It is a long break for Maryville University before the National Championship Tournament takes place June 7-10th in Los Angeles, CA. The Saints locked in their spot and a chance to win back-to-back national titles after a compelling 3-0 victory over Columbia College in the North Regional Finals. Even at the beginning of the season, they seemed to be top contenders; as the weeks passed on, Maryville proved there is no doubt they belong in the conversation.
With a game record of 19-3 through the playoffs, including regular season, the Saints are oozing with confidence. “I believe our chances [of winning] are higher than ever,” said coach Mathew “xSojin” Alexander. “This team is much stronger than we were last year, and I don’t see signs of us slowing down.” Freshman jungler Kevin “CatEars” Luu echoed that same confidence by stating Maryville is the “strongest team in the nation,” and, given their regional success, it’s tough to disagree with them.
The Saints have so many weapons across the map that it is very difficult for any opponent to match up against them. The general strategy used against Maryville is to limit the carry potential of their bot lane. In doing so, however, teams often let top laner Tony “Saskio” Chau run rampant. In their most recent CLoL match against CC, Chau had an astonishing 12.67 KDA (9 kills, 29 assists, 3 deaths) over the course of the three-game sweep. Maryville, no matter where an opponent places their focus, has the tools to punish any strategy used against them.
So, what does their preparation look like while the play-ins to determine the last four teams in the National Championship bracket finish up? Coach Alexander says right now, the focus is on school. “With finals coming up, I’d give them time to study and get past the stressful part of classes.” Upon the conclusion of play-ins and the spring semester, the Saints will kick it back into gear and train hard for the National Championship Tournament. There should be no doubt that the leadership of the program will have this roster ready for anyone.
In fact, they’ve already got their eyes set on yet another bout against the Cougars of Columbia College. “If I had to choose, I’m really looking forward to playing against Columbia College again,” Luu stated when asked about the potential matchups. “North rivals are always fun to play against.” Coach Alexander is hoping to see Simon Fraser in Los Angeles for the National Championship. “They seem to be a team with no outstanding players that do well through good communication and teamwork.”
As the pool of teams dwindles and the skill gap narrows, it typically becomes tougher to predict which teams will emerge victorious. It’s no different in CLoL, but Maryville certainly has the swagger after putting together a very successful 2018 campaign thus far. Only eight victory screens separate the Saints from the program’s second national title. Be sure to tune in June 7th and witness the National Championship Tournament unfold.
The National Championship bracket is set! Be sure to keep up with all the action by following the CSL LoL Twitter or Facebook pages. To view previously broadcast matches, check out the CSL LoL playlist on YouTube or find it in the videos section of the CSL Twitch channel.
Christian Matlock is an esports professional who graduated from the University of Missouri in 2016. He has worked in coaching with Illinois College and was a founding member of Allegiance, a professional esports organization that debuted in Halo and now fields teams in Super Smash Bros and Call of Duty, among others. You can find him on Twitter @CMMatlock.
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