Each week Andy Marmer and JackthePhan will give you a brief, but thorough, recap of the IQA tournaments that took place the prior weekend.
Midwest: Central Michigan University captured the five-team Purdue Winter Invitational with a 220*-100 finals win over Ball State University in a final that lasted nearly 50 minutes.
Ball State earned the top-seed entering bracket play with a perfect 4-0 record in pool play. Of Ball State’s four wins, two came down to a snitch grab, a 110*-70 win over Central Michigan and a 130*-80 victory over the University of Missouri. Outside of its lone loss to Ball State, Central Michigan was dominant with all of its wins coming outside of snitch range, the narrowest over hosts Purdue University 130-70* in pool play.
Missouri and mercenary squad Steamboat Willies finished fourth and fifth in pool play, with the latter team prevailing in a play-in game 210*-130 to advance to the bracket.
Players to Watch
1. Leading his team to the championship, beater Andrew Derry starred for CMU, turning in an especially great performance against Ball State in the finals. Derry is athletic and was accurate up front against Ball State, frustrating the Ball State chaser lines. Paired with beater Ashley Calhoun, Derry and Calhoun give CMU a formidable first beater line. Derry consistently caused big turnovers, which led to scoring opportunities for David Prueter and CMU's other chasers.
2. Missouri came to the Purdue Winter Invitational with a roster of 12 players, including three rookies. Although they went 1-4 on the day, Missouri stayed within snitch range in two of their games thanks to a huge performance from keeper Josh Ebbsmeyer. Ebbsmeyer scored well over 50% of Missouri's goals on the day, proving that he is one of the stronger offensive keepers in the Midwest. If Missouri can protect him from defensive beaters and place good wing chaser options around him, he could become more of a dual threat.
3. Alex Scheer was the only Toledo player of the Steamboat Willies, a mercenary team that also included players from IUSB and Purdue. Scheer gelled with his teammates and the Willies beat Missouri in dominant fashion in the play in game. But it was Scheer's peformance as a snitch in the finals that earns him a spot on the "players to watch" list. He lasted through three handicaps and pushing the official game time to a marathon length of 49:24. Scheer held off Ball State seeker Jason Bowling, who also had a strong tournament catching five snitches, including the winning grabs against Central Michigan and Missouri in pool play.
World Cup Watch
Ball State University: At Midwest Regionals Ball State advanced to the semifinals, so it’s a little surprising to see them fall in such resounding fashion to a Central Michigan squad that finished ninth at Regionals is disappointing. Ball State is still a team capable of a deep run at World Cup VII, but this tournament was surely an unmitigated disappointment.
Alex Scheer contributed to reporting.