Varsity League of Legends may be on break until June, but Junior Varsity is reaching the hottest point in the season. Only four teams remain in the quest for $5,000, and the matchups will feature battles between the Old Guard and the New School out in Huntington Beach.
Semifinal A is yet another installment in The Marathon. UBC and SFU rarely settle a series before its final game, and this matchup shows no signs of breaking that mold. Both teams have only one loss in the playoffs, and overcame squads from other storied schools (University of California, Irvine and Columbia College (MO), respectively) to get to Huntington Beach.
UBC needs to find a way to activate their support and jungle duo, Sang and TheLegion3, in order to get their carries on the road to success. In their 2-1 victory over UCI, the Original Esports Association’s two main macro players mirrored the team’s overall performance, with diving KDAs and GPMs in the loss despite relatively stable lane presence from the rest of the team. UBC’s path to victory in this Marathon is anything but assured, and will benefit greatly from a strong performance in the map control department.
Their opponents, SFU, suffered a rough late game defeat to start their quarterfinals series against Calgary, but rallied to dominate the second and third stanzas. If they want to win the Marathon in the semifinals, they will have to avoid a slow start against UBCs support/jungle tandem, which will quickly snowball a game if the Raccoons are not careful.
If not for RMU’s unfortunate College LoL performance this year, this might have been another chapter in a burgeoning intrastate rivalry. This pair of midwest madhouses followed very different roads to the semifinals. RMU followed a 6-1 regular season with a perfect playoff run, while UIUC ran the regular season table, but has played in the most contested series (a pair of 2-1’s) of the Final Four.
UIUC is on the up and up in the collegiate landscape after their varsity squad qualified for National Championship contention, overcoming concerns about the quality of competition in the Big Ten. However, at the JV level, the Illini were one of the most dominant teams in the country during the regular season and have surprised no one by making it to the semifinals. However, their difficulties against UC Berkeley and the University of Houston call their late quality into question, and against storied RMU, they will need to be on their A game.
Robert Morris’s JV squad will attempt to avenge a bit of a fall from grace. Old Varsity was the first scholarship school and a two time national championship runner-up, but could not recover from the exodus this past offseason that cost them their head coach and several star players. However, despite their Varsity squad’s struggles, RMU’s second team is showing the worth of long-established infrastructure. They have yet to drop even a single game in the JV playoffs, and are up against a UIUC team that may not be rising to the occasion as strongly.
While we do not know who will make it to the final match of CSL’s inaugural JV League of Legends season, we do know that the matchup will be a good one. The Final Four features three teams with 6-1 regular season match records with only four combined playoff game losses. Even the team with the most playoff losses, Illinois, had a perfect regular season match record. Most interestingly, both semifinal matchups have rivalry implications that could carry into next year’s JV and Varsity seasons. The game is set, and the fun is just beginning…with a $5,000 grand prize on the line.
Keep up with all the JV action this weekend on our Facebook, Twitter, and Twitch.tv pages! The finals will be rolling all weekend in other esports as well, so be sure to check out the CS:GO, Dota 2, and StarCraft coverage!
Matt Howard is the League of Legends editor for Collegiate StarLeague. He is also a Games Scholar finishing his Master’s in History at the University of Houston. His thesis is a sport history of League of Legends esports and Web 2.0 culture. Find him on Twitter @EHyungNim.
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