by Ryan Smythe
*correction: It was pointed out to me that I’m an idiot and confused Edgar with Andrew Zagelbaum. That has been corrected. I’ll write something passive aggressive about you later, Mr. Z.
*also I apologize for spelling your name wrong initially, Sarah.
I challenge anyone to find me an MLQ player with better hair than Dan Howland.
Yes, I should probably spend time talking about how his arms are somehow freakishly long enough for him to sub in as seeker for the Boston Night Riders, even though he lives in Salt Lake City. Yes, I should probably mention his work ethic, and how I watched him run seeker drills for hours on the sidelines while the rest of the team practiced last summer. Yes, it’s probably important to mention how he made Crimson Elite one of the most dangerous teams to play against – at least in range of – during the USQ season because of how dominant he could be at the end of games.
But I won’t. I’m just going to focus on his beautiful locks as I watch the livestream (which might not work), and again when I watch the videos once they’re uploaded (sometime next year).
Also Edgar Pavlovsky, what are you doing not listing yourself as a seeker on the Salt Lake City Hive’s roster? I can still hear you as you screamed “I TOLD YOU I’D CATCH IT” at the LA Gambits sidelines after pulling the snitch to beat the Lost Boys in Santa Barbara at the Next Best West tournament. Fuck you, Edgar. You sneaky, talented bastard.
This Salt Lake seeking duo is arguably the most terrifying part of the entire roster. It’s going to be up to the San Francisco Argonauts’ quaffle players to run up the score and make sure they never need to worry about a yellow headband.
Unfortunately for you, my dear readers, I’m not too well-versed in NorCal quidditch. Despite this temporary setback that will be remedied with West Fantasy and endless hours of watching film, I know just enough of the Argonaut’s roster to pull analyses and predictions out of my ass, like this one:
David Saltzman is a goddamn machine.
I’m sorry, I don’t think I said that loud enough.
*ahem* DAVID SALTZMAN IS A GODDAMN MACHINE.
I watched him play nearly five straight games without subbing at 4th Annual Beachside Brawl. The only reason he subbed at all was because I yelled at him to let me play beater for a hot second. Even then, he seemed genuinely surprised someone wanted him to sub.
His biggest issue is going to be the freight train of Hive beaters barreling towards him every chance they get. Whenever he gets the chance to napalm, I fully expect Ben Reuling to get in Saltzman’s face, probably introducing it to the ground on several occasions. In case anyone considers that statement an insult to Saltzman’s skill, just remember: Reuling is a giant. Being tackled by a giant is okay. If you’re into that.
The aggressive beating play on both sides of the pitch means that it’s probably going to be up to the second beaters to step up and cover mistakes made by their (presumably) male counterparts. Any time a Hive beater attempts to make a play on offense, the threat of a turnover into a fastbreak will loom over their heads.
A key Hive player to watch will be Allison Froh. With four male beaters on the roster, she should expect to get a whole lot of playing time. With so much size and speed coming from the other beaters, she will likely be given the daunting task of cleaning up those fast breaks. While I don’t know much about San Fran just yet, I do know that Mostafa Attia is not someone I want recovering a loose ball when he’s on the other team. With his speed, Froh will have her hands full buying enough time for defensive help to show up and cut off passing lanes.
Attia’s going to have some pretty terrifying passing options too. I would say that Dan “I do 250 pushups in the morning just because” Marovich is the single most terrifying player on the west coast if it wasn’t for his coach Sarah “I tell the head ref I’m ready on brooms up by screaming like a banshee” Staatz. Even with her voice on the sidelines, the passing potential between Marovich and Attia could be enough to bury Salt Lake.
There isn’t a single player on the Hive’s roster that can physically compare to Marovich, which means that their off-ball chasers are going to need to work their asses off to provide enough passing options to keep the score in range. Luckily for Salt Lake, they might just have the most dangerous off-ball passing options outside of Boston and Texas when they run double-male beater sets in the form of Gina Allyn, Abbie Simons, Kristin Jakus, and Sydney Lancaster. If they can work to spread the field, even the real-life version of The Mountain won’t be able to stop all of them.
For San Francisco to win this series, they need to bury the Hive chasers into the ground. They need to make me look like a complete asshole for not knowing more of their names and shut down any passing lane on defense. Without that option, the Hive have a very low chance of being able to keep up with Marovich.
For Salt Lake to win this series, one or more of their off-ball chasers will need to step up and become the scoring focus of their team. There isn’t a quaffle carrier on the Hive that can brute force their way past Marovich, so it’s going to take clean passes and aggressive finishes from an off-ball chaser to keep them in range.
However, if the Argonauts can’t pull out of range, this is Salt Lake’s game for the taking. Howland and Pavlovsky are two of the best seekers in all of quidditch, and they only need a few seconds to pull the snitch.
~To everyone mad at me for not knowing or mentioning your name, remember: I used to think a hairy greenhouse was just a very unsanitary place to keep plants.~