The Most Underrated Volunteer in USQ History


Cover SWW

Rock Hill Roll Call is your in-depth guide to the 80 teams that will compete for the title of World Cup 8 Champion. We’ve reached out to writers and analysts all over the country to bring you the lineups, strategies, focal points and aspirations of each and every attending team. Whether you are looking for a leg up on the competition or just want a detailed preview of the sport’s main event, this is the place for you.

UTSA

Xfactor1By Tad Walters
The University of Texas at San Antonio has had a remarkable turnaround this season after last year’s ended with a withdrawal from World Cup.

This year, the Roadrunners are looking to redeem themselves in the eyes of the nation, and that is exactly what they will do. Their sheer athleticism and bone-crunching Southwest physicality is what truly defines the San Antonio defense.

This team’s point defender rotation is, arguably, the most athletic in the country and is complemented perfectly by a quick-footed beating core led by Ruben Polanco and Jonathon Garcia. The point defenders force passes and the beaters close the gap quickly and make key beats that cause turnovers. Throw in the shot-blocking skill of keeper Austin Villejo and you have a staunch defense that is tough to break without an offensive beater.

On offense, the Roadrunners rely predominantly on one-pass plays behind the hoops and no-bludger drives to score. Captain Luke Langlinais is deadly inside the enemy keeper zone, making shots from the perimeter and taking any opportunities he is presented. The shiftiness of his supporting chasers are essential to the San Antonio offense.

There is no doubt in my mind that this squad is going to make waves in Rock Hill this weekend, proving to the world it is not the same team is was just about a year ago.
Enemy-Lines1By Anonymous
While San Antonio has become arguably the fifth-best team in the Southwest, the Roadrunners have a lot to learn before they are ready to make a run to the top.

This team struggles against any kind of zone defense because it never spreads the field and continues trying to make shots from the outside. The Roadrunners’ beaters tend to play too aggressive offensively against zones and the result is usually a no-bludger fast break for the opposition. Even when playing the typical Southwest man defense, this team’s beaters are very aggressive, but not very intelligent with their decision making.

UTSAOn defense, San Antonio’s top beater will try to cover too much space and, as a result, will be easy to pass around. While the chasers do a good job compensating by putting pressure on off-ball options, a more athletic or strategic team will be able to take advantage of the lack of game IQ. When the Roadrunners are frustrated, Langlinais and his counterparts will go from being huge playmakers to turnover machines. San Antonio’s quaffle carriers can often be baited into taking long shots and making bad passes around the hoops on offense.

At seeker, San Antonio still shotguns various players at the snitch, which only seems to work half the time, as the squad has gone 3-3 in SWIM situations this year. The main problem with this tactic is that one of the players it throws in to seek is also its best beater: Polanco. In these SWIM situations Polanco will be seeking when San Antonio arguably needs him at beater the most, which could end in some disappointing results for the Roadrunners come Saturday and Sunday. If San Antonio plays its gritty defense to the point where it dominates teams physically and can learn to adjust to zone defenses, the Roadrunners very well could be the Cinderella team of this tournament.

UTSA


AQ

Xfactor1By Staff
University of Texas’ B-team, Austin Quidditch, is its own worst enemy. Realizing its potential will be this team’s x-factor as it enters World Cup 8.

Austin Quidditch has all the makings of a great team, but time and time again this season, it has failed to meet its potential. This roster comes from an exceptional quidditch program and its players have the athleticism to compete. However, utilizing this trait seems to be a struggle for the Longhorns’ second squad.

AQThe saving grace for this team is that its beater core is on the cusp of realizing its full potential. Led by captain Zach Pickett and Leah Lawson, Austin Quidditch’s beating is intelligent, athletic and great at frustrating opposing teams when its on. Pickett, in particular, plays a hard-hitting game when necessary, but also knows when to bait the opposition into making a throw. A move he seems to favor is baiting the opposing offensive beater in beating him, throwing his own bludger back to his hoops before absorbing the throw. Look to Lawson to step up when this play is made.

As for the quaffle carriers, on a good day, they are able to go toe-to-toe with other middle-tier Southwest teams. This season they have been able to keep many teams in snitch range, until the snitch is released. Earlier on this season, Austin Quidditch fell to Loyola University-New Orleans 70-80*. At Alamo Cup, the team lost out to Oklahoma State University 110*-50. At the Southwest Regional Championship, it fell to Clone Stars 90*-40. The squad had the potential to win these games, but it choked when the snitch hit the field.

Like many B-teams, Austin Quidditch is living in the shadow of the Longhorns, coming up just short of its full potential.

AQ

Graphics and photo illustration by Amanda Dallas. Original photos by Monica Wheeler (NAU, Gambits) and Will Michels (Texas).







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