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WVU Rocket League wins NACE Starleague National Championship

Rocket League Champs

The West Virginia University Esports program is adding another national championship to its trophy case with a win for the WVU Rocket League team in the NACE Starleague Varsity Premier Grand Finals in Boise, Idaho.

The Mountaineers beat Akron, 4-2, to win the team's second national championship of the season. WVU also won the CCA Summer Series title in July.

“This team is special. When everything is clicking and when we’re playing with confidence, they are the best team in the country,” said Josh Steger, WVU Esports director and head coach. “The best thing about the team was that immediately after winning this championship, the players put their mindset on getting prepared for what’s next and getting the opportunity to play for the collegiate world championship later this spring. As a coach, you love seeing that willingness and effort to be the best.”

WVU finished with a perfect 10-0 record in NACE Starleague play this year and has an impressive record of 53-8 across all their leagues in the fall semester. During their championship run, the Mountaineers outscored their opponents 110-32.

The win over Akron in the championship game was another chapter in what has become one of the best rivalries in collegiate esports, with the two top programs going back and forth with each other in the first few games of the season before WVU was able to pick up a few wins in a row and grab the momentum in the series. In the previous meeting between the two schools, Akron beat WVU 3-1.

“Winning anything feels amazing of course. But when it’s against a great opponent like Akron it just feels so much better, especially after losing the last time,” WVU Rocket League Captain Jarret “Angel” Birch said. “There’s a lot of added pressure in a championship game, there’s a big learning curve that comes with it, and I think us being able to look and say we’ve beaten a team like this for our second title of the year says a lot about how well we handle pressure.”

Sophomore Ryan “Tool” Futral scored five goals to lead WVU in the Grand Finals, while freshman Matt “Daunt” Ehresman scored four — including both goals in the final minute of the Mountaineers’ deciding Game 6 victory.

The University’s Valorant team also made it to the NACE Grand Finals last week and competed in the title match against St. Clair College.

The Rocket League team’s victory is the third national championship victory in program history. WVU also won the 2021 LevelNext Madden National Championship.

To get more updates about WVU Esports, follow the program at @WVUEsports on X, formerly Twitter, and watch live events from all the varsity esports teams at