Sunday, February 14, 2016

Miami Tops the South for Fifth Regional Championship

By Bruce Donnelly

The University of Miami has won its fifth South Regional Championship, besting the Southern Storm (SS) 110*-50 on a snitch catch from Danny Cantrelle

“This is a really big deal for us,” said Coach German Barrios. “This is the first roster without Sean Beloff, Steve Ralph, Shannon Moorhead, or David Moyer so I can say that weve successfully rebuilt our team. This is a new team but we’re still winners.”

Miami is the 2016 South Regional Champion | Photo by Karissa Kirsch
On its way to the finals, Miami defeated Nearly Headless Knights Quidditch in the first round of bracket play, 200*-10, Florida’s Finest in the quarterfinals, 100*-50, and Tennessee Tech Quidditch (TTU) in the semifinals 120*-80. Cantrelle was responsible for each of the three SWIM catches in Miami’s run to the title.

All of todays catches were incredibly valuable to the team,Cantrelle said. “First it was the snitch that beat Floridas Finest, then it was the snitch that took us to USQ Cup and finally it was the snitch that won us the regional championship. That last catch felt just like any other snitch catch, I knew my best chances were to strike fast and thats exactly what I did.”

The runner up, the Southern Storm, earned its US Quidditch Cup 9 bid and spot in the finals with victories over RCQC in the first round of bracket play, 160*-40, inTENNsity in the quarterfinals 130*-110 (OT, no overtime catch), and College of Charleston (CofC), in the semifinals, 70*-60. 

“It meant a lot for us to make it to the championship match,” said Southern Storm Coach Joey Galtelli. “Our goal coming in was to win a bid and represent South Carolina for another year at nationals, but I knew if we won the inTENNsity rematch then we would carry the momentum to the finals. We have gone from ninth place last year to second this year, and making it that far has given us the motivation to aim at first place next year, and we plan to do just that.”

None of the top four seeds of bracket play would reach the finals, with Miami being the No. 5 seed, and SS starting the day as the No. 7 seed.

The finals match-up became an intense beater battle with Southern Storm’s Tanner Morris dominating a lot of the play. Morris, however, and strong offensive play from Steven Schwark, just were never enough to slow down the chasing of Miami’s Bernie Berges. Berges’ passing and scoring helped his team to a 30 quaffle point lead just before seekers were released. As much of their day had gone, Miami was able to get a quick snitch grab to take the title.

The final two bids to US Quidditch Cup 9 would be allocated among the six teams that lost in the quarterfinals or semifinals. By virtue of their semifinal losses, College of Charleston and Tennessee Tech waited to see which team they would face for a bid. After inTENNsity’s victory over University of South Carolina, CofC faced the Tennessee community team. Florida’s Finest competed for the last bid with TTU after the former defeated Florida International University (FIU).

Despite its great run into the semifinals for a second year in a row, the Cinderella story of College of Charleston, the No. 11 seed after pool play, did not end with a bid to US Quidditch Cup 9. inTENNsity jumped on CofC, amassing a 60 quaffle point lead by the time seekers were released. CofC eventually conceded the loss and pulled the game ending snitch, giving inTENNsity the win 160-100*.

Rather than playing in the finals, as many expected, the defending champions had to scrap with Tennessee Tech for the final spot. TTU jumped out to an early 30 point lead, but Florida’s Finest tied the game. After trading hoops back and forth, Finest was at a 20 point lead, before making a catch that was waved off. Instead, Tennessee Tech’s Charlie Jordan made the come from behind grab, to win the game 130*-120. Florida’s Finest is the first defending regional champion to fail to earn a bid the following year.

Miami was defeated once in the tournament, falling to FIU in pool play. Florida’s Finest, who many predicted to earn the top seed and coast to a second title, found itself with the fourth seed by virtue of a relatively low point differential, the result of going 0-3 in pool play snitch catches.

Although Miami captured the regional title, it was the only team from Florida to earn a berth to USQ Cup 9. Southern Storm will be the lone representative from the host state of South Carolina, while the state of Tennessee qualified two teams for the first time, with both inTENNsity and Tennessee Tech earning spots.

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