Tuesday, January 20, 2015

80 in 80: UNC

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 Lee Hodge, assistant captain of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) Quidditch.

Photo by Flax Photography

Quidditch Post: UNC had a very successful fall season before what I can only imagine was a disappointing finish. To what do you attribute the team's early success?
Lee: Last year, we had maybe three scorers on the team: Max Miceli, Chris Champitto, and myself. This year, every chaser on the field has the opportunity to score. Defense is also something that can be attributed to our success. We've been criticized early on for not having a strategic defensive set, but we've worked on that. Beaters such as Kyle Bullins and Courtney Reynolds have really stepped up and helped out tremendously on that part.

QP: You alluded to the fact that UNC's defense has been maligned so far this season. Do you think that will hurt the team on the big stage?
Lee: I think that people will be surprised at how well our defense will do at World Cup. We've consistently gotten better, and we can only improve. We're practicing hard and scheming so that our defense really fires on all cylinders come April.

QP: Max Miceli has grabbed a lot of the headlines as UNC's star. However, as you've mentioned, UNC is more than just a one-player team. Can you talk about some of the lesser-known stars who tie UNC together and took you into overtime in the regional championship game?
Lee: Our freshman keeper, Justin Cole, has really added to our defense. If there’s a shot near the hoops, he's going to knock it down. He's also a great offensive threat with great vision and a beautiful shot. Beaters Courtney Reynolds and Kyle Bullins create problems for other teams, which allows us to gain and keep bludger control throughout the game. I also think our seeker, Alex Crawford, goes unnoticed with Champitto around, but he has caught many snitches when it really matters.

QP: Do you have any particular goals for World Cup 8 and the spring season as a whole? You came within a snitch catch of the Sweet 16 last year; can you duplicate that? Can you top it?
Lee: Our goal, like any team competing at World Cup, is to win it all. Last year, we had a lot of players with talent, and we were fortunate enough to have those players back this year while also creating better team chemistry on the field. So I think we will definitely make it past that point this year and also be a team that others should watch out for.

QP: Is there any team in particular that you want to play?
Lee: We definitely want to play the big Southwest teams: Lone Star Quidditch Club, the University of Texas at Austin, Baylor University, and Texas A&M Quidditch. Beating a solid team like any of those would really put us among the top teams in the country. Everyone on the team has expressed a great deal of interest in playing these teams.

QP: Your team has made a tremendous effort to travel this spring prior to World Cup. Were you able to work out any out-of-region travel, and what impact do you think that would have as you prepare for World Cup?
Lee: Well, we were trying our hardest to make it to the LA Open to play some of the best teams the West has to offer, but money and finding a way to work that into college students' schedules proved more difficult than we thought. We're going to try to focus on playing teams in our region and regions closer to us, such as the South and Northeast. We're also hosting a large tournament in February to try to get to teams we don't normally play against, such as Florida's Finest, New York University Nundu, and Bowling Green State University, in order to prepare for World Cup. Playing high-caliber teams like these, and just playing more quidditch in general in our area, will help us to develop our defense even further as well as improve our offensive capabilities.

QP: Thanks so much for your time, Lee; we appreciate it.
Lee: No problem. Thank you.

1 comment:

  1. Fantastic! I love this idea! I will be reading it every day till the Cup. Kudos!