Guest Column: Southwest Beater Analysis


Credit: Arkansas Club Sports

Credit: Arkansas Club Sports

Even though they are one of the lesser known Southwest teams, University of Arkansas stepped out onto the big stage at Southwest Regionals and managed to turn some heads among those who didn’t think they would be able to compete against the Texas and Louisiana teams. The Razorbacks are actually not a new team as they formed in the Spring of 2010, competing against top competition in the Fall of 2010 at the WSU Tournament where they faced off against Texas A&M and Kansas. Since then, they have focused on competition in their backyard, regularly playing other teams based in Arkansas and Oklahoma. They won the Arkansas Scramble back in the fall, and they have done well in the Hog’s Head Invitational that they host each year. At Southwest Regionals, the Razorbacks placed 2nd in their pool, losing only to UT. They made it to the quarterfinals before losing to Texas State (30-90*).

 

Best Wins: None

Worst Losses: vs Oklahoma State (40-50* Jan. 26th)

 

Key Players: Peter and Joey Reynebeau are definitely a dynamic duo to look out for. These two brothers are both chasers and work phenomenally well together on the pitch. They combine effective communication, athletic skill, and speed to lead the Razorback offense. The Reynebeaus have the athleticism to match many top chasers in the game.
Team captain and beater Lauren Grantham is another standout player on this team. She does a fantastic job leading the team confidently while on-pitch using good communication. Grantham also utilizes great field awareness and pinpoint accuracy that help support a very stout defense.
Players to Watch: A new player for the team this year, Eric Dreggors, has proved to be an asset as the Razorback’s seeker. While he doesn’t have the wingspan or reach some taller seekers have, he combines strength and strategy from a solid wrestling background that have proved very effective for him, considering he caught 4 out of 5 snitches at the Southwest Regionals.
Ethan McCormick, an extremely experienced beater, helps provide an even more solid foundation to Arkansas’s beating game and defense. Playing since the Spring of 2010, he has gained a strong knowledge of the intricacies of beating and understands strategy extremely well. McCormick uses speed and endurance to be all over the field and break down an offense without ever throwing a bludger.

 

Strategy: Arkansas places a heavy focus on defense, leaving their beaters back to not risk losing bludger control; their chasers man-mark to avoid giving offenses too much room to develop a solid passing game. The beaters and chasers communicate very well together, always working in unison to eliminate threats and stop any breakaways.
On offense, the Razorbacks focus on running many different lines to try and catch defenses off guard. They utilize multiple strategies and are always working to control the tempo of the game. They have a strong passing game and know how to work around beaters. Typically, they won’t drive the quaffle to the hoops without a passing option because they lack  the size to power through large defenders.

 

Weakness: The two biggest weaknesses of the Razorbacks are their lack of size and lack of high-profile games this season. Physically, they are a rather small team so against teams that can maintain bludger control and run their larger chaser and keepers down the field, Arkansas will struggle. As mentioned above, they have focused most of their competition within their small geographical area, so before Southwest Regionals the only top opponent they had faced was Kansas. Therefore, they have not yet been exposed to some of the unique and very effective strategies of the top teams from other regions, nor have they been under the type of pressure they will face at World Cup.
Strengths: Communication is their biggest strength, as you would be hard pressed to find a time during a game where the team isn’t talking amongst themselves and making adjustments. This type of strength is intimidating because it means they are smart and are not going to simply break down during a frustrating game. They all keep each other in check and focused on the current game and goal ahead of them.

 

Prediction: Facing off against Maryland and Lost Boys will be very tough, as those teams can both take advantage of Arkansas’s weaknesses, so I predict they will get 3rd in that pool which will unfortunately set them up with a very tough game against a top seed in the round of 32. I see them bowing out in that round unless they get a lucky draw.







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