Monday, June 15, 2015

MLQ Intensity Sweep Innovators in MLQ Opener

By Blake Fitzgerald

Indianapolis Intensity kicked off the inaugural Major League Quidditch season with a 3-0 sweep of the Detroit Innovators, winning twice in snitch range and once out of range.

The season began with a highly anticipated best-of-three series featuring two North Division teams battling it out for the honor of winning the first official MLQ game. After the first game was played it looked like the honor belonged to Detroit when Niko Banks caught the snitch, giving the team a 120*-70 victory. Indianapolis, however, appealed the victory because Banks was not listed on Detroit’s roster.

As the appeal was going through, the officiating crew of Chris Beesley and Chris Coleman started the second game. As the snitch was on the pitch it was another snitch range game. This time, Indianapolis’s Jason Bowling would not be denied the snitch, catching it for a 110*-60 win. After this game, the first game was struck from the record, and the teams replayed the game, with Banks deemed ineligible. Due to the appeal, Indianapolis earned the first official Major League Quidditch win.

The second official game was the only out of snitch range game in the series, with Indianapolis pulling the snitch to win 150*-60. Having already played three close, physical games against each other, tempers started to flare going into the deciding game of the possible sweep.  The final game was far and away the most physical of the day, but in the end Detroit was unable to match Indianapolis’s intensity as Indianapolis pulled away before catching the snitch still ISR 150*-90.

Most analysts favored Detroit entering the series; it was Indianapolis, however, that controlled play. The strongest part of the Detroit team was its beater line led by Tad Walters and Ashley Calhoun. On paper, Detroit’s beaters outclassed Indianapolis’s beaters both talent- and depth-wise. But on pitch, Indianapolis’s beaters, led by Erin Moreno and Alex Didat, held onto bludger control throughout most of the series. This made it extremely difficult for Detroit’s primary ball carriers, Dylan Schepers and Matthew Oates, to find a lane to drive to the hoops. On top of its beaters playing well, Indianapolis’s point chasers, Zach Rupp and Matthew Brown, did a great job at matching Detroit’s physicality, forcing turnovers, and creating fast break points. On top of all of that, Indianapolis’s sweep was made possible by Jason Bowling going two-for-two in SWIM situations. Despite being a sweep, the inaugural series highlighted the competitiveness of Major League Quidditch.

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