The Collegiate Rocket League Fall 2022 Season is underway. NA Qualifier #1 was held on Sunday September 25th, and we witnessed 16 of 32 total teams qualify for North American League Play, 8 from East and 8 from West. Some of the most anticipated teams in recent CRL history have qualified, but there are also more than a few newcomers who have managed to make a name for themselves this season. In this article, we will discuss the 16 teams that have qualified for League Play so far, and give a brief overview of their history in CRL.
Unsurprisingly, Northwood University’s A-team, “Northwood Blue,” which consists of players “Buddy,” “hockE,” and “LionBlaze,” took the first League Play spot in Eastern Qualifier #1. Northwood Blue ripped their way through the upper bracket of pool 1, dropping 0 games until the Grand Final, where they narrowly defeated Seton Hall in game 5 of a Bo5 series. Last season, this same team was able to win both the CRL North American and World Championships, and they took two consecutive national championships before that. Northwood University has the potential to win their fourth consecutive NA championship this season, that is, if no other teams step up to stop them.
The second slot for Eastern League Play went to the Fisher Falcons, a brand new CRL team consisting of established, high level players “Sosa,” “money,” and “kinseh.” Fisher smashed the upper bracket of pool 2, but were defeated in game 5 of the Bo5 Grand Final against “Akron Zips Gold.” The Zips were playing from the lower bracket, however, and needed to take another series win against Fisher to qualify. Fisher were able to pull it together for the Grand Final Reset and win the series 3-0, which qualified them for Eastern League Play. Based on their explosive debut and extremely talented roster, Fisher has the potential to give the top CRL teams a run for their… “money,” this season.
The Siena Heights University Saints secured the third League Play slot in this qualifier. This team consisting of players “XI,” “Faded,” and “Bob” only dropped 2 games in the upper bracket on their way to the Grand Final, and were able to take the pool 3 Grand Final win in game 5 against West Virginia University to qualify for League Play. This is technically SHU’s second season competing in CRL, however, last season they only played in the Last Chance Qualifier for the CRL NA Championship, where they placed 25th-32nd under a different roster. They also performed well in the CCA Summer Series last month, placing 4th in Eastern Division 2. The Saints show a lot of potential, though, and could perform well this season.
Pool 4’s League Play slot went to Akron Zips Blue, who only dropped 3 total games throughout their upper bracket run. Blue’s roster of “Buzz,” “Tristn,” and newcomer “Patty” were able to defeat Brewton Parker College in game 4 of the Grand Final to qualify for League Play. Buzz and Tristn have multiple CRL Championship wins under their belt, and are incredibly gifted players in their own right. It seems Patty fits right in, and this trio could reclaim Akron’s former glory as CRL champions.
Stockton University narrowly took pool 5’s League Play slot after winning 3-2 against the St. Clair Saints in the Winner’s Semi-Final, beating Rochester University 3-0 in the Winner’s Final, losing 2-3 to Rochester in the Grand Final, then again winning 3-0 against Rochester in the Grand Final Reset. Stockton’s players “Busse” and “TopCheese” are seasoned veterans at this point, performing well in the past couple seasons of CRL, and it seems that their new third, “WarBean,” is fitting right in.
Northwood University’s alt-team, “Northwood White,” completely wiped the floor with all their opponents throughout the pool 6 upper bracket, not dropping a single game. “Pirates,” “Nitrous,” and “Noxes” were able to qualify after taking the Grand Final 3-0 against Valleyfield, showing that they are on par with, or even better than Northwood Blue considering White didn’t drop a single game. It may not even be fair to call Northwood White the University’s alt-team, because Pirates and Noxes played with Buddy, hockE, and LionBlaze last season on the Northwood Blue super-team and won the entirety of CRL. Northwood White performed respectably under a completely different roster last season, but it looks like Northwood could have 2 A-teams up their sleeve this season.
Laval University’s brand new CRL team consisting of players “Phantoms,” “Tekoz,” and “Broken” was able to qualify in pool 7. They only dropped 2 total games leading to the Grand Final, where they defeated Kennesaw State University 3-1. Broken previously played for Valleyfield, but Tekoz and Phantoms have never played in CRL before. They’re sure to have an exciting season ahead of them, especially if they continue to perform this well.
Ball State University Red, another new team consisting of players “Wovah,” “daffy,” and “Zath,” was able to take pool 8’s League Play slot. They had a couple close calls after winning 3-2 in both the Winner’s Semi-Final and Winner’s Final, but they took it home after a 3-1 win against Northern Kentucky University in the Grand Final. This fresh roster of players have proven themselves worthy competitively.
Columbia College took the first League Play slot for Western Qualifier #1. Players “Cryptic,” “JD,” and “cam” dropped 2 games on their way to the pool 1 Winner’s Final, then lost the Final 2-3 against the Ottawa Braves, dropping Columbia to the lower bracket. They quickly made their way back to the upper bracket, however, beating Nevada Wolfpack 3-0 in the Loser’s Final. They were then able to defeat the Ottawa Braves 3-1 in both the Grand Final and Bracket Reset to secure their spot in League Play. Columbia College has held the position as the highest-rated Western team for the past few seasons, and for good reason. Many argue that they are the Western counterpart to Northwood, and their newest team member JD seems to be holding his own and filling in nicely for Columbia’s former third “CosmicFlippy” this season. This highly anticipated team is sure to perform well this season, and it will be exciting to see whether they can continue to be the Western powerhouse they’ve proven to be in the past.
In pool 2, the University of Nevada Las Vegas had a perfect run through the upper bracket, dropping 0 games. “Garenn,” “Tuv,” and “Wellace” were able to take a perfect sweep in the Grand Final against Saint Edwards University to qualify UNLV for League Play. This team has consistently held the #2 spot in the West for the past few seasons of CRL, proving that they have top-tier teamwork, mechanics, and chemistry. UNLV had to say goodbye to former third “Nytrodryft” at the end of last season, but Wellace, their new third, seems to have filled Nytro’s shoes quite well(ace). Comparatively, UNLV did better in this qualifier than Columbia College, so they could be gunning for the title of the #1 Western team this season. Only time will tell…
Pool 3’s victor was none other than Mizzou Gold. Players “Crimz,” “Whale!,” and “Excelst” had a good run through the upper bracket, losing only 2 games on their way to the Grand Final. In the Grand Final, they were defeated 2-3 by “CSUF Blue,” who were coming from the lower bracket. Mizzou was able to defeat CSUF in the Grand Final Reset 3-2, however, which qualified them for League Play. Mizzou have been among the top Western CRL teams throughout numerous seasons, but have always struggled to advance past League Play. Their new third, Excelst, who replaced former third “Chox,” could prove to be the change they needed this season.
UT Arlington performed well in the upper bracket of pool 4, dropping 0 games on their way to the Winner’s Final, but that’s when they started to struggle a bit. In the Winner’s Final, “Samba,” “Adverse,” and “Nava” were able to narrowly defeat “Cal Poly” 3-2, sending them to the lower bracket. Cal Poly were able to climb back to the upper bracket and take their revenge in the Grand Final, though, sweeping UTA 3-0. Arlington pulled it together for the Grand Final Reset and ultimately defeated Cal Poly 3-1 to qualify for League Play. UTA have qualified for numerous CRL National Championships in the past, but have struggled to hold their own against other top teams in the league. Hopefully this season they’ll see more success, but that’s not to say they aren’t a top-tier team.
UT Dallas took the 5th League Play slot in the West, experiencing a similarly bumpy road as UT Arlington. Players “dalton,” “lubey,” and “Ghost” charged through the upper bracket of pool 5, losing only one game on their way to the upper finals, where they narrowly defeated the University of Utah Red 3-2, sending them to the lower bracket. Utah Red clawed back through the lower bracket for a rematch against Dallas in the Grand Final, where they beat Dallas 3-1. In the Grand Final Reset, UT Dallas finished with the upper hand, sweeping Utah Red 3-0 and securing a spot in League Play. Dallas hasn’t had much luck in CRL in the past, but it seems their luck could be turning around this season.
The winner of pool 6 was UNT Esports, who fought hard to qualify. After a close call in the Winner’s Semi-Final, “dbanq,” “Luciuhh,” and “CORROSIVE” were able to defeat Weber State University by a small margin of 3-2, sending them to the lower bracket. Weber didn’t give up, though, and after making it through the lower bracket, they bested UNT in the Grand Final 3-2. Shortly after, UNT took the Grand Final Reset 3-1 and qualified for League Play. UNT made League Play through Qualifier #2 last season, but fell just short of qualifying for the Playoffs. This season, CORROSIVE is replacing former third “TriTone,” which could yield a sizable payoff for UNT Esports, especially considering they only needed one qualifier to make it to League Play this season.
Missouri S&T showed they were the best team in pool 7 after breezing through the upper bracket; besting Boise State Blue in both the Winner’s Final and the Grand Final. “Frostbite,” “Burnie,” and former third “Tyme” were able to take MST to the Conference Playoffs last season, but were unable to qualify for the National Championship. This season, new player “Bumpkin” has replaced Tyme as MST’s third, so it will be interesting to see if this roster change will prove helpful or harmful for the team.
The winner of pool 8 was a newer team, the Keyano Huskies. The Huskies dropped no games on their way to the Winner’s Final, where they narrowly beat SDSU 3-2. They then pulled out another 3-2 win against GCU in the Grand Final, qualifying them for League Play. This new team consists of players “Comp,” “Vitali,” and “Volts,” who all have extensive experience in competitive Rocket League. Comp formerly played for the St. Clair Saints, and has qualified for League Play and Conference Playoffs multiple times. Volts formerly played for Durham College and has plenty of experience with Collegiate Rocket League as well. Vitali, on the other hand, has placed well in various RLCS regional events and has ample experience of his own. This team could present a real threat to the top teams this season.