Sunday, November 2, 2014

Sunday Snitch: Maryland Repeats as Mid-Atlantic Champions

By Andy Marmer

The University of Maryland (UMD) is the repeat regional champion, and the team couldn’t have done it in a more dramatic fashion. UMD outlasted the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) in overtime, 160*-150 (no overtime snitch catch). The two teams traded goals throughout regulation without either establishing much of a lead. UNC stretched its lead to 30 as the seeker floor ended, but UMD star Harry Greenhouse pulled the snitch to send the match to overtime.

In overtime, both teams continued to trade goals with one make answered by another, while snitch Jack Harver fended off both teams' seekers. UMD held the advantage throughout the extra session, scoring five times only for UNC to answer each with a return goal. With 19 seconds left in the extra session, UMD went down a player due to a red card. As the countdown rang out around the pitch, Maryland captain Bryan Barrows, a four-year veteran of the program, recovered the quaffle and sped off, streaking down the pitch. With three seconds left, Barrows flung a pass to team President Erin Mallory, herself a four-year player, who hesitated with the quaffle before throwing it through the short hoop with just one second remaining, giving UMD the heart-stopping victory.

The final was just one of the stories of the tournament. Although the finalists were as many expected, the tournament still saw its fair share of interesting results. A week ago, I correctly predicted that Maryland would knock off Villanova Community Quidditch in the semifinals and that UNC would knock off the University of Richmond Spiders, but the "how" surprised me.

UMD was the favorite entering the regional championship with nary a challenge expected. However, Maryland struggled out of the gate, barely escaping snitch range in a 150*-80 win over Penn State University in its first game and narrowly edging Capital Madness in its second game 100*-60. UMD settled down after that, winning 250*-0 over West Virginia University and by forfeit against the Horn Tailed Horcruxes in its final two pool play games. Maryland’s momentum continued into bracket play as it won each of its next three games by at least 100 points—150*-50 over Rutgers University to qualify for World Cup, 160*-50 over Penn State in the quarterfinals, and in a semifinal rematch of last year’s championship contest, 150*-40 over Villanova to advance to the finals.

UNC earned the top seed entering bracket play, thriving in the Pool of Death. Its offense has been a juggernaut all season, and it has served UNC well as it scored a minimum of 80 points in each of its three pool play games (it won its fourth over Q.C. Pittsburgh by forfeit). UNC led by a minimum of 70 points at the time of the snitch catch and was not challenged through pool play. It continued its dominant offense in bracket play, winning by 120 points over the Philadelphia Honey Badgers to qualify for World Cup and then advancing to the semifinals with a 180*-30 win over Capital Madness. Richmond was able to slow UNC in the semifinals, but the southernmost squad eventually pulled to advance to the finals 130*-80.

Villanova earned the number two seed entering the bracket by handling its pool with surprising ease. Although Villanova was expected to be challenged by a University of Virginia squad that it had previously topped 60*-30 at Turtle Cup IV and a George Mason University (GMU) team that it needed overtime to defeat, Villanova took out Virginia 140*-40 and George Mason 100-60*. Villanova took its other two pool games by 120 points.

Richmond was suspected to have the easiest time taking a top seed. I had them slated for the second seed, not based on talent but on an easy pool. Instead, Pool A ended up the wildest pool of the bunch. Richmond topped the pool with a 3-1 record, beating both the Appalachian Apparators and Lock Haven University by a snitch catch, 120*-80 and 90*-30, respectively. It blew out Grove City College 180*-10 and fell to Johns Hopkins Hallows 120*-90. Appalachian likewise finished 3-1 in the pool, with three out of snitch-range wins; however, Richmond earned the fourth seed by virtue of its head-to-head victory. Lock Haven and Hopkins each finished 2-2 in the pool with Lock Haven taking third by virtue of its head-to-head win.

The play-in round saw the Philadelphia Honey Badgers knock off West Virginia University, Johns Hopkins take out the Horn Tailed Horcruxes, Duke University beat Grove City, and Rutgers eliminate Carnegie Mellon.

UNC, Capital Madness, Richmond, Appalachian, Villanova, George Mason, Maryland, and Penn State qualified for USQ World Cup 8 by advancing to the quarterfinals, while Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) and the University of Virginia qualified through the consolation bracket. Q.C. Pittsburgh took 11th place, qualifying it as the first alternate for World Cup.

For those that like to track my predictions, I correctly predicted the champion, both finalists, all four semifinalists, six of eight quarterfinalists (I incorrectly predicted that Rutgers and VCU would make it and left out Penn State and George Mason), and nine of 10 World Cup qualifiers (I incorrectly picked Rutgers over George Mason).

I expected Rutgers to take second in its pool and generally be more impressive than it was. The team that I thought would finish 3-1 in pool play fell to Q.C. Pittsburgh 180*-140 and VCU 70*-40. George Mason was a team I thought talented enough to qualify, but I just thought a tough schedule would do it in. Instead, a 60*-40 victory over Virginia in the Round of 16 allowed GMU to advance through the winner’s bracket rather than the perilous consolation route. The victory over Virginia was a bit of a surprise as GMU had lost previously to Virginia in the tournament 120*-40 and 100*-50 earlier in the season at Mini Cup.

Midwest Preview

Sorry, Midwest, you have too many teams for me to go pool-by-pool and break down my expectations, so I’m going to refer my readers to some of our Midwest writers for detailed predictions. However, I still want to take a shot at predicting some results, so let’s get to it.

Pool One: University of Kansas 4-0, Blue Mountain Quidditch Club 3-1, Purdue University 2-2, Spartan Spitfires 1-3, Northwestern University 0-4

Pool Two: University of Minnesota 4-0, Michigan State University 3-1, Falcon Warriors 2-2, University of Illinois 1-3, Southern Indiana University 0-4

Pool Three: Ball State University 4-0, Marquette University 3-1, Mighty Bucks 2-2, Southern Illinois University 1-3, and Wooster College 0-4

Pool Four: University of Michigan 3-0, Indiana University 2-1, Ohio University 1-2, Iowa State University 0-3

Pool Five: Central Michigan University (CMU) 3-0, Miami University 2-1, Crimson Warhawks 1-2, Loyola 0-3

Pool Six: Ohio State University 3-0, University of Missouri 2-1, Eastern Michigan University (EMU) 1-2, Indiana University South Bend 0-3

Pool Seven: Bowling Green State University 3-0, Grand Valley State University (GVSU) 2-1, Illinois State University 1-2, and TC Frost 0-3

Out of these pools, 21 teams advance to bracket play, as such I will project the seeding (*signals World Cup qualification):
1. Ohio State* 2. Michigan* 3. Ball State* 4. BGSU* 5. Kansas* 6. Minnesota* 7. CMU* 8. BMQC*, 9. Michigan State*, 10. Marquette*, 11. Missouri*, 12. Miami 13. Grand Valley State, 14. Indiana 15. Purdue 16. Illinois State 17. Ohio 18. Crimson Warhawks, 19. Mighty Bucks, 20. Falcon Warriors, 21. Eastern Michigan

Play-in: Miami def EMU, Falcon Warriors* def GVSU, Mighty Bucks* def Indiana, Purdue* def. Crimson Warhawks, Illinois State* def. Ohio

Round of 16: Ohio State def. Illinois State, Michigan def. Purdue, Ball State def. Mighty Bucks, BGSU def. Falcon Warriors, Kansas def. Miami, Minnesota def. Missouri, CMU def. Marquette, BMQC def. Michigan State

Elite Eight: Ohio State def. BMQC, Michigan def. CMU, Ball State def. Minnesota, Kansas def. BGSU

Final Four: Ohio State def. Kansas, Ball State def. Michigan

Final: Ohio State def. Ball State

No comments:

Post a Comment