Antwerp QC, Much of Belgian Core, Leaves Competitive Quidditch

Credit: Amanda Dallas

East Division
Ottawa Black Bears (2017: 1-5, 2nd) at New York Titans (2017: 1-5, 3rd)
July 15, 11 am EDT
All-Time Series: New York 6-0

New York travels across the border for the first time ever in a far more precarious spot than they expected to find themselves this late in the season.

The New York Titans followed up an early season sweep at the hands of the Boston Night Riders with a narrow 2-1 defeat to Washington Admirals, meaning that third place in the East Division, and a spot in the MLQ Championship in August, would come down to a best-two-out-of-three series with Ottawa Black Bears.

After four games defined by hard-nosed defense to start the season, which included keeping Boston in-range once and beating Washington out-of-range, everything seemed to crumble in the back half of the Admirals series, with the Titans allowing 130 quaffle points in the second game and 110 in the third, the second and third highest point totals the team had allowed all season. This was likely in part due to the loss of Mike Madonna to injury, who had been one of the team’s two most effective beaters alongside Devin Lee and the absence of stalwart defender David Fox for the entire Washington series. While Fox is back for this key matchup, Madonna’s continued absence will leave coach Michael “Yada” Parada with the difficult task of forming beater pairings with a roster that lacks one upper-tier minority-gender beater.

On the other side of the field, Ottawa will be once again be missing some key contributors. While Steven Kimball, the team’s leading scorer in their series against Washington, will miss a second straight series, Julien Bernier and Kyle Ross will be joined by Cayden Peixoto in the quaffle game for the first time this season. But perhaps more important is the absence of key beater Martin Chiasson, which will put the onus on Raphael Roy-Laurore to have a massive series against the talented beating corps of New York.

To safely clinch a spot in League City, the Titans will likely need to control the beater game from minute one. The Black Bears are a physical squad that will not give away free goals unless a beater is leading the team down the field in transition, and if New York cannot create the type of chaos that Boston found so much success with against Ottawa, they could find themselves in the same type of half-court scoring droughts that plagued the Admirals at times throughout their series with the Black Bears. And while Washington was able to tough out a 2-1 win over Ottawa with a game-three victory, New York does not want to find themselves in a one-game, winner-take-all scenario to determine their postseason future, where nerves could easily begin to creep into the equation.

Expect the Titans to take the series, but to go through some growing pains as they try to correct the beating issues they faced in the back half of the last series and create offense against a physical opposition not prone to giving away free drives.

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