If you recall we covered Illini Esports back in April when the team fell to Maryland in the Big Ten Championship and advanced to the College Championship Play-In. It was a groundbreaking article for us.
This past Thursday, Illini Esports kicked off its 2018 Championship quest in the College League of Legends Championship with a surprising win over top-seed and defending champion Maryville University, 2-0.
With the victory, the Illini advance to face another tournament favorite, Columbia College, on Saturday.
The Illini were dubbed by commentators as the ‘wild card’ team in this tournament after their upset victory. Illinois made quick work of Maryville in the second match and secured its visit to the semifinals.
Maryville, the defending champion, was dubbed by most in eSports as the favorite to repeat this year. Even ESPN wrote a piece about Maryville’s expected second round showdown with rival Columbia College. The Illini were more than happy to play spoiler:
This was no small feat by Illinois, as they won in convincing fashion. In Game 1, the Illini held a 5,000 gold lead following a team fight and took the baron buff to propel them to victory. Maryville took the advantage early in Game 2 with a brief 2,000 gold lead and a baron buff, but the Illini were able to recover and sweep Maryville in the best-of-three showdown.
Illinois’ opponent Saturday, Columbia College, comes into the tournament as the No. 5 seed, and similarly swept UT-Dallas in two games. The winner will advance to the championship match, which will be held Sunday at noon.
All matches will be streamed on the Riot Games Twitch channel.