnagel

Credit: Kate Windnagel

Amidst the chaos of a rainy weekend defined by uncertainty, drama and disappointment, Ohio State’s run to the championship manages to be the least interesting story of the weekend, and that is exactly how they want it.

The Midwest is often touted isn’t touted as the strongest or most successful region, but the deepest. This weekend, USQ’s Midwest Regional Championship proved that any team can lose at any time, except for one.

Throughout bracket play on day one there were only two stories that surprised or drew much interest. The first was that of University of Michigan. Claiming a competitive roster for the first time this season, the team defeated Ball State University, who had so far been a convincing favorite coming into the weekend. The second was that of Michigan State University. Usually a very consistent team with a well-respected seeking corps, Michigan State lost on snitch catches—while leading in quaffle points—to both Marquette University and University of Minnesota.

Day two proved to be disappointing for most teams involved. There were a few notable exceptions, of course. Surprising everyone, Indiana University beat the Crimson Warhawks 140*-50 to secure a World Cup bid. Meanwhile, the Falcon Warriors beat Ohio University 100*-80 to send a second team from Bowling Green State University to Rock Hill in April. Finally, University of Missouri made a completely unexpected run to the Final Four, enabled by two SWIM catches against Central Michigan University and Michigan State.

Now, back to the disappointment. Anyone would be hard-pressed to say that the best 18 teams in the region didn’t secure the World Cup 8 bids. However, that is not to say everyone left happy.

Minnesota, after convincingly winning their group, was completely dismantled 150*-60 by Bowling Green in the Elite Eight. This weekend they definitely proved they are on the right track to reestablishing a tradition of success but are still lagging behind the region’s best teams. After claiming the ninth seed, Miami University (Ohio) failed to put up a fight against Blue Mountain Quidditch Club, who, in turn, was handily beaten by University of Kansas in pool play and eliminated in the Elite Eight by the eventual champions. Miami had been looking strong early in the season and many expected them to make waves this weekend, but by losing their only two games against World Cup-qualifying teams out of range, the rest of their season looks grim. Many people, myself included, were counting on the University of Michigan to break their streak of underperformance at the Midwest Regional Championship. Instead, for the fourth straight year, they were eliminated by Michigan State, who was otherwise 3-3 on the weekend, beating only TC Frost, Iowa State University and the Falcon Warriors. And a confident Kansas, after an arduous 14-hour bus ride, was hoping, like BGSU, to become the first team to claim the regional championship twice. Unfortunately, their experience and Keir Rudolph’s seeking prowess were not enough to lift them over Ball State in a game with an even scoreline.

Amidst it all, no one felt any need to say anything about Ohio State until the day was done. Ending last season as the hottest team in the Midwest, Ohio State brought their World Cup VII run to a close by losing to eventual runner-up Texas State University. Losing zero players to graduation, everyone expected Ohio State to control the region and take the Midwest to a new level of success on the national stage. Day one was a breeze, as they dominated their group and took the first overall seed (determined by point differential). During their run to the finals on day two, they went 3-0 on snitch catches, played just one game in range and added two shutouts to their record. The finals were quickly shaping up to be their first big challenge of the weekend, as well as their final obstacle to regional dominance.

With the wind at their backs, Bowling Green entered their third straight regional championship final. Ohio State had every reason to be nervous. However, it never showed.

Establishing an early lead, the final was only briefly within 20, and the snitch only lasted 30 seconds on pitch, putting their seekers at seven out of eight catches this weekend. It was a fitting end to their perfect weekend. Tri-captain and keeper David Hoops cleaned up everything around the hoops. His fellow captains, beaters Julie Fritz (Team USA alternate) and Matt Eveland, were able to clear a path for the offense to run free. Never before has dominance been so quiet, but Ohio State has never been a team to immerse themselves in drama, hype themselves up or complain about the cards they are dealt. In a quidditch community so notorious for voicing negative opinions and passing blame off to referees, Ohio State has never been outspoken.

“It’s just the culture our team has created over the years that we keep our heads down and play,” Hoops said.

Clearly the positive culture and attitude of the team are paying off, as Ohio State can now call themselves the 2014 USQ Midwest Regional Champions, a title coveted by many teams.

“I don’t consider [the win] much of a statement or anything of the sort—we showed up, played eight matches and found ourselves fortunate enough to win all of them and come home with a trophy in hand,” Hoops concluded.

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