Sunday, February 1, 2015

80 in 80: The Warriors

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 Amanda Dallas, assistant captain of the Warriors.
Photo by Valerie Tran Nguyen

Quidditch Post: What does it mean for the Warriors to qualify for World Cup in the team's first year of existence?
Amanda: To be honest, I forget sometimes that we're a "first-year team" since so many of us played together last year. I don't mean for this to come across as arrogant, but we didn't enter the Northeast Regional Championship with the intent to qualify; we entered with the intent to win. Because we had so many veterans of the sport—many of whom played together last year—we knew we had a bid secured. We obviously came up short of our goal, but it was a real eye-opener for our players who didn't necessarily see the flaws in our system.

QP: Last year, about half of your team played on the ill-fated NYDC Capitalists squad that, despite high expectations, failed to qualify for bracket play. What did you and the team take away from those failings, and how has that helped shape the Warriors?
Amanda: NYDC was a team of talented individuals. The Warriors are a talented team. If you look at the NYDC roster and each of the individual names, you can't help but be impressed. If you look at the Warriors roster, you won't recognize a good chunk of the names. That's the difference. That's the takeaway. Talents don't earn you a spot on this roster. Talent, effort, chemistry, and attitude earn you a spot on this roster.

QP: Still, the Warriors have a lot of talented individual players as well. Who would you say are key to the team's success?
Amanda: There is no one person who is key to this team's success. We've built this team to be reliant on every person equally, not just a single person.

QP: I guess the flipside of that, which you alluded to, is that the Warriors have some players that many people won't recognize by name. Can you talk about a few of the team's less-heralded players?
Amanda: No. What I can say is, come World Cup, I believe they'll turn some heads.

QP: Michael "Yada" Parada and yourself are two of the faces of the Warriors. Yada has twice been selected to Team USA. What does he do on the pitch that makes him such a standout?
Amanda: Aside from the fact that sometimes he subconsciously skips while advancing up the field? The answer most analysts would give you is his incredible field awareness and on-point passing, combined with his speed and height, make him a serious threat on the pitch. But you can say that about a hell of a lot of keepers in this game. Truth be told, Yada plays an interesting role on the field. I say interesting because I think it's unique. There are quite a number of reputable teams in our league where their keeper puts up the majority of their points. While Yada certainly is an offensive threat in his own right and the above statement does apply to him, the thing that stands out is he doesn't desire to be the person scoring the majority of the game. He doesn't need to be the star. He aims to build up those around him and step into whatever position or role on the field he needs to at the given moment.

QP: The team added Andrew Zagelbaum, who made a name for himself last year at Macaulay Honors College. What does having one of the top seekers in the country do for the team?
Amanda: It's definitely a form of comfort having Zagelbaum on our roster. We never expected to pick him up, but I'm sure Billy Greco is pretty happy we did. We were essentially gearing up for a season where Greco only had chasers behind him for substitutes. Zagelbaum is such an unassuming player, but he always comes up clutch.

QP: Does the team have any particular goals for World Cup?
Amanda: Teams attend World Cup to obtain the title of World Champion. Even though the world is touting Lone Star Quidditch Club as the shoe-in for the title, that's still our goal. We acknowledge it won't be handed to us and we aren't the clear frontrunners, but we're still going to do our absolute best.

QP: What will it take for you to get there?
Amanda: An airplane. Just kidding

QP: And money, I imagine.
Amanda: Yeah, that would be why I spent five hours of my day Facebook messaging people, which I don't think I ever want to do again in this lifetime. It's going to take commitment. If this entire team does not have the desire to win, we won't.

QP: Are there any teams in particular you want to play?
Amanda: Perfect world: we get to play the Big Four of the Southwest. I'm sure every non-Southwest interviewee is going to give you that answer in some capacity, but, hey, they're the best teams in the game.

QP: Thank you so much for your time, Dallas; we appreciate it.

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