Cal CSGO struggles early, manages to keep playoff hopes alive

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If one were to describe Cal’s “Counter-Strike: Global Offensive” season in songs, it would probably be a mix of Britney Spears’ “Oops!… I Did It Again” and Bonnie Tyler’s “I Need A Hero.”

Coming off a win against the University of New Hampshire, which upped Cal’s record to a surprising 2-1, Cal not only threw away its seasonal advantage in a demoralizing loss against Kansas State, but it failed to show up to their match against Penn State, resulting in an automatic loss and a growing chance it misses the playoffs.

Nevertheless, with its back against the wall, the Cal team managed to defeat Cal Poly Pomona on the back of star player Antony “Tonytej” Tejakusuma’s dominating performance, keeping its season alive for the time being.

Despite winning the two games prior to its Train matchup against Kansas State, Cal looked less like the well-organized machine one had become accustomed to seeing and more like the uncoordinated “pugger” team that went 1-5 in the fall semester. Starting on the less favored Terrorist side, or T-side, Cal struggled from the get-go, notching just one win in the first 12 rounds. While the team would eventually manage to salvage the last three rounds of the half to finish its T-side with a 4-11 scoreline, it was clear that a lack of team play was holding it back. Blunders such as an embarrassing “double molly” kill, “team knifes” and an accidental suicide showcased the fact that Cal was completely and utterly lost.

The second half would fare Cal no better: After narrowly picking up the first two rounds, the team would go on to lose the next five in a row. When it was all said and done, the game ended 16-6 in favor of Kansas State.

Yet this would not be the biggest blunder Cal produced this week, as a scheduling error led to a forfeit win against Penn State and, with it, a growing possibility of missing playoffs.

“It is unfortunate,” said team captain Nathaniel “Pineapple_Phillips” Jensen.“But with the scheduling system of CEVO (the hosting client) and trying to schedule around midterms, mistakes happen.”

Now with a 2-3 record, Cal, on the verge of wasting what was once a promising start, went into its match against Cal Poly Pomona desperate.  A win would keep Cal in the running for the final playoff spot in its group, while a loss would mean almost certain elimination. And it was here that Tejakusuma became the “streetwise Hercules” who “fights the rising odds.”

Boasting a kill-death ratio of 2.67, an otherworldly average damage per round of 130.6 and four “1vX” clutches, Tejakusuma practically deleted Cal Poly Pomona off the server.

“If there was ever a game to give someone MVP, it would be this one,” Jensen said.

With Tejakusuma opening bombsites with consistent multi kills and holding down the fort on the Counter-Terrorist side, it was clear that Pomona had no answer to his monstrous performance, with the final score coming to a comfortable 16-11 in Cal’s favor.”

While this win puts Cal at 3-3 and keeps its playoff hopes alive, it will likely need a victory against undefeated Rutgers (5-0) to secure the final playoff spot. Despite this herculean task, Jensen said he likes his team’s chances.

“They haven’t played the really hardest team in our division, and they had close games against teams we beat handily,” Jensen said. “I don’t want to be overconfident, but I’m feeling cautiously optimistic on this one.”

Michael Brust covers Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. Contact him at [email protected].