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DePaul esports captures a pair of BIG EAST titles

Russell Dorn  /  1/10/2020  / Twitter / Facebook

DePaul Rocket League Team
The BIG EAST winning DePaul Rocket League team. From L-R: Kevin O’Brien (Rocket League President), Emilio Pilapil, Erik Wolf, Alex Rodriguez, Noah Cohen Kalafut and Curtis Weir (Rocket League Coach). (Image courtesy of Brandon Mercer, EGF​)
After two seasons of close losses in the BIG EAST playoffs, the DePaul League of Legends and Rocket League esports squads came through victorious this past fall, with thrilling victories over their fellow BIG EAST foes in a pair of tournaments.

League of Legends

Playing in the ESL Collegiate BIG EAST Preseason Invitational in November, the League of Legends team went 6-1 in the regular season to claim the No. 1 seed for the playoffs. In the playoffs, the Blue Demons defeated St. John's, 2-0, before topping Seton Hall in the finals, 2-1, to claim the program's first BIG EAST title.

Competing for the Blue Demons, with gamertag in quotations, were senior Hank “Hunky Hank” Ha, juniors Conor “The Shekler” Miller and Joel “Reaper” Alvarez, sophomores Kamil “Kamcha” Gebis and Lee “Maybe Soon” Te, and freshmen Devon “Metallic” Morrison, Angel “Aspiring Dropout” Gabriel Vargas and Tyler “kingamazin” Kujawa.

League of Legends is a multiplayer online battle arena game with five players per team. Matches are usually 30 to 45 minutes each, with one team needing to win two of three matches to claim victory.

The spring season for League of Legends BIG EAST play gets underway Feb. 22 and is slated to run through April 11.

Rocket League

After going 1-2 during the regular season of the EGF BIG EAST Esports Invitational, DePaul's Rocket League squad entered the playoffs as the No. 5 seed out of nine league teams. However, after traveling to New York City for the playoffs, the Blue Demons took their game to another level with an 8-0 record in the prelims. Entering the semifinals as the top seed, DePaul made quick work of Butler University with a 4-0 win before besting Seton Hall in a thriller, 4-3, to earn the championship.

Competing for DePaul in New York City, with gamertag in quotations, were seniors Erik “Rumble” Wolf and Noah “Oafish” Cohen Kalafut, junior Alex “Karmajuney” Rodriguez and sophomore Emilio “Flux” Pilapil.

Rocket League matches, which end when one team has won a majority of the scheduled five-minute games, can last anywhere from 20 to 30 minutes and combine soccer with the physics of driving rocket-powered cars. The BIG EAST Rocket League matches are played as a multiplayer game with 1-4 players per team.

2019 ESL Collegiate BIG EAST Preseason Invitational - League of Legends

Schedule (6-1)
vs. Villanova - W, 2-0
vs. St. John’s – L, 2-0
vs. Marquette – W, 2-0
vs. Butler – W, 2-0
vs. Providence – W, 2-0
vs. Georgetown - W
vs. Seton Hall - W, 2-1

Playoffs (2-0)
vs. St. John's - W, 2-0
vs. Seton Hall - W, 2-1

2019 EGF BIG EAST Esports Invitational - Rocket League

Schedule (1-2)
vs. Xavier - W, 3-0
vs. Seton Hall – L, 3-2
vs. Marquette - L, 3-2

Playoffs (10-0)
vs. St. John's - W, 3-0
vs. Xavier - W, 3-0
vs. Villanova - W, 3-1
vs. Marquette - W, 3-1
vs. St. John's – W, 3-0
vs. Xavier - W, 3-2
vs. Villanova - W, 3-2
vs. Marquette - W, 3-2
vs. Butler - W, 4-0
vs. Seton Hall - W, 4-3

About Esports

Esports, or competitive video gaming, has exploded in the last five years, resulting in an industry that sees over 2 billion people play or watch worldwide. By 2022, the growth of esports from a competition and viewer standpoint is expected to exceed 300 million participants. Around the country, more than 150 universities field varsity teams, with DePaul's Loop neighbor, Robert Morris University Illinois, fielding the first varsity program in the country in 2014.