The UCLA Summer Invitational marks — ironically — the first Overwatch tournament of the fall semester. USC’s varsity team will be participating today at 12 p.m. PST against Cal State Fullerton in the first round.
It’s a chance for USC to prove themselves in a tournament which could set the stage for the season to come. They’ll be competing in the same space as many of their west coast peers, notably UCLA who’ve eked out victories in some recent encounters like last semester’s La La LAN. USC could almost taste victory, up 2-0 with just one game left to solidify a clean sweep. But UCLA crawled back round by round to eventually take the match 3-2.
But the performance suggested an improvement from their previous encounter at Fall 2019′s Conquest event, where UCLA defeated the more shaky USC team who didn’t yet have the poise displayed at La La LAN a few months later.
USC is looking at a long journey to a revenge match, and would need to get to the finals to play a revenge match against UCLA who sits on the other side of the bracket.
Right now, the varsity team is seeded 10, coming into a tournament after a semester of evolution for the team. They got a new coach, and focused on and streamlining their communication and game play. The goal was to make it to the top 32 teams in the Tespa tournament, which they achieved.
“For this tournament we want to make a splash. We’ve been working pretty hard over the summer so this is our first big chance to prove ourselves,” said Quiana “Jaru” Dang, the manager of the team.
They’ll be playing with about the same lineup as semesters past, with Kenneth “Patriot” Peralta, Jae “Bun-E” Shim, Iggy “Fanout” Mullin, Alex “Changalang” Chang, Ethan “EarlDong” Zhang and Dhevyn “Pronkymaster” Lao. Patriot, formerly the team’s captain, makes a return after a hiatus in the spring, but Pronkymaster will be taking a temporary leave from the team after this match, according to Dang.
As of now, less than an hour before the match starts, USC took on new addition Mike "BianDang" Zhou as a sub for the team.
The tournament also comes during an interesting point in Overwatch’s history, coming after last year’s GOATS meta, and a summer of controversy, and a conversation dominated by the addition of Brigitte.
The rest of the lineup of the Summer Invitational consists of teams from across the west coast, and some more a little further east like the University of Michigan, Ohio Northern University, Purdue and University of Texas, Dallas. UC Irvine holds the number one seed, right behind Purdue.