With the rise of popularity in esports within recent years, we’re seeing more women esports teams enter the competitive sphere and dominate League of Legends tournaments!
The QUT Women’s Intervarsity League of Legends competition was held online between April and June. Monash University’s women’s team went up against six universities to secure a comfortable victory against the reigning champions in the grand final.
We caught up with Monash University’s League of Legends co-organiser, Michelle Croughan to speak about their incredible win. We also got to chat about how our other esports teams will prepare for the upcoming Unisport National tournament which will begin this weekend.
Congratulations on the League of Legends women’s team for coming out on top at the QUT women’s championship! How did the event go?
It went really well actually. The women’s team didn’t lose a single match and won every single game they played this tournament which is really good to see. Within the last two years, the University of Auckland has previously won the tournament. So when they played against the reigning champions in the grand final, our women’s team won two of three games and took out the tournament!
That’s so amazing to hear! To win against the reigning champions is such an achievement. What was it like juggling both university studies and training/competing?
Some of the players are currently doing high degree research such as Masters degrees and PhDs. For them, I think it was okay managing training with the team and doing their studies since there are no assignments or exams.
For students who are doing an undergraduate degree, some of them really struggled as the tournament went right up to the week of SWOTVAC. So it ended up being very close to exam period which was a bit stressful for some of the players.
The realm of esports has always been seen as a masculine space. Can you tell me how Monash University supports women’s esports?
Having a women’s esports team to start with is really great! This is a really fantastic thing that QUT has done to create this tournament and this is the only all-women esports tournament that I have even heard of!
However, I think it's really hard with esports in particular when hosting women-only events due to the nature of them being online. Since there is no in-person contact, it becomes really difficult for non-university organisations to verify if the people entering the tournament are women-identifying. So universities in general are a fantastic place to host tournaments like that as it is possible to verify players identities and helps create a safe space to actually run an event like this. Monash University having a team is a great start with MEGA - Monash Electronic Gaming Association paying for the entry fees for the women’s team. I would definitely love to see Monash consider hosting events like this itself in the future, which is a dream of mine!
Stemming from the women’s esports win, I heard there will be two esports teams that will be heading out to compete in the Unisport National tournament. Tell me more about it.
So Unisport hosts the tournament once a year. They have a Division 1 and Division 2 section. Our Monash esports team has previously had a bit of mixed success as we came 5th last year and placed 2nd a couple of years ago. We’re hoping to take out first place this year, but there’s a lot of heavy competition with some really standout esports teams. They will start competing on the 2nd of July and the tournament itself will run for 4 weekends in July. The first weekend is a qualifier where you play a round robin or a swiss system bracket depending on how many teams have entered the tournament. Based on the results from the first week, the teams will be ranked and the top 16 teams will go on to the next round of qualifiers. From there, it is a double elimination style bracket through weeks two and three, then the top 4 teams will go onto the semi finals and grand finals.
That’s fantastic! Our esports teams have a lot of work cut out for them! How will they prepare for the upcoming Unisport National tournament?
So far, they’ve been training once or twice a week up until this point. It’s been very difficult throughout exams to find times where everyone is available and able to play together. But they all have shown up at least once or twice a week to train, which has been very good. Over the next couple of weeks, we’ll often have internal games with our two teams to practice. We also organise scrims where competitive teams play against teams from other universities to practice together.
And finally, for women who might be interested in joining a team, what is the selection process like?
Across the year, we have two tryout periods. Basically at the start of each semester, incoming students have the opportunity to try out for the team and we pick a selection of players to see how they work together over a week or two period. We look for various qualities such as gameplay performance and attitude. Our selections are based on how well they can communicate with the other players in and out of the game as well as being nice and punctuality. All these qualities are what we look for when it comes into who we select for the teams.
Congratulations again to the Women’s League of Legends team for coming first at the QUT Tournament and good luck to both our Division 1 and Division 2 esports teams who will be competing in the Unisport national Tournament on the 2nd of July. We wish them all the best!
Want to show support for our teams heading to the Unisport National Tournament? You can keep up to date with the League of Legends announcements on the Unisport Discord server and tune into the tournament live on Twitch.
By Monica Ouk