Quidditch | Mixed bag for Tufts in final tune-up before Regionals
Published: Thursday, November 8, 2012
Updated: Thursday, November 8, 2012 07:11
With Quidditch regionals only two weeks away and with the team needing to play more games due to the ranking system, Tufts hosted its own tournament this weekend on the Residential Quad. With four teams from three other schools, including Emerson College and Boston University (BU), the Tufflepuffs finished in third with two promising wins and one disheartening loss.
Standing at 3-1 for the season after last month’s season-opening Massachusetts Quidditch Conference tournament, and with little competitive action since then, Tufts was still a game short of the International Quidditch Association’s (IQA) 5-game minimum for avoiding a penalty in its world rankings.
“We needed another tournament. For rankings in the IQA, you need to play at least five games or otherwise your placement will be deducted,” senior co-captain Howie Levine, who was sidelined this weekend with a hand injury, said.
To that end, Tufts invited several Boston teams to an official tournament of Saturday afternoon round-robin play on the Residential Quad, including the aforementioned Emerson and BU, as well as Harvard University and the Boston Riot, Emerson’s second team.
Unfortunately, for their first game, the Tufflepuffs met with the wrong end of a BU powerhouse that went on to claim tournament victory.
“Our first game, we came out kind of flat,” Levine said. “We weren’t prepared for how good BU was.”
As one of the top teams in the region and arguably the season’s favorites to take home the regional title, Boston University quickly overwhelmed Tufts with their fast-paced passing offense, taking advantages of any slip-ups in chaser coverage to convert easy goals at the Tufflepuffs’ expense.
“They have very good coordination, and we just weren’t able to provide adequate coverage on their chasers,” senior seeker David Meyers said.
Their strategy worked, as BU eviscerated Tufts, finishing off a 160-10 victory with a snitch grab.
After the loss, Tufts was forced to regroup quickly, with a matchup with Emerson less than an hour away. But there was hope for the Tufflepuffs, who scored a morale-boosting victory in their first game of the season against the regional power.
As if the clock had been rewound, Tufts came out with renewed vigor, playing the same style they utilized so well three weeks earlier, bunkering down on defense and limiting Emerson’s scoring opportunities.
“We had great bludger control,” Meyers said. “We came out in our subsequent games and started playing both very well. People were playing up to their games.”
With Tufts down 70-50, junior seeker Duncan Leaf made his move and secured the snitch, giving Tufts the 30-point boost they needed to edge out Emerson, 80-70.
“We really focused on playing more disciplined Quidditch, avoiding erratic plays, and sticking to clean, physical play,” Levine said. “We went out there and did just that. We improved every aspect of our game ... Chasing, defense [and] beating.”
In their last match, the Tufflepuffs faced off the Boston Riot. The Riot managed to hang around, refusing to be put away early, but when the snitch returned to the field dedicated play from the Tufts beaters kept the Riot seeker at bay while giving their seekers plenty of time to work. In a spectacular performance, Leaf managed to secure hold of the snitch while simultaneously being slammed down and dragged on the ground. The grab was enough to give Tufts a 60-40 victory.
Overall, Tufts finished third with a 2-1 record and a misleading point differential of -120, mainly due to their loss against BU.
“We still have a lot we need to work on, like getting to the goal and scoring, but overall we’re happy with the tournament, and [we’re] looking forward to regionals,” Levine said.
As it stands, the Tufflepuffs have improved to 14th in the IQA’s world rankings after this weekend, which should be enough to land them a high seed in the upcoming regionals tournament.
“We’re expecting to be within the top-five seeded teams for regionals,” Meyers said. “We have a good team, we’re just working and practicing on honing down our technique.”
The Tufflepuffs next play in the Northeast Regional Championship, to be held Nov. 17-18 in Newport, R.I. Twenty-five teams will be in attendance, with the top 11 moving on to the World Cup in Orlando, Fla. in April.