Guest Column: Southwest Beater Analysis


For quite some time, the South was basically synonymous with “Florida.” In the last regional tournament of the season, though, the University of Southern Mississippi, as well as Tennessee Tech, made a bold statement to the nation to not forget about other parts of the region. To other teams in the Southwest, however, USM’s strong performance came as no surprise. Just on the region’s border, USM has been a frequent participant in SW tournaments in the past year, and the competition has steadily upped their game.

USM

Best Wins: 60*-30 v USF (3/3/13)

Worst Losses:

Key Players: Kyle Carpenter and Brendon Frisella are both strong presences at seeker. Or chaser. Or beater. These two are not just fast, strong, and smart, they can be all of those things for a very long time. Their aggressive style has them constantly pushing for whichever ball they’re playing for and just does not give the opposition a break.

Players to Watch: At beater, Abigail Jacobson has a solid throw, catches most things that come at her, and has a great mind for the game. On a team that is still early in its strategic development, she is a valuable asset and will only improve with experience.

Strategy: USM has good reason to trust their seekers, so while many teams may try to get up 40 points, the Golden Eagles can play rather comfortably even when 20 points down. Many of their players are deceptively fast and strong, able to drive the ball, make key stops, and fight for every bludger. This is not to say the team plays a mindless game of brute force completely devoid of strategy: rather, their teamwork carries them through and allows them to make decisions that others may have to concentrate on in order to evade.

Strengths: Almost every team goes through the stage where most of their players play any position before they begin to refine set positions with a few utility players. At first glance, USM still seems to be in that earlier stage. However, a closer look shows that instead, more players than most teams have are just that versatile, which allows them to adapt and change their strategy in different games. It’s a lot harder to know what you’ll be up against when the same players have different but effective strategies at multiple positions, and that’s exactly what USM is going to throw at you.

Weaknesses: The versatility, unfortunately, is a double-edged sword. While the pure athleticism of the top players develops easily through switching positions constantly, the strategy falls short. If this team is constantly outrunning you, your best bet is to try and outthink them.

Prediction: USM should turn in a solid performance through their pool games, but they’re likely to face a tough road coming in from the fifth pot. Depending on whether the challenge feeds their intensity or kills it, they can make the first bracket round.







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