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Rocket League qualifies for third straight NACE Starleague championship game


The WVU Rocket League team.

The West Virginia Rocket League team will head to Full Sail University to face Akron in the NACE Starleague Varsity Premier Grand Finals. (Photo: Michael Carvelli)

The University’s Rocket League team made more history this week by qualifying for the NACE Starleague Varsity Premier Grand Finals for the third semester in a row with a 4-2 win over Lubbock Christian.

The Mountaineers became the first team to ever qualify for three consecutive Varsity Premier finals, the top division of NACE Starleague. With Monday’s (April 8) win, the team will now head to Full Sail University in Winter Park, Florida, to face Akron in the Grand Finals on April 27.

The championship game will be another chapter in what has become one of the nation’s premier rivalries between the Mountaineers and Akron. The Zips have historically been one of the winningest programs in all of Collegiate Rocket League.

This will be the second semester in a row WVU and Akron have faced each other in the NACE Grand Finals — with WVU winning 4-2 in December in Boise, Idaho. WVU rallied from a 2-0 deficit to beat Akron, 3-2, in the NACE regular season meeting between the two schools this semester.

“This is all about the students seeing the vision and trusting the plan we have,” said Josh Steger, WVU Esports director and head coach.

“We wanted to win every LAN that we qualified for this year, and after we lost early in the season in Harrisburg (at the HUE Invitational), that was a real turning point. We got into a mindset as a team and a program that we want to make sure people know we’re here and all roads to championships have to lead them to us.”

This will be the fourth time this season WVU has traveled to take part in a LAN (local area network) event.

The Mountaineers fell in the semifinals of the HUE Invitational before ending the fall semester with a NACE championship win over Akron. Earlier this semester, the Mountaineers beat Harrisburg to claim another tournament win at Boost on the Beach in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

Steger said the Rocket League team loves opportunities to travel and represent WVU on stages all across the country.

“Through our travel experience, we just help bring recognition to the WVU brand through our alumni who see us or the new fans we make when they watch us,” Steger said.

“For the players, most of them wouldn’t get that chance to travel to these places so it’s a great cultural experience for them to get to see different places. It’s a competitive experience for them as well. We just hope to keep winning and make the school proud of our accomplishments.”

The NACE Starleague Varsity Premier Grand Finals are scheduled for 7 p.m. April 27, and can be watched live at

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