Antwerp QC, Much of Belgian Core, Leaves Competitive Quidditch

University of Texas San Antonio or Roadrunner Quidditch (as they are known), entered this season as a brand new team and immediately impressed at the Diamond Cup. While they only managed to snag a single win out of the tournament against Rice, they kept games close in pool play against Austin Quidditch and Texas Tech; both much more experienced teams, they both had to catch the snitch for the win in their games against UTSA. At the Bottom of the Bracket Invitational early this year the Roadrunners managed a run to the finals, and at the Mardi Gras Cup they held Texas to their closest game of the tournament (only 70*-20 in favor of the Longhorns).

photo credit via UTSA facebook

Credit: UTSA facebook

However, UTSA can be wildly inconsistent, especially when missing a few of their best players. This was most notable at Southwest Regionals, where they squeaked by and barely managed to grab a D1 qualifying spot. They came out of pool play as a 2nd-to-last seed, but after losing to A&M in the first round of bracket play and moving down to the consolation bracket they turned up the heat and went on a winning streak all the way through the finals.

Best Wins: vs. Oklahoma State (200*-140)
Worst Losses: vs. Loyola New Orleans (80-100*)

Key Players: Keeper Craig Garrison is a fantastic playmaker for this team. He is lanky and fast and does well to distribute the ball quickly as soon as he sees trouble. Garrison is also does a great job at passing while being tackled. Few people possess this skill, as it is easy to lose composure when being tackled, but Garrison has great vision and can make a solid pass or shot if he is near the goals in these moments. He is patient, which makes him dangerous.

The player I believe made the biggest contribution in helping UTSA qualify for D1 at World Cup is Hunter Turner. At first glance, you would think he should be wearing burnt orange from his build and style of playing. Turner is relentless as a chaser, where he can be tackled but will still get right back up and keep driving to the goals as though nothing had happened. However, he more commonly acts as a receiver catching the quaffle while on the run, which makes him a difficult player to beat. On defense, his side-to-side agility is impressive and extremely difficult to get past as he can keep up with many of the quickest players in the game.

Players to watch: Co-captain and chaser Cullen Carter unfortunately couldn’t be at Southwest Regionals, but if he is able to make it to Florida he will definitely be a player to watch on this team. Like Garrison, Carter is very patient and calculating as he will read the field and make very smart decisions based on what he sees. He is unselfish and most commonly finds himself in the role of a distributor: his teammates will make runs off of him and he will look for the best opportunity. He is also a great on-pitch seeker with a long reach and strong aptitude for powering through a snitch to make the catch.

Strategy: Since they are still a very new team, their strategy very much focuses on relatively simple plays and runs while letting their athleticism carry them naturally. They work angles around the goals very well and understand the importance of continuing runs and not remaining stationary near the goals, which can tire out teams that attempt to man-mark them. They are still developing team chemistry, but they show a lot of promise in developing a very good passing game in the near future, as they currently attempt to mix both short and long passes into their playing. Their defense is a shell of the Texas and A&M defenses where they set up a point chaser to meet the opposing team first and their other players mark up zones or players as they come running in. Their defensive chasers show a lot of physicality and don’t hesitate to make a tackle, and their beaters sit back and typically work to make quick beats on the opposing quaffle carrier.

Strengths: UTSA has a lot of raw athletic talent, which has been a huge input to their relative success as a new team this season. Most notably in their chasing game, they have all adapted playing styles directly from their previous sports and use them strongly to their advantage.

Weaknesses: Their beater game is by far their biggest weakness due to a strong lack of organized strategy. They don’t seem to have a coordinated beater strategy which is most noticeable in their inability to maintain bludger control in many games. Luckily, their athleticism helps act a small buffer here because their beaters are fairly accurate in the shots they make. To improve, they just need to really talk about how to incorporate their beaters in their defense and work with their chasers to successfully stop opposing attacks.

Prediction: I don’t think the Roadrunners will be able to make it out of pool play. While they have athleticism on their side, they are going to be outmatched by most other teams at World Cup with much more experience and strategy.

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