The Northern California and Southern California esports scene has always a had strong rivalry, in sports, culture, and competitions. Overwatch is no exception. November 10th marks the Overwatch California Cup in Oakland, with a clash between the Overwatch League giants the San Francisco Shock and the Los Angeles Valiant. The last fight between these two was s year previous in Santa Ana, with Valiant taking it 3-1.
Unbeknownst to most attendees, a small California Cup between schools went on behind the scenes, with the Cogswell College esports team participating. Other teams competing included the Academy of Art University, Stanford, UC Irvine, and UC Berkeley. Cogswell’s team, spearheaded by Ryan “Maverick” Loveless, went 1-1, losing to the University of Santa Cruz in 2-1 teeth-clencher.
Cogswell’s Team A is currently placed 122nd on the Tespa leaderboards, with Santa Cruz at 11th. The maps played between the two teams were Busan, Watchpoint: Gibraltar, and King’s Row.
When asked about their mentality heading into the game, Loveless had the following to say: “For some of our players this was their first tournament. I know some of them may have been a little nervous, but I think we had a great mentality going in.”
On the first round in Busan, the engagement between the two teams ended rather swift with Harley “Carnivore” Lopez being taken out first, followed by the rest of Cogswell for a quick team kill. The second engagement began very similarly, with Santa Cruz’s “Fusion” denying Cogswell’s rapid healing with a biotic grenade, and the rest of the squad going for swift aggressive damage. However, Jordan “Astinio” Zimmer, combined with the unfortunate positioning of UC Santa Cruz, helped Cogswell push aggressively into UCSC and to secure frags and put themselves on the clock. Cogswell ultimately secured the first round after repelling multiple pushes from UCSC.
The second round on Busan opened up in favor of Cogswell, with “Astinio” as Junkrat continuing to secure early eliminations and the rest of the team being able to sweep the opposition to be the first to control the point. Through careful disengagement and re from Cogswell, they were able to secure the first map, leading with a strong 1-0.
Watchpoint: Gibraltar started off with UCSC on the offensive, reaching the end with almost two minutes to spare. The constant aggression from UCSC proved super tough for Cogswell. And when the sides were swapped and Cogswell began to attack, things did not improve. Cogswell was unable to secure the first point, giving a point to UCSC and tying the set 1-1.
On Kings Row, once again, had UCSC on the attack. UCSC pushed the payload while keeping team fights quick and decisive in their favor. Cogswell did repel a push towards the end, but the fight was a team wipe, ending the first half with a whole three minutes to spare. While at first looking grim, the second half began to look promising for the Dragons. Cogswell opted to run a “double-sniper” strategy to try and break into UCSC’s defense, which pressured the enemy that Maverick and others were able to capitalize on. Cogswell was able to secure the first point with two minutes, but had to continue the aggression and push the payload all the way to the end.
The first fight on the cart began right after Cogswell began pushing, with James “Windowmaker” Spriggs and Alex “Ajmafo” Olsen combining their Graviton Surge and Dragonstrike to shred the enemy team. The next came after UCSC quickly regrouped and began to fight in the streets right in front of the second payload stop. UCSC used a similar tactic as Cogswell had, combining the Graviton Surge with a Meteor Strike to quickly crush the opposition. More small skirmishes occurred, with Cogswell gaining or losing some amount of ground, with the clock ticking closer to zero. Cogswell’s final push, with 20 seconds on the clock, began with a very unfortunate ultimate reflect coming from UCSC’s Temmie, pressuring Maverick and Windowmaker who fell early on in the engagement. The rest of Cogswell became dispersed and spread out, eventually getting picked off one by one before losing the set 2-1.
Upon reaching out to Loveless for a comment on the match, he had this to say:
“They are a strong team. I was very proud of us taking Busan off of them considering they are ranked #11 this preseason’s leaderboards. I believe if we had the coaching and [more] preparation I think we could have won. We’ll get that coaching in January and we’re looking forward to fighting them again If we get that opportunity. There’s a lot we can take away from fighting top-tier teams and I think the biggest thing I want my team to always keep in mind is that these guys may have high ranks and they may seem like gods but they are beatable, they aren’t immortal. I think with this year's roster that has really sunk into their minds.”
Cogswell Team A consists of:
Ryan “Maverick” Loveless
Harley “Carnivore” Lopez
Forrest “FroFro” E *
James “Windowmaker” Spriggs
Andre “MilkDud” Hines **
Jordan “Astinio” Zimmer
Alex “Ajmafo” Olsen*
* Players who are leaving the roster
** Not present at the competition