Esports Valorant team upsets way to NECC Title
Lakeland’s University’s Esports Valorant team completed a series of upsets Monday night to win the National Esports Collegiate Conference Valorant Championship.
Valorant is a team-based first-person tactical hero shooter set in the near future. Players play as one of a set of Agents, and characters are based on countries and cultures around the world. In the main game mode, players are assigned to either the attacking or defending team with each team made up of five players. Their goal is to plant the “spike” when attacking and win the round. When defending, they have to prevent the opposing team from planting. The winner is the first to reach 13 points and win by two.
Valorant teams compete in the NECC Emergents division, and Lakeland competes in the Emergents Midwest division.
The Muskies Valorant team started the season strong with a win over Southern Illinois University-E White, then lost their next four before finishing the regular season with a 3-5 record that earned the fifth seed in the Midwest Division.
The fifth-seeded Muskies won a best-of-five Valorant series at third-seeded Carthage College to win the title. Earlier in the playoffs, Lakeland beat fourth-seeded Purdue White 2-0 in a best of three in the first round, a team the Muskies had lost to earlier in the season. LU toppled top-seeded Augustana Yellow 2-0 in a best of three in the semifinals.
Members of the winning Lakeland team include: Seniors Alex Burgos of Salem, Wis., and Zach Gallipeau of Sheboygan, Wis.; sophomores Nick Sorenson and Ethan Jacquart both of Two Rivers, Wis.; and freshman Mason Hansen of Menasha, Wis.
“Our players showed grit, grind and mental fortitude during their finals match,” said Lakeland Esports Head Coach Ahman Green. “Valorant games can take up to or more than an hour each, and the finals match lasted over five hours. This team really gelled as a unit during the playoffs and I’m proud of them for this championship run.”
The final was a back-and-forth affair as Lakeland won the first game 13-6, Carthage won the second 14-12 in overtime, Lakeland won the third 18-16 in OT, Carthage won the fourth 13-7 and Lakeland clinched the title with a 13-8 win in the fifth game.