By Brandon Borges
*** Editor’s note: In true quidditch fashion, this is going live after a spectacular delay. This is 100% the editor’s fault, so to make up for this we’ve got a bunch more Great Lakes content coming your way in the near future. You could say that it will be… very good content. ***
Coming off a brutally competitive Great Lakes Regional Championship, Miami University’s Quaffle House tournament was lightly attended, six teams in total including a merc team, but was nonetheless a physical showcase of all types of teams.
In one pool, the current juggernaut of the Great Lakes region and hosts of the tournament Miami fought stiff competition against the up-and-coming Indiana University QC, and a stout, scrappy team from outside the region in the Loyola Lumos. In the other, Miami’s B-team, sporting both MU’s young crop and former stars, did battle against perhaps the most well-known and well-traveled B-team in the region, University of Michigan’s Beartrain, and a merc team featuring several Ohio State players. An exciting last tournament of the calendar year for the Great Lakes region, here are some of the stories coming out of Quaffle House 2018
Miami Bringing the Heat
Miami showcased maybe it’s scariest aspect and why it is poised for a deep run at US Quidditch Cup 12 in its dominating win at this tournament. It is not just Hayden McClary, who is putting together a region MVP-caliber season after winning Rookie of the Year last year. It is not just Sam Rapnicki, who has been dominant on both sides of the pitch with a slick shot, strong drives, and the most physical defense the region is seeing right now.
It is not just the solid beating from Paolo Federico-O’Murchu and Elena McDonald, or any individual performance from the team. No, the scariest aspect of this team is that it is very much a team, a team that trusts each other, a team that can take any rough patches in stride because they have each other, a team that knows each other’s tendencies and work off those tendencies to create scoring opportunities, a team that really feels like one unit rather than a gathering of individual talent. Calm, cool, and collected, even when adversity strikes, Miami has gelled to maximize the incredible talent it possesses incredibly early into the season.
Game of the Tournament: Indiana University vs. Loyola Lumos
Riding the wave of momentum it gained from its expectation-surpassing performance at Great Lakes Regionals, IUQC found itself in a battle against a fresh Loyola Lumos team lead by the ever-impressive Luke Yeager. This game was a matchup of Loyola’s skill, the team sporting several players with MLQ experience including Indianapolis Intensity’s Yeager and Kennedy Murphy and Cleveland Riff’s Joey Ripcho against Indiana’s physicality, an impressive feat considering the grueling 11 games Indiana had gone through two short weeks ago.
The beater game, something Indiana was expected to consistently win with the strategic mind of Traeger Duratti and the leadership of Tristan Kelsey was tightly contested due to the strong beater presence of Loyola’s Jake Ressler and the effort of Alex Hurtado. The quaffle game was even more of a surprise with Indiana’s speed demon Jacob Nixon and offensive weapon Josh Bogner not only holding their own against Yeager and company, but even outplaying them at points.
The length of Thomas Scully and the energy of Parker Reynek assisted Yeager to keeping the game very close, and helped Loyola make a comeback before the snitch came out. In the end, Indiana University pulled and gained maybe its most impressive win to date, but this game could have gone either way, and a potential second matchup between the teams, one where Loyola’s keepers are able to remain healthy, would be amazing to see.