Weather permitting, powerhouse teams from the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic will square off in Boston this weekend to duke it out over the top spot in the East.
Editor's note: The author of this article, IQA Northeast Correspondent Jayke Archibald, plays for QC Boston: the Massacre.
This weekend in the Northeast will be highlighted by the Beantown Brawl, a two-day tournament taking place in Tewksbury, MA. On Saturday, 12 teams, all of which are World-Cup qualified, will descend onto Boston to make this one of the premiere tournaments of the season in the region. The four major Boston teams—Boston University (BU), Emerson College, Q.C. Boston: The Massacre (QCB) and Tufts University—will be joined by regional foes New York University (NYU), Macaulay Honors College and the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), as well as the NYDC Capitalists and the University of Maryland (UMD) from the Mid-Atlantic and Carleton University, University of Ottawa, and the Maple Rush, all from Canada. The pools will be very competitive and will feature many intense rematches from past games this season, including games between Emerson and UMD, Tufts and NYDC and QCB and NYU. With all 12 teams being qualified, there will be no easy games throughout the tournament, and anything can happen heading into the brackets on Sunday.
Pool A: UMD, Emerson, Macaulay, Maple Rush
Pool A will be a very intriguing pool with heavyweights Emerson and UMD squaring off again after their intense battle at Turtle Cup in the fall. While Emerson won that game, UMD put up a hard fight--being attirbuted by some as the better team of the two--and the way the teams matchup is very interesting. Emerson relies heavily on its intense physicality and outstanding beater game, yet has been weak in the seeking game all season, while UMD’s strategy revolves around its crisp passing attack and powerhouse seeking game. With each team having its unique strengths, it will be very intriguing to see whose play style gives way first.
Macaulay will be coming into this tournament looking for a signature win over any one of these powerful teams and may find itself in its usual underdog role, despite qualifying for the Cup both years the program has been in existence. With perhaps the strongest seeking game in the tournament, Macaulay just needs to keep other teams within striking distance to have a chance at pulling off some major upsets.
The Maple Rush, UOttawa’s B-team, snagged one of Canada’s few qualifying spots in its first season, to the surprise of many. The Maple Rush play strong offense, buoyed either by drives to the hoop or a crisp passing game, depending on personnel, but has struggled at times due to a lack of experience at beater. The team has progressed mightily since its inception in the fall and will look to prove its worth at this tournament, coming in as a relative unknown.
Emerson and UMD should fight for the top spot in the group, with the nod going to UMD on the faster indoor surface.
Maple Rush: 0-3
Pool Eh: BU, QCB, NYU, UOttawa Gee-Gees
Pool Eh looks to have a more clear favorite than either of the other two pools, as BU has played phenomenally all season. While many of them have not played competitively since the Northeast Regional Championship, the players are used to long periods between competitive games and never seem to come out rusty, so this should not be an issue. The team is a well-oiled machine and should be very confident in its own ability heading into the tournament. After BU, the other three teams in the pool should all be fighting for positioning come day two, and should have some of the best games of the day.
UOttawa is coming off victory at the Canada Regional Championship--making this the only pool with two regional champions--and despite playing very few American teams, has looked very strong all season against their Canadian competition.
QCB will be looking to avenge its regionals quarter-finals loss to NYU and will hope to have more consistency than it showed in the fall season, having now had nearly six months to really gel as a team. Lastly, NYU will hope to prove their signature win over QCB was not a fluke, and perhaps look to take back its crown as best New York City-based team with a win over any of these teams on day one.
BU should easily dispatch the rest of the pool day one. The other three teams should all play close games, and at least one could unfortunately end up lower in the bracket than it deserves.
Pool Eyy: NYDC, RIT, Tufts, Carleton
Pool Eyy may be the hardest to predict of the three because every team in it has shown periods of greatness as well as moderate lapses thus far this season. RIT seems to be the team most on the rise, with an impressive semi-finals appearance at the Northeast Regional Championship where it came very close to potentially knocking off BU.
NYDC has had an up-and-down season, winning its initial tournament before underperforming at both Turtle Cup and the Mid-Atlantic Regional Championship, despite having one of the most talented rosters through and through on the East Coast. Tufts, likewise, started the season strong, beating NYDC at Turtle Cup, before playing relatively poorly at its regional competition and being exposed by RIT’s physicality. Carleton snagged a second place finish at its regional championship but has been largely untested outside of the region, and, thus, will be looking to prove its merits in the states and be consistently talked about as one of Canada’s best.
NYDC has the strongest lineup, and playing to its full potential, should take the pool. However, the team could easily slip up against Tufts again or RIT, leaving the pool wide open in that situation
With pool play merely deciding where teams are seeded in the bracket, day two should provide intensity from the start. Depending on who places where, some very huge games could happen early on in the day, and even those who get the number one and two seeds cannot expect to coast into the finals. At the end of the day, UMD and BU could very easily find themselves matched up for the trophy if not placed on the same side of the bracket, with NYDC and probably Emerson taking semi-final places as well. However, with so many strong teams, anything can happen, and this may be one of the hardest tournaments to predict. BU will likely be crowned the eventual champion, as the team just does not lose to teams outside the Southwest. That being said, any number of about six to seven teams can consider themselves as having a worthy shot of a finals appearance.