10 Storylines to Follow at the 2018 National Championship: Part 2
by Ittaana Krow and Yara Kodershah
Photo Credit to Darby Huk Photography
Whether it’s a fresh faced rookie looking to make a name for themselves, a seasoned veteran out to prove why they’re still the best, or a brand new spectator looking for a team to root for, everyone walks out away from a National tournament with their own story. In Part 2 of this this two-part #QCNationals2018 preview series, Communications and Gameplay offer, for your consideration, 10 storylines worth following this weekend in Hamilton, ON.
6. Edmonton’s title defense
Every National Tournament comes with it the same question: what happened the last time? Given the regional disparity of our teams, each National Tournament tends to look slightly different from the last. In the 2016-17 season, 8 teams met in Victoria, B.C with no previous title defenders in sight. Whoever won this championship would be the first, and when the sun set on April 2, 2017, it was the Edmonton Aurors who walked away with that victory.
Fast forward just seven months later to the 2017-18 Western Regional Championship, and Edmonton fails to podium, unfortunately having to forfeit the bronze medal match due to roster size and injury. Edmonton plays a pass-happy offense that is 3rd overall in the league for average quaffle points scored per game. With a collection of transfers to pad up their roster this time around, this tournament will be the first opportunity for a National Champion to defend their title.
7. UBC Thunderbirds on the rebound
The UBC Thunderbirds program has been unquestionably dominant in the Western Region since they were officially brought into the Quidditch Canada. In the 2015-16 season, they played their final season with US Quidditch, ending their season 11-9 with all losses to American teams, including clear losses to a familiar regional rival, the Rain City Raptors. By the end of the 2016-17 season, UBC ended their season 17-4, losing only to two different opponents in that season: Valhalla Quidditch (2), and the Edmonton Aurors (2).
Despite a strong season that was indicative of program and player growth (and included wins – both official and unofficial against the Rain City Raptors), the lack of a podium finish at the 2017 National Championship was a disappointing blow for an otherwise juggernaut team. This season, they are on track to make a comeback, with only one official loss to the Calgary Mavericks early in the season. The pressure is there for UBC to translate their regional wins on the National stage.
8. Group of Death: Pool B
Unusually competitive tournament pools are unofficially labelled the ‘group of death,’ when the nature of the schedule and seeding forces high-ranked, evenly matched teams to meet each other early on. Pool B, featuring deep, veteran rosters from Queen’s Quidditch, Guelph Gryphons, and Université de Montréal (UdeM) unquestionably fits that criteria.
Guelph leads a season series against UdeM 2-1, with all games in range, and is tied with Queen’s 1-1, again with both games in range. On the flipside, UdeM sits at 2-0 versus Queen’s this season, with no games in range. UdeM leads the league in average quaffle points scored per game, Guelph is top 3 for allowing the fewest number of goals against them making them a top tier defensive team, while Queen’s sits firmly in the middle of the pack of both categories. The team that makes it out of this pool may set themselves up for an easier run to the podium.
9. The quest for best season
Perfection is hard to come by, but some teams have certainly come close. uOttawa ended their 2015-16 season 21-1, with an average of 137.3 quaffle points per game, and allowing an average of only 36.7 quaffle points against them. In short, they were a high scoring unit with a nearly impenetrable offense, and translated their style to secure a win in nearly every game they played.
Coming close to perfection this time around? Valhalla Quidditch, with 26 wins and only 1 loss. Though Valhalla currently averages 116.3 quaffle points per game, just shy of the uOttawa standard, they allow an average of only 34.81 quaffle points against them. Roster depth, high octane offensive style, and solid defensive stops are all in their arsenal, and they’re a top contender to go deep in the bracket this weekend.
10 storylines hardly covers the tip of the iceberg, so we found a workaround to get in three more. Nothing brings more entertainment then the opportunity to see matchups that would otherwise not be possible. Here are three matchups we hope (or are guaranteed!) to see this weekend:
- UdeM vs. McGill: These teams have yet to play each other this seasons officially, and each have a claim over their home turf of Montreal. Both are set to face tough competition in their respective pools before the possibility of facing for the first time this season becomes a reality.
- Edmonton vs. Guelph: This rematch of the 2017 Championship game pits Edmonton’s top tier offense against Guelph’s top tier defense. Edmonton will have to climb in the ranks to make this matchup possible.
- Valhalla vs. UBC: The battle of the best records go head to head at 1:30pm Eastern on Pitch 1 tomorrow afternoon. This marquee matchup pits two teams with only one loss each against each other, and is sure to be a game well worth watching.
Tune in to #QCNationals2018 on the livestream this weekend, or if you’re in Hamilton, come and see the action in person. Brooms up is tomorrow at 8:30am on Tim Hortons Field.
Ittaana Krow is the Gameplay Director at Quidditch Canada and Head Coach of Valhalla Community Quidditch, and Yara Kodershah is the Communications Director and Head Manager of Valhalla Community Quidditch. The opinions in this piece are of the writers, and not of Quidditch Canada. The 2018 National Championship is coming to Hamilton, Ontario, this weekend on March 30-April 1. RSVP to the Facebook Event here.