CRL Spring Spotlight Series: Stockton University

Stockton has become a household name in the collegiate rocket league space being a top-tier team season after season. The school got its first taste of CRL in spring 2019 fielding the roster of Dark, Large, and Kaz finishing top 16 as they fell to Rowan. From there the boys knew that this was worth pursuing and roster changes came quickly as they finished 2019 competing in the Collegiate Star League with Maple. Later that year a student named Geno would transfer to Stockton and elevate the Rocket League team to new heights.

 

Fall 2019 was a monumental leap for Stockton as Geno immediately made an impact alongside Large and Dark. Large said about his new teammate, “[Geno] was a more well-rounded player and really helped us find ourselves as RL players. … he would go over replays with us and really just pushed me and Dark to step up our game.” During this time the pair would play more than they ever had, grinding past each milestone as the season progressed. The grind paid off as they would finish 5th in the regular season in the Eastern conference and outperformed teams above them to finish 4th in the playoffs only behind the powerhouse teams of USF, NOVA, and Akron.

 

Spring 2020 rolled around and the team cruised to another CRL league play spot in the first qualifier. Stockton would end the spring split 6-5 in the east with a spectacular finish to the season as they took down their rival Northern Virginia in the final week, catapulting them from 8th place to 6th which secured them as the final playoff team. From these playoffs, Dark recalls their first-round series against Ottawa well. The series went the distance and in the final game Stockton took down the Allushin lead squad in overtime. “It was one of the most hype things ever… and we knew whoever came out of that series was running the bracket.” After defeating Ottawa this trio would dismantle both Michigan and Rowan before falling to Akron in the grand finals.

 

With the new school year came new changes as Large was feeling lingering burnout from Rocket League. He approached his teammates and soon after the rise of Busse came about. Busse, a transfer student from Rowan, immediately meshed with the team and got them to another league play spot for CRL. Fall 2020 would prove to be their best regular season to date as they finished in 4th with an 11-4 record. However, trouble came after their last game as Busse was hit with a competitive ban that is still in effect until July 1, 2021. Just days before the CRL Wildcard event, the team was scrambling and immediately called upon Large. Large spoke about his time off and the days leading up. 

 

He had been grinding Valorant almost nonstop and was enjoying his time on the newly formed Stockton Valorant team. Yet in the back of his mind, he missed competing in CRL and Rocket League in general. However, he had not played Rocket League let alone competed in months aside from the few games with friends here and there. He had seen his team go on without him and succeed which showed him that it wouldn’t be easy to come back. Yet 5 days out from the CRL wildcard event he got a facetime from Dark asking him to play for the team again. And with only 5 days of practice Large came our hot as he would be in form almost instantly against UW-Platteville and UCF. Even racking up 5 goals in a game. With Large back on the team, they would go on to take down their long-time rivals in Northern Virginia to qualify for the National Championship. Unfortunately, the Cinderella story would come to an abrupt close as they fell gracefully to Mizzou 3-4 and LSU 0-4. 

 

And that brings us to this season, Spring 2021. Dark, Geno, and Large are all grinding this game as much as possible to prove themselves once again as a top contender for the title. They fought hard to qualify in the first week taking Florida Poly to game 5 OT to win in the grand finals bracket reset. With this being Dark’s last season before he moves on from Stockton he said, “We just have to beat everybody this year.”. It has been evident that Stockton has been a school stuck behind the top few teams such as Akron, UCF, and now Northwood as they seem to fall short of a National Championship every season. Will this finally be the year they break through?

Stockton consists of: 

  • Vincent “Dark” Nelson, Senior, Majoring in Business Marketing
  • Alex “Large” Lee, Junior, Majoring in Communication
  • Geno “Geno” Copertino, Junior, Majoring in Computer Science
Joey Spott

Joey Spott