Guest Column: Southwest Beater Analysis


Credit: Loring Masters

Credit: Loring Masters

Defending back-to-back Mid-Atlantic Regional champion University of Maryland may face its biggest challenge of the year this weekend—and it comes from its own bench.

The Terrapins’ roster includes just three chasers with at least a season of experience under their belts: Eric King, Garett Sadtler and Liz Ebeling.

MARC

Each of these players is wildly talented, but Maryland’s strength has historically been a 21-deep roster. This year, the team will drop off in skill as substitutes enter the field. Furthermore, the most notably missing pieces are the most capable of handling the pressure of a championship game.

Seniors Steven Sleasman and Matt Angelico have missed every tournament this season, and Steven Gambino and Matt Paesch have made just one apiece. Entering what would be their fourth season with the squad, these players were expected to anchor the team, particularly in high-pressure situations. Though Maryland has done a good job recruiting and training new players, even the best of its pickups, freshman Ben Whong, will be missing from the region’s most important tournament of the fall.

The absence of Gambino and Whong will be doubly felt, as they were alternate seekers for Brenden Hutton. This will force the centerpiece of the Maryland offense to focus on seeking after the 18-minute mark. Hutton will need to end games quickly before his absence can be felt in the quaffle game.

THE BRIGHT SIDE
Captain Jeremy Dehn has faced each tournament with fewer weapons than the last, yet the team’s performance has steadily improved. The team fell to regional rival UNC at the Terrapins’ home tournament, Turtle Cup. Going into Oktoberfest Invitational, a tournament in New York that boasted the best of the Northeast, there were some doubts about the team. However, the Terps performed well, making the finals with an injury-ridden roster, where they then successfully pressured Quidditch Club Boston with a two-male beater set. Prior to that, the team even took a win off the Northeast Regional Championship runner-up Rochester United, showing Dehn and company know how to devise a plan to challenge top teams even with a limited roster.

In the quaffle game, Hutton has established himself as a long-range threat and King has the size to do whatever he wants down by the hoops. Ebeling will be looking to to make a splash since Erin Mallory took all the limelight last year with her buzzer beater goal against UNC in the final of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Championship.

The team has been blessed with the easiest pool at its regional, with its only threat coming from the Philadelphia Honey Badgers, a team with some athletic players but not enough to challenge even this depleted Maryland squad. Unless a few teams sneak in suicide grabs, Maryland should hit the point cap on other teams in its pool and finish with its traditionally high point differential.

As a result of its pool, Maryland should remain fresh for day two and snag a top seed. With UNC, its biggest rival, facing a tougher road, luck will be a major factor in day one’s results. For the first time in three years, Maryland’s hegemony in the region is in doubt.







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