(New York, NY) One minute and 46 seconds was all it took for Jacob ‘Mooshu’ Murphy (Xavier University) to score the opening goal in the first game of the EGF BIG EAST Invitational against DePaul University’s team, historically one of the best Rocket League teams in the BIG EAST.
Sitting next to his teammates in the new Xavier esports lounge, Mooshu’s goal would be the first of his nine on the season and his first contribution to the almost 300 goals that teams would score over the 61 games that made up the online preliminary stages of the tournament. The 4th year Biology major is new to esports, and is the newest addition to the Xavier team alongside veteran players Michael ‘Mcwhiff’ McGinness and Connor ’Satisfied Onion’ Shomaker. Together, the trio earned Xavier two wins over their four weeks of competition, giving them 4th seed overall as they set their sights on New York City.
Play to Win
Over the last four weeks, nine teams from the BIG EAST Conference have met online on the digital field to determine which school deserved top seed going into the in-person LAN stage in New York City. In week 1 after DePaul defeated Xavier in a close series, Butler and Marquette won their series and continued their dominance through the next 4 series ending the prelims both undefeated. You can catch up on the action on EGF’s YouTube before the final stage of the tournament this weekend. Going into the tournament, here’s how the teams are seeded:
Teams Take Over New York
This Saturday, all nine teams will travel to OS NYC in New York to compete in person for the title of Champion. Each team will play through a group stage on Saturday with the top 4 teams progressing into the finals on Sunday.
Going into the group stage, eyes will be on the top scorers from the prelims:
- Antonio ‘Tone’ Riozzi (Seton Hall) 23 goals, 1.44 per game
- Joshua ‘JFG’ Fendry-Grill (Marquette) with 21 goals, 1.24 per game
- Connor ‘Satisfied Onion’ (Xavier) – 20 goals, 1.25 per game
While Butler and Marquette dominated to maintain perfect records over 4 weeks, they missed playing one another and some of the historically strong teams like that of DePaul. Because of the seeding, we may have to wait until next season to find out whether Butler or Marquette truly deserves the 1 seed but this tournament promises some incredible games over the two days.
Impact on Campus
The teams competing in the EGF BIG EAST Invitational are part of a much broader movement in the collegiate scene with universities continuing to add formalized support for their esports teams like Marquette University who announced their varsity program earlier this year and others like Butler University who are creating top of the line spaces for their gaming communities.
Esports plays a unique role on campus and the impact on students is overwhelmingly positive. Courtney James, the Director of Student Involvement at DePaul University shared:
“At DePaul University, esports has given the chance for student gamers to develop a sense of pride and affinity for the university that they may not have had before. When they compete in the BIG EAST, they proudly have the opportunity to represent not only themselves, but their gaming community and the university as a whole. They take a lot of pride in that, and we are happy that they have the opportunity to connect something they are passionate about to their co-curricular experience.”
Getting involved in esports can make a big difference; for Henry ‘Sirerin’ Johnston (Junior, Digital Media Production/Spanish), the manager and substitute player for Butler’s Rocket League team, the experience was enough to shift his area of study. “Being a part of the esports club and the Rocket League team made me realize my passion for esports and it’s now what I want to do in my future. I fell in love with photography, video editing, and a ton of other design stuff through being involved and changed my major to Digital Media Production so I could pursue those passions after I graduate”
The Big Picture
Over the last two years, EGF has worked with universities across the country to lay the foundation for the future of Division 1 esports in the U.S. The EGF BIG EAST Invitational is the first in a series of tournaments leading to the launch of EGF’s first formal season in February 2020. EGF’s collegiate league, EGFC will be the first Division 1 varsity esports league in the country