Friday, February 20, 2015

80 in 80: Michigan

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 Dylan Schepers, captain of the Michigan Quidditch Team.

Photo by Sydney Grant

Quidditch Post: Michigan surprised a lot of people last year going undefeated in the "Pool of Death" and advancing to the Sweet 16 before falling to Ohio State Quidditch. What has this year's team taken away from last year?
Dylan: Last year was definitely a defining point in Michigan Quidditch history from our perspective. It was the last year for many of our players who would soon be graduating, and it was the first time we were losing a large amount of the first-team roster. As an organization, we were facing a transitional period and there was a bit of a question whether or not our program had sufficient depth to continue competing at an elite level. I know, for myself at least, our game against the NYDC Capitalists was very telling about our future. Not only did we prove to ourselves that we could compete with some of the best in the country, but we weren't reliant on only a core of senior players in order to compete. We had nine different players score in that game, and the entire team contributed a solid overall effort. So to answer your question, the most important thing we gained from last year's Sweet 16 run was confidence in our program's depth of talent for the coming year.

QP: Would you say the program has any key players and/or players who don't get the attention they deserve?
Dylan: As I touched on before, we are really pleased with the depth we have this year at almost every position with everyone working hard to improve their skills and learn our system. We were fortunate to bring in a really talented new class of players. Erik Soreide and Dan Tresnak have been great additions to our beaters, and Darin Wong has also had a great impact on our chasing game. I think some major credit is also due to some of our veteran players such as Matthew Oates, Sarah Halperin, and Benjamin Griessmann. They have all stepped up this year, working hard on their own game but also helping coach the new players.

QP: Can you talk a bit about what those players bring to the pitch?
Dylan: Sure! Erik and Dan both have a deadly combination of speed and strength. Both are more than capable of handling a physical beater game both on the offensive and defensive side of the ball. Darin has excellent field awareness and a very solid set of hands that are invaluable to our passing game. At keeper, Matt is definitely a player to watch out for; he is a very strong and physical player with above average endurance for a player his size who combines a strong offensive presence with excellent defensive awareness around the hoops.

QP: Would you say that, as a unit, Michigan has a particular style of play?
Dylan: In the past, that answer might have been a yes. We used to employ what we called a "drive system," where we would usually rely on a couple players' speed and strength to simply plow through the opponents defense. However, as the sport has evolved we have had to evolve as well, and for the past couple of years we have really been working to diversify our game and not stick to a single style of play.

QP: Do you or the team have any goals for World Cup?
Dylan: We go into every World Cup with the mentality that we can beat any team we face. We always go into the tournament giving 100 percent every single game. Last year we got to the Sweet 16, and we would love to get back there again and see just how far we can go after that.

QP: Are there any teams that you would particularly like to play?
Dylan: I always love playing teams from other regions. While the Midwest serves up great competition, it is exciting to play an opponent that has new strategies to figure out how to defeat and new players with different skill sets.

QP: Is there anything else you think our readers need to know about the squad?
Dylan: I think that may just about do it.

QP: Thanks for your time.
Dylan: Thank you.

No comments:

Post a Comment