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The Student Voice of UNC Asheville

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The Student Voice of UNC Asheville

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UNCA League of Legends takes first in stunning finals match against HPU

Sydney Mason
League of Legends terminology.

As the team crept closer to Radford college on Friday, March 22 the air inside the bus was filled with theories, potential gameplay strategies and champion drafts for the upcoming games against Highpoint University. 

“My expectations of what was going to happen and what did happen were completely opposite. I wasn’t expecting everyone to play as hard as they did, so it was insane to take first place,” said Mike Islas, who was voted MVP of the team following their climatic win against High Point University.

It was never going to be an easy set of matches, as Highpoint University had their own team of skilled players that were sure to put the pressure on UNCA in every lane. 

“I picked champions that worked well with the rest of the team, since I knew my job was to help Mike and Grant in my role as support,” said Nova Valentine, the support player for UNCA. “I didn’t want us to lose because of any mistakes, so I played very carefully and focused on my role.”

As unofficial team leader, Mike had confidence that if UNCA played well they would take the win due to a combination of implicit trust in his callouts and faith in the team. 

“I didn’t need to play perfectly or pop off in any way; I just needed to be consistent in terms of listening to calls and following the strategy of Mike and Grant,” said Max Chalmers, taking the role of jungle for UNCA. “A large part of our success was that everyone was on the same page. We weren’t trying to prove ourselves as individuals, but as a team. That trust in each other won us the match.”

While there was a divide in terms of individual skill across the team, the desire to succeed and improve pushed the entire team to give it their all.

“Mike once told me ‘you’re as strong as your weakest link’ and while I do consider myself the weakest of the team, we still won. I feel like I improved so much at the tournament, and I want to keep getting better and better,” said Nova. 

“The entire esports team all became much better friends after the tournament,” said Grant Grunau, the midlane player for the team. “It brought us closer together, and we really feel like a tight-knit group now. I’m looking forward to what the rest of the season will bring.”

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