Thursday, February 5, 2015

80 in 80: Villanova

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 Dan Takaki, coach of Villanova Community Quidditch.
Photo by Karen Garber

Quidditch Post: Villanova has consistently been one of the top teams in the Mid-Atlantic. To what do you attribute the squad's prolonged success?
Dan: I think that can be partly attributed to the fact that we have always been able to keep an even spread on the team in terms of ages. We have always had a younger team. We had roughly seven or eight new people who joined the team this year who will be ready to step up next year and fill that void after my class graduates in May. We have had the ability to recruit new people each year in a way to fit the needs of our team. In addition, while we have designated captains, we have a strong group of athletes and leaders on the team who help teach, challenge, and work with each other. This has always been the case for us, and it seems to be a continuing trend with the current sophomores and juniors. Also, I think that because we don't take ourselves that seriously at times, we easily shake off mistakes and losses and still manage to enjoy ourselves while playing for each other.

QP: Would you say that there are any particular players who are crucial to the team this year?
Dan: I think we are lucky in that we have a pretty deep team and that someone different steps up when we need them to in each game. Andrew Garber, Khalil Taylor, Joe Manion, and Julia Fillman are key chasers for us, and Greg Habeeb is our keeper. Then we have a solid corps of beaters who are always huge for us in every game: Michelle Turner, Anthony Cerone, Mathew Barrett, and Maura Dougherty. So we don't have any one particular person, but we have a lot of players who are crucial to our success.

QP: Can you speak a bit about yourself and what you bring to the pitch as another of the key players?
Dan: If Villanova Quidditch was the Avengers, I'd be Captain America. By that I mean I'm definitely the best looking, I have a good sense of what's going on, I’m able to give good directives to my team from the sidelines, and sometimes, say, every 18 minutes, I show up and do something cool. (Not without the help of Dylan Mango, the equally talented sophomore seeker we have.)

QP: Does the team have any goals for World Cup?
Dan: I guess qualify for this mysterious Round of 24. Knowing this league, come World Cup, the Round of 24 will just turn into the Hunger Games and all hell will break loose. I can only hope we get paired up with a good team as a good district partner.

QP: Which district would you say best epitomizes Villanova?
Dan: I'd say District 7, mostly because of Johanna Mason and her overall badassery and doesn't-give-a-damn attitude. Also, in the third movie when those guys from District 7 ambushed the Peacekeepers, that was pretty sweet. I feel like that's something we would do.

QP: Now we're going to have to attach a spoiler alert to this. Is there any element of World Cup you're looking forward to? Any teams you'd like to play?
Dan: This is a pretty lame spoiler alert, in my opinion. Last year, we kidnapped Benepe on a golf cart. I stole his phone sophomore year. So I guess I'm looking forward to topping those feats. We strive for excellence at Villanova. I want to play whatever team gives a better interview than us. Or Dan Hanson's team, whatever that is these days. I assume he's going to qualify with his team, Dan Hanson: The Quidditch Experience.

QP: I suppose if you're leading Nova and he's leading his team, that would be a Dans off. What do you think Nova needs to do to make it into the arena? I don't think it'll be sufficient to volunteer as tribute.
Dan: Well, Andy, Great moments... are born from great opportunities. And that's what we have at this World Cup. That's what we've earned. To reach the arena, we have to play each game one at a time. We can't worry about who we might play the next game because with this wonky set-up, who even knows.

QP: And how are you preparing?
Dan: Umm... I am Groot.

QP: Is there anything else you think our readers should know?
Dan: 1. Tupac is definitely still alive.
2. Villanova backwards is Avonalliv.
3. I'm still looking for a Valentine's Day date.

QP: Thanks for your time, Dan! We appreciate it.
Dan: You got it, dude.

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