by Jalen Williams
The Shenandoah University “A” team is back in the Mid-Atlantic Esports Conference Rocket League tournament after previously winning it in 2020. This year, they are the favorites to win the tournament again, taking place Dec. 3-5. With two out of the three players returning, this team has a good chance to have a repeated victory.
Shenandoah is one of 14 members of the MAEC for competitive gaming. MAEC is formed of other collegiate esports programs that play a variety of different esports games. Old Dominion University, George Mason University, and Averett University are a few schools that are in this conference.
Rocket League is one of many games Shenandoah plays at a competitive level. Rocket League is best described as car soccer. However, there is more to it than hitting the ball with a car. To play at a high level, there are many key factors that are taken into consideration in order to play at the best of their abilities. Players put many hours into this game, whether it is playing the game or watching and reviewing their gameplay.
Evan Argiro, with the gamertag of “=!+”red*#%-,” is a senior who has put over 2,000 hours into the game. In calendar days, that is over 83 days played. “I usually like to prepare for a match by getting to the arena about an hour ahead of time so I can play a little bit before going into competition,” said Argiro. “Getting in a warmup is important because you are able to gauge how you’re playing on that specific day, and you are able to make adjustments before going into the matchup.”
Ian Burnett is a sophomore who has been playing Rocket League since 2015. His gamertag is “eazy,” but after playing so many matches, his games are no longer easy. After playing many matches and many tight situations, he has found a way to stay composed during these situations. “In tight situations, it is important to stay motivated and imagine yourself winning,” said Burnett. “For me there’s never any feeling of losing until the game is over. I just do my best to keep a positive headspace.”
“Coming in as a freshman, I had zero idea how the competition would change,” said Burnett. “I think ourselves and GMU are by far the best teams, and I think it’ll be a battle between us two to see who becomes this season’s champion.”
The third player on the team is Ian Daugherty. Daugherty is a freshman with the unique gamertag of “Yawnathon.”
To put into perspective how good this Shenandoah University team is, its ranks are Grand Champion 3 and Super Sonic Legend. Out of all the players worldwide, this team is in the top 0.15% of current players in terms of rank. Come Dec. 5, the tournament will be over, and Shenandoah will see how its Rocket League team has done.