Our second semi-final matchup is a Western conference showdown between Seattle Pacific University and the University of Utah. Both teams have proven to be powerhouses in their respective divisions, with each taking games off of the highest level teams, but the top spot has eluded them both. With the grand finals only one match away, each team is chomping at the bit for esports glory.
Utah’s High Up Vain have been playing Vainglory together for quite a while. “We started playing vain a long time ago,” explained Utah team captain Jack ‘TBSjack’ O’Donoghue. “Right after Scarff was released to be exact. We all went to high school together and our old basketball coach showed us Vainglory one day. We were instantly hooked and played throughout the rest of high school.”
Now that the team has made it this far, they are looking at going all the way. “We plan on winning the tournament and are feeling really good right now”, stated O’Donoghue. “We’re excited to compete.”
The team’s only loss during the regular season came at the hands of Group 1’s number one seed, University of Toronto, in a hotly contested series. During the playoff bracket, they met University of Florida’s Scorching Forest, last year’s third-place finalist, and even though Florida displayed an underwhelming regular season, they showed that they can still take a game off of anyone.
“Our first opponent forfeited which was [too] bad, but our second match went [to] three games and every game was down to the wire”, said O’Donoghue. “We all played at the very top of our game.” Now that the team is past Florida, their focus turns to Seattle Pacific University, a team that no one should be taking lightly.
The regular season had only two speed bumps for Seattle Pacific University. First came a 0-2 rout against last year’s runner-up University of California, Merced (which is nothing to be ashamed of) as well as a 1-2 series against California State University, Fresno, who are now on the opposite side of the bracket. A win against Utah would mean a chance at vengeance, but they have quite a handful in front of them already, especially with the possibility of team captain Sophie ‘Sophie808’ Fujika being replaced by a substitute for the tournament.
“Unfortunately, the lineup is going to change”, revealed Fujika. “I am not able to attend the live finals due to graduation. We are bringing in a sub who is going to take my place. He hasn’t played much Vainglory, but we are trying to get him up to speed with the time we are given. I believe in my teammates, that they can take it all.”
Positive attitude is certainly needed for the group, and it shows quality leadership to have faith in your team, but with many opponents praising Fujika’s skills on the Halcyon Fold, one has to wonder if the squad will look anything like they have up until now.
Whatever happens, both of these teams have established themselves as top competitors in a growing and increasingly-cutthroat league. There are many question marks surrounding how each will perform this Tuesday. It will be a day of triumph or tears for each.
Catch the Collegiate Vainglory finals, live at E3, on our Twitch channel on Tuesday, June 13 at 12 PM PST!