Monday, February 16, 2015

80 in 80: Ohio State

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 David Hoops, captain and coach of Ohio State University (OSU).

Photo by Jessica (Jiamin) Lang

QP: Ohio State took home the Midwest Regional title. What did that mean to you and the team?
David: For us, that Regional Title was a validation to ourselves. I told my teammates multiple times that weekend that I thought we were the best team in the region no matter what might take place during bracket play, and I meant it. Going out and actually taking home the title is a nice way to cement that home, but one regional final match doesn't change anything about the other 26 games we played last semester.

QP: I'm sure that one of the team's goals was to win the Regional Championship, but do you have any goals for World Cup?

QP: Well stated. What will it take for OSU to go all the way?
David: Well, it's no secret that to win a World Cup, you're going to have to beat at least a few of those great Southwest squads. We're going to have to focus on making sure that we're still playing our own brand of quidditch and not getting wrapped up in how our opponents want to play, whether it be an opponent from Texas or not. This World Cup format makes it much harder to plan your scouting, so no matter where our opponent hails from, we're going to be trying to make it play the way we do here in Columbus.

QP: Other than scouting, do you think the Swiss Style will have any impact on your team?
David: I think we're a deep team with a lot of variety. I was really excited to see the announcement because I think it really puts emphasis on having 21 players that all know how to play top-level quidditch, which is something I believe we possess.

QP: Jeremy Boettner has gotten a lot of attention lately. Can you talk a bit about what he brings to the team?
David: First and foremost, Jeremy is a phenomenal teammate and someone I'd love to have in our program regardless of skill. His commitment to coming to practice and staying in shape, along with his love of the game, is definitely a part of why he's improved so much over the past few years. He's also just a humble guy who's going to hate the next paragraph.

To put it bluntly, Jeremy can do just about everything we ask him to. He is one of our best chasers on the receiving end of alley-oops, he understands how to break down a no-bludger situation for a dunk, and his field vision and passing ability keeps defenses honest when he has the ball. On defense he is a very dependable tackler and has a unique ability to take away long shots and passes. He has even put on the green headband a few times to lead our offense when we're short on regular keepers. He receives a lot of attention because he's earned it on the field.

QP: Can you talk a bit about some of the teams less-heralded players? Is there anyone who doesn't get the recognition they deserve?
David: I think our team's quaffle players are well-represented. There are a few who I expect to make bigger names for themselves this semester, but that will come with time. I don't think our beaters, however, get near enough credit for the work they do.

Everyone knows about Julie Fritz, and for good reason. She's been an anchor for the better part of three seasons. Hannah Berridge and Kate Windnagel, however, are definitely not leaving anything to be desired as her backups. Both of them have really gained a lot of confidence this season, and it's helped elevate their play accordingly.

Our two returning male beaters, Matt Eveland and Gavin Kyle (Travis Hammock is gone to an internship), also deserve more praise. Gavin is one of the most dependable options on our roster; the last legitimately bad game he played was probably in his first semester of quidditch last season. Matt is a relentless bundle of energy and speed who forces opposing teams to deal with him every second he's on the pitch. It might not be in his first or second shift, but when he's still going 100 mph when the snitch is on the pitch for ten minutes, he forces opponents into mistakes that are crucial for our team. I honestly get upset when I read articles that only talk about our passing or whatever when I remember how our beaters really are the ones who set the tone.

QP: Would you say that OSU has a particular style of play?
David: I don't really think so. Our main strategy in every match is to try to exploit our biggest strength. I think in most of our matches so far that's been our speed or our passing, but I think we are capable of using other aspects of our team as well.

QP: You mentioned the Southwest powerhouses earlier. Is there a particular team that you want to play?
David: I won't speak for my teammates, but honestly, no. It doesn't matter to me who we play; our team's goal is always the same. We plan to play our best, and as long as we do that, we're going to have a chance.

QP: Thanks, David; we appreciate your time.
David: I'm just here so I don't get fined.

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