Quidditch Comes to Television

The temperature was barely above freezing, the pit...
The temperature was barely above freezing, the pitch was covered in giant mud puddles, and freezing rain was coming down for most of the afternoon, but there was no way this quidditch match was going to be cancelled. The best-of-three series between Bowling Green State University (Bowling Green, OH) and University of Toledo Toledo (Toledo, OH) was the first ever quidditch match ever to air on television. Buckeye Cable Sports Network (BCSN) aired the game at 5:00 PM EST on Sunday, January 13th, making quidditch history.

A cameraman from BCSN records the match. Photo credit: Kristi Chapman

BCSN's play-by-play announcer, Brad Woznicki, said “It was a great opportunity. Any time we can spread the word about stuff like this it adds to the broadcast. We try to broadcast as much local area stuff as possible… The fact that we were the first ever to televise a quidditch game is a huge opportunity and we were very happy we got to do it.” The match, which was mostly dominated by BGSU was played tough on both sides of the ball by both teams. And though the scores of 230-60* and 120-50* show BG as the superior team, both teams were putting in full effort on every play. For much of the first game, Toledo seemed to be a two man team; keeper Drew Burns and chaser Graham Giles made the majority of plays both offensively and defensively for the Firebolts. Giles made a huge impact defensively, making five great tackles and forcing two turnovers, while also scoring one of UT's three goals. Burns, at keeper, was able to force five turnovers and make a tackle on the defensive end, while adding two very nice goals from range on offense. In the first game, the two studs accounted for all of UT's quaffle points and over half of their forced turnovers and tackles. Bowling Green's attack was much more balanced. Superstar Daniel Daugherty looked every bit as impressive as he did at last fall's Midwest Regional Championship, though it was clear he was looking to distribute more than score. Daugherty totaled three assists and two goals, while adding three turnovers and two tackles on the defensive end. The other two BG captains, Samantha Elgin and Katie Milligan, added three goals and two turnovers, and four goals and one assist, respectively. However, the BG attack was not led solely by the captains. Keeper Zak Hewitt added a slew of goals and made several great saves to keep Toledo's scoring at bay, while Evan Adkins was virtually unbeatable, making tackle after tackle in the open field and adding several goals of his own.

Katie Milligan scored four goals in the first match. Photo credit: Kristi Chapman

Bowling Green's attack was as unstoppable as it was balanced, with at least seven players scoring multiple goals on the day. BG utilized their monopoly on the bludgers (45 minutes with bludger control  to 5 minutes without) to stretch Toledo's defense. Daugherty's precision long passing allowed him to pull Toledo's sole bludger to one side, which left acres of open space for the rest of BG's chasers to run into and pick up numerous easy goals. Defensively, BG utilized their open field tackling effectively. Toledo struggled to get into scoring range, and heaved numerous shots from near midfield in desperation. BG's beaters, acting as the second line of defense behind their well-tackling chasers, almost never had to be used, though when they needed to, their throws were accurate and powerful. This combination of great tackling and excellent beating shut Toledo out for the first 13 minutes of the game. When the snitch, Jacob Heppe of MSU, returned 13 minutes in, Toledo took advantage of the confusion to score three unanswered goals in quick succession. Normalcy was soon restored, however, and BG was able to recover and reestablish their dominance in every aspect of the game. After 20 minutes on pitch and three handicaps, Apryl Tidd of Toledo was able to make the snatch on Heppe, making the final score 230-60*.

Snitch Jacob Heppe avoided capture for 20 minutes after returning to the pitch, leading the referee to ultimately subject him to a series of handicaps. Photo credit: Kristi Chapman

In game two, BG came out just as strong, jumping out to another 100 point lead early on. Daugherty continued to amaze, even with a position switch to keeper. Daugherty assisted three and scored one of the first five goals of the game. Bowling Green ran a slower, keeper-based offense in this game, and at times even ran a three female chaser lineup, in what appeared to be an effort to distribute playing time amongst all their players. Elgin and Milligan only accounted for two goals and one turnover this game, as BG utilized the full depth of their roster against a weary, less deep, Toledo side. Daugherty finished game 2 with five assists, two goals, and two forced turnovers. After the game, captains were full of praise for both sides.  Alex Scheer, Toledo's captain, said “We had a few misfires, but we came out and played hard. We don't have the deepest bench, but you'll never see less than 100 percent effort… I think we're doing okay. I think when we had [bludger] control, we did well with our beats, though that was a short time.” Elgin from BG said, “We played the game we needed to. We've played Toledo a few times, they're close to us, they're our rivals. We didn't play any differently. We were coming from a break of about a month and a half, so we went all out. We tackled, we took them down. I was very impressed with our team play.” The rivalry, known as the Battle of I-75, named for the highway both schools lie on, is best known for the football matchup but is also heated in other sports. “It's the Ohio State-Michigan of the MAC, or even, of the non-AQ conferences.” said Scheer. In the football game, a trophy called the Peace Pipe is awarded to the winner. In quidditch, no such trophy exists (yet), but there are definitely bragging rights. The fact that this rivalry was the first ever televised quidditch match meant a lot to the teams. Elgin of BG mentioned that the rivalry being on TV was enjoyable because it really highlights the community of quidditch. “When we're on the pitch, it's game on and nothing else matters. At the end of the game, we're hugging and high-fiving.” It really showcases the spirit of quidditch. “We hate them on the pitch and we love them off the pitch,” said Milligan. Hopefully, this match will be a springboard for quidditch to be on TV in the future. Woznicki of BCSN, when asked if he thought quidditch had a future on TV, sounded hopeful, saying “Oh absolutely. It's a coed sport, full contact, it's exciting to watch…It's something everyone can do, so why not put it on TV?” Perhaps the future might not be so far off. Toledo is preparing to host one of the largest, most competitive quidditch tournaments of the spring, the Glass City Quidditch Classic on February 2nd and 3rd. Scheer is optimistic about the chances of bringing BCSN to do coverage of the tournament, which will feature 17 teams, and 7 of the 10 World Cup qualifiers from Midwest Cup, including all semi-finalists: Marquette, Bowling Green, Ball State, and Michigan State. The other attending qualifiers will be Ohio State, Purdue, and Michigan. Scheer said he would be contacting BCSN shortly about broadcasting all or part of the Classic. Until then, we can only hope. For those wishing to view the broadcast, it will be airing on BCSN at 2:00 PM EST today, January 15th, and a DVD is also vailable. Visit bcsn.tv to learn more.