Friday, October 30, 2015

2015-16 Northeast Regional Preview

by David Fox, Danielle Lehmann, and Paulina Pascual In order to gauge the 2015-16 season, the Quidditch Post’s regional editors reached out to the captains of each USQ-official team to talk team strategy, incoming and departing players, and more.
Alfred University Saxons (AUS)
Source: Lucas Rougeux After a long quidditch workout, the Alfred University Saxons spend hours at dinner together. This may be why the team has such strong chemistry on the pitch. AUS is a college team that calls Alfred, New York home. It was founded in 2012 by Remi Russin and Lauren Schramm both of whom will not be returning this year, along with a handful of other students who could not find the time to dedicate to the team. Due to the departure of the team’s founders, Rougeux has become the captain and coach for AUS this season. “One of the challenges I foresee is that most of our team currently consists of first-year quidditch players,” said Rougeux. “Though they seem to have grasped the game well so far, I still am nervous about their lack of experience in comparison to veteran players.” Although inexperienced, AUS seems to have a certain confidence on the pitch. It’s possible that this stems from its evenings spent bonding over great food. Either way, AUS is dedicated to the game and to each other whether its members are on or off the pitch. Boston University Quidditch (BU)
Source: Curtis Stoychoff BU is a college team that was established in the spring of 2008. There are four captains this season: Stoychoff, Peter Cho, Amanda Varnauskas, and Vic Aas Henriksen. Like other college teams, BU has lost some important players from last season. Lauren Hoffman was one of its strongest female beaters and could keep up with any male beater opposition, so hers is a big loss. Jackie Kos and Lulu Xu, former captains for the team, brought positive attitudes that kept the team together during low points but are unfortunately also not returning. The regular loss of important players is not something BU or any team is unfamiliar with. “I think the biggest challenge we will face as is the case with almost all college programs nowadays is the battle to stay at the top of our region and the country with the growth and development of community teams,” said Stoychoff. “Last year, the first team we had to play was Quidditch Club Boston (QCB). With a roster made up of almost entirely freshmen, naturally we were beaten by about 100 quaffle points a game. I was surprised that no one quit after those games. And then we played QCB again at World Cup 8, and the score was tied between us when the snitch was released. That shows how much we progressed and grew as a team over the year.” Playing against community teams might be an uphill battle since college teams continue to get an influx of new players, and community teams continue to invite seasoned players to join their ranks. However, this does not deter BU, and Stoychoff is confident in his team’s ability to learn and stay motivated. BU’s ratio of returners to new players will assist in this challenge, as the team now knows what it takes to play at a high level.
Brandeis Quidditch (BDS)
Source: Kenyon Fraser Keegan Remy-Miller and Samantha Shepherd are the co-captains of Brandeis Quidditch this season. Established in 2010, BDS is a college team on the Brandeis University campus, which is located in Waltham, Massachusetts. This year it will be missing keeper Ryan Kacani and chasers Alex Brenner, Jacob Aronson, and Barbara Rugg. The loss of these three chasers will likely hurt the team’s chaser lines. However, BDS is retaining its beaters, so the team has been able to enter the season with a strong offense and defense. BDS has also retained both of its seekers who last year, combined caught four out of five snitches in SWIM situations at the Northeast Regional Championship (NERC). Bringing this experience to the new season will be important for Brandeis. Clark University Quidditch (CU)
Source: Katie Kinley and Andy Lloyd Clark University Quidditch is a college team located in Worcester, Massachusetts that was established in 2012. This season, Andy Lloyd will be a non-playing coach for a team that has many returning players. Jamin Fine is the only player not returning this season. This means that most of CU’s players will have a year of experience both playing the sport and playing with each other. “I think our biggest strength is that we play as a team; from top to bottom, every person on the roster plays together as a team,” said Lloyd. For now, CU struggles with its youth. There are six freshmen and five sophomores on the roster. Although it will be a challenge for CU to fight for a US Quidditch Cup 9 spot at the Northeast Regional Championship, everyone on the team is dedicated to learning and improving their skills on the pitch and their connections with each other. Emerson College Quidditch (ECQ)
Source: Stephanie Breen ECQ is one of the older quidditch programs in the Northeast; its establishment can be traced back to 2008 and World Cup II. While the team carries the name of Emerson College, it is technically an adult community team, drawing players from Emerson’s expansive intramural league as well as players outside of the college. This season, senior chaser Stephanie Breen serves as team president, while recent graduate Griffin Conlogue is the head coach and general manager. The team is currently working through the initial stages of a rebuilding process after it saw a lot of players leave due to graduation, including keeper David Fox, chasers Carlyle Thomes, Jake Hines, Pablo Calderón-Santiago, Ryan Smythe, and beaters Paulina Pascual and Leeanne Dillmann. Seniors Tyler Trudeau and Dom Bailey also left the team to play for Quidditch Club Boston for the 2015-16 season. However, through the guidance of experienced leaders with previous success in the sport, ECQ hopes to gain experience fast. Playing in the Massachusetts Quidditch Conference will allow players to gain gameplay experience outside tournament pressures, and the conference’s new players provide opportunities for rapid numerical and skill level growth. Seeing as this season is one of ECQ’s first real rebuilding seasons, driving up interest amongst new recruits and developing this talent will be important for success. Additionally, merging ECQ with its B team, the Boston Riot, has resulted in even more turnover and potential for new stars.
Harvard Horntails (Harvard)
Source: Zac Bathen The Harvard Horntails are a college team on the Harvard University campus. Located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Harvard’s team was established in 2009. Ernest Afflu is the captain, with Zac Bathen as co-captain and coach for the 2015-16 season. The Horntails have lost four core players this season, including Martin Reindl, Anthony Ramicone, Jon Jackson, and Ian Nightingale. It will take time for the team to rebuild its chemistry and play style. However, the Horntails have not entirely lost their spark. Their strength lies in each player’s passion for the game. “Teamwork and spirit,” said Bathen when asked of the team’s strengths. “We have a great group, many of whom have been playing together for two full years now, and a team of players who all have a lot of enthusiasm for the game. This team will refuse to go down easily against anyone.”
Hofstra University Flying Dutchmen (HUQ)
Source: Andrew Johnson The close-knit group of players for the Hofstra University Flying Dutchmen are more like a family than a group of college students. Located in Hempstead on Long Island, New York, HUQ is a college team at Hofstra University that was established in Nov. 2010. Mike Iadevaia is co-captaining the team with Andrew Johnson, who will also coach. Four players are not returning to the team this season: Theresa Buchta, Jess Palo, Kelly Stoldt, and Rob Walsh. Since so many members from last year are rejoining the team, chemistry is a huge strength for HUQ. Everyone on HUQ is playing very well together as a team on-pitch. The two biggest challenges HUQ faces are ones it has experienced before: injuries and inexperience. “With a new year and new players, we have to learn how to play the game and also how to play with each other while staying healthy,” said Johnson.
Ithaca College Hex
Source: Dallas Harder Nothing gets Ithaca ready to play more than warming up to the song “Girlfriend” by Avril Lavigne. Located in Ithaca, New York, the team recently became an official team through Ithaca College. Ryan Leary and Toby March are the team’s two coaches this year. Unfortunately, like many college teams, Ithaca is afflicted by a high player turnover rate, and the team lost a lot of players to graduation or other extracurricular activities. This season, Ithaca had a large number of freshmen join the team, which is a huge relief to a team that lost so many players over the course of the summer. In addition, many of those freshmen are solid athletes, but they are still new to the field. “This is a year of rebuilding and growing the team,” said Harder. “I am less concerned with our performance at tournaments and more concerned with teaching new players.” Leary and March are working hard to do just that; with motivation, Ithaca has a positive outlook for the rest of the season. Macaulay Honors College Marauders
Source: Steven Ficurilli The Macaulay Honors College Marauders are a New York City-based team established in 2011. The Marauders are a college team, but they boast players from eight different schools within the larger City University of New York. This means that the Marauders’ roster can consist of honors students from each of the five boroughs of New York City at one time. Steven Ficurilli is the captain and coach for this season. The Marauders will be missing Shenuque Tissera, Paula Garcia-Salazar, and Sarah Giglio for 2015-16; however, a majority of the team is returning this year, which means the Marauders will carry over their incredible chemistry from last year. This team will have to focus on developing its less-seasoned players, since the Marauders have a base of players with one year or less of experience. Even with a younger team, however, Ficurilli knows that the Marauders will not go down without a fight. New York Badassilisks (NYB)
Source: Aaron Roth A community team with a range of players from age 18 to over 50, the New York Badassilisks have to work around very different work and school schedules for practices and training. Located in New York City, NYB was established in 2010. This year, Aaron Roth will be the head coach. While time together as a team must be carefully planned, NYB has both weekend practices and weekday practices after work. The team also has unique training schedules that vary from player to player depending on their availability and needs. “We have athletic new recruits who have a lot of enthusiasm,” said Roth. “As a team, we continue (as we always have) to have a lot of heart, never backing down from a challenge no matter how difficult the situation becomes.” New York Quidditch Club (NYQC)
Source: Kyle Carey Also located in New York City, New York Quidditch Club – previously known as NYU Thunder is a community team made up of college players captained by Kyle Carey and Zack Gindes. J.J. Lynn and Nathaniel White are not returning to the team this year. I think the biggest strength of our current team and the NYU teams of the past is our ability to adapt,” said Carey. “We like to take each game as a learning experience. We’ve definitely proven to be the type of team that is scarier to face the second time around. Our strategies and style are never set in stone, and we try to run sets which exploit our opponent’s weaknesses. Even when we may not have the talent or athleticism of the other team, we can always outsmart them.” Even so, NYQC isn’t taking its smarts for granted. This season, NYQC is going to try to incorporate more physicality into its play. The team typically relies a lot on its beating corps to save it when in a tough situation, so encouraging chasers to step up defensively will help beaters do their job even more effectively.
RIT Dark Marks (RIT)
Source: Ryan Arnold RIT attempted to get sponsored by its local Krispy Kreme this year. Although unable to do so, the team is taking an interesting path towards reaching financial support or stability in order to make the longer trips to tournaments and purchase equipment that its team needs. RIT is a college team located in Rochester, New York. Coached and captained by Ryan Arnold this year, RIT has a few key players that are not returning for this season, including Shane Hurlbert, Dan Gagne, and Helen Snell. A quick, young team, RIT is made up of players who are excited to learn the game and strategies on the field. “I think our team’s biggest strength can also be our biggest weakness: we are very young,” said Arnold. “Just because we are young does not mean we don't intend on qualifying for Quidditch Cup 9.” Rochester United (RU)
Source: Shane Hurlbert RU is a community team based in Rochester, New York that was established just this past season. Led by Shane Hurlbert – recently of the RIT Dark Marks – the team brings together lots of experienced players, with some people having played for four or five years previously. Rochester United expects this collection of talent to aid in bringing new players up to speed, especially under the leadership of well-known quaffle players. The team hopes to develop a smooth and dynamic offense, as well as a physical offense. However, the community team is not without its obstacles. With only one female beater with previous quidditch experience, female beater depth will be one of RU’s greatest challenges. Additionally, of Rochester United’s 20-player roster, seven have never played on a team before – official or unofficial. However, these players come from sports backgrounds and therefore bring a lot of raw athleticism to the team, allowing RU to shape these players to create a fluid team. RPI Remembralls (RPI)
Source: Sam Nielsen Located in Troy, New York, the RPI Remembralls are a college team that was established in 2011 at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Teddy Costa and Sam Nielsen are the captains for this season. Two key players will be missing from their line-up this year: James Sheppard and Drew Howard. “Our team’s biggest strengths this season are related to our ability to play intelligently and not give up unnecessary turnovers,” said Nielsen. “This means making easy passes that aren’t going to get picked off and being patient on offence. It means knowing when to push the pace and when to slow things down. It means having open people to pass to when we get in trouble. Mostly, it means knowing what we have available to us and using it as effectively against our opponents as possible.” This season, RPI hopes to attain a concrete spot in the upper ranks of the Northeast region. In order to so, RPI knows that it has to be taken seriously. To do so, it needs to consistently give its all against quality opponents and play more games against upper echelon teams in order to build experience and strengthen its strategy on the pitch. Skidmore Quidditch (Skidmore)
Source: Mackey Howe Skidmore is a college team from Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York. Established in 2011, the team is led by co-captains Paul Lapinski and Howe, who also serve as the team’s president and coach, respectively. The team only lost a handful of players from last season, but those players provided some of the more prominent leadership on the team, and they include Peter Benson, Ashley Dolan, Catie Riggs, Cara Vanin, and Eric Lemaire. As a younger team, Skidmore views its team unity and internal affection as one of its main strengths going into this season. However, the loss of experienced leadership leaves the team with only three upperclassmen to bring new recruits up to speed, and Skidmore does not think its new players will be fully trained by the time official games roll around. Stony Brook Quidditch (SBU)
Source: Max Curran SBU is a college team based in Stony Brook, New York and was established in 2010. This season, the team is led by co-captains Max Curran and James Richter. Stony Brook will be missing a few players from last season, including Nick Beacher, Ozan Akpinar, Bridget Foley, Victor Meltzer, Hannah Mieczkowski, and Michael Beacher. Stony Brook returns with a fair amount of veteran players that will instruct its new recruits, but with a roster of just over 21 players, Curran thinks the team may struggle with bringing a full roster to every tournament. SUNY Geneseo (GSU)
Source: Pat Shea SUNY Geneseo’s college team, located in Geneseo, New York, was established in 2009. The team is led by Pat Shea and Elizabeth Lawson-Keister for the 2015-16 season, and Geneseo is pleased with its 100 percent retention rate for players. Starting the year with a full, seasoned roster will give GSU a distinct advantage over teams working on their chemistry and will be helpful when training new players. Hopefully, this established chemistry aids with performance on pitch, as Geneseo has had struggles with focusing at the beginning stages of a game in past seasons. And while the team hopes to fix this problem, the shorter Northeast season will limit the team’s opportunities to address it. Syracuse University Quidditch Club
Source: Josh Hintz Syracuse’s college team was established in 2009, but Josh Hintz, the acting captain and coach, believes the team’s founding could have been earlier. The team from Syracuse, New York has a few notable names missing from its roster this year: beaters Mim Powelson, Sarah Hosie, and Luke Straskulage; keepers Mo Sherazi and Alec Coleman; chaser Tory Miles; and former president Christopher Edwards. Hintz is hopeful, though, in the team’s ability to consistently find passionate, athletic players. He said Syracuse has a history of having a good amount of pure athleticism, which is something the team’s retained this season. Hintz said this athleticism aides Syracuse’s opportunities for quick turnarounds and breakaways, as well as the stamina to keep up with other teams and their offenses. Syracuse’s starting keeper Kyle Stevens continues to improve as a ball handler, and his experience as a quarterback is reflected in his accuracy. While Syracuse brings athleticism to this season, it does not bring strong team chemistry and struggles to connect quick, cohesive passes and cuts for a successful offense. And due to the large amount of departing players, Syracuse may be facing a reconstruction season. Nevertheless, the team’s spirit off pitch remains positive – a reflection of its Team Sportsmanship Award from World Cup VI. Tufts University Tufflepuffs (TUQ)
Source: Greg Bento The Tufflepuffs were established in 2009 and are a college team based out of Medford, Massachusetts. Greg Bento serves as the team’s captain this season; according to Bento, the team only lost three players moving into this season: Ethan Sturm, Steve Mullahoo, and Madeleine Lebovic. Bento sees this as one of the team’s strengths, allowing players to retain cohesion built over the last season as the current one begins. Unfortunately, Tufts University’s academic schedule started later than usual and does not line up well with the Northeast region’s schedule. Bento said a quick turnaround time between Tufts’ roster being released and NERC leaves little time to prepare before this decisive tournament. Considering Tufts hadn’t won a tournament title until last season makes this late roster announcement even tougher.
University of Massachusetts Amherst Crabs (UMass)
Source: Kacey Looney UMass is a college team hailing from Amherst, Massachusetts and was established in 2008. For the 2015-16 season, Kacey Looney serves as the team’s coach, while the captainship is shared by Thomas Walsh, Sam Casler, and Colin King. Fortunately for UMass, all of its players are returning this season, and Looney believes the established chemistry will be seen in its beater corps and strong defense. A lack of depth and weaker offense are areas the team hopes to improve on this season. UMass has changed its mascot for the season from the ‘sillynannies’ to the crabs. We are crabs,” said Looney. “This helps us on defense because it is well known that it is nearly impossible to get by a crab, though it makes it difficult to go up the field. Crabs have a tough time walking forward.”
The following teams have not responded with information: Quidditch Club Boston, University at Buffalo Dragons (UB), and University of Rochester Thestrals (UR). The following teams expressed to the Quidditch Post that they did not want to be included: The Rogues and The Warriors. If your team has not been included in this article but is interested in being added, please email

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