Guest Column: Southwest Beater Analysis


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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.

Michigan-State

Notable TraitBy Eric Wasser
Michigan State University is not a team known for their offensive organization and formations. Instead, they play a fast-paced game that relies on the expectation that the opposing defense will be on their heels and unable to adequately handle one-on-one driving situations that are often followed by quick dish to the other side of the hoops. That is not to say that there is not a method to Michigan State’s style. The squad is heavily reliant on off-ball chasers to not only keep up with the pace of ball carriers like Jacob Heppe, but to also be moving into position for an open catch and release on the far hoop.

MichiganAdditionally, the Spartans are extremely dependent on the removal of opposing beaters to create a driving lane and have a tendency to suffer when the other team maintains a conservative beater by the hoops. However, the easiest way to deal with Michigan State’s strategy is to win convincingly on offensive possessions. A strong shot from the front side of the hoops or an emphatic dunk buys a team enough time to retreat and re-establish their defensive footing before the Spartans can charge up the field.

XfactorFinalBy Eric Wasser
Nic Dziadosz has been the backbone of Michigan State’s quaffle game for years. Much deserved praise goes to Heppe for his athleticism, but when he is off pitch either to rest or seek (as the team needs of him much more this year due to the departure of Jack Norgren), it is easy for the Spartans to falter. However, Dziadosz’s size and speed help the team transition easily between primary ball carriers. Recently, he suffered a broken collarbone in practice and has been sidelined since the incident. Sizable, physical and smart, Kevin Fennell could serve as this replacement. However, he would have to spend the next two months building up his endurance and increasing his speed. If the team is unable to find a strong replacement for Dziadosz, they will suffer anytime Heppe cannot be in, predominantly when the snitch is on pitch.

MSU


Hofstra

XfactorFinalBy Devin Sandon
In order to do well at World Cup 8, Hofstra University will need to spread the weight of the offense effectively. This season, Hofstra has shown glimpses of a very strong passing game with good contributions coming from every player on the field. However, the squad has more frequently shown—particularly when the pressure is on—its offense is a one-man show that begins and ends with keeper Jaime Colon.

A former football player with a low center of gravity, surprising agility and a penchant for blocking bludgers, Colon can drive through many defenses to score. However, in the same way that the Seattle Seahawks needed to have a passing game to supplement their run, Hofstra needs to become more comfortable with utilizing the two-pass offense they have previously shown. They need to develop a less-predictable offense, one which is less reliant on a single player who could suffer an injury or be worn down by a series of competitive games in the swiss bracket.

Hofstra has shown that they can put together a strong passing offense, they now need to prove themselves able to commit to it better under pressure. As hard as it may be, Jaime needs to trust his teammates—such as Ani Ghazarossian and Andrew Johnson—more and try to put the team on his back less.

Enemy-Lines

By Anonymous
Of the Northeast teams that regularly trot out a two-male beater set, Hofstra is by far the most flexible, largely due to the presence of Theresa Buchta. While she struggled at the Northeast Regional Championship, she’s still a strong presence that allows the team to switch out of its two-male set without fearing much of a drop off in performance. Because of this, you have to be ready for a variety of looks from the Dutchmen.

HofstraOffensively, Hofstra is looking almost exclusively to find a driving route from the top of the zone, and they’ll do just about anything they need to to achieve it. With bludger control, they will still bring a beater up to take away point defenders and create a no-bludger situation. If they can’t create a lane for Colon purely with bludgers, he’ll often look for a field-shifting pass to a chaser, most often Johnson. Johnson will often look to swing it back to an open Colon, so that option needs to be cut off by the point defender. Otherwise, Colon will try to drive himself or look for a tertiary option, a point at which the Dutchmen’s offense often breaks down.

Defensively, Hofstra is going to be extremely conservative with their bludgers, often playing them horizontally close to the hoops when they have control, knowing how vital it is to their offense. Be patient, eliminate the point defender and the mid-range shots or close-to-hoops passes should be open. Hit a few in a row, and you can stretch out the defense, leaving them more susceptible to giving away control.

If you are in a snitch range game with the Dutchmen, it’s important to know your snitch. Rob Walsh may be unassuming, but he is deadly when sneaking around an opposing seeker engaged with the snitch. That being said, he struggles one-on-one. So if your seeker is careful, the rest of your team can focus on running up the score while Walsh struggles.

Hofstra







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