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The Breakdown: Boston University vs. Emerson College - NERC 2012

     This is an in-depth analysis of Boston University vs. Emerson in the Northeast 2012 finals. Lawrence Lazewski was the head ref for the game. Harry Greenhouse was snitching this game. Figures, tables, highlights, and a summary are at the bottom. All times are linked to clips. Credit for the film goes to Jackson Maher for uploading video to the internet. All stats and observations were made via his video; I was not present at the game.

Video used: Click Here

What To Watch For:

     BU ran a great transition game. 5 of their 6 goals (before the snitch was on the pitch) were transition scores. Some of these were one pass scores while others were BU players taking the quaffle coast to coast. This came largely from Emerson’s aggressive strategy using both beaters on offense which was a consequence of trying to regain blugder control for much of the game.

     Emerson was able to control the quaffle around half pitch on offense running good screens. They combined this with vertical passing to players behind the hoops to stretch BU’s beaters vertically. Emerson use of beaters on offense allowed them to set up chasers for those long passes.

     There were a lot of beaters attacking beaters. Many times in this game all 4 beaters faced off. Both teams put priority for the beaters to be on the seekers. This made for great one-on-one action between armed beaters.

     Two seeking styles went against each other here. A physical charging at the snitch style (Emerson), and a patient wait for the snitch and beaters to be distracted style (BU).

Brooms Up:

     On brooms up Emerson won the quaffle, but was unable to score initially through BU’s physical quaffle players. It took a reset of Emerson’s offense, a 30 second possession, and a powerful drive by David Foxx (#97) to get Emerson’s first goal. Emerson’s inability to capitalize on transition goals was a trend throughout the game.

     BU was able to gain bludger control on brooms up. However, they did not utilize bludger control and let David Foxx drive through their quaffle players for the first goal of the game. (1:13-1:23)Emerson’s beaters were clearly outmatched at the beginning, not even being able to hold on to one bludger allowed BU to score the equalizer quickly. This transition game by BU was a reoccurring phenomenon for the first half of BU’s possessions. BU scored on 4 of their first 10 possessions, all but one was a transition goal. The one non-transition goal was against 0 bludgers. Before the snitch was on the pitch, every goal came against 0 bludgers or a broken transition defense that was typically without a bludger.

The Rest of Pre-Snitch Performance:

     Blugder control was held mostly by BU. Emerson’s offensive efficiency did not change much depending on who had bludger control. This was because when they had bludgers they used them conservatively, and when they did not have blugder control they used both beaters on offense. There was no in-between for Emerson in this game. This strategy gave Emerson chances to score while on offense forcing BU to beat Emerson beaters before they were able to beat quaffle carriers, but both beaters being on offense left Emerson vulnerable to BU’s transition game which accounted for almost all BU’s goals. Even with using both beaters on offense in attempts to regain bludger control, before the snitch Emerson was outmatched in time of bludger possession 9:12 to 6:33.

     Bludger control only changed teams 3 times before the snitch was on the pitch. This was over the course of 15 and a half minutes. The second time BU lost control was with a two female beater group on the pitch. They were not strong enough to wrestle away or strip bludgers from Emerson’s beaters. However, when the snitch was on the pitch, Emerson was forced to throw bludgers more frequently. This is where Katrina Bossotti (#7) and #8 from BU (Katrina Bissotti also played in a one female beater group) excelled by working together and regained bludger control allowing for BU’s offense to resume dominating in the transition game.

     The Emerson quaffle players functioned the same way on offense regardless of blugder control. Emerson’s offense was centered around maintaining control at the top of the pitch with chasers throwing screens for each other. (10:33-10:41) These weren’t necessarily pick-and-rolls; these were closer to screens to an outlet pass. This functioned well with what Emerson was trying to accomplish with vertical passing. Emerson drove to the hoops looking to pass behind the hoops. Unfortunately for Emerson, BU had tall players near the hoops with large wing spans that were able to tip passes and block shots which resulted in turnovers near the hoops. This threw a wrench into the Emerson offense and the quaffle turnovers show up in stats (see figure 2). BU stole the quaffle by quaffle play 3 times near the hoops, and two just outside the keeper zone.

     The BU offense ran a near opposite style of offense. BU’s quaffle players waited for their beaters to occupy the opposing beaters then drove the quaffle down the side of the pitch towards the outer hoops. When they were double teamed, BU would make a horizontal pass for a dunk on the opposite outside hoop. This philosophy of stretching the pitch horizontally was also implemented by BU in their transition game. Out of 16 shots/dunk attempts (before the snitch), BU only took 3 of those form behind the hoops(see figure 1). BU focused on stretching the pitch horizontally, and shot from in front of the hoops. Every shot BU took was hard and fast. By the time Emerson recovered missed shots BU players were back in a set defense resting. This is the biggest factor in why Emerson’s transition game was virtually non-existent. The other was the BU beaters’ ability to step up to the quaffle carrier forcing Emerson into set offenses (9:04-9:13).

While Snitch was on Pitch:

     Emerson had bludger control when the snitch got back to the pitch, but quickly lost it as the BU beaters double teamed the Emerson beater that was assigned to protect the seeker/snitch. From here bludgers continuously flew back and forth as both teams focused on the seekers and snitch. With beaters so focused on the snitch, the offenses of both BU and Emerson were able to score more often. BU scored 5 goals and Emerson 3 while the snitch was on the pitch. Even as the Emerson offense improved, BU was still able to extend their lead by 30 then 40 before catching the snitch, and win the game by 70.

     BU went back to one male beater, and one female beater. It was not enough to protect their seeker who was hit by a bludger 9 times. The BU seeker played a patient seeking game with time spent watching out for beaters; waiting for the opportunity to swoop in and make a catch. The catch was made instead on a one-on-one situation with the snitch.

     The Emerson seekers, Ryan Barnada and Cam Wong ,werefar more aggressive. They charged at the snitch and whipped their hand around in an attempt to grab the tail. This style can be effective, and the Emerson seekers combined for 3 near catches (fingertips on the tail), but in the end could not end the game. This physical style is highlighted by knocking the snitch to the ground twice throughout the game. The Emerson seekers were only thrown to the ground once each, but were beaten 9 times like the BU seeker.

     The number of beats on seekers is good stat for highlighting Harry Greenhouse’s snitching style. He stayed almost entirely on the half-pitch line. This gave both team’s beaters opportunities to beat the opposing seekers without venturing deep into opposing territory. Greenhouse also held himself at one side (left or right) of the pitch, and only was in the middle to cross to the other. This kept the beaters who were on the seeker far away from quaffle play, and preventing them from playing half on the quaffle half on the snitch.

Stand Out Players:

Emerson Keeper #97, David Foxx – A great tackler, and it showed in this game. Because of David Foxx, Emerson was able to stop some of BU’s transition scoring attempts against no bludgers. David also had a great drive to the hoops for the first goal of the game. He exerted his physical will on BU throughout the game.

BU Chaser #10, Michael Powell – Tall and great wing span. Had some great tips and blocked shots helping his team reduce the effectiveness of Emerson’s pass behind the hoops/shoot to pass mentality. Often, he was the chaser that would bring the quaffle down the pitch for BU. #10 played fast on offense, and smart on defense.

BU Beater #7, Katrina Bossotti – She played all but 2ish minutes of the game. She played in a 1 female beater group, and in a 2 female beater group. When watching the film, her blonde hair & bludger stands out among the black and dark red jerseys of BU, and so does her goal saving beats.


     All of BU’s goals came against no bludgers or in transition when beaters were trailing too far behind to make a beat. Hard shots and smart positioning by BU’s beaters prevented Emerson from developing a transition game. BU had bludger control longer than Emerson, so Emerson used two beaters on offense which made them vulnerable to transition scoring. Both teams dedicated a beater to a snitch which resulted in 8 goals (5 by BU; 3 by Emerson) being scored when the snitch was on the pitch (~ 5 minutes of play). The final score was BU 150 – Emerson 80 with BU catching the snitch. The snitch, Harry Greenhouse, appeared on the pitch at about 15:30 excluding injury time (16:10ish Youtube time).


BU resilience after dropped pass

David Foxx exerting his will on BU

Block by Michael Powell, coast to coast by Brendan Stack

Well run transition play by BU

Harry Greenhouse throwing down an Emerson Seeker

(figure 1. BU shooting at the bottom hoops, Emerson shooting at the top hoops)

By pushing the quaffle in transition, BU was able to get a lot of shooting attempts. Emerson’s Keeper, David Foxx, made several tackles that forced BU to pass the quaffle out wide for a lower percentage shot. There was only one goal that came from outside the keeper zone by either team.

(figure 2. BU shooting at the bottom hoops, Emerson shooting at the top hoops)

When BU would shoot the quaffle they would shoot it fast. This resulted in Emerson recovering the quaffle far behind the hoops (green & pink circles). BU was able to intercept and tip a lot of Emerson’s attempts in passing the quaffle behind the hoops, disrupting their offense for much of the game (orange & yellow circles).

(figure 3. Turnover and shot map while snitch and seekers were on pitch)

Due to the camera switching between seeker play and quaffle play, marking the exact position of certain shots/turnovers was difficult. This figure does a great job of exemplifying both teams’ dedication to keeping a beater near the snitch.

Table 1.

(figure 4. Emerson time of possession by possession before the snitch)

Emerson’s time of quaffle possession was relatively uniform throughout the game. This resulted from a lack of transition game. The only transition possession was on possession 6, and resulted in a missed shot which was recovered by Emerson then turned into a set offense.

(figure 5. Boston University time of possession by possession)

BU’s time of possession was up and down. When in a set, they typically held the quaffle for an above average time. BU pushed the quaffle in transition in 8 of their 20 possessions before the snitch.

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BU vs. Emerson Analysis almost done!

This analysis is going more in depth with more relevant statistics and a more organized breakdown than with the BGSU vs. Kansas game. 

I am hoping for any future analysis to be closer to this format than the last with length varying based on game play. 

For those who don’t want to read a multi-page analysis, there is a summary at the bottom that summarizes only the most stand-out crucial stats, plays, and players of the game.  

The most exciting part is 5 HIGHLIGHT CLIPS. I’ve searched through the game and chose 5 clips to help characterize the game in a short time including one highlighting the snitch.

I hope you all enjoy it when it comes out!