Summer Series 2021: Week Three Recap

Playoffs, where every game counts and champions are forged. And of course we can’t forget about the choking, there is usually a lot of that.

The University Rocketeers Summer Series 2021 playoffs have kicked off to what can only be described as an electrifying start, with a matchup between the Portsmouth Paladins and Berlin Phoenix in the Upper Quarter Finals. Berlin Phoenix, of course, should need no introduction, having dominated every domestic and international university competition, from EURC 2021 and 2020, to the Uniliga Winter 2021, the German domestic university league. Only 3 European teams have ever managed to beat Berlin Phoenix, and the Portsmouth Paladins were not on that highly selective list, thanks partially to a Berlin player called Tigreee, who also participates in RLCS. That didn’t stop the British university team from at least showing that giants can bleed, taking them to a nail-biting game seven. Unfortunately, Portsmouth did not pull through and were knocked down to the lower bracket, despite a top-tier performance from their players.

The UWE Sea Stags and the Arctic EBoys will join Portsmouth in lowers after their respective losses 4-0 to the Keele Krakens and 4-1 to Erasmus, in matches of rather one-sided affairs, contrasting the hard-fought Paladins’ game. Both UWE and the Eboys seemingly failed to find traction in their games, especially the Sea Stags, who only managed to secure a single goal in the entire series, while the Eboys couldn’t manage the Krakens’ passing plays and didn’t manage to bring some players to the game, notably Roee, who didn’t score a single goal in the entire series, despite having 13 shots and normally being the highest scorer on the Arctic squad. That leaves Keele Krakens to be the new challengers against Berlin Phoenix in the upper semi-finals, in what is set to be an entertaining match, with the Krakens in their current form, they have every chance to at least take some games off the giants of Berlin. Meanwhile Erasmus will have face off against either Dusseldorf or Windesheim, who are yet to have played their match.

Moving onto the lower bracket, the home of desperate teams and hopeful dreams. With the first round of lowers already taking place, many teams have already been evicted from the tournament, four in total. The Salford Lions, who are well-versed in traversing the lower bracket, played defenestrator to FHDW eSports, meaning the Lions will next face off against the intimidating Portsmouth side. A rematch of the clash between the two on Finals Day of EURC, that saw Portsmouth knocked out of the competition, will surely have them looking out for revenge in what will be a thrilling matchup as the two fight to avoid elimination. While their most recent matchup went the way of Salford, with Portsmouth looking on form and taking Berlin to game 7, they look like real contenders to knock Salford out once and for all.

The next team putting ink to the paper, rather impressively with claws, are the UEA Bluejays, who signed Tilburg UNIted’s expulsion notice in 4-2 fashion to knock them out of the playoffs. The match was a relatively close affair, with four out of the six games being within a single goal, but the Bluejays secured the win, managing to suffocate out the Tilburg squad and will now have to beat the UWE Sea Stags to continue their tournament run in this clash of claws and horns. Esports Team Twente also comfortably continue their playoffs run by beating the Sussex Sharks 4-1 in the lower bracket, with Pimay of Twente putting up a stellar performance to ensure his team took home the win, a stylish win at that. Esports Team Twente will now go on to face the loser of the Dusseldorf vs Windesheim match, to try and keep their tournament hopes alive.

This leaves the final match of round 2 of the lower bracket, where the tournament’s resident e-boys (the Arctic Eboys), will face the Essex Blades. Essex Blades beat to garner this spot, Beckett Bears, who after winning the first game, couldn’t keep up the momentum and lost every subsequent one to the Blades, in no small part to Georgeeee of the Essex Blades, who averaged the highest score, most goals and most saves across the entire series.

That concludes everything that has happened in week one of the playoffs, and has set us up for a very exciting second week where many favourites will be packing up and heading home with the numerous strong teams inhabiting the lower bracket. Make sure to not miss out on the action, and keep up to date with the tournament, at the UniRocketeers Twitch channel, where all the matches are being played.