Saturday, January 24, 2015

80 in 80: University of Missouri

  • 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 Josh Ebbesmeyer, coach of University of Missouri.

    Photo by Matt Eveland

  • Quidditch Post: Last year, Mizzou missed bracket play, but had a strong showing, making each game it played in competitive. What are the team's goals this year?
  • Josh: Our teams goal this year, like last year, is to make it to bracket play. That will be more difficult this year, with only 24 teams. We believe that goal matches something we can both strive for and compete to achieve.

  • QP: What will it take for you to achieve that goal?
  • Josh: Hard work in practice, good execution on the field, and playing each game to our best and full potential. We cannot take a game off or slack at any point with the new Swiss system and expect to achieve that goal.

  • QP: Who are a few "under-the-radar" players, so to speak, who could make a huge impact for Mizzou at World Cup?
  • Josh: With our team this year, we are built on not losing much on the field when we go to the bench. Everyone can fill their role well. Not many names are known on our team, but of those who aren't, I think Drew Mathieu could be huge for us. He filled in very nicely as a backup keeper in my absence at the regional championship, and his performance (wherever it may be on the field) at World Cup could really provide us a boost. Another under-the-radar player would be Jacob Boyce. One of our top chasers, Jacob is quick and highly accurate. When he is on the field, our offense is more dangerous, and with him recently becoming a co-captain, his role will be even larger.

  • QP: That's certainly a great strategy for a team, to make sure there is little-to-no dropoff when substitutions are made. Is that something that was easier said than done?
  • Josh: Yes and no. A good amount of it has to do with the players we have being athletic and having an athletic background of some kind. Not only does this make them better, but it allows them to learn faster and apply knowledge from their previous experiences. On the other hand, we still have some players who haven't reached a full grasp on everything we are trying to accomplish, where we do lose a little bit with them on the field. But we also have a couple “stars” and leaders who we believe provide us an extra edge when they are on the field. It's based on a focus at practice and desire by the group to become better as a whole and individually, which some days at practice isn't there, which is where it becomes difficult.

  • QP: It is sometimes difficult to be all-in, all the time, but with the strides that Mizzou has taken since last year, I'm quite excited to see the team play at World Cup. Speaking of World Cup, are there any teams in particular that you would like to play?
  • Josh: We want to play the best. The only way to make it to bracket play and reach our goal is to go up against the best and beat some of those teams. As for any particular matchups, I don't think we have any as of right now. Any team that thinks they can stomp us and that we aren't a match for them, though, would be a great chance to prove critics wrong, and I think our team would relish that opportunity.

  • QP: Everyone loves an underdog story. Anyhow, thank you very much for your time, Josh. Best of luck to Mizzou the rest of the season!
    Josh: Thank you!

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