SSU Rocket League Team Claims Victory in NAIA Championships

Jerry Igaz, Staff Reporter

Shawnee State’s various esports teams have found success in their efforts when it comes to the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Mid-South Conference Championships. The Rocket League team prevailed in their conference season, with the line of wins being no easy feat. The Rocket League team managed to pull off the impressive challenge of going through the entire championship undefeated, with every single game resulting in a victory for Shawnee State University.

Rocket League is an action-sports video game that has a unique twist on the game of soccer, in which two teams compete to score as many goals as possible by using customizable racing vehicles to drive a super-sized ball into the goal of the other team. Players can take advantage of the boost system these vehicles use to maneuver their vehicles in interesting and unique ways. Competitive play involves the use of a standard arena, with two teams of three playing for five minutes.

“The most important thing in Rocket League is communication”, says PJ Fiscus, who may be better known as Fisci25. Fiscus is one of the team members on Shawnee State’s Rocket League team and has been playing the game for quite some time. “We’ll sometimes scrimmage with our B Team, and we’ll also play teams that are also higher up in the rankings than we are. It’s a great way to get practice in, and it helps everyone get better at the game.” As Rocket League is a game that is always in motion, the importance of communication shines during a game, especially when things start to heat up. One misplay, and it could all be over!

“To see us go through the playoffs without being defeated shows that our hard work really paid off,” says Kyler Taylor, who might be better known as Doc. “Going into it, there’s always some nerves before a game, but once you start playing, you get into it really quickly. You’re playing with friends, that’s part of what’s so great about it.” Taylor and Fiscus were both present in the games that led to their championship victory, with Taylor providing plenty of assists and Fiscus scoring the goal that led them to victory, scoring three overall in their last game against the University of Cumberland.

With the NAIA championship coming to a close, the Rocket League team plans to work harder and stronger in order to fortify their strategy in future games. Taylor says “We want to play in the Collegiate Rocket League, which is hosted by the developers themselves. That’s the ultimate goal not just for us, but anybody playing the game.” Fiscus goes on to state that having five members of the team be Grand Champion, which is a high bar of entry for those in ranked play, is a blessing in of itself. The team currently has a single Supersonic Legend, which is the highest rank in the game as of Nov. 6.

The Rocket League team is currently engaged in the National Association of Collegiate Esports (NACE), with their first match of the season having been against Indiana University East.