Monday, March 30, 2015

80 in 80: SHSU

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 TJ Goaley, coach and captain of Sam Houston State University Quidditch (SHSU).

Quidditch Post: SHSU had a bumpy road at the  Southwest Regional Championship, just narrowly qualifying for World Cup. To what do you attribute the bumpy performance, and do you think it will have any impact on the team come World Cup?
TJ: We have an awful tendency to not play very strong on Day One. For some reason, we often find ourselves losing to opponents that we shouldn't by small margins, and we let that set the tone for the rest of the day. I attribute our inability to start off with a lack of a real desire to win. However, as we showed at Lone Star Cup, when we do come out of the gate strong, other teams have a very hard time beating us. It is not a physical handicap, but it really gets into our heads and causes the team to lose focus sometimes. If we continue to do this, especially at World Cup, you can guarantee that we won’t be there for Day Two. But I can also guarantee that SHSU has always had a rough road, and just like other "curses," as past members have called it, we will overcome it and be the strong Southwest team that everyone expected to see at this past regional championship.

QP: Do you think the Swiss Style will have any impact on the team?
TJ: I think it will have a positive impact. The Swiss Style is made so that we play against teams that are competing at the same level as us. We tend to play our best when we play teams at the same level. Personally, I do not like the idea of the Swiss System for World Cup 8. I think a lot of great teams are going to lose out on playing on Day Two. But for us, I think it will give us a great opportunity to continue to Day Two.

QP: How will you be preparing for World Cup?
TJ: Our game plan is to focus on the Bottom of the Bracket tournament in March. We try to focus on one tournament at a time. Without being too specific, we will be preparing for World Cup by implementing new strategies for our offense. We know that a lot of Northern teams have picked up Baylor University's hoop defense, so we will be preparing to play against that. We also plan to come up with a strategy for countering our slow starts to tournaments. If we can do this, I feel that we will be prepared for whoever we play at World Cup.

QP: Who would you say are some of the team's key players?
TJ: Sam Reagan (beater), Erin McDonald (beater), Jaycob Freeman (point chaser), Grant Boren (keeper), and myself (keeper). When these players are in the game, they have a tendency to really hype up our other players. They are also the leaders on the field and set the tone for the game.

QP: What are your goals for World Cup?
TJ: To win.

QP: What will that take?
TJ: It will take a lot more focus and desire to win than we displayed at the regional championship. We will need to go into every game ready to play like it will be our last. I think our games at World Cup are going to come down to catching the snitch. As a team, we have been very inconsistent with this, and we will need to really crack down on that. The other aspect of our game that will need to be perfect is our passing. We do a great job at controlling the pace of any game we play, but we have a tendency to make sloppy passes that end up being easy points for our opponents. If we want to win, we will need to cut down on bad passes, catch the snitch, and make good decisions on both offense and defense.

QP: Would you say SHSU has a particular style of play?
TJ: Yes. Our style of play is to control the pace of the game. Our keepers are very good at making the decision to reset when in a tough situation. Two-thirds of them control the pace by using more of a slower technique, and the remaining third have a much more aggressive technique. Our beaters also do a great job at managing the bludgers so that we keep that control of the pace.

QP: Are there particular teams you hope to face?
TJ: I think we are excited to play against teams from other regions. Being a part of the Southwest means we have a reputation to protect as being part of the toughest region. Besides that, we have a few teams from the Southwest that we want to play, like the University of Texas at San Antonio and Oklahoma State University, to prove that we deserve to be thought of as a real contender in the Southwest.

QP: Is there anything else you think our readers should know about SHSU?
TJ: Yes. Dont expect the same results you saw at the Southwest Regional. If you do, and you underestimate us, you will regret it.

QP: Thanks, TJ; we appreciate your time.
TJ: No problem!

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