Rocket League team wins big, making Butler blue

Esports continues their scheduled tournaments, thriving in social distancing

Xavier’s official Rocket League team has been preparing for the spring semester’s
Big East Esports Tournament, regularly congregating to practice in Gallagher.

The Xavier Rocket League’s won their first game of the season against Butler University last week, kicking off this semester’s tournament season with a victory. 

The Rocket League played Georgetown on Tuesday and Depaul on Thursday, already almost reaching the number of non-tournament games played last semester.

Some students believe that this season-opening win will help build team self-confidence for the upcoming games against high-skill teams.

“I think it’ll be more about communication, because (Xavier’s) skill level is already there,” first-year sports marketing major and Rocket League fan Lucas Sallee said. “The Georgetown win raised their confidence, so getting on a winning streak will be simple.”

Last semester, the team made it to New York City for the Big East finals tournament and made it to semifinals after playing only four formal games against other schools. 

Rocket League Treasurer Michael McGinness noted his disappointment that the team will not be able to travel this semester for finals.

“At the highest level of competition, it has a really fun atmosphere that I enjoyed and the fact that we can’t do that this semester is difficult,” McGinness said. 

This semester, the club’s game schedule will be notably busier in accordance with new tournament guidelines. Each Big East school will play every other team twice, so that the teams can be seeded similarly to a traditional basketball season. 

Rocket League Treasurer Michael McGinness noted that he’s excited to 

Matches against other schools are played in a best-of-five format, with each individual game of Rocket League taking about five minutes. Xavier’s lineup has three starting players, which has shifted since last semester. 

“We have five guys that are capable of being on the team, but we kind of changed the lineup this season,” Conor Shomaker, president and founder of Rocket League said. “The three of them haven’t played together, so I’m curious to see how they do.”

“The skill gap in these sports is really hard to qualify. Certain schools who wouldn’t be good at traditional athletics can be really top level,” McGinness said of the new starting team. “We’ve got some really good young players, so I’m not too worried about filling the gaps.”

The club is in a unique position during remote learning, because players can still meet online during their regularly scheduled practice hours. The team is still practicing for three nights a week and can still play all matches remotely. 

“Due to the nature of esports, it’s honestly not really affected us,” McGinness said. “Last semester we played all of our regular-season games in Dartagnan Den in Gallagher, but that being said we all have 1000+ hours and 90% of those hours are online.”

“It’s as close as you can get to athletics without being in 6 feet!” McGinness added. 

All matches are open to the public, and students can watch streams of Rocket League games on Twitch at Xavier plays Marquette at 1:05 p.m. and Providence at 3:45 p.m. on Sunday. 

D’Artagnan’s Den is home to the Rocket League team representing XU in the Big
East Tournament. With a 1-1 record, they defeated Butler and fell to Georgetown.