by Tom Marks | October 24th, 2011
University of Southern California triumphed over University of California during a weekend of football, water polo and, of course, quidditch.
On Oct. 15, USC travelled up to Cal in Berkeley for two official games ending with a win each and a USC victory in overall points. The games were high energy and incredibly competitive, with around 200 fans out to support their respective teams, but the most interesting part of the match-up was what happened when the two teams’ very different play-styles met on the pitch.
USC acquired a reputation for being a hard hitting, physical team at the second annual Western Cup last spring, beating Cal in the semi-finals, and it was clear on Saturday that both teams had been training since then. Something else that quickly became clear was that Cal had been playing the game with significantly less physical contact than the rulebook allows — a fact that would end up affecting both teams negatively.
The first game began with much slower play than had been observed from either team in the past. Both Cal and USC seemed hesitant, having to adjust to the other’s play style, and it clearly showed in their strategies. Cal had an impressive passing game, but was taking longer than normal to set those passes up since team members were not used to being stopped by USC’s tackles and charges. On the other side, USC team members were not their usual fast and smashing selves, cautious not to get carded in this stricter environment. A somewhat controversial snitch catch by Cal took the lead away from USC, ending the first game 90-70 for Cal.
The second game saw a more confident USC team. Showing incredible power, USC repeatedly ran through the Cal defense and seized an impressive 100-point lead before the snitch appeared on the field. The score reached 120-40 before Donovan McNiff, the tour de force that is Cal’s seeker, caught his second snitch of the day ending the game 120-70 for USC. Cal simply had no response to the brute force of USC’s chasers who would seize any moment that Cal’s beaters were unavailable to make a quick 10 points.
Both teams will be competing in the World Cup this November, joining four other teams from the Western Region; Arizona State, UCLA, University of Utah and the Silicon Valley Skrewts.