Sunday, February 1, 2015

The Quidditch Road: Lunatica and Barcelona

By Laurens Grinwis Plaat Stultjes

One year ago today, the 2013-14 European Quidditch Cup was played in Brussels, Belgium. In 75 days, the European Quidditch Cup of this season will happen in Oxford, UK. So I was wondering how are the teams that competed last year doing? And how did they even start with quidditch in the first place? Welcome to The Quidditch Road. For today, I sat down with Andrea Miglietta (Lunatica QC) and Alba Arrieta Sayalero (Barcelona Eagles).

Lunatica Quidditch Club

Lunatica QC, or as I like to call them: “The Italian Wolves.”

Lunatica was founded by Andrea Miglietta in 2012 after one of his colleagues on the “Lunatica Fiera del Fantasy” proposed the idea to him. On March 10, 2013, Lunatica QC finally made its debut versus Paris Frog at the first ‘Torneo Internazionale Lunatica.’ In this same tournament, it competed with Milano Meneghins.

With barely any international experience, and only coming there with an eight-person squad, it surprised everyone by finishing fourth, just missing out on the bronze medal at the last EQC.

After EQC, the team got bigger, stronger, faster and just better in general. And it proved that on the first ever Italian nationals in May 2014, where it finished first out of four teams. In a thrilling final, ti beat the Milano Meneghins 180*^-160 in overtime, after being behind by at least 80 points before even going into the match.

The Italian champions marched down to Barcelona for Barcelona Moustaches Time in early September, full of hope, but had a mixed performance. Lunatica fell to both Toulouse Muggle Quidditch and Barcelona Eagles, but was able to defeat Paris Phénix and the Brussels Qwaffles. In the end, it took fourth  place, after losing to the Conquidstadors in the bronze medal final. Will Lunatica be able to reverse its fortunes and finally clinch a Bronze at EQC 2014-15?

I also asked Andrea who he thought was the key player for Lunatica. "I'm going to be banal, but I think the most important player is Lunatica itself,” he said. We are a team with very different players and when we play as a team, we are a good team. However, if I need to pick one player, the numbers say: David Termite. We won the Italian Nationals with six catches in four matches (two of them went into overtime). David was also the only seeker we had, when we faced teams who actually did have substitutes for their team."

Location: Brindisi, Italy
Record last season: 10 - 4
Record this season: 2 - 4
Year founded: 2012
Size of club: ~15
Coaches: Andrea Miglietta and Andrea Lupo
Captain: Andrea Miglietta
Key player: David Termite (Seeker)
4th place, Barcelona Moustaches Time
1st place, 2014 Torneo Nazionale AIQ
4th place, 2014 European Quidditch Cup
3rd place, I° Torneo Internazionale Lunatica

Barcelona Eagles Quidditch Club

Barcelona Eagles Quidditch Club. The Catalan Legends. The "Bigotis".
The Eagles were founded in Dec., 2012 by Alba Arrieta Sayalero, after she found videos about World Cup V online. She never really played sports outside PE, but when she saw quidditch, she was sold. She thought of the name, the logo, and the jerseys, made hoops and bought balls. All before the team had any players. On May 4, 2013, finally the Eagles had their first practice.

With a nine-man squad, they made their debut at the Brussels Muscles Invitational (BMI) against the Lille Black Snitches. Their debut game might not be remembered by many, but one of their games will be remembered forever: their upset of the 2012-13 European Champions, Paris Phénix. In the end, they finished third in the tournament after Phénix got revenge in the Bronze Medal match.

In February the Eagles returned to Belgium to play in the European Quidditch Cup in Brussels. With an impressive showing at BMI, everyone had high hopes for them. Sadly, the Eagles finished second in the group with a 2-1 record in group stages, but an impressive QPD of +170 and lost twice in a row in the winner’s bracket to the Radcliffe Chimeras; and in the losers' Bracket to Deurne Dodos. In the end Barcelona finished a disappointing eighth place.

They may have learned a lot from EQC, but unfortunately they haven't progressed as fast as some other teams. The Eagles have some good players, but every time they go to a tournament, they can only bring a limited roster due to finances. "Why not host a tournament ourselves", they thought. "We can actually have a full roster!" So in September, the Eagles hosted Barcelona Moustaches Time. But even a full roster, and an advantage on home ground didn't do a lot. Winning the group stage (above Qwaffles, Lunatica and Toulouse) is strong, but then they were eliminated in the quarterfinals again by the Dodos.

Are they ready for a new campaign at EQC? No-one knows…. First they’ll have to qualify through the Catalonian Cup on March 1, which likely shouldn’t be a problem.

Alba noted that the team’s key player is "Chema Hidalgo López. He can play all positions and is the fittest player in the team. But most importantly, he's just an important player who actually encourages the whole team. He's our moral support".

When I inquired as to whether Chema was also the most beautiful and sexy man in European quidditch, she simply replied: "There are a lot of sexy players in Quidditch Europe. But yes, I agree that we have a handsome player with us. He often helps the team by distracting the other team with his looks. That's our secret tactic: 'Chema, go distract the rival team.'"

Location: Barcelona, Spain 
Record last season: 7 - 5
Record this season: 5 – 2 (without Tournoi de la Violette)
Year founded: 2012
Size of club: ~16
Coach: Chema Hidalgo López & Marc Vilamú Casado
Captain: Alba Arrieta Sayalero
Key player: Chema Hidalgo López (utility)
??th place, Tournoi de la Violette
6th place, Barcelona Moustaches Time
8th place, 2014 European Quidditch Cup
3th place, Brussels Muscles Invitational

Next time: Nantes Quidditch & Lille Black Snitches

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