No. 2 Quinnipiac Overwatch falls to No. 3 Iona in back-and-forth affair


Connor Lawless, Creative Director

After trading maps back and forth, the No. 3 Iona Overwatch team overcame No. 2 Quinnipiac 3-2 in the last hour. The Gaels will move onto the finals of the MAAC Esports Tournament where they’ll take on reigning champions No. 1 Marist March 12, at 12:45 p.m. Marist is the highest-ranked Overwatch team in the country.

The matchup between the Gaels and the Bobcats was dead even, with most maps pushing into overtime. Quinnipiac knew it was going into battle, but were caught off guard after the first map played on Ilios went to Iona effortlessly.

“We did anticipate that it was going to most likely go into the fifth map,” Quinnipiac support player Brooke “Cookie” Carleton said. “Iona has changed their lineup a lot since last time we played them, so we couldn’t really expect anything. We just wanted to go in and play, but we knew it was going to be challenging.”

Early on, Iona DPS player “Calamity” found success playing Pharah, who was backed by Iona support player “Majin” on Mercy in a combination called “pharmacy.” This duo played on every map, acting as a constant thorn in the Bobcats’ side. DPS players Matteo “Mayonnaise” Franco and Jake “Grub” Debroff often took hitscan characters, such as Cassidy and Ashe, throughout the game to counter and trade back and forth with the “pharmacy” combo.

Coming off a tough loss in the first map, the Bobcats regrouped and turned the game around, taking the second map on Nubani, tying the series 1-1.

“A lot of times when we’re first playing, we’re kind of still getting into the groove of it,” Carleton said. “Every time we play at first, it’s usually not always the best for us. But as we continue, we realize what we could do better, what we did wrong. We come up with strategies on the fly and open up our success rate. I think that’s why following the next map on Numbani, we pushed it, we did our best and we won.”

After fighting tooth and nail in the overtime of its offensive round, Quinnipiac pushed the payload nearly to the last checkpoint. The match-up of the night between Quinnipiac tank player Garret “Milkyway” Goldberg and Iona tank player “Oblivionz,” both on Reinhardt, began on Numbani, with the two tanks trading huge plays back and forth.

Goldberg struggled to find his footing against his adversary early on. But as the game progressed, he began to find the advantage to swing the match in Quinnipiac’s favor.

“(The matchup went) better than I expected, to be honest,” Goldberg said. “Our main Reinhardt player was not playing. …We’re like, ‘screw it. Let’s play Rein. Let’s see how I do.’”

The team as well as Goldberg’s Reinhardt did better than expected with the unusual lineup, especially against a seasoned Reinhardt like Oblivionz.

“I haven’t played against someone of his playstyle,”Goldberg said. “He’s very aggressive. So it was definitely a nice slap in the face to begin with until I got into the rhythm of things.”

After Quinnipiac took the second map, the third map, Temple of Anubis, was a slugfest. Ultimately, it would go Iona’s way, bringing the match to 2-1.

Invigorated by their loss in the third round, the Bobcats found themselves on the down end of match-point. Not willing to let themselves lose that easily, they rallied for their best performance of the night on the fourth map, played on Route 66.

Quinnipiac employed a patient defense to start, giving Iona space to push up until the Gaels were swiftly dispatched again and again. It was only on a desperate fifth push in overtime that the Gaels made any meaningful progress, wiping nearly all of the Bobcats.

Right before the first checkpoint, however, Carleton on Mercy pulled out a heroic stall and managed to keep herself alive long enough for the rest of the team to arrive and retake the payload, ending the Gaels’ offensive round.

“We all switch and we all one-by-one go in and try to stall it as much as possible and get picks if we can,” Carleton said. “But it’s intense, for sure. We’re all trying to like shot call, call targets, get any kind of kill that we can to possibly win the match.”

Quinnipiac’s offensive round wouldn’t last long. With the game at match point, Iona found itself overconfident and tried to hold the Bobcats back in their spawn. After a vital play from Thomas “broccoli” Eckart on Ana, Iona was wiped out, and Quinnipiac completed the objective in one push. The match now stood at 2-2, with both teams amped up and ready for their final showdown.

The fifth map was played on Nepal, a control map, similar to the first map where Iona dominated Quinnipiac. The Bobcats were more prepared this time, and handedly took the first round of the map, where two rounds meant a victory.

In round two, the Gaels won an early engagement and took control of the point, holding it all the way to 99% until overtime, where the Bobcats took over the objective. However, they would soon be pushed off, leaving Iona to take round two.

The semifinals then came down to an all-or-nothing round. In the last round possible on the last map possible, Quinnipiac and Iona were dead even with a spot for the finals hanging in the balance.

Ultimately, after trading the objective back and forth, Iona would win, with Oblivionz on Reinhardt stopping a final Quinnipiac push with his ultimate to secure them a spot in the finals. The Iona players jumped to their feet, cheering and hugging each other as the crowd went wild. Quinnipiac’s players left the stage with their heads high, knowing they gave it their all.

“It was great. It was very great. This is all our first time at a LAN event. So we were all definitely a little nervous,” Carleton said. “Iona played great. We played great. If anything, this loss just gives me so much more motivation to do better and prove myself and come back next year.”

With a semifinals appearance and second seed in the regular seasons, Quinnipiac’s first season was impressive. With the off season to work on their skills and develop as a team, the Bobcats look forward to dethroning Marist next year as regular season champions.