University’s Esports Team Looks Forward to Second Semester of Competition
After a strong finish competing in their first conference last fall, the varsity esports team student-athletes and their coaches reflect on how far the team has already come, saying they are charged up to continue their momentum during the Spring semester.
January 19, 2023
By Renee Chmiel, Office of Marketing and Communications
For Andrew Morin ’24, being a member of the University’s esports team has been exciting. He enjoys the opportunities to play the game he loves while making new friends.
For Morin, an esports and gaming major, one of the highlights of being part of the team was playing in a Local Area Network (LAN) environment. The University’s JV Rocket League team competed in the National Esports Collegiate Conference (NECC) inaugural postseason LAN event in Worcester, Mass., which featured playoff matches for the Valorant Challengers Northeast Conference and the Rocket League Emergents Atlantic Conference. The Chargers finished in the top eight, a fitting way to wrap up their first semester competing as a varsity program.
“The best part about the playoffs was being able to play in a LAN environment against the other schools,” said Morin. “The part I definitely enjoyed the most was playing on the main stage on stream.”
Gordy Gregg, the team’s new coach and a League of Legends (LoL) player with a background in professional LoL, is excited to be working with the team. Formerly head coach for Johns Hopkins University, he has also worked with LoL teams including Cloud9 and TSM. He says he is already impressed by the Chargers Rocket League team’s respect for each other and their hard work.
“I was proud of the team for making it this far and for their composure in taking the match to a close game five,” said Gregg. “Finishing in the top eight at this event was significant because it showed that even our JV roster can compete nationally. My goals for the Rocket League team are for them to continue to strive to improve as student-athletes, but also to develop as people so they can go out and have a positive influence on the world.”
‘More defined as a team’
Gregg and Bryson Gundry, assistant esports coach, were charged up about the team’s performance at the LAN event, which also included teams from schools such as the New England Institute of Technology and Assumption University. For Gundry, a practitioner in residence in the University’s Sport Management Department, the team’s success also spoke to the team’s potential.
“I have greatly enjoyed seeing them start as a new team and how much they have grown both in and out of the game,” he said. "While I want to continue to help my teams improve at their game, I also want to foster an environment where students can have success in a team environment, as well as improve their communication skills, leadership skills, and be able to give and take constructive criticism."
Nicholas Azzara ’23 got involved with esports at the University three years ago when it was still a club program. He enjoyed competing with the team during its first semester, and he was excited to be part of the program’s first LAN event. He’s looking forward to competing again during his final semester as a Charger.
“I think the whole team is looking forward to the next season of NECC, since it is a league that was fun to play in,” said Azzara, a forensic science major. “We are also more defined as a team, since this will be the second semester with the same roster.”
‘We are definitely coming back stronger’
This semester, the Chargers will continue developing their skills, growing as a team, and competing. They are looking forward to returning to the NECC, as well as to competing in the National Association of Collegiate Esports. They are hoping for even stronger performances during the Spring semester.
Morin, the esports and gaming major, says the LAN event was a great learning experience, and he expects the team will be even stronger because of it.
“We definitely wanted to go all the way to the finals, and I think we could have, too,” he said. “But I think it was the nerves of being at a LAN event for the first time and our game being streamed. We definitely hope that there are more of these LAN events, and we are definitely coming back stronger for next season.”