Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Onward to Oxford: Ghent Gargoyles

As part of our efforts to preview all 32 teams competing in the European Quidditch Cup (EQC), the Quidditch Post is chatting with representatives from each team. Today we spoke with Ellen Vander Heyden, coach of the Ghent Gargoyles.

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QP: Ghent has never been to an international tournament before; are you excited to be coming to EQC?
Ellen: We're super stoked! Many of the Ghent players were in the Blackbeards mercenary team for the Tournoi international de la Violette in Toulouse, and a lot of them attended Christmas Cup and Valentine's Cup, so they know what they can expect. However, it's the first time that we're actually going to play against all those beautiful teams as one united force. I'm very excited!

QP: How are you feeling about the Gargoyles’ chances after the Benelux Cup?
Ellen: We definitely didn't play our best. We had the element of surprise, and we didn't really show everything we could bring. Thankfully everybody in the community here was very supportive and provided us with amazing, helpful feedback on gameplay that we've been training on ever since.

QP: How would you describe your style when at full strength?
Ellen: I can't say too much, obviously, because we quite like being one of the more mysterious teams for now, but I'd say structure is definitely a big aspect of our gameplay. We try to coordinate who's on the pitch as much as possible. We're still a new team in quidditch terms. We're not even a year old, and we don't have that much experience playing together. So we're still figuring everything out. We have our values that we strive toward, but we're still in an early phase.

QP: How do you feel about your team?
Ellen: When we founded the new team, I was a bit scared that we wouldn't find the right group of people to work together on and off a pitch. But now, I'm so, SO happy to say that we have become such a tight-knit group. It almost feels like family. We're joking around all the time and laughing, and it feels awesome to be a part of this team. 

QP: Which team would you most like to meet on-pitch? Would you prefer to play teams from abroad or exact revenge on Belgian teams?
Ellen: I personally would rather use the time we have at the tournament to play as many teams as possible, to meet new people! We can play the Brussels Qwaffles or the Wageningen Werewolves again any day back in Belgium. That being said; I really like the pool we have: Milano Meneghins Quidditch, NTNUI Rumpeldunk, and Durhamstrang. That's going to be an interesting combination. However, if there's one team that I personally would love to play, it's the Vienna Vanguards.

QP: Why the Vienna Vanguards?
Ellen: They're a new team, we're a new team… It'll be nice to share our experiences. And they seem like really cool and friendly people, too.

QP: What are your overall aims for the tournament?
Ellen: My aim as a coach is to get into the bracket play. We'll see from there. It's going to be tough, though. But we'll fight like warriors!

QP: Great! Can you identify any specific players who you think will be key to this?
Ellen: I think we have a tight enough team to not let people stand out. We have point chasers that score a lot of goals, yes, but those people get amazing passes from flank chasers as well in order to score. So I could put my entire team here, or nobody at all. I have faith in all of them.

QP: Thank you for talking to us!
Ellen: You’re most certainly welcome.

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