Guest Column: Southwest Beater Analysis


Pool A, Round 1: DCQC Struggles to Defend Rank, Boom Train Comes Away Undefeated
By Ricky Nelson

Twin Cities 130* – DCQC 40
Boom Train 150* – Carnage 30
Cosmos 120* – Diablos 60
DCQC 90* – Cosmos 40
Boom Train 130* – Twin Cities 60
Carnage 80* – Diablos 40

Greetings from the US Quarantine Cup pool of death. While many think that the pool of death is where the toughest, scariest teams appear, it is really where anything can happen. With two rounds of this club pool out of the way, only half of the games went to the expected winner. Diablos QC was the only team that didn’t manage to take a win so far,with two snitch-range losses that certainly stung for the first-year team.

DCQC came into their first matchup as the favorite in the rankings. As the tournament’s closest team, they also showed up with a full, healthy roster–quite different from USQ Cup 12’s nine-player DCQC. Thus, hopes were high for their performance. Unfortunately, their less-experienced roster was up against No. 4 Twin Cities QC, who came with confidence from beating 4/6 of the pool this season. Twin Cities gave up the first goal, but after they settled in with bludger control, they managed to take and steadily build a lead. At 18 minutes, the score was 90-20 with another goal from Twin Cities shortly after snitch was released. Then, Twin Cities committed the beaters to seeker play allowing DCQC to take two goals in one minute. Twin Cities may have changed to a slower style of play, but a quick catch made it unnecessary.

On pitch three, we saw an unexciting game overall. Boom Train came into this weekend ready to play, much more physical and coordinated than the lower-ranked Carnage Quidditch. Carnage managed to get only one of its goals against a set defense with a long shot while the others came in transition. Despite the goals they gave up, Boom Train held the lead the entire game, pulling out of range in the first 10 minutes.

The Houston Cosmos may have been the most under-ranked team in this pool due to their limited number of games this season. Despite the Diablos having bludger control most of the game, an overly aggressive style left their beaters out of position during several fast break situations. Those heads-up plays by Cosmos allowed them to pull out of range. Though the Diablos managed to get into range after a few minutes of snitch on pitch, the Cosmos caught the snitch shortly after the runner no longer had the Diablos seeker to hide behind.

DCQC, fresh off a stinging defeat in the first round, needed to make a statement in this next game; unfortunately, it was a slow statement. Both DCQC and Cosmos were overly cautious, the former not risking a loss, and the latter not taking a chance on the game going out of range. With few fast break situations, both teams spent ages passing around set defenses until beaters opened a path or they could take a long shot. Tied at 18 minutes, superior driving by Riley Starrs on DCQC showed its strength after Comsos’s one bludger was used, unsuccessfully, to defend the snitch.

Boom Train solidified its status as the favorite for this pool in an out-of-range win over Twin Cities. Having already faced each other twice this year, we had an inkling of how this would go as Boom Train won both of those contests. While the teams traded blows early, Boom Train started to break away around the seven-minute mark with a series of goals by Nathan Digmann. The game was out of range by 18 minutes and stayed that way the entire time the snitch was on pitch. Though Boom Train slowed down the pace, giving their seekers time to work, Twin Cities’ seeker never had a shot at the snitch.

Both teams reeling from losses earlier in the day, Carnage and the Diablos had an extremely low-scoring, physical game. Both teams had a substantial number of cards with Caleb Ragatz on Diablos redding out for a face beat that the head referee deemed excessive force, and Carnage’s Darius Housey getting two yellows to sit out the rest of the game. The loss of the beater could not have come at a worse time with the game tied and one minute left before snitch. Carnage managed to take a small lead and catch the snitch, who was entirely focused on the Diablos seeker, all before the two-minute penalty time. It is unknown at this time whether the red card will result in any suspension for Ragatz.

 

Pool B, Round 1: Heat Cruises While Lone Star Comes Out Swinging
By Ricky Nelson

Heat 160* – Chicago United 30
Bosny 80* – Lone Star 70
Breakers 110* – Long Beach 50
Heat 190* – Long Beach 0
Bosny 160* – Chicago United 40
Lone Star 120* – Breakers 40

This pool is likely the most interesting of the club pools, with two top-level teams in the one and two slots and easily the strongest fifth slot team in the tournament. Aside from obvious upsets coming out of Lone Star QC, the level of play in several of these match up makes for some extremely exciting games

Texas Hill Country Heat’s opening game did not seem to challenge them at all; they maintained bludger control and controlled the pace of the entire game. Heat scored fast and often with open lanes blown open by Jackson Johnson and every chaser getting opportunities at hoop. With the score 130-30 at 18 minutes, Chicago United QC was attempting to suicide the game, but a catch in under 30 seconds by TJ Goaley meant they never had the chance.

It is unclear whether the Bosnyan Bearsharks came out of the game underestimating Lone Star QC or if Lone Star just had a better read on Bosny–either way, the Southwest team started strong. Lone Star was up 30 before Bosny managed a goal, thanks to both the Texans’s own merit and a couple key misplays by Bosny. With the Bosny starting line’s early mistakes and frustrations, Bosny Coach Justin Cole called for his timeout nine minutes in. With time to breathe, Bosny made the second half of the seeker floor a game. Lone Star was outscored 50-30 before snitch came on. With Austin Springs LaFoy seeking for Lone Star and Tyler Trudeau on Bosny, both seekers and all beaters were on snitch. A clutch beat by Perry Wang prevented a Lone Star catch and Trudeau caught while LaFoy tagged up.

The two West teams in this pool did not wow in their performances. While there were some good individual plays in the Bay Area Breakers vs. Long Beach Funky Quaffles matchup, the coordination necessary to really challenge the more competitive teams was lacking on both sides of the pitch. The score remained low at 40-20 Breakers when the snitch came on pitch. The teams traded quaffle points as the Breakers finally caught shortly after the snitch went down to one hand.

There is not much to say about the Heat vs. Long Beach game; it was a blowout. The most notable controversy was when an obviously good suicide catch by Long Beach was called off for no justifiable reason, allowing Heat to keep all tiebreakers in their favor.

Bosny came into their second game with momentum and put up a strong lead early with the score 80-0 at 10 minutes. A pair of back-to-back goals is the only scoring Chicago managed before the snitch. With the score 120- 20 when the snitch came out, Chicago managed two more goals as their seeker defended the snitch, but it was not enough and Bosny took the game in short order.

While Lone Star did not come out swinging like they did in the Bosny game, they did take bludger control while ceding the first goal to the Breakers. The bludgers would remain with Lone Star for the majority of the game as the Southwest team went on to steadily build a lead, resulting in them being comfortably out of range with a lead 90-30 at 18 minutes. Lone Star went on to catch the snitch less than two minutes later, giving up only one goal in that time.

 

Pool C, Round 1: Cavalry Rides While Revolution Struggles to a Slow Start
By Josh Mansfield

Cavalry 200* – Nocturns 0
Revolution 170* – Scorpions 50
Freedom 150* – Storm 10
Cavalry 230* – Storm 0
Nocturns 80* – Revolution 60
Scorpions 130* – Freedom 40

There was little doubt Texas Cavalry would show up strong as they look to clinch their fourth consecutive national title. Prioritizing their defense, Cavalry was able to hold both the New York Nocturns and Southern Storm to shutouts in their first two games for a 430**-0 showing in their first two games.

After a harsh loss to Cavalry, the Nocturns came back to upset Revolution in an 80*-60 victory to end the morning with a 1-1 record. After an in-range loss to Revolution at the Northeast Regional Championship in October, Nocturns Manager Christian Barnes noted the importance of “disrupting beater chemistry” through emphasizing “physicality in the beater corps.” Implementing that strategy allowed the Nocturns to slow the game down enough to give seeker Abhishek Samdaria the chance to make a quick grab during snitch on pitch, sealing the win.

Finishing up the morning, the Arizona Scorpions were able to run off a decisive 130*-40 win against the 1-0 Philadelphia Freedom, leaving the Scorpions with a 1-1 record and on track to fight for a spot in a bracket in their first nationals appearance.

“We have been waiting for this opportunity to show the country how a scrappy and passionate West team can compete [at the national level],” said Scorpions Coach Belmina Mehmedagic Davis. “This is a great chance to play teams outside the region and show them that we relish a physical game.”

 

Pool D, Round 1: Chaos Reigns in Pool D with Upsets, Close Losses and Drama
By Josh Mansfield

Dallas 100* – Lost Boys 70
Warriors 100* – Space Cowboys 70
Terminus 190* – Vipers 60
Lost Boys 140* – Vipers 10
Warriors 120* – Dallas 50
Terminus 100^ – Space Cowboys 70*

Playing in the first time slot of the pool, QC Dallas set the tone for this pool with a snitch-range win over the Lost Boys. This marks the largest upset against the Lost Boys at a national tournament since World Cup 7 in 2014, where, coincidently, Dallas beater Daniel Depaula found himself on the other end of as well – then playing for Louisiana State University.

“Our goal was simple: keep it in range, let Paige Lehrmann work her magic at seeker, and let Daniel do what he does best: beat the Lost Boys,” said Joey Galtelli, coach of Dallas.

In the second round, the Lost Boys were able to rebound with a decisive win over their West Coast neighbors the Silicon Valley Vipers. Meanwhile, Dallas, riding their momentum from a morning win fell just out of range against The Warriors, coming into pool play at 2-0 and looking to improve upon last year’s semifinal appearance.

Space Cowboys QC, despite being in fifth place in the pool with an 0-2 record, were able to give the 2-0 Warriors and Terminus Quidditch Atlanta close games, holding the former to a quaffle game tie in the first round and taking the second to overtime.

“Sometimes snitch on pitch can be a flip of a coin and it sucks to lose these two games against some of our friends. We have to use this frustration as motivation to win the next three games,” said Ben Strauss, coach of Space Cowboys. “At the very least, we have shown that we can play with the top teams in the country.”
Pool C, Round 1: Cavalry rides while Revolution struggles to a slow start







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