West World: Quidditch Canada Western Regional Preview
by Indiana Nikel
Tomorrow, six teams from across British Columbia and Alberta will clash in Abbotsford, British Columbia, to show which one of them is the best of the west. Quidditch Canada’s Gameplay and Communications departments have teamed up once again to take a closer look at the competition. Right on the heels of Eastern Regionals, #QCWR17 is shaping up to be a wild weekend of quidditch.
How have our teams performed this season, and what do they need to do to improve their game and take home a medal? Read on for a sneak peak into the world of western quidditch.
UBC Quidditch Club (Win-Loss: 0-3)
UBC Quidditch Club (UBCQC) has had a tough showing this year. Historically made up of both community and collegiate members, it has been difficult for them to maintain a consistent roster. Even so, their play is only improving. Promoting a very quick offense and shooting prowess, their strength lies in the mid-range. Combined with bludger for protection, keepers beware of a carefully lined up shot from Jade Kandola. However, defense is a bit light on contact. Driving opponents, such as SFU (rank #2), have felt like kryptonite for UBCQC.
What UBCQC lacks in consistency, it makes up for in potential. The difference between wins and losses for UBCQC are often within a goal or two of snitch range. If UBCQC can dial in their passing, they will give higher ranked teams a run for their money.
Players to watch: Sita Qvistgaard (#79) and Tom Harkema (#95).
Calgary Mavericks (Win-Loss: 1-3)
The Calgary Mavericks may be ranked 5th on our list, but that is no reason to count this wild card team out of the running for a medal this weekend. Calgary boasts a roster of veterans that have seen consecutive regional and national tournaments. With strong ball carriers leading their offence through smart passes and calculated drives, it’s no wonder that this veteran team won their first game of the year against the now #1 ranked team: UBC Thunderbirds SC. Even more remarkable is their beater strategy, led by 2017-18 Standing National Team beater Christopher Dehler: running unorthodox plays and maintaining bludger superiority, Calgary runs rampant over uncoordinated teams.
Calgary’s main weakness however, lies in their roster. Picking up very few recruits, their strategy remained unchanged from season to season. Teams that have squared off against Calgary before know how and where to pick them apart, much like Edmonton Aurors Quidditch Club (rank #3) did in October. If Calgary can diversify their game and play to their opponent’s weaknesses, they are sure to take home a medal.
Players to watch: Christopher Dehler (#55) and Kimia Fonounialasl (#10).
University of Victoria Valkyries (Win-Loss: 1-2)
University of Victoria Valkyries (UVic) has been on an upward climb over the past two years. Going from a team losing nearly every match to already netting a win (with a few more unofficial wins as well), UVic continues this trend into the 2017-2018 season. Where UVic shines is their driving potential. Chasers such as David Warburton often require multiple chasers to bring down, which tends to open passing lanes around the edges of the hoops for easy goals. Going goal for goal with each of the other teams on this list will not be a struggle for UVic.
Where UVic falls short, however, is on defense. Spreading out their defense with quick passing and then going for a strong drive is the one-two punch through the UVic line. If UVic can body up their opponent’s chasers and stay more compact, they will become a much stronger force in the West.
Players to watch: Julien Cowden (#21) and Fairyn Bye (#7).
Edmonton Aurors Quidditch Club (Win-Loss: 2-2)
The reigning national champions have something to prove this weekend. Led by 2016 Team Canada head coach Christopher Radojewski, Edmonton has sported a high-octane offence that even the best quidditch teams can admire. Passing, shooting, driving, and fast breaks are all in Edmonton’s tool belt of dismantling defences. Don’t be surprised if Edmonton has one of the largest goal differentials.
On defence, big bodies and speed shut down passing teams and driving teams alike. Beaters are where opponents need to focus their efforts, or otherwise face a big zero on their scoreboard. Where Edmonton is lacking this weekend is their roster size. Recruitment has been tough, and a limited roster will mean Edmonton is more susceptible to injuries and fatigue. Against physical teams, Edmonton can expect a tougher time.
Players to watch: Cayley Mendoza (#23) and James Neuman (#34).
Simon Fraser University Quidditch (Win-Loss: 2-0)
Simon Fraser University Quidditch (SFU) is one of the most physical teams playing this weekend. When James Champion is out on the pitch, teams have a tough time stopping the SFU offence. Relying on brute strength and bludger control, most of goals scored by SFU are off drives. A missed beat here and a broken tackle there make short work of less physical opponents. If teams can shut down this offense with smart beater play however, SFU tends to have a tough time.
On defense, SFU beaters collapse to their hoops, creating a near impregnable fortress. Most goals against SFU are fast breaks or even faster ball movement. If you can catch SFU unaware, goals are sure to follow. Much like Edmonton, SFU suffers from a small roster as well. Fatigue is the name of the game this weekend for SFU.
Players to watch: James Champion (#6) and Alyssa Au (#38).
UBC Thunderbirds SC (Win-Loss: 5-1)
Last year’s regional champions are back for a repeat performance with a whole new roster. UBC Thunderbirds SC (TSC) lost a large chunk of the veterans that made up last year’s roster, meaning that play is not quite as organized as previous years. This can be seen in the team’s only loss, to the Calgary Mavericks (rank #5). However, TSC bounced back and has not lost game since. Roster depth and pure athleticism keeps TSC afloat while the tactics and strategy start to gel for their rookies.
TSC’s offence much resembles Edmonton’s in terms of aggression and speed, but tends to make more use of physicality; opting for drives over passes. One strong aggressor is Helen Antoniak, trademarked by her scrum cap. On defense, passes are shut down by tight marking on chasers. Throw a beater or two in the mix and TSC is tough to crack. If opponents can hang on to bludger control, TSC’s defensive options are limited.
Players to watch: Josianne Haag (#35) and Yury Onikashvili (#11).
Follow the games this weekend on Sportscanada.TV
Indiana Nikel is the Statistics Coordinator of Quidditch Canada, and the developer of Quidditch Canada’s Elo Ranking System. The opinions in this piece are of the writers, and not of Quidditch Canada. The Western Regional Championship is coming to Abbotsford, British Columbia, this weekend on November 18-19. RSVP to the Facebook Event here.