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Cajuns 'Smash Ultimate' doesn't miss a beat in ECAC Championship

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Ragin’ Cajuns “Super Smash Bros. Ultimate” played in and won their final round of the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference “Smash Brothers” Championship against Quinnipiac University Wednesday, May 24, winning the competition.

Cajuns dominated the season as a whole. Out of all 11 crew battles played, Cajuns have only had to run their highest ranked player and team captain, Zie Hebert, in three. The other crew battles were won only using two of the three players on the team at the time, leaving at least four out of nine stocks remaining for the Cajuns.

“Honestly from the beginning, as long as there were no (internationally ranked) players, I figured we could win,” Hebert said. “I was confident from the beginning, especially when our two strongest members on the team rarely had to play for us to win, even near the end.”

Hebert said it was a teamwide performance.

“I don’t think ‘Combo’ or I were needed throughout the whole league, really,” Hebert added. “I was confident in our other members.”

The league was run on a crew battle format, in which there are two teams of three players. Each player has three stocks, totaling up to nine total stocks for the school. The players play singles matches against one another until one school has no stocks remaining.

The league was divided into two sections: a round-robin playoffs to determine seeding for the following single elimination bracket. In playoffs, the most stocks Cajuns lost was five to Stockton University. Then, in the single elimination bracket, in which all sets were best-of-three, Cajuns didn’t lose a single crew battle.

Their first match against Quinnipiac, Cajuns opened with R.O.B. player Kyle “Lt. Waffle” Ramke, and immediately Ramke commented on the lag, or an input delay resulting from a poor internet connection that makes the game more challenging to play.

Once the team got down to their final three stocks, Hebert swapped in and used the lag to his advantage, throwing out fewer safe moves and projectiles under the notion that the other team couldn’t react and punish in time, netting the Cajuns the win with three stocks remaining.

“My team members haven’t complained about the connection particularly so until today; today it was particularly bad,” Hebert said. “But we communicated with the other team tonight that it was a problem, and they were like, ‘Oh well can we go to our friend’s house it’s not that far away,’ and so we just waited for a wired connection.”

“I’m glad they were able to cooperate with us on that,” Hebert added, “Because at the end of the day, I wanted to win, but like I also told them in (direct messages), I just wanted us to play some quality ‘Smash.’”

In the second match, Cajuns opened the same way with Ramke but then put in Hebert. Both players took four stocks before losing their three, meaning Quinnipiac only had one stock left when it came to Ganondorf player Matthew “Combo” Cangelosi.

For the first 30 seconds of the final game, Cangelosi takes hit after hit against Quinnipiac’s wolf player. Once he finally gets a hit, however, he pushes the opponent to the other side of Town and City, gets one air-dodge read and forward-smashes them, winning the tournament.

“Overall the league was pretty cool,” Hebert said. “They had some pretty good teams, and they were all super supportive. Once we made it to the playoffs, any time we would win, the teams, knowing that we were pretty good, would be like, ‘Oh good luck for the rest of bracket, but we don’t think you’ll need it.’ So, I appreciated the support from everybody.”

As far as what’s next for Cajuns “Smash Ultimate,” they will be playing their second round of the Collegiate Starleague tournament in Atlanta, Georgia in May. To get there, Cajuns had to win their first-round bracket, which included Louisiana State University, one of the best schools in the state for “Smash.”

If Cajuns win their second round in Atlanta, Georgia, they will go onto the finals at Shine, a major tournament in Boston, Massachusetts, in August.

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