The Eighth Man

MWRC All-Tournament Team

Correspondents Daniel Daugherty, Luke Changet and Eric Wasser compiled the top performers from last weekend to create a Midwest Regional Championship All-Tournament Team. Note that winning games in high-stakes situations was used as a criteria for this team. The deeper a team went into day two, the better a player’s chances were of making it.

Mike Gallagher (Keeper, Bowling Green State University)
For a very long time, when you heard anything about Bowling Green’s offense, you immediately thought of Daniel Daugherty. That is no longer the case with Mike Gallagher around. Gallagher was Bowling Green’s leading scorer in every game I saw, including scoring over half of Bowling Green’s goals in the finals. Gallagher passes and shoots accurately, which makes him deadly from anywhere on the field, and has a great vertical, which allows him to catch more alley-oop passes than any other Falcon.
While Daugherty is still the leader of Bowling Green, he now has another reliable source to run the offense in more exciting ways than ever before. Gallagher is a true all-around athlete, and it is clear that the Falcons without him (i.e. Keystone Cup) are not the same as the Falcons with him.
– Luke Changet

Jeremy Boettner (Chaser, Ohio State)
“Without Jeremy Boettner, Ohio State is an average team,” I overheard before the finals.
Yes, Ohio State has a top tier team with great players and a strategy that fits their personnel perfectly, but Boettner just demands to be seen. Even though I would not go as far to say that they are average without him, they definitely got through tournaments with less players because of him. At this tournament, he was dominant game-in and game-out. His most dominant performance may have come in the finals game against Bowling Green. Scoring consistently and the majority of Ohio State’s goals, Boettner made his presence known on every possession. With his athleticism, knowledge of the game and unselfish nature, he is an absolute force. If I had to choose any off-ball chaser in the country to build a team around, Boettner would be my guy.
– Daniel Daugherty

Credit: Matt Dwyer

Credit: Matt Dwyer

Max Wallerstedt (Chaser, University of Kansas)
Each year, Kansas loses a standout chaser. Each year, you think that person will not be replaced. Each year, Kansas proves otherwise.
When Colby Soden got injured midway through last season, many people expected the inevitable drop off—cue Max Wallerstedt. Wallerstedt took up the mantle and became the captain after just one year on the roster. and showed it off this past weekend, putting up an incredible performance at the Midwest Regional Championship. He consistently makes SportsCenter Top 10 plays. For example, as can be seen in Billy Quach’s Day 1 Highlight Reel, Wallerstedt dives from his knees and shoots underneath all of the opposing players’ arms. The future is bright for this team with Wallerstedt at the helm.
– DD

Credit: Amy Alaina Utley

Credit: Amy Alaina Utley

Pari Yost (Chaser, Bowling Green State University)
Pari Yost is possibly the biggest threat behind the hoops in the Midwest. With an impeccable catch-and-shoot ability, she is a perfect fit in Bowling Green’s long-ball style. Cleaning up rebounds and acting as an outlet for keepers Daugherty, Gallagher and Hewitt, she diversifies the attack and has more than proved her worth on defense. Yost’s height is what truly separates her from other female chasers, she creates mismatches with those responsible for guarding her, catching and shooting over their heads. This can be seen anytime Bowling Green faces the three-hoop zone and was on display last weekend when Yost scored on the Falcons first possession against University of Minnesota.
– Eric Wasser

David Becker (Beater, University of Missouri)
David Becker was the front line of a beating corps that carried Missouri all the way to the semifinals. Defensively, Becker was Missouri’s anchor, using his quick feet to stay in position and his smart pump fakes to retain control while applying pressure on opposing teams. His quickness allowed him to capitalize on mistakes made by opposing offenses, and there were a fair share of those in the wind and rain of the Midwest Regional Championship.
Offensively, Missouri frequently implemented the 1.5 bludger strategy, using Becker’s speed and toughness to get around opposing blockers and make tackles. While Becker is not a typical build for someone who is going to lay down a hit, he has a toughness that outclasses his body size and makes Missouri’s offensive beating difficult to stop.
– LC

Julie Fritz (Beater, Ohio State)
As a Team USA alternate, there is almost no need to justify Julie Fritz’s selection.
She is not a player who just shows up to a tournament and goes through the motions. This weekend, the Buckeyes’ beating was a bulwark and it was headed by Fritz’s control. To play only two snitch-range games and come away with every snitch catch is a testament to the beating squad’s effort and tenacity. She is the best in the region at catching bludgers and that allows Ohio State to retain control effectively.
– EW

Brien “Baby Beluga” Polivka (Seeker, Ohio State)
A first-year player at Ohio State, Brien “Baby Beluga” Polivka led the Buckeyes’ seeking game to one of the best tournaments you could ask for. With Polivka only missing out on one catch (that snitch having been caught by Mitch Boehm of Ohio State), the Buckeyes appear to have finally found a solid answer to seeker problems that have plagued them for years. Boehm was and still is a good seeker but always lacked the power and length of a top seeker. With Polivka, the Buckeyes have found a player who fits that prototypical mold.
Polivka, who had only played seeker a couple of times before Phoenix Cup, solidified himself as a threat at that tournament and continued his reign of dominance when it mattered most. Polivka caught the snitch for Ohio State’s games against Blue Mountain Quidditch Club and Bowling Green—their only two snitch-range games of the tournament. Polivka still has a long way to go before being in the discussion of best seekers in the game, but for one weekend, and one important tournament, Polivka rose above the rest.
– LC



Jacob Parker (Keeper, University of Missouri)
If it were not for Jacob Parker, we could have definitive proof that hero ball is totally dead. Parker, however, made a case to the contrary when he almost single-handedly took Missouri to a the semifinals when star player Josh Ebbesmeyer went down with an injury. All tournament, Parker was seen weaving through defenses with an uncanny spin move and finishing shots from midrange with ease. Combined with a physical defense and a healthy dose of assistance from his beaters, Parker turned this previously lackluster team into a one that hung with Ohio State for 15 minutes in pool play then finished in the Final Four. When all was said and done, only one team, which took the title, was able to stop Parker and the rest of Missouri.
– LC

Daniel Daugherty (Chaser, Bowling Green State University)
Long touted as one of the best chasers in the game, Daniel Daugherty did not disappoint. His signature long shot is still in the arsenal, but now he has begun to focus on a much more pass-heavy game. With the emergence of Gallagher as a rising star for the Bowling Green offense, Daugherty’s role has changed, and he has melded to it perfectly. Now, instead of taking the ball up and taking the shot himself, Daugherty can work off ball more frequently, setting up give-and-go opportunities for Gallagher. Defensively, Daugherty has retained his shot- and pass-blocking abilities, which forced many turnovers from seemingly open passing lanes and turned would-be goals into fastbreaks.
– LC

Kevin Conboy (Chaser, Ball State University)
As a staple of what has become an opportunistic offense, Kevin Conboy is in the discussion as one of the most efficient offensive players in the Midwest. This semester, Ball State University has implemented an offensive that is slow paced, not to slow the game down, but to take advantage of every possession and never come away with nothing. Even if they do not score on a possession, it is not because they did not make the defense work. Having an offense that is as methodical as this cannot be achieved without smart, patient players who can read a defense. Conboy is that player. In comparison with many other Midwest chaser lines, Ball State lacks athleticism behind the quaffle. Conboy makes up for that with his brains. His moves are  calculated on both sides of the ball. He provides a critical 1-2 punch with keeper Blake Fitzgerald, who just barely missed this list.
– DD

Kelsey Franklin (Chaser, Ohio State)
While she is not one of the top female chasers in the game, Kelsey Franklin is an absolute perfect fit in Ohio State’s system. Asked to be a constant option in their elite passing game, Franklin always has impeccable positioning and can finish plays on a consistent basis. Usually found on the receiving end of quick catch-and-shoot opportunities, she can catch the ball anywhere on the field and make the extra pass or even get by a defender to force defenses to slide people toward her. Defensively, Franklin closes off would-be passing lanes for opposing offenses and is a key cog in what Ohio State is trying to do on both sides of the ball.
– DD

Chad Brown (Beater, Bowling Green State University)
Chad Brown’s size alone is imposing to face at beater. His extensive, big-game experience and athleticism make him even scarier. All this, combined with smart decision-making and controlled seeker beating, and there is no denying that he is key to Bowling Green’s continued success. This weekend, the Falcons’ beating never faltered on their run to the finals, and Brown was instrumental in allowing the offense room to operate and giving Sam “Sunshine” Roitblat time to make catches. Not only this, but he helped push Bowling Green out of snitch range in every game they played before the finals while playing tough games against regional contenders Minnesota and Ball State.
– EW

Ashley Calhoun (Beater, Blue Mountain Quidditch Club)
This is the name absolutely no one is surprised to see. If Ashley Calhoun’s team could have pulled off the SWIM victory over Ohio State, she would have easily jumped to first-team on this list. Arguably the best female beater in the entire game, Calhoun has a perfect compliment of every attribute that makes a beater great. Her physicality is off the charts. The intelligence and knowledge of the game that she plays supersedes her counterparts, and she is an absolute leader on the pitch. Blue Mountain’s game changes in a big way when she is on the field, as they are not extremely deep at the female beater position with Ryan Sparks being the team’s main back up. With Calhoun on the team, Blue Mountain will continue to be a threat to win every tournament they attend. Yes, that includes World Cup.
– DD

Jason Bowling (Seeker, Ball State University)
In a region with Team USA seeker Roitblat and seeker phenomenon Keir Rudolph, Jason Bowling has been the unquestioned seeker of the year thus far in the Midwest, even though Polivka had a better tournament showing. Bowling uses his long arms and relentless effort to catch snitch after snitch in surprising fashion. Having seen him catch multiple snitches quickly, most notably against Marquette University and Kansas on day 2,  he usually leaves them truly wondering how exactly the catch was made. He showed his prowess again this weekend leading his team to a Final Four run, only to be ousted by Bowling Green in an out-of-snitch-range game. Ball State has built strategies around the trust they have in this guy by trying to keep teams within range to let him go to work.
– DD

George Conner (Seeker, University of Missouri)
Malek Atassi (Keeper, University of Michigan)
Matt Eveland (Beater, Ohio State)
David Hoops (Keeper, Ohio State)
Jenna Rinder (Beater, Bowling Green State University)
Blake Fitzgerald (Keeper, Ball State University)


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *