Boston Dominates Northeast Regional Pool Play

Day one at the Northeast Regional Championship can be summarized in three words: business as usual.

The top Boston teams moved through their groups at a walk, occupying four of the top five seeds, and the majority of must-win games came between teams lower down in the seeding. Still, two group winners were decided in the final game of the day and a couple teams (slightly) overachieved. In summation: 

Pool One
Boston University (BU) was in top form, running through a weak pool and looking like the class of the region. Scoring at least 110 quaffle points in each game, BU will be well rested for a run in bracket play tomorrow. New York University (NYU) was a distant second place, unable to hang with BU but a clear step above the rest of the group. Ithaca College overtook Alfred University to claim third place while Brandeis University had a lead against both teams when the snitches were caught and yet lost both games. An 0-for-4 seeking day sees the team eliminated early from World Cup VII contention. 


Pool Two
It was always going to come down to the last game of the group between Rochester Instituite of Technology (RIT) and Macaulay Honors College. The two teams did not disappoint, playing an entertaining game to 70-70 before RIT caught the snitch for the win. RIT will be feeling lucky for an easy catch with a distracted snitch, but, while the ending was unfortunate, the result was not unfair for an impressive RIT squad. The New York Badassilisks looked unprepared compared to some more impressive performances in the Big Apple Quidditch Conference so far this season, but with easy wins over Clark University and University of Rhode Islandwill, the team will have a chance to improve on Sunday and qualify for World Cup. 

Pool Three
Even without Ethan Sturm, Tufts University took pool threee convincingly. After a slow start early against a surprisingly stout University of Massachusetts Amherst (UMass) defense, Tufts pulled away and finished the day with an easy 4-0 record. Harvard University and UMass each had moments of real quality quidditch and only an impressive snitch grab by Harvard separated the two teams at the end of the day. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) had a few athletes and may be a team to watch for the future, but it lacked strategy and depth and just hung onto the fourth spot. Skidmore College fell to fifth place and elimination after a disappointing day. 


Pool Four
Surprise, surprise, Emerson College was running the show in pool four. Stony Brook University played a surprisingly close game against an Emerson team that started with its second string. Emerson subbed with its star players and pulled away, but it was a performance of which Stony Brook could be proud. Unfortunately, instead of using the momentum to take second place, it all came crashing to a halt when the team turned around and lost to Syracuse University. Syracuse came from behind to beat SUNY Geneseo and Grove City College. 

Pool Five
QC Boston: the Massacre (QCB) went 4-0 on the back of impressive chaser depth and passing. The chasers showed instant chemistry and carried an otherwise shallow squad to a top seed. University of Rochester made a clutch snitch grab to get a come-from-behind win over Hofstra University to get a 3-1 record and second place in the group. Hofstra experienced worst-case scenario in that game when Alex Leitch badly injured his ankle and was sent to Urgent Care. A diagnosis of a broken ankle confirms he will not be back Sunday. Mike Iadevaia filled in admirably, but he was not the game changer on the offensive or defensive end that Leitch is for Hofstra. Jaime Colon still led them to a third place finish in the pool--with a cleat puncture to his neck--but they will have an uphill battle to qualify tomorrow. 


Cinderella Story
Harvard and Syracuse both finished the day in the top ten. There was little excitement about Harvard before today, and even less about Syracuse, but they got the necessary results to provide optimism for tomorrow. Harvard was especially impressive, taking Tufts into overtime and playing effective quidditch to win the other three games. Syracuse was expected to fight for third and instead jumped on a lack of discipline by Stony Brook players to claim second. Multiple yellow cards within a short time period gave Syracuse several opportunities with an extra man and perhaps a result that was not quite indicative of their true ability. It will be interesting to see how these two pleasant surprises perform in bracket play. 

In the end, I expect the 12 teams that qualify for WCVII to be BU, University of Rochester, RIT, Tufts, Emerson, Macaulay, Massacre, NYU, Harvard, Hofstra, Syracuse and UMass. Below you will find my predictions for bracket play, with BU taking the regional title. Of course, nothing would excite me more than to see this all get turned upside down tomorrow morning. No doubt, just like today, we can expect to see one or two games that defy expectation. That is why we play.


Photos by /IQA Staff