Saturday, April 4, 2015

80 in 80: RCQC

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
Stephen Nettles and Amy Sullivan, captain and president, respectively, of RCQC.

Quidditch Post: RCQC qualified when Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) dropped out. What does it mean for the team that you will be attending World Cup?
Amy: It means the world to us. Not qualifying was not something we had anticipated, and it was a hard blow to absorb. Now that we've got a second chance, we're going to go to Rock Hill, South Carolina with even more determination to prove that we deserve to be there, that we're good enough to be there.
Stephen: I still believe we're a top five team in the South. Our performance at the regional championship was embarrassing and unacceptable. We had our worst showing of the year, and this is a chance to redeem ourselves. We have a lot to prove, and we plan on making a point at World Cup.

QP: How will you prove that you belong?
Stephen: I think going 3-2 in pool play would make our point. That's the goal I'm putting in front of the team: win three and see what happens. Anything less than two wins would be considered a failure. I believe we're fully capable of two wins, and three is well within reach.

QP: What will it take to pull that off?
Stephen: The little things. This roster has plenty of talent, but what sunk us at the regional championship was the little things. Our chasers have to finish our drives, our beaters have to retain control, and the two positions have to communicate. It doesn't matter how much talent you have if you can't play as a team. If we can play as a concise unit, we will accomplish our goals. If we don't play together, then we'll be lucky to run a single game. That chemistry is the difference between ninth place at the regional championship, and third place at the Highland Games/Florida Quidditch Conference Championship.
Amy: I agree with the little things. I also think that they will be achieved as we gain full cohesion. We added one or two people to our regional championship roster, and now they have had a chance to practice with us as well.

QP: How would you describe the team's style of play?
Stephen: Defensively, we're aggressive and like to apply high pressure. Offensively, we rely on some solid passing from ball handlers and a good level of chemistry from chasers who have played together for a couple of seasons in many cases. For most of the season bludger control has been important to us, and our beaters have done an excellent job at providing opportunities to our seekers to get at snitches. In order for us to succeed, we need to once again find that beating dominance/control and our chasers need to do a better job of taking advantage of openings our beaters give us. Both of those aspects were not in form at the regional championship.

QP: Who would you say are some of the team’s key players?
Stephen: Nick Behling and Paige DeKiel have been big for us at beater all year long. Paige spent most of the season playing with limited or no support from subs as well. On the quaffle side, Mike Bourgault and Jonathan Nettles have provided a lot of goals for us.

QP: Are there particular teams that you hope to face?
Stephen: My brother and I grew up down the street from the Reynebeau brothers, Peter and Joey and were best friends as kids. Growing up, we'd spend many days playing baseball and football together after school, so getting to play against them would be really special. Last year, we really wanted to play against the University of Arkansas Quidditch Club before Peter graduated, but it would still be special to play against Joey and the college we grew up cheering for. It would also be special to get to play against Peter's new team, the Los Angeles Gambits, or against Tribe Quidditch, a team with a number of Arkansas alumni.

As a team, we'd love to have another shot at the University of Rochester Thestrals, a team we only lost to by a snitch grab last World Cup. Tad Walters from Loyola University New Orleans was talking a lot of trash about our team and the South Region in general earlier this season, so obviously we'd love a chance to give him our answer.
Amy: Seconded. Obviously we'd like to avoid playing South teams when possible as well.

QP: Do you think that the late nature of finding out will hurt the team at all? It was only a few weeks before World Cup.
Amy: Fortunately, we still had fundraising and practices planned for this time already, so that will help. I think the second chance nature of it will give us a boost of energy, honestly.
Stephen: We knew we had a really good chance of getting a deferred bid. The teams here in Florida are close, so we knew about FGCU's troubles and were prepared to replace it if need be. Unfortunately, having to wait on a deferred bid did cost us one of our chasers, Erin Heintzelman, but so far it looks as if we won't be losing anyone else.

QP: That's pretty good. What do you hope the team takes away?
Amy: I mean, it's World Cup. You get to play teams from all over the country, meet new people, and watch some amazing quidditch. As a team, we're going to be able to learn a lot.
Stephen: Two years ago, this team wasn't even registered with the IQA. Last year, we qualified for World Cup but didn't win a single game there. I believe this year's team is head and shoulders above last year's team. My hope is to see the team get some wins at the tournament this year and use that as a platform to come back next year and be even stronger and pull off an upset or two.

QP: You have an interesting relationship with your school/community. Can you discuss that a bit?
Amy: We're based out of Rollins College; that's where we started as a program. We're very lucky that the athletic department likes us and wants to support us financially. They've helped us out a lot. However, the reason nobody has heard of Rollins is because 1,800 undergrads go there. Recruiting is a nightmare. Last year, we merged officially with Florida Atlantic University. This year, we sort of branched out to the community just to field a full team. Our school likes the publicity we bring them, so they want to help. But liability and publicity says that if other people are running around playing for Rollins, the athletic department could get in trouble for funding us. So, we're RCQC. It *could* stand for Rollins College Quidditch Club; therefore, people still recognize the school, and they can justify giving us some funding. However, it actually doesn't stand for anything (although Really Cute Quidditch Club has received a few votes), so there isn't any political liability. That's a bit long, but you get the gist. All politics.

QP: Yep! You talked a bit earlier about the growth of the team historically. To what do you attribute that?
Amy: Sheer determination. Stephen really kicked it off. He decided we were going to be a competitive team. So we made it happen, even when it seriously looked bad.
Stephen: Amy and I basically hated each other (don't worry, we're good friends now and even play in the same band, not to mention she dates my brother) for the first three months because we had completely different ideas of what the team would be. I had just played at the World Cup with Eastern Florida State College's team, and my one and only goal was to return there. Amy hadn't played a competitive sport before, so obviously that led to quite a bit of conflict. The first half of last year was just atrocious; we didn't win a single game! But that rough first season managed to end in a World Cup bid, and the team has just kept getting better since then.
Amy: Once we got on board with each other's visions, we just never saw not making it as an option. It's simpler that way.

QP: Thank you both for your time. We really appreciate it
Stephen: No problem!
Amy: No worries; thank you! I'm so excited we actually got to do one of these.

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