Boston University emerged victorious at the Massachusetts Quidditch Conference/Southern New England Quidditch Conference Invititational.
Editor’s Note: Jayke Archibald, the IQA’s Northeast correspondent, is a member of Q.C. Boston: The Massacre.
In what was perhaps one of the most highly anticipated early-season tournaments, Boston University (BU) proved that it is still the king of the Northeast with a hard-fought victory over Emerson College in the finals of the MQC/SNEQC Invitational. With a 70*-30 win, BU finished the day undefeated and showed that school funding and support are not necessary to succeed; just hard work, teamwork and skill.
Much of the day was taken up by pool play, where every team played four games each. In Pool One, which contained Emerson, Q.C. Boston: The Massacre, Brandeis University, Smith College and the India Point Ashwinders, much went according to the predictions. The early games saw Q.C. Boston and Emerson dispatch their SNEQC counterparts with relative ease, setting the stage for a showdown later in the day with the pool on the line. Brandeis impressed all with new jerseys and a much improved lineup from last season, succeeding in snagging the seventh seed, and the Ashwinders battled through a few blowouts to garner a win in their game against Smith. Then, in the game everyone was waiting for, Q.C. Boston and Emerson fought a tough, defensive battle, which ended with a fine catch by Tyler Trudeau, giving Emerson the 70*-30 win and eventual second seed going into bracket play, while Q.C. Boston earned the fourth seed. Unbeknownst to many outside the region, however, the game was clean, physical and marked by good-spirited competition; not the dirty hits, trash talk or bloodshed that most seemed to expect.
Pool Two, housing McGill University, Tufts University, Harvard University, the North Shore Nor’easters and the University of New Haven, proved to be the most competitive of the three. McGill and Tufts both bullied their way to undefeated records entering their last game of the day, where they played each other. Harvard put up a great fight with a smaller roster on the way to the eighth seed, and the Nor’easters were able to eke out a victory over New Haven to prevent a winless start to their season under a new name. The final game of the pool between McGill and Tufts was one of the most exciting of the entire tournament, with McGill falling behind 50 points before clawing their way back and grabbing the snitch to force overtime. They went on to a 100*-70 victory, without the snitch being caught a second time. This vaulted McGill into the third seed, leaving Tufts at fifth.
Pool Three consisted of Boston University, the New York Badassilisks, Clark University, the University of Massachusetts Amherst (UMass) and the University of Rhode Island (URI). This pool was fairly lopsided, with BU cruising to blowout victories in all four of its games and the number one overall seed. The New York Badassilisks looked impressive with a revamped roster and won their other three games en route to the sixth seed. UMass took care of business against URI, who came out on top against Clark 120*-50. Clark, meanwhile, beat Umass 80*^-60. Other noteworthy occurrences in this pool were the suicide snitch grabs of both Clark and the Badassilisks against BU, as well as the tight overtime victory for the Badassilisks over UMass.
Unfortunately, due to fading light and subpar time management during pool play, tournament organizers decided to scrap quarterfinal games and move right to the semifinals, much to the chagrin of Tufts, the Badassilisks, Brandeis and Harvard, who all expected to be playing at least one more game.
The two semi-final games pitted BU versus Q.C. Boston and Emerson versus McGill, with spots in the finals up for grabs. BU started out strong against the Massacre, going up 40-0 and 80-10 en route to a comfortable 120*-30 win. On the other pitch, Emerson also started out well, getting out of quaffle range relatively quickly and maintaining that lead through seeker play to win 150*-40. This set up another BU versus Emerson showdown in the finals, and the match did not disappoint.
After a quick break for both teams, the game began and was a defensive struggle from the outset. BU struck first, and, after a few cards for each team, the game was knotted at 20-20. BU scored again, and the snitch came back on the pitch, with each team scoring only once more in the ensuing hectic scene. Finally, BU seeker Charlie Paffenroth pulled the snitch, and, after a long referee conference, it was deemed good and the tournament was over. BU stormed the pitch, while Emerson walked off with their heads held high after a valiant effort.
“We're really excited about coming out this strong so early in the season, but Emerson was a close game, so we definitely have a ton to work on,” said BU Captain Katrina Bossotti.
Each team was awarded their trophy, and, with that, the first major tournament of the Northeast season came to an end.
Three things to take away:
The IQA’s focus on getting certified refs and snitches from every team is completely justified and warranted. Many games in the tournament featured unqualified snitches, which were caught quickly, due to both a lack of experience and a desire not to tire themselves out for later played games with their regular teams. While there were enough head refs to go around and have all games official, teams were tasked with providing all assistant referees for pool play games, often times causing undue delays that eventually made the tournament fall behind and scrap games.
Emerson should have never been written off by so many. Almost every major team suffered losses going into the season. Teams need to reload with new talent, and Emerson proved that their newcomers can step into any voids left behind. Keeper David Foxx is still the biggest physical presence in an otherwise smaller Northeast region, and his influence on Emerson’s close games was breathtaking. Foxx never shied away from a tackle, swatted away countless shots and willed Emerson into an important goal whenever it was needed.
Boston University deserves more recognition than they get or probably want. With keeper Brendan Stack and beater Katrina Bossotti returning to the team after a semester away, BU looked like the true powerhouse of old. They were nearly impossible to score on and lethal in a quick-set offense. Further compounding the challenges of playing against them was the beating of Max Havlin, who picked off opposing chasers in such rapid succession, that opponents were left with no option but to take long shots that Stack could easily turn into goals on the other end. With all aspects of their offense and defense clicking this early in the season, Boston University has every reason to believe it can win regionals and make another deep run at WCVII.
Correction: The article inititally stated incorrectly that University of Massachusetts defeated Clark University in pool play. Clark University won the match.