Friday, February 13, 2015

80 in 80: Richmond

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 Ian Mitchell, captain of the University of Richmond Spiders.

Photo by Katie Skipper

Quidditch Post: Richmond has gone 2-2 in pool play in each of the last two World Cups; obviously, there is a new format for the tournament, but what will it take for Richmond to be successful this year?
Ian: I believe that for Richmond to be successful this year, we're going to need our offense to catch up to our defense. We've always played a very strong defensive game, which has kept several big games very close, giving our seekers a chance to either win us the game or send us to overtime. In order to win those close games more often and take games out of range, however, we will need our chasers and keepers to work better offensively to give us the 20-30 extra points a game that we haven't previously been able to score. If Richmond can get better on the offensive side of the game without sacrificing our defense, I believe the team will see more success than the past two years.

QP: What will it take for the offensive game to develop? Is it just a matter of individual players getting better, or is there something that the team can do as a whole to improve?
Ian: Primarily, it's going to be a team effort to improve our tempo as well as our ball movement.  I also believe that individual improvement from each chaser/keeper will help our offense so that more of our players will be able to capitalize on scoring opportunities.

QP: Are there particular players who you think will be key to Richmond's efforts?
Ian:  I think that more than just specific players will be the center of our efforts this World Cup. Rather, I believe our keepers and seekers will be the two positions that help make or break our tournament. If our keepers are able to distribute the ball around the field as effectively as they'd like, then our offense should be able to come out of the starting gates quickly and keep its momentum. Likewise, we're looking to our seekers in order to close out the games that our quaffle carriers can't take out of snitch range.

QP: Does the team have any goals for World Cup?
Ian: Our goals are to make it further than we have in the past. Each year that Richmond has participated in the World Cup, we have striven to make it at least one step further than last time. World Cup VII was Richmond's first time making it to bracket play. This year, I personally hope to win at least one bracket play game.

QP: Do you think the Swiss Style will have any impact on the team and its World Cup journey?
Ian: It will certainly impact our preparations in the weeks leading up to the tournament. In the past, we could prepare for the four other teams that we would be guaranteed to play, but with the Swiss Style it's going to switch our focus back over to improving our own skills as much as possible. We are also going to train against the predominant offensive and defensive schemes we are likely face. As for an impact the day of pool play, not knowing who we will be facing until a few minutes prior to game time is going to challenge the players to adapt quickly to the new play styles they face.

QP: Are there any teams that you'd like to play?
Ian: We've yet to play against a team from the West Region, and we would love the chance to play against them to see how we match up. Also, the chance to play a team from the Southwest would be a great way to not only challenge our team, but help us learn how we can continue to improve in seasons to come.

QP: Is there anything else you think our readers need to know about Richmond?
Ian: We're putting in as much work to improve this season as we can in order to have a successful run at World Cup. We're doing everything we can to be in the top tier of this sport, and the effort we put into practices should show through on the pitch.

QP: Thanks for your time, Ian; we appreciate it.
Ian: Any time.

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