Thursday, March 12, 2015

80 in 80: Tennessee Tech

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 Austin Lillis, coach and co-captain of Tennessee Tech Quidditch (TTU).

Photo by Christopher Wharton
Quidditch Post: Last year, TTU advanced to the Round of 32 at the World Cup; what are the team's goals for this year?
Austin: We want to win it all. It may be a long shot to go that far, but we do not play to lose.

QP: What will it take to win it all?
Austin: We need to tighten up our ability to finish points. We also are weak in snitch play at the moment. We need to improve how we deal with snitch range games, or we will find an early exit in games we should win.

QP: How are you practicing and preparing those aspects of the game?
Austin: On offense, we just need to learn how to make it through crowded situations at the hoops. We will also work on specific snitch range situations. This includes preparing a strategy as well as ensuring that we don’t break down into complete chaos over the snitch.

QP: Would you say TTU has a particular style of play?
Austin: No. We have a tendency to adapt our pacing to the team we are playing. The result is occasionally negative, but we enjoy a lot of success against teams we have already played.

QP: That seems like it'll be detrimental at a tournament like World Cup.
Austin: Yes, maybe. We adapt throughout a game as well, but how well and how fast depends on the style thrown at us. Sometimes we end up with matchups that work in our favor. Others, such as our exit game in bracket play last year against the Michigan Quidditch Team, require an entirely different approach than what we are accustomed to.

QP: Do you think Swiss Style will have any impact?
Austin: I believe it will work in our favor. We usually have a rough start early in tournaments and build momentum throughout. While we may still end up with a tough early game, I prefer this system because we won't be confined to a predetermined matchup with an elite team. With any luck, we will have just the right challenge early on to get our heads in the right place.

QP: Would you say TTU has any key players?
Austin: Yes; we have a extremely strong male chaser lineup. Chaser Logan "Beastmode" Hartman is an anchor to the teams strategy and execution thereof on offense or defense. At the regional championship, chasers Austin Cathey, Charlie Jordan, and Drew Gorman had standout performances. Keeper Landon Smith is well known to the South Region already as a crucial component of TTU's play on either side of the ball. Kimberly Manning, Hailee Hayes, and I have been doing great work in the beater game this year.

QP: Are there any particular teams you hope to face?
Austin: There are not.

QP: How is the team preparing for World Cup?
Austin: We are going to cut back on our vulnerabilities. Weather was an issue in the weeks prior to the South Regional Championship, so we are hoping to be able to have uninterrupted practices with a highly motivated team.

QP: Thanks for your time, Austin; we appreciate it.
Austin: You're welcome!

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