This season’s biggest underdog story so far has come to an abrupt end. In the round of 32, California State University, Long Beach’s Senpai Squad achieved a decisive 2 to 0 victory over the Université de Montréal’s Les Faucons De Montréal, a finalist in last year’s season. The Senpai Squad advanced to the round of 16 with a target on their back and faced off against Robert Morris University’s RMU Eagles, a team that has been demonstrating their CS:GO prowess throughout the entire season. The Eagles versus the underdogs was a match I was very excited for because both teams have been working hard all season and regardless of the victor, as a spectator, I am happy to get behind either of these teams in the future. With a 2 to 1 victory, the Senpai Squad has been eliminated and so has their underdog run in the playoffs. Robert Morris University destroyed some dreams, and in doings so, they will continue on to face University of British Columbia, a frontrunner for first place this season.
Before UBC earned their spot in the round of 8 against RMU, they were matched up against the University of California, Santa Cruz Slugs. The Slugs have been an entertaining team to watch this season and have proven their worth by qualifying for the playoffs. However, when faced up against UBC, the Slugs were unable to continue their playoff run and were eliminated with a clean 2 to 0 sweep by UBC. UBC continues to do what they have done all season and what we expect of them: win games.
Similarly to the story of UBC versus the Slugs, both the GEEGEEs and the Fightin’ Texas Aggies have put in the work and the headshots required to be recognized as strong contenders this season; however, Texas A&M did not have what it takes to stand up against the powerful force that is the GEEGEEs. The match ended with a score of 2 to 0, favoring the GEEGEEs and advancing another Canadian team one step closer to making it to the LAN finals in Toronto. You can check out an in-depth recap of the match here.
After talking with the University of California, Irvine’s UCI Gold CS:GO squad, it is no surprise to me that they have advanced to the round of 8 with a perfect 2 to 0 victory. That is not to say that Ryerson University’s CS:GO team isn’t poppin’ heads like the best of them this season, but, UCI GOLD is a team which embodies a potent mix of talent, dedication, and motivation. UCI GOLD will be facing off against the GEEGEEs in the round of 8 to qualify to play on LAN. UCI versus the GEEGEEs will be a match that I would recommend no collegiate CS:GO fan should miss.
One more win for the University of Waterloo, one more win for a Canadian school. University of Texas’s Mean Green squad was taken out by Waterloo in a 2 to 0 sweep. Playing Counter-Strike in Toronto has always been an accessible activity for the Waterloo CS:GO team, not just because of their talented play advancing them through the playoff bracket with ease, but also because it is less than two hours away from their campus. If Waterloo is able to conquer Baruch College’s Fiven in the round of 8, the butterflies other teams may experience when they show up in Toronto will be a drastic contrast to the Waterloo Squad, which I imagine will just be like another day in the (cs_)office for them.
Once again we are reminded that every great game of Counter-Strike that is played is accompanied by one of our fantastic collegiate teams leaving us for good. Baruch College and the Rochester Institute of Technology CS:GO faced off and Fiven once again demonstrated why they are considered one of the most dominate teams playing this season. Fiven did not just beat RIT, they took the whole series 2 to 0. It was a difficult call to make, but out of all of the matches in the round of 16, this match is the one I was most excited for. Earlier this season, we at CSL gave some teams the opportunity to trash talk each other going into playoffs. RIT demonstrated professionalism and discipline while discussing their competition until the topic of conversation was Baruch College’s Fiven. Because of RIT’s savage remarks directed at the victor of this matchup, I am sad to see RIT go, but at least I can be happy that this particular matchup happened.
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s Illini Esports versus the University of California, Los Angeles’s UCLA Bruins was one of the only two matches in the round of 16 that made it to the third map. These two teams were very evenly matched and I honestly had no clue who to predict as the victor going into this matchup. However, as the smoke dissipated from all the mollies, the UCLA Bruins took the third map – and the series – with an extremely decisive 16 – 2 victory. Whatever the UCLA Bruins did between the second and third map apparently worked because they somehow managed to create a paradox as they turned one of two 2 to 1 matchups in the round into an extremely one-sided victory.
University of Houston’s CS:GO squad achieved a 2 to 0 victory over the West Virginia University Esports Club, and therefore has advanced on to face the UCLA Bruins in the round of 8. As accomplished as the team of players for West Virginia are, this is one outcome that I believe to be of no big surprise. In the round of 32, West Virginia took a forfeit win over their opponent advancing them forward to the round of 16, but also placing them up against the dangerous UH Premier CS:GO squad. In the next round, the UCLA Bruins and UH Premier will face off for the opportunity to play in Toronto and the prestige of demonstrating their efficacy in a LAN setting.