Sunday, June 28, 2015

VanFan Review

by Mitchell Hatfield
On June 13, six teams battled it out on the University of British Columbia’s campus in Vancouver, British Columbia to see who would take home the first ever Vancouver Fantasy trophy. Each team definitely came with its own flair and strengths, but at the end of the day the Royals (Purple Team), led by playing GM Cameron Cutler, took home the win.

The Royals arguably had an easy time sliding into bracket play with an early win against the Slaughter-melons (Pink) and a follow up win over the Knope 2012’s (Blue). Winning each of their pool play games put the Royals squarely in the brackets with a quarterfinal bye. The Royals dominated against their semi-final opponents, The White Walkers (White), and clinched the championship slot. All in all, the Royals seemed to have a lot of chemistry, and I think a lot of that chemistry comes from the fact that Cutler drafted so many players from his own regular season team, the University of British Columbia (UBC). Seven of the team’s thirteen-player roster were UBC or British Columbia Quidditch Club (BCQC) players, and that chemistry helped solidify their bid for the championship match. The final match between the Metapods (Green) and the Royals saw the Metapods thoroughly defeated. The Royals’ all-out offensive coupled with solid defensive beating made it a struggle for the Metapods to score, and this left the final score very one-sided. Despite some carding trouble early in the day, the chemistry, athleticism, and accuracy of the Royals put them on top to become the first-ever Vancouver Fantasy Champions.
Cutler drafted many players from his own regular season team, the University of British Columbia (UBC)| Photo Credit: Isabella Gong Photography

The Metapods came in second with no less an impressive record than the Royals. Winning their pool set them at an advantageous by-round for the quarterfinals. The Metapods came out swinging in all of their games, and in general their chaser lineup kept them in each of their matches. Fast scoring by Jake Ronhaar and tank-of-a-player/GM Eric Andres kept the Metapods in top offensive form through to the final match. Unfortunately for the Metapods, the Royalsdefensive wall of beaters stopped their offensive momentum and they were unable to convert drives into scores, which cost them the championship.
GM Eric Andres | Photo Credit: Isabella Gong Photography

We had a ton of fun as a team,” Andres said. “That was our focus for the whole day. We're really lucky we clicked so well in our first game against The Squeeze, and we just rode that momentum for the rest of the day. Unfortunately, we lost a couple of key players before the finals, but we certainly weren't the only team to do so all day.”

The Metapods finished out the day with a respectable 3-1 record.

The White Walkers were another solid team at the tournament, but it seemed that they just couldn’t make the shots when they needed to. They came out of pool play with a 1-1 record and soundly defeated their quarterfinal opponents the Slaughter-melons. The semifinal match between the White Walkers and the Royals was a thrill to watch, and although the White Walkers fell, both teams played hard to get their chance at the championship. The White Walkers were the recipient of the team spirit award for the tournament; they were respectful and courteous throughout their play but still played quality quidditch.

“We played to have fun and enjoy the game with new people,” said Ross Schram von Haupt.

The White Walkers played well over the day and came out of the tournament with a 2-2 record.

The Knope 2012’s were also solid competitors through the day, handily defeating the Slaughter-melons in their first game. Something that helped strengthen Knope’s chances was the leadership shown on and off pitch by both Matthew Nagel and Talor Mykle-Winkler. This team played quick and hard right off the bat, and although it only ended pool play with a 1-1 record, it still pushed hard in its quarterfinal match with Squeeze (Orange). Although Knope would go on to lose that match it wasn’t from lack of effort, and Knope ended the day with a 1-2 record. There was some concern earlier in the draft when Nagel went as the second pick of round one, but many in attendance were surprised by his versatility and competence in every role on the pitch. His all-around play style kept teams on their toes and allowed for his team to make moves on goal that converted more times than not. Even though Knope did not make it to the finals, it came out in game one settled and at ease and played aggressively the whole day.

The Squeeze had a rough start to the tournament, coming out of pool play with an 0-2 record, but it bounced back in the quarterfinals by defeating Knope. Ultimately, Squeeze lost to the Metapods in the semifinals and ended its day with a record of 1-3. Despite these setbacks, the team played well when it played as a team. Squeeze could have benefitted from one strong leader to rally behind. Despite its losing record, Squeeze did not perform too poorly.

“The Squeeze did an outstanding job at VanFan,” said Squeeze player Jacob Keith. “Although our 1-3 record wasn't the best, our performance and effort on the pitch made up for it. It was an amazing opportunity to play with athletes from such diverse teams and regions.”  

Squeeze was home to tournament MVP Lendl Magsipoc.

The last team was the Slaughter-melons. Unfortunately, the Slaughter-melons did not do as well as expected; they lost each of the three games they played and only caught the snitch once during the day, leaving them with an 0-3 record. Although many teams had low numbers of subs, the Slaughter-melons definitely felt the hit when two of their male chasers, Robert Stolzberg and Stephen Jones, were unable to play due to a variety of injury and illness and when one of their other players mysteriously was a no-show. The Slaughter-melons gave their all but just weren’t able to compete with some of the more massive teams. GM Dávid Danos had hoped that speed would outrange size for his team, but the unexpected injuries left his team without enough substitutes to keep a solid offense going for long, and the Slaughter-melons found themselves playing defensively for most of the tournament. Despite this unfortunate loss, the team kept its collective head high and played with ferocity all the way down to the wire in each game.

The Royals win was a true team effort.

Our team played with amazing effort on the defensive end, which lead to the other teams making mistakes and us getting turnovers and capitalizing on the fast break,” said Cutler. “Players like Andrew Ajisebutu, Simon Honigmann, Janik Andreas, and Mormei Zanke led the team in our athletic, fast-paced game. We were able to keep bludger control for a majority of the time and used it to 1.5 extremely effectively. I had high hopes for my team after drafting but got a little worried when I saw teams like the White Walkers and Metapods play with their athletic chasers and specific style. But we always adapted and found a way to neutralize those team's threat. I was so proud of my team that we only let in 11 goals all tourney. That speaks to our defensive dominance.”

Chaser Andrew Ajisebutu | Photo Credit: Isabella Gong Photography

Congratulations to the Royals, and good luck with safe travels to all players attending fantasy tournaments this summer.

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