Wednesday, February 11, 2015

80 in 80: Tufts

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 Arlene Rosenberg, co-manager of the Tufts University Tufflepuffs.

Photo Courtesy of Tufts Quidditch

Quidditch Post: Tufts won its first tournament this year and also captured its first Regional Championship. What has this kind of success meant to a program with such a deep legacy in such a competitive city?
Arlene: Boston is a city that lives and breathes quidditch. After coming in second at World Cup IV, Tufts fell out of the spotlight. Despite a strong showing at World Cup last year, our success was masked by the runs Boston University Quidditch (BU) and Emerson College Quidditch made to the Elite Eight and semifinals, respectively. This was, however, nothing new to our team. This year has been different. After our tournament at Hofstra University, we started to be considered, along with the New York University Nundu, as a team that could possibly threaten the top two in the Northeast. Winning the regional championship has proven that Tufts is not a team to be overlooked: we're a team to be taken seriously. Also, becoming the first team other than BU to win the Northeast Regional Championship is a testament to how much of a difference our captain, Hannah DeBaets, has made over this past semester. It's because of her strategies, training, and constant feedback that the team has been able to place first in these tournaments. Overall, winning has been a validation of the constant hard work the team has put in over the past few months, and we regard this as a solid stepping stone on our journey to World Cup.

QP: You mentioned Hannah. Her Team USA performance really threw her into the national spotlight. What has she meant for Tufts on the field?
Arlene: Since Hannah's first semester on the team (spring 2013), she's become a cornerstone of Tufts quidditch. This year especially, in addition to her formidable chasing,  she's been a strong leader on and off the pitch, and she has managed to set a serious tone for an otherwise very silly team. Additionally, having her on the field has allowed us to easily transition into double male beating during seeker play, which is something that has allowed us to secure multiple wins this past semester.

QP: Are there players who perhaps get less attention than they deserve that are crucial to the team's success?
Arlene: First, Jordan Anderson is a female beater who is often overlooked due to the stellar performances of our male beaters. However, she is a player who makes key, well-thought-out plays, will block incoming bludgers 99 percent of the time, and is often the one that takes over when our males get too tired during seeker play. Additionally, Mary Kate Skitka and Madeleine Lebovic are female chasers who are often neglected due to the presence of Hannah DeBaets and Emily Hickmott. These two chasers often get less play time but have consistently proven they are capable of making strong plays and scoring goals when needed. Lastly, Rajah Reid is a male chaser who has recently come back to Tufts after missing three semesters due to an injury. He is currently on a line that doesn't get as much notoriety and is therefore often neglected during analysis. However, during the Regional Championship, he stepped up and made key plays during the finals even though he hadn't played much that day.

QP: Anyway, you sort of alluded to the fact that Tufts has become pseudo-renowned for its two-male beater set. How do you think that will impact things when you go from playing teams in the region that are more familiar to out-of-region teams?
Arlene: I don't think it should impact things tremendously. We've already played some out-of-region teams like Maryland Quidditch, and it's worked well for us. We are a team that adapts quickly and readily to issues on the pitch and—if Hannah thinks that our two-male beater set isn't working—I have no doubt that she'll be able to change it up without costing us the game. As aforementioned, Jordan Anderson is comfortable with seeker-beating and should be able to step in if needed. Clash in the Capital in February will definitely be a good chance for the team to see how this strategy works when we play more Mid-Atlantic teams as well as Bowling Green State University.

QP: Does the team have any goals for World Cup?
Arlene: While we'd love to win World Cup (and plan to), we always go into the tournament striving to do better than previous years, to play our best, and to exceed expectations.

QP: Is there anyone in particular that you or the team want to play against?
Arlene: It would be awesome to go up against the University of Texas at Austin (UT). We played UT at World Cup VI and didn't do too badly considering UT won. But we're a completely different team now, and I feel like it would be a much closer game this time around.

QP: Is there anything else you think our readers should know about Tufts?
Arlene: With Ben Pfander back from Ireland, Alan Bartels recovered from his neck injury, and a couple of small roster changes, Tufts should definitely be a team to watch this semester.

QP: Thanks; we appreciate your time!

No comments:

Post a Comment