The Baylor Quidditch team hopped on its brooms and hit the pitch this past weekend as it took part in the Breakfast Taco Tournament at Sam Houston State.
For Baylor, the importance of getting its first win under their belt couldn’t have understated. However, getting experience for the younger players was crucial as well.
“It’s a challenge because I have to figure out how they play, and it can be difficult,” said freshman keeper Ian Quincy. “It was also difficult because it was my first actual game, and I was super nervous.”
They began their quest toward a return to the US Quidditch Cup by facing off against Calvary in Pool Play. Calvary came out and overwhelmed Baylor’s youth with speed and aggressive beaters. After falling behind early on, the Bears began to find a rhythm in the match, but Calvary was quick to catch the snitch, ending the match with a final score of 110-40.
Despite losing to Calvary to open pool play, Baylor was beginning to gain its confidence.
“We are beginning to assume the identity of a team who plays a very smart game who will out-hustle our opponents,” said senior coach Reed Marchman. “This really showed in our two games against the two ‘community team’(teams based geographically, not collegiately) powerhouses we played this weekend. Our ability to hold these teams so close is a direct result of focus.”
This confidence began to manifest itself when Baylor took the pitch against LSU in their second match of the day. Baylor started fast and suffocated the Tigers all over the pitch. The Bears’ passing was flawless, and their defensive prowess overwhelmed LSU all match. Baylor junior seeker Cordell Clark quickly ended the game after catching the snitch, securing a 130-20 win.
In the third and final match of pool play, Baylor drew the host school, Sam Houston State. The key for the Bears was controlling the pitch with their beater play, and they needed every every bit of it to keep the Bearkats at bay.
As the two teams exchanged goals back and forth, the key moment was when senior chaser Steffi Hoffman outran the opposing keeper and found fellow sophomore chaser Shane Soudek for the alley-oop goal. This goal broke the spirit and will of the Bearkats and Baylor went on to catch the snitch, earning the 150-80 victory.
After finishing pool play 2-1, Baylor drew the two-time World Cup runner-up Lone Star Quidditch Club, a team made up of University of Texas and Texas A&M graduates. The veteran team took advantage of the young Baylor team’s mistakes and inserted an extremely effective defensive strategy that limited the Bears’ offensive opportunities. Lone Star ultimately put Baylor away 120-50, ending Baylor’s run in the tournament.
Despite suffering several tough losses, Baylor Quidditch is quickly improving and is looking to build off of the success they experienced in the tournament.
“We showed a lot of promise during the tournament,” sophomore beater James Carey said. “We are a young team with a lot of promise and look to build great things off what we learned this weekend.”
Marchman, though pleased with the effort and growth from his young team, maintains the team’s high expectations and goals heading into the season and expects that each time on the pitch, Baylor will be one match closer to these goals.
“I have no doubt that we will shatter expectations this year, and it’s all because of what I have witnessed in these last four weeks,” Marchman said. “We will quickly establish ourselves as a serious threat and improve every time we step onto the field. When we keep that up, we will accomplish all of our goals.”
The Baylor Quidditch team will return to action on Oct. 29 when it travels to New Orleans to participate in a tournament hosted by Loyola University.