The domination of the current Grand Champions, Rochester Institute of Technology, has not been without loss. Will “Evadin” Dickinson, RIT’s star play and formerly the highest MMR player in the Collegiate Starleague, did not return to defend the crown he helped earn. This year, RIT’s mostly-flawless record has been lead by Carter “Eradicate” Kerstetter, who also has taken over the Position 2 role. RIT’s championship remains their most recent accolade, their attempts to pair it with a win in the first ever Winter Invitational was thwarted by the State University of New York - Stony Brook. SBU’s victory over RIT denied them champion status in the Spring and put the first loss on their record in over a year. Benjamin “Zanthous” Morgan, one of the deadliest off lane players in the league, shared with us that RIT is staying positive and putting their energy into their playoff run:
We had seen SBU as a top opponent for a while coming into this match, but I don’t think anyone on the team is too concerned with [losing] the win streak, we have just been taking the games one at a time. [The loss to SBU] hasn’t affected our drive at all, to be honest. If anything, it pushes us to understand our drafts and the meta better.
RIT’s nearly five-semester win streak is proof that RIT knows how to win. Kerstetter confirms that RIT can take a loss too, the conclusion of the Winter Invitational “has not changed much” with RIT, who “get more serious when playoffs start.” Handling a loss well is a sign of good sportsmanship, and so is the respect Morgan has for his opposition. Morgan believes that “SBU will go relatively unchallenged throughout the playoffs and secure a spot at the LAN.” RIT and SBU both attended the LAN last year but they did not play each other.
Kerstetter is confident that his team's playoff run will not yield a serious challenge, stating that he is “expecting to not lose a series in the playoffs” and is “confident [RIT] will make it to LAN.”
RIT has overcome more challenges than beating the best teams in the league. Remaining on top after the loss of their star player has been an opportunity for them to grow. Morgan elaborates on how RIT remains dominant:
RIT is slightly weaker but not by too much. This year after losing our most individually skilled player we definitely have had to play much more disciplined… learn the patch well, and figure out how to draft well around [our] team... to stay dominant in CSL. Everyone has to carry their own weight, and we have to work together well to beat challenging opponents consistently.
RIT and SBU are entering the Semi-Finals undefeated. they will meet in the Upper Bracket Grand Finals if they continue on their streak. They are tied 1 - 1 after playing two best-best-of-3 series against each other.
This year’s action is rising to a potential Grand Finals match between SBU and RIT to settle the score and decide if the new RIT roster is capable of defending their crown or if SBU will become the new Grand Champions of the CSL.