By Emily Clute
It has been a busy few weeks for the UAlbany eSports Overwatch team as they competed in two separate tournaments over two weekends.
On Friday, Feb. 7, the team took part in the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Fall 2019 Championship for Overwatch, taking second place for the Fall 2019 season.
After a fall semester spent battling it out in the brackets against more than twenty teams, the UAlbany Overwatch A team made it to the final match against Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI).
The match was live-streamed over the team’s Youtube page Friday night and was commentated by Lucas Molina and Amanda DeMizio. The game was played remotely, with the UAlbany team in their own arena in Draper Hall on the Downtown Campus.
Even though it resulted in a victory for RPI, the UAlbany team fought until the end. The game was played until the very last second as UAlbany attempted to secure the point they needed to tie the game, but ultimately, RPI secured the victory with a stronghold defense.
From Jan. 30 to Feb. 2, the team took part in the Empire State Winter Games (ESWG), which was hosted in Lake Placid. Of the four teams that competed in the Overwatch Collegiate Tournament, the UAlbany team took home the silver after their first-ever defeat as Alfred State took gold. The team was hosted by Paul Smith’s College for the weekend, where the matches were played.
The team had the opportunity to take part in the “Parade of Athletes” along with athletes from all other events. The parade was held in the Herbs Brook Arena, which was the site of the 1980 Olympics Center. All athletes were given matching ESWG jackets and were able to witness the lighting of the torch.
Though they didn’t take home the gold, it was still an “amazing, life-changing experience,” according to Michael Leczinsky, a Professor of Practice with the College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Cybersecurity and the team’s Director and Head Coach.
The team’s Spring 2020 season begins this week, and they are ready to take on even more teams this season as the ECAC roster grows.
But the ECAC isn’t all that’s growing. In their first semester, the eSports team took on 75 members. For their Spring 2020 season, the team has a total of 100 students out of the 350 who applied for a spot.
The team hopes to keep growing. After their first full year in the ECAC, Leczinsky says his goal is to build the “biggest, best, most diverse team in Esports.” The team accepts members of all majors, class years, skill levels, and gender. The team is currently co-ed but hopes to add a women’s Overwatch team to the roster in the near future.
For more information on the eSports team, you can find them at https://www.albany.edu/esports.