Fourteen members of the Niagara University Esports program will travel to Atlantic City, N.J., March 10-12 to compete in the 2022 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Esports Championships. The event marks the return to in-person competition after two years of online contests due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The students will compete against teams from nine other institutions in three titles: Super Smash Brothers: Ultimate; Rocket League; and League of Legends. Their opponents include students from Siena College, Marist College, Fairfield University, Quinnipiac University, Canisius College, Iona College, Rider University, Manhattan College, and St. Peter’s College.
“The students are very excited to be able to experience the MAAC championships live and in person,” said Bill Newton, associate director of Campus Activities and Niagara’s lead administrative contact for Esports. “This is a great opportunity for our students to interact with students from the other MAAC institutions and for our program to be showcased on a higher level during this blockbuster event. This trip and this experience for our students is a reward for their dedication to our Esports program throughout the academic year.”
“Being in-person gives the program the opportunity to connect with other programs in person,” said Jacob Arends, president of NU’s Esports club. “This networking opportunity is great—we have competed against these teams for three seasons now, we have never seen the players' faces, never talked in person, so finally being able to say ‘hello’ and shake hands with our competitors, Esports staff, and fans will really be nice.
“Being able to go to this championship event after practicing and playing over the past two semesters will be really rewarding,” he continued. “The amount of time our players have dedicated has been incredible; we get this moment to leave it out all up on the stage. Representing Niagara University and its Esports program is a privilege as we start up a legacy that will continue to develop and strive to newer heights.”
Action will begin at 4:15 p.m. on Thursday, March 10, when NU’s League of Legends team will take on Rider in their quarterfinal match. On March 11 at 11 a.m., NU's Rocket League team takes on Iona. That same day, the Niagara Super Smash Brothers: Ultimate team will also compete; time and opponent to be determined.
The complete schedule of matches for the 2022 MAAC Esports Championships can be found at the MAAC website. All matches will be streamed through the MAAC’s partnership with the Electronic Gaming Federation, the competitive league that all MAAC institutions compete in throughout the academic year. Matches can be found at www.twitch.tv/maacesports.