Guest Column: Southwest Beater Analysis


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Rock Hill Roll Call is your in-depth guide to the 80 teams that will compete for the title of World Cup 8 Champion. We’ve reached out to writers and analysts all over the country to bring you the lineups, strategies, focal points and aspirations of each and every attending team. Whether you are looking for a leg up on the competition or just want a detailed preview of the sport’s main event, this is the place for you.

Macaulay

Notable TraitBy Amanda Dallas
Macaulay Honors College does not boast an impressive seasonal record or an extensive list of experienced players. However, this squad is easily one of the most resilient in the league.

The Marauders’ history is riddled with impressive comebacks, from former seeker Andrew Zagelbaum’s two-grab, zero-quaffle point qualification at the 2013 Northeast Regional Championship to the team’s World Cup VII, 100*^-70 overtime win against eventual runner-up Texas State University. And the performance displayed thus far by the 2014-15 squad is no exception.

MacaulayForced into the loser’s bracket of the 2014 Northeast Regional Championship after putting up a 3-4 record, Macaulay managed to pull it together when it really counted–winning 100*-40 against the University of Massachusetts and 110^-80* in overtime against Brandeis University. In both wins, it was history repeating itself for the Marauders: Their seeker’s resilience saved the team.

After a season of living in Zagelbaum’s shadow, seeker Abhishek Samdaria has finally been granted a chance to shine. Though he may still be developing his skill, he has proven capable of squeezing the team out of some tough spots. He will need to continue to put his body on the line to make quick, successful grabs for this squad as to not run the team too far into the ground at World Cup 8.

With Macaulay facing a Swiss-style bracket this year, its players’ resilience will mean everything. A true underdog, the Marauders will be favored to come up short against many opponents, but, as they have demonstrated in the past, if they keep their heads up and play their hearts out, they could pull the upsets it takes to come home with at least a 3-2 record.

XfactorFinalBy Michael Parada
He will never admit it, but the x-factor for this team is second-year coach Shenuque Tissera. A solid player in his own right, Tissera can also seek and beat when the Marauders need him. He has the most playing experience of anyone on the team and is, without a doubt, one of the top seeker coaches in the world, boasting a resume that includes Team USA back-up Zagelbaum. Noted for intelligent plays, Tissera’s ability to recognize needs on pitch makes up for his he lack of brawn. If Tissera can keep his team on the right path and, unlike many others, learn to be a little selfish with personal play time, his team could profit at World Cup 8.

Outside of Tissera, Macaulay will need Chris Pinto to put aside his rebellious streak in order for the team to see success. One of the most underrated keepers in the Northeast, Pinto has a suite of tools at his disposal. But while he is athletic, physical and smart with or without the ball in his hands, Pinto’s potential is compromised by his temper. An altercation against Texas State  at World Cup VII led to a straight red for Pinto and suspension for the following match, costing Macaulay its final game against the Utah Crimson Fliers. The Macaulay squad that beat Texas State in pool play missed bracket play after going 2-1 due to his poor judgment and a lack of control. If Tissera can reel in Pinto’s temper enough to unleash his playing ability, then a better Macaulay than anyone can expect will be on display at World Cup 8.

Macaulay


Grand-Valley

XfactorFinalBy Luke Changet
Grand Valley State University works a passing game at the top of the key and look for opportunities to either drive or get an open pass to Katie Tompkins near the hoops. Tompkins is a hidden gem of a talent on an otherwise lackluster team.

One of the team’s top scorers, Tompkins rarely handles the ball but is the kind of off-ball talent that every successful team needs. The problem is that Grand Valley lacks aggressive ball carriers to create space on-point to open up more scoring opportunities for its quaffle players. Captain John Alexander is probably the best ball carrier on the team, but he mainly uses speed and balance to hold his own and doesn’t have the strength to fight through tackles or create his own space. If Grand Valley’s passing game is on point and the chasers are positioned correctly, they will be able to find space. If the team falters on its passes, it will really struggle.

Enemy-LinesBy Anonymous
Grand Valley  is the definition of a middle-of-the-road team. At the Midwest Regional Championship, the Grindylows beat the teams at the bottom of the pile, lost to the teams in the upper half of the pile and snuck into bracket play by taking the last qualifying place in their pool, only to lose in the first or second round. This team has not defeated a top-10 Midwest program since its win over Central Michigan University in 2012. The Grindylows have very few appearances that went above and beyond, but that doesn’t mean they can’t do so.

GVSUFINALGrand Valley is a team that has a large amount of individual talent, raw physical ability and experience. Ben Arndt, Collin Charron, Greg Chandonnet–should he choose to return–and Jacob Dillon combine to make, arguably, the single best beating corps  in the region. This is slightly hindered, however, by the lack of a decent female beater. Amber Eaton’s hot-headedness and lack of mobility, unfortunately, nullify her field vision and cannon of an arm. Still, the team has strength and ability at all positions in addition to an advantage in raw personnel over many teams in the region.

If they can develop mental toughness and a desire for success, there is no reason Grand Valley cannot play at a championship caliber. At Tournament of the Stars II, they kept Ohio State’s power-chaser attack scoreless for the first 5 minutes of the match. However, once Ohio State scored its first goal, the Grindylow squad fell apart mentally, losing by over 100 points. Similarly, Grand Valley’s opening match against UCLA in pool play of World Cup VII was tied at 50-50 nearly 10 minutes into the match before the Grindylows cracked under the pressure and gave up 100 unanswered points.

In short, Grand Valley is a squad of individuals with nothing but raw talent and potential, but show up to tournaments under-conditioned, mentally unprepared and unable to match the intensity of a real game. With an attitude adjustment, they could make real waves in Rock Hill.

GVSU

Graphics and photo illustration by Amanda Dallas. Original photos by Michael E. Mason (left) and Nicole Harrig (right).







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