The Penn State University Rocket League team made a crazy run in the CRL Last Chance Qualifier, upsetting a fan favorite University of Akron and clinching one of 16 spots in the World Championships. Now begs the question, can they do the same in Dallas?
Who is Penn State University?
Penn State Esports is a student-run club on campus boasting over 3000 members. With such large numbers funneling through the program, it’s no surprise that their teams are consistently ranking towards the top of collegiate programs across several game titles. PSU’s Overwatch team, for example, is competing at an international level LAN in South Korea right now.
Their Rocket League roster consists of Cambam, bran, and karim rounded out by JamaicanCoconut as their substitute. The program is striving to be recognized by athletics as a club sport next year, and is hoping that this qualification will show the university they mean business. Penn State also just recently finished building an esports lounge on campus, which could lead to major improvement of the school’s teams across the board.
Qualifying for Worlds
Penn State Blue was not able to qualify for CRL League Play in Spring 2022, getting swept by Indiana University in the game that would have secured them a spot in the season. This loss did anything but slow them down. They absolutely dominated the CCA Open in the East, finishing first over the University of Central Florida by 303 points, earning them a decent seed in the recent CRL Last Chance Qualifier.
With a roster change, Penn State secured the fourth and last North American spot in the CRL World Championships. Their coach, Franklin, says this gives them a serious mental advantage over other teams. “Heading into worlds as last seed [for] NA gives us a LAN buff honestly. We have no expectations and no one really expects anything from us (except our friends and family) so we’re just going to enjoy the experience. Making LAN wasn’t really a goal for us since we were just using LCQ to try out a new roster. This was a big surprise for us and we’re gonna have fun and make the most of it.”
No matter what the results are, Cambam, bran, karim, and Franklin will always remember their win over Missouri University of Science and Technology, a roster that knocked the first place finisher of the LCQ, Valleyfield College, to the losers’ bracket. “I know it’s cliche but I’ve never heard the boys yell that much and be that excited.” Penn State Blue and Missouri University of Science and Technology went all the way to game seven in a tense back and forth series, where Penn State just narrowly managed to squeeze out the win, “I still get chills when I think about it,” Franklin said.
Grouped with two CRL West teams and one European team, they need to take down some unfamiliar opponents in Group B if they want to progress to the bracket stage. “We’ve scrimmed Keele from EU a couple times but generally we don’t know EU teams play,” Franklin said. “It’s hard to have an opinion on Portsmouth. As the EU one seed we have to expect they’re good, but we’re focusing on what we know for now.”
What they know is that UNLV, the CRL Fall 2021 Champion, is the team to beat. “UNLV and UTA are both exceptional teams, but UNLV and Garenn are what we’re looking out for,” he reiterated, “UNLV is probably our biggest competition.” Being a newer roster, Penn State has an advantage over other teams at LAN. They can adapt to attack their opponents weaknesses much easier than more experienced teams that have developed a unique playstyle.
Now, as they arrive at the CRL World Championship, they need to find some serious backbone to take at least two wins off of the CRL West Fall 2021 champions, the number one seed for Europe, and a strong University of Texas – Arlington roster that is known to cause some upsets. It won’t be easy, but anything can happen on the big stage. “Good luck to all the teams,” said their coach. “I hope everyone enjoys the first ever CRL World Championship and I’m so glad that EU is finally in the scene.”
Follow The Action
Penn State begins Worlds with a Group Stage Best-of-5 against Portsmouth University. Watch it on the College Carball Twitch on June 3 at 10 a.m. CT (3 p.m. UTC).
Check out the schedule so you don’t miss a beat!