Friday, April 3, 2015

Onward to Oxford: METU Unicorns

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 Can Kaytaz and Kamil Urgun, captains of the METU Unicorns.

Quidditch Post: Where did the name Unicorns come from?
Can: We wanted to keep the name “Dragons” for the school team, as in all METU teams combined, and a wild idea came up: why not be Unicorns? They are so fabulous!

QP: What does it mean for the team to qualify for EQC?
Can: It is pretty surreal. We started playing quidditch a year ago and here we are today, playing against people from all around Europe and actually being competitive. Even though we knew we would qualify, it means a lot.

QP: Is there a particular team you hope to face?
Can: We want to face Crookshanks Lyon again, as we went 1-1 in Toulouse and they are such lovely people. We also want to play the Norwegians too. We supported each other during the Tournoi de la Violette and promised to play each other in the final, but we both failed. Hopefully this time we can face them; they'll be worthy opponents.

QP: Many of your players first international experience was in Toulouse. Do you think that will have any impact on their play at EQC?
Can: Of course. We had 14 Unicorns in Dragons, and we grew a lot as players in only two days. You could even see the difference between the two Lyon games we played. Now that we are back, we can use the experience to train our new recruits as well.

QP: You also performed quite well. Do you have any goals?
Can: We want to play in the semifinals at least, but with a bit of luck we may reach the finals. We are working very hard.

QP: What do you think it will take to make it that far?
Kamil: First of all, we will need to keep working hard and stay disciplined. Then, some lucky matchups will be enough. It won't be easy, but we can do it.  This is only if we can bring enough players to the EQC, though.

QP: How many players do you expect to bring?
Can: That depends on how many we can afford to bring. Ideally, we want to bring 21 people, but this will only happen if we can reach our Indiegogo goal and find a sponsor. We believe a minimum of 16 players is a must.

QP: Can you talk about a few of the team's key players?
Can: We rely on teamplay more than we do on individuals, but some who stand out the most include Fatih Aykurt, who is our biggest threat at the moment. He is very fast, agile, and can play keeper, chaser, AND beater, putting out great performances all around. He is the best utility player we have.

Melike Balkan is hands-down the best female beater in Turkey. She is a very good defensive beater. She loves napalming and has improved her game a lot.

Sıla Yüksel is our very own Vanessa Goh. She is impressive at turning long passes into goals, and she can move with the ball too.

QP: Would you say the team has a particular style of play?
Can: We try to keep the opposition from scoring with a solid defence and find goals with fast breaks and long passes. We have a really solid bludger defense too. Our seekers can't face many different snitches here in Turkey, so they have a little disadvantage over their more experienced counterparts.

QP: How are you preparing for EQC?
Can: We have two training sessions per week. One training session is dedicated to practicing our passing, shooting, tackling, etc. Most of the team also attends a community training session. We also watch every quidditch match we can find online.

QP: Thank you both for your time; we appreciate it.
Can: We thank you for the interview. It was a pleasure.

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