Wednesday, January 21, 2015

80 in 80: RPI Remembralls

As part of our efforts to preview all 80 teams competing in USQ World Cup 8, the Quidditch Post is chatting with representatives from each team. Today we spoke with RPI Remembralls Assistant Captain Teddy Costa.
Photo Courtesy of RPI Remembralls

Quidditch Post: RPI really came out of nowhere to qualify for World Cup last year and has looked very strong so far this year. To what do you credit the team's relatively sudden emergence?
Teddy: It's been a number of different things. We've had incredible luck recruiting new players who have been able to contribute positively for serious minutes. Also, we've made a commitment to play a more efficient and defense-driven style of quidditch, which has definitely helped us improve our all-around game. With that said, I'd say the biggest contribution to our "out of nowhere" success has been the mentality that each member of the squad brings to the pitch not only on tournament days, but especially during practice. This is a team that is committed to improving and ultimately making a run at World Cup. They are passionate in every aspect of the game and play with a fire and intensity that makes me feel proud and lucky as a captain because I know these kids are really just incredibly hungry for success.

QP: Compared to most top teams in the Northeast, RPI is relatively isolated. What impact has that had?
Teddy: It's been tough. Our location and low budget make it very hard to regularly find competitive games outside of the Northeast Regional Championships and World Cup, and unfortunately we end up forming some bad habits as a result of this. This just means that we need to focus on being a more disciplined team as we enter tournaments that really matter.

QP: I think those factors that you highlighted have led to a situation where many people don't know much about RPI. Who would you say are the key players for your team?
Teddy: Our team's success is directly tied to Mario Nasta. He is the best beater I have ever had the pleasure to watch. He controls every aspect of the game and is truly a special talent. This is especially clear in games we play against other Northeast teams, like Q.C. Boston: The Massacre, that double team him (the lone male beater) with two male beaters. We didn't win that game, but that was a case of lack of execution on offense by our chasers, as Mario was still able to keep Max Havlin and company off of us long enough to get good looks near the hoops.

In addition, our starting keeper Sam Nielsen controls the quaffle game in a big way. He commands the defense well, is always in a good position, and starts our offense with smart, accurate outlet passes. He is a good finisher and is difficult to tackle when he chooses to drive.

From there I could list key players at every position on our 21-man roster because this team is very deep, and everyone finds a way to positively contribute when given the opportunity. We're especially deep at keeper and male chaser, and we have almost a surplus of talent at seeker, which I'm sure is a problem most teams would love to have. Overall, this is a good team with the right mix of star power and supporting cast that will hopefully translate into success for us come April.

QP: You talk about success in April. What is success?
Teddy: I think success has to be winning a World Cup. We want to be the best. We don't want to be pretty good, or just all right. Just qualifying for World Cup isn't enough to keep this team satisfied. Sure, it's a fun and exciting trip, but at the end of the day, if you're not playing to win, then you're just wasting your time. We want to win our sport's greatest accomplishment despite our school's small size in comparison to the larger programs that find most of the sport's success (including the University of Texas at Austin). I obviously can't guarantee a win at World Cup this year, or that we'll even come close, but I can guarantee that we'll play our hearts out in pursuit of this success when the opportunity presents itself.

QP: What do you need to do to win World Cup?
Teddy: Earn a chance at bracket play on Sunday and win every game we play. We need to be the most adaptive team in the tournament. We need to be the best defensive man-to man team we can be, and we need to be jaw-droppingly efficient on offense.

I speak highly of this team because I know that we can do these things. With that said, just because there is potential there doesn't mean that we will amount to anything, and that's the scary part about this tournament. You can work your rear end off from August through March, but if you lay an egg in the big dance, then you're sentenced to waiting an entire year until you get another shot at greatness. This fear was realized last year when we dropped the ball on Saturday and had nothing to do but play mini-golf on Sunday. Luckily, we only had two people graduate last year, and one of them came back to coach us this year, so that memory will undoubtedly be fresh in our heads, and hopefully we'll be able to correct what went wrong last year.

QP: Well, to be fair, Myrtle Beach has some great mini-golf. How are you planning to prepare for the tournament to ensure you avoid that early elimination?
Teddy: I unfortunately can attest that the mini-golf was great. And honestly, we don't need to prepare very differently compared to last year. I thought we were ready last year; we were very familiar with the way the opponents in our group were going to play, and they didn't do anything different to surprise us. We really beat ourselves last year, which was very frustrating. We lost our composure and never recovered. That's something we obviously want to avoid, and something I think we can avoid based on what I've seen so far this year. We seem very confident in our abilities on the pitch and relaxed under the little pressure we have seen so far. These are both good signs, and hopefully we can keep our heads at World Cup this year and not play like the freshmen and sophomores we were last year.

QP: Is there any team in particular you want to play at World Cup?
Teddy: That's a good question. There are teams that would be considered huge upsets that I think are good matchups for us, but I'm going to keep those to myself. I guess I'd like to play any of the following: Minnesota Quidditch, the Silicon Valley Skrewts, Tufts University Tufflepuffs, or Q.C. Boston: The Massacre because I really hate losing, and those are the only teams I've lost to of the eight losses I've been a part of that I haven't been able to avenge.

QP: What do you think our readers should know about RPI?
Teddy: I just think they should know that we're a damn good quidditch team. We're subject to the only schedule we can afford to play, but that shouldn't cause teams to underestimate us. So here's a little ploy, I guess: if you want a competitive game, no matter which team you are, play us, because I know we can play with you.

QP: Thanks for your time, Teddy; we appreciate it
Teddy: It was my pleasure.

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