BY ALEJO ENRIQUEZ
As the sun sank deep below the horizon of Culver, Indiana, the fourth and final game of the inaugural series of Major League Quidditch finally ended (the first game being discounted due to roster issues) and a number of the more banal sports cliches that often come to mind seemed hollow and not at all accurate. Indianapolis Intensity swept the series 3-0 over the Detroit Innovators, but this game had the real look of a Detroit team that was trying to recover its honor by getting into the win column at least once for its troubles. Sometimes, the team that wants it more does not get it. No one could watch Detroit’s Dylan Schepers literally sending Indianapolis chasers flying en route to four goals and think that anyone on the Intensity wanted it as bad as he did. No one could watch Tad Walters substitute in as a beater, immediately regain control, force a turnover and clear a road for Schepers in the span of less than 10 seconds and think he didn’t want it more than the people he was facing.
Sometimes the team that wants it more also gets badly outplayed in seeker beating (Indianapolis seekers had several pulls waved off before getting the winning pull, while keeping most of the bludger control once the snitch was on pitch). Sometimes the team that has bludger control for 11 consecutive drives tallying 6:16 over the first 8 minutes of the game still cannot use it to build a meaningful lead. Detroit had its chances and pulled back into the game after being out of snitch range once, but in the end, this writer’s verdict is that Detroit’s beaters failed at one of the most challenging and vital tasks elite beaters are asked to do: multitasking effectively. When the defense leaned on beating, Detroit pulled ahead, but the defense could not always depend on having bludger control after 8 minutes in (though the total time of control did slightly favor Detroit and was nowhere near as lopsided as earlier matches). On offense, Detroit’s beaters struggled to generate openings consistently, while Indianapolis’s relentless beaters and patient chasers created more opportunities on offense, relying far less on fast breaks to keep the game close.
The game was compelling, at times quite thrilling, and Detroit seemed to have the most fire the entire game, even in the little things like scrappy chaser KT Quasarano hustling to the quaffle and attempting steals from behind. If this is a harbinger of games to come, I for one am eager to see every one of them.
Other notes from the numbers:
- Schepers of the Innovators and Anthony Votaw of Intensity led their teams in goals with four and three (Votaw’s goals all came with the snitch on field). Blake Fitzgerald of Indianapolis had three assists out of his team’s seven, while Detroit’s passing game was minimal, with only two players recording one assist each.
- Detroit’s 16 shots were not too far off from Indianapolis’s 19, but Intensity’s passing game was more refined and depended less on power charges and broken coverage.
- Detroit was the only team to have any goals scored by female chasers, with one each from Sara DeLongchamp and Meyessa Mansour (#48). Jessica Banaszak (IND#18) had one assist.
For more information on beating, watch for the fine analysis of my colleague, Josh Mansfield. If you have a comment for me, feel free to let me know on Twitter: @Prions.