The inaugural tournament for the Carolinas Quidditch Conference will be the Minerva Cup in Greensboro, N.C. on Saturday.
Editor’s Note: Nathan Love, IQA assistant editor, is the former captain of Appalachian State University (ASU) and will be playing with the team during this tournament.
The in Greensboro, N.C. on Saturday will serve as the opening event for the newly-formed Carolinas Quidditch Conference (CQC). Featuring both conference and non-conference teams, there is a lot to talk about in this early tournament. Who will show up and play at the level to succeed this early in the season? Who will need further practice as the season comes? We will see in Greensboro.
Western Carolina University (WCU)
University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill (UNC)
University of North Carolina-Charlotte (UNCC)
Pool one will be a fight for second place, as Chapel Hill is likely to come out strong and snatch first with ease. This pool features three other relatively new teams—one in its first year and the others in their second.
The pool features one of the top in the state against three brand new teams, which at face value may seem cruel but is sometimes a natural product of the random draw system. Led by chasing duo Amit Katyayan and Max Miceli, Chapel Hill has the potential to drop heavy points on their opponents. Utilizing their zone defense, it will be tough for opposing teams to penetrate close enough for frequent points. Coupled with their deadly beaters, led by President Alex Drose, Chapel Hill will be near impossible to score on in Pool One.
Furman University, captained by Melisa Coleman, will prove to be a small test for UNCC and Western Carolina. Kenzie Rickman will have to lead the beating game against these opponents to keep the points from adding up. Meanwhile, the speedy Luke Hetherington will be counted on to both score and catch snitches in order to seal games.
Charlotte chasing duo Amanda Honey and Alex Yanez will be heavily relied on to put points through the hoop against the other teams. Keeper Tyler Blevins will be tested against Chapel Hill’s chasing sets and will need strong beater backup in order to remain competitive in this pool; however, the Charlotte beaters will find it difficult to maintain the control they need to thrive.
Western Carolina University’s team is just weeks old. This is their first tournament as a team, and it will be interesting to see how Captain Tanner Morris responds to this trial by fire in Pool One. He will rely heavily on keepers Isaac Cathey and Justin Conner to keep the goal from going in. Seeker Shyris Gambil will be looked to play utility as beater and chaser whenever WCU needs.
Furman University: 2-1
Appalachian State University (ASU)
Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU)
University of South Carolina (USC)
University of North Carolina-Greensboro (UNCG)
Pool Two is a little more interesting, as it features solid teams all around. Conference runner-up Appalachian State University and Virginia Commonwealth University will have to watch out for surprises from the University of South Carolina. But the University of North Carolina-Greensboro will be hard-tested to make it out of this group.
ASU is the favorite here. Led by new keeper Chris Flannigan and chaser trio Sean Ecker, Greg Astolfi and Nathan Love, ASU balances strong offense with solid beater play. Their recruiting class this early season has only bolstered their ranks at all positions. With a new defensive strategy, along with returning seekers such as Grey Schamburger who did not miss the snitch at the conference championships, ASU will be a tough opponent to beat.
VCU—the perennial good guys and favorites at tournaments such as these—will have all eyes on it as it seeks to rebound from the loss of star keeper Darren Creary. With several graduated seniors, VCU has several holes to fill with new recruits. However, finding talent has never been difficult for this stalwart team. Backed by chasers Tommy McPhail and August Wade, as well as keeper Lee Reid and beater Nicholas Alexander, the contest between them and ASU has the most intrigue in all of pool play.
Meanwhile, USC is the sleeper of the tournament, poised to stun someone in Pool Two. With a strong semi-final finish at the Carolinas Championship in March, it intends to build upon its strong showing last time in Greensboro. Chasers Chad Curtis and Maxine Todd will have to repeat a strong performance from March. While beaters Bryan Caolie and John Keaney will be relied on to stop the strong chasers in this pool. USC has a solid chance to make a statement for the South against Mid-Atlantic teams.
The University of North Carolina-Greensboro has a lot to prove. After going 0-5 at regionals and being bounced at its home tournament in Pool Play at the Carolinas Tournament, it wishes to start this season off right with some quality wins. Led once again by Captain Amanda Wilson with compatriot Tori Stiles, UNCG will have to properly utilize the speedy Harrison Prince. Beater Jose Velasco will have to step up his aggression to support UNCG's new keeper Josh Hayes as Hayes learns to fill the shoes of alumni Jeffrey Lusk.
ASU and USC advance based on points differential.
Furman University will find themselves paired once again in bracket play with Chapel Hill and unable to advance into the finals. ASU will face off against USC in a rematch of last year’s semi-final match. ASU will once again come out on top based on strong chaser play and solid seeking.
The finals will be a rematch of last season’s conference championship game pitting UNC and ASU against one another, continuing their budding rivalry.
Finding itself facing a team of equal caliber for the first time that day, UNC will likely have a tough time adjusting to the higher-level competition. In a tight game, ASU seeker Schamburger will snatch the snitch for a close victory to end the day.
(1) UNC 120*-30 (4) Furman
(2) ASU 100*-50 (3) USC
(2)ASU 100*-80 (1) UNC
Correction: The article previously stated incorrectly that Alex Drose is the captain of UNC when she is the president. The IQA editorial team regrets this error.