ST. LOUIS, MO. – The Missouri Baptist Rocket League team took home their first-ever conference championship in the NECC Challengers West Division and completed an undefeated season after defeating the Boise State Orange on Monday night.
The Spartans were riding high heading into Monday night's championship matchup looking to maintain their undefeated record. Captain Lucas "Tendo" Spray scored first after rebounding a missed shot from Andrew "Stuhly" Stuhlman.
With four minutes left in the first match, Stuhly found himself with the ball at mid-field, used a hard hit to send the ball to the top right corner, and put one past Toxic to put the Spartans ahead 2-0 in match one.
Three minutes later, Thunderama attempted to rally the Boise State squad with an incredible goal from the wall. Their attempts, however, proved to be futile as the MBU defense locked things down defensively to take game one with a 2-1 final.
The Spartans were feeling confident as they led the series 1-0 but it was BSU who got on the board first to open the second game. They put pressure on the MBU defense allowing Thunderama to find an open top-left corner of the goal.
MBU quickly tied it back up a minute later when Tendo showed ice in his veins. The junior dribbled the ball to the center of the field and sent a perfect pass to Stuhly who tied the game at 1-1.
Three more minutes of back and forth led to another connection from the dynamic duo of Tendo and Stuhly who found the net to send his team to a 2-1 game two victory in the final seconds.
The pressure was on for Boise State as MBU now led 2-0 in the best of seven series. That pressure would prove to be too much as Andrew "BluePhoenix" Cuba capitalized off a missed clear in the backfield, sending a pass to Tendo who opened the scoring.
Two minutes and thirty seconds into the match, Boise State showed their determination to stay in the game, finding the net off a missed save by the Spartans to tie the match at 1-1.
Much like game two, both sides controlled the ball back and forth until the final eighteen seconds when Tendo scored a clutch goal of his own to give the Spartans their third consecutive 2-1 win.
Headed into game number four the Spartans were not only looking for their first championship, they were looking for a sweep.
Boise State had other ideas. The began with control of the ball into the Spartans' defensive end. Toxic found a pass to the middle of the field to set up his teammate Circuit perfectly to put BSU up early.
MBU wasted no time answering back. Just 25 seconds later, Tendo intercepted the ball in the middle of the pitch and fired a laser into the lower right corner of the net to tie the game.
Thirty seconds later BSU's Thunderama punched the ball through the upper half of the net to regain the lead. Things heated up quickly as MBU's BluePhoenix answered back twenty seconds after that, firing a shot from the middle of the pitch to tie it up 2-2.
After another minute of close competition, Stuhly flexed his muscles. The senior controlled the ball through the air over two defenders and sent one home to put the Spartans ahead 3-2 with fifty seconds left to play.
The MBU defense locked it down yet again to win game four on the field, but it would be lost in the booth. The series admins called it a win in BSU's favor after an accidental team flip, forcing a fifth game.
After a twenty-minute booth delay and a forfeit loss in game four, the Spartans came out of the gates in game five firing on all cylinders.
Tendo scored ten seconds into the match when he capitalized on a missed clear from BSU to send his team to a 1-0 lead. Twenty more seconds went by before the next Spartan goal from Stuhly.
The time ticked down to minute-twenty before BSU found the net. Toxic pressured into the MBU defensive zone and sent the ball into the back of the net to draw with one.
Toxic answered again with forty-five seconds left to go when he put a fake on the MBU defense and dribbled the ball into the net to tie the match at two aside.
BSU, determined to hang on, kept the opposition scoreless for the remaining time to force overtime. After one minute of overtime, the Spartans prevailed as Stuhly found the net to give the Missouri Baptist eSports program their first conference title in program history and an undefeated season.
ABOUT NECC ESPORTS
The NECC began sponsoring esports in the fall of 2020. The NECC is currently sponsoring both regular season competition and championships across a wide variety of titles. The conference aims to serve the gaming community with respect and is a safe and inclusive environment. With more than 90 colleges and universities currently competing in the conference, the NECC is proud to be a positive home for the collegiate gaming community.