New athletic esports team plays 1st tournament


Zack Buster

Players on AACC’s new esports team compete in a Rocket League tournament last week.

Zack Buster and Jerryt Haley

AACC’s new esports team lost all three of the matches in its first-ever tournament on Tuesday.

A team of four players who specialize in the video game Rocket League competed against the University of North America in a 45-minute virtual tournament.

Despite the loss, esports coach Conway Johnson said the Rocket League team got better with each of the three rounds.

“9-0 in the first game,” Johnson said. “7-0 in the second. … We were able to turn around and make it 2-3 in Game 3.”

Johnson said the team, which only practiced together two times before the tournament, was up against skilled players from a four-year school.

“That’s a big deal,” Johnson said. “We’re talking SSL-level players. SSL is … the top 2 to 5% [of players].”

The coach and the players said the team will get better as the season progresses.

“It is going to be an uphill battle the whole way,” Johnson said. “If what I saw tonight is any indication, we’ve got the potential to learn from it and be swinging back by the end of the semester.”

Team member Tyler Graves agreed.

“I feel like we’re going to grow a lot as a team and [have] more communication and improve,” Graves said.

Another member, first-year undecided student Justin Abell, echoed that sentiment.

“I think over the course of the season … we’ll do a lot better,” Abell said.