One collegiate team to rule them all at CRL 2022 World Championship

The Collegiate Rocket League 2022 World Championship kicks off on June 3 with group stage opening matches. Sixteen teams divided into groups of four play best-of-five matches, where the top two seeds advance to Playoffs.

Even amongst the collegiate teams, all-star squads are often hailed as the scene’s powerhouses. For instance, Northwood Blue and Columbia College from the established CRL Spring Championship. European counterparts include: Portsmouth Paladins, Berlin Phoenix, and Keele Krakens, all well-established favorites at the CRL World Championship.

We have some seriously intense opening matches to go through.

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Northwood Blue vs Salford Lions

Starting off with a highly-anticipated match in Group A, it’s Northwood’s first match in the World Championship and expectations are soaring high. With a well-equipped stack of five players plus a coach, this line-up is certainly of pro caliber.

Well, that isn’t too far off, considering multiple players do play in active rosters of pro teams. Notably, Hunter “LionBlaze” Woitas of Ghost Gaming, but certainly not limited to the other players as well.

It’s may not be a great debut for Salford Lions, going up against a massive powerhouse first thing at the CRL World Championship. Salford has been consistent at participating and securing top spots in various collegiate events in Europe, so they aren’t too shabby themselves.

University of Nevada, Las Vegas vs UT Arlington

Now here’s a more even match-up featuring Nevada and UT Arlington. Nevada may be a staple in the scene, but their performance has been sloppy for the most part. Coming from a stack with competitive experience, it has been rather underwhelming.

On the other hand, UT Arlington may seem like a bigger force to be reckoned with. But have also recently fallen off since Tristan “Alpa” B.  graduated late last year. UT Arlington was among the most phenomenal teams during Alpa’s schooling days. The other kids on the block were reminiscent of his impossible long-distance best goal worthy shots, which became UT Arlington’s namesake.

With the figurehead out of the collegiate scene, UT Arlington struggles to remain relevant. Nevertheless, these candidates still pale in comparison with Group C’s competitors.

Columbia College vs Hamburger Haie Ahoi Bois

Arguably the only rival to give Northwood a run for their money. Columbia College is second to only Northwood as they often sweep any matches clean if Northwood wasn’t their opponent. Even so, both teams can be at each other’s neck when they compete.

Columbia College features a five-man squad, where two are substitutes in case of a drawn-out series like the full best-of-seven series vs Northwood. That may be another perk that Columbia College has up its sleeves as the player variety calls for more diverse combos.

Unfortunately, Hamburger Haie Ahoi Bois is not exactly the top dog around, and would likely pose no threat to Columbia. Hailing from Europe, Hamburger lacks the competitive experience to call them the finest tool in the shed, so Columbia will have an easy match.

Stockton vs UCF Knights

Group D also has exciting matches, particularly one between Stockton University and the University of Central Florida. The two American powerhouses have raked in enough revenue to call themselves semi-competitive by Rocket League Championship Series (RLCS) standards.

Stockton is your typical top dog in the Americas region, boasting one of the most consistent seasons as far as American competition goes. Even so, they have time to time, fall short to Northwood and Columbia College in the finals. UCF Knights are easily among the most established collegiate teams in America. Yet, an unfortunate run in past CRL seasons forced them to participate in the CRL North America Last Chance Qualifiers. Anyhow, they did make the cut to play at the CRL 2022 World Championship.

This puts UCF in a better position as the underdogs despite having the capabilities to overwhelm Northwood amongst other prominent staples, such as Stockton and Columbia too. Considering both teams are regional rivals, it’s just about anyone’s guess on who might win.

Even so, it’s important to note that Marcello “Bambii” Aedo and Luccas “Luke” Oyarce are noteworthy pro players.

If we had to choose one team as the title suggest, my selection would be Portsmouth Paladins. They have dominated the EU scene in style and due to the scale of competition, they may just be good enough to contest all NA teams as well. While not featured in four opening picks, they face Penn State in the openers.

Of course, the opening matches aren’t limited to just the four featured matches, but these are great additions to your Collegiate RL Esports watchlist. As the CRL 2022 World Championship runs its course throughout June, catch the latest updates on the Rocket League Esports Twitter page or catch the action live on Rocket League Twitch channel.