Concordia Dota 2 loses 2-0 to the University of Alberta

The Concordia Dota 2 team lost their best-of-three series 2-0 against the University of Alberta on Nov. 15.

The first match started off with Concordia grouping up in the bottom lane of the map’s three lanes, and rushing towards their opponent. Concordia secured the first kill of the match. Early in the game, Concordia and the University of Alberta traded kills equally back and forth.

In the initial stages of the match, Concordia’s midlaner was constantly pushed back to his own tower. A midlaner is someone who patrols the middle lane of the map. Even though he was being pushed back, he did not lose experience because he was killing creeps. Creeps are small creatures that automatically spawn at your base and move down one of the three lanes towards your opponent’s base. Killing creeps, which is called farming, gives you experience and gold.

“The matchup for [the midlaner] wasn’t too good,” said Michael Di Feo, the coordinator of Concordia’s Dota 2 team, after the first game of the best-of-three series. “We need our mid to farm more.”

Halfway through the first game, the University of Alberta pulled ahead, winning team fights as well as gaining advantages by putting pressure on Concordia.

At the 20-minute mark, it seemed to be over for Concordia. The University of Alberta was pushing down the middle lane towards the opposing base. Concordia managed to fight them off. A few minutes later, the University of Alberta tried to break the base once more. The greedy play from the opposition ended with Concordia killing all five players from Alberta. Concordia also moved forward, breaking many of Alberta’s towers.

After 30 minutes, the Albertan team still had an overall gold advantage, but Concordia was playing well and pushing. However, due to their slow start and the opposing team’s gold lead, Concordia ended up losing the game. At around 38 minutes, the University of Alberta initiated another team fight, which they won, and then broke Concordia’s base.

“We are going to continue improving our early game so that we can nail that down and be able to transition into the later segments of the game better,” said Dimitry Vinokurov, one of Concordia’s support players.

The second game of the best-of-three series ended a lot faster than the first. The University of Alberta came out with guns blazing, running over Concordia. The University of Alberta took immediate control, getting kill after kill, while Concordia struggled to keep up with the opposition. In the end, Concordia couldn’t fight back and lost the second match quickly.

“I feel that games that we lose but learn from are more important than winning at this stage so that we can improve our plays as a whole,” Vinokurov said.

The Concordia Dota 2 team’s next game will be on Nov. 18 at 3 p.m.

Graphic by Zeze Le Lin.


CESA Dota 2 loses 2-0 against University of Washington

Concordia’s Esports team remains winless this season

Concordia’s Dota 2 team couldn’t fight a strong opposing attack by the University of Washington on Oct. 21, losing 2-0 in a two-game series.

The team’s loss this week was mostly due to the pick and ban. Picks and bans—known as drafting—happen before every match in Dota 2. During this time, teams choose which players they want to ban their opponents from using, then both teams choose which hero they will use in the game. This is an intricate part of every match when a lot of planning and strategizing is needed.

“We got outdrafted,” said Concordia team coordinator Michael Di Feo. “Sometimes we get lost in our picks and bans and we don’t know what to do.”

Concordia fell behind early on. Two minutes into the match, Concordia’s Clockwerk, a melee hero, suffered for overstepping into enemy territory. Two opposition heroes pinched him into the lane leading up to the University of Washington’s base, landing a stun and earning the first kill of the game.

Concordia did get a return kill three minutes later when a Washington player roamed too far down the bottom lane towards Concordia’s base. Yet, the game spiraled out of Concordia’s hands shortly after. The University of Washington fought back quickly, securing a double kill in the map’s middle lane. From then on, the Concordia squad lost most of its momentum, losing the game within 19 minutes.

The second match of the night didn’t fare much better, with Concordia lagging behind from the get go. The match had a start similar to the previous one. Within the first couple of minutes, Concordia was down one kill to none. The University of Washington continued to push forward throughout the match. They took over multiple towers in Concordia’s lanes, gaining leads in all three lanes. In the end, the University of Washington pushed down the middle lane to eventually win the series 2-0.

“We need to work on rotations,” Di Feo said, adding that the team did a better job the previous week against the University of British Columbia.

The team has their next game in two weeks. They will be playing against Arizona State University on Nov. 4 at 3 p.m. Until then, Di Feo said they will work on communication and their pick-and-ban system.


CESA Dota team loses first match against defending champs UBC

Despite only playing together for a month, team coordinator happy with start

The Concordia Esports Association (CESA) Dota team had their first Collegiate Starleague (CSL) match of the season, losing 2-0 to the defending champions, the University of British Columbia, on Oct. 14.

Dota is a five-against-five battle arena-based game. The objective is to break into the opponent’s base before they get to yours. The game’s map is more complex than that though. There are three main lanes (top, middle and bottom) which lead to the opponent’s base.

In each lane, there are two towers behind one another which shoot at your character, called a hero, when you get too close to the tower. There is also a jungle between the lanes. In the jungle, there are different creatures which, when killed, give the hero experience and gold to unlock in-game abilities.

This was the first time in three years that a Concordia team competed in the CSL Dota

tournament. The current roster has only been playing together for about a month. Despite the odds against them to beat UBC, the defending champs, the Concordia squad managed to put up a decent fight in the first match of the best-of-three series.

“Everything was going well in the early stage with the rotations [of the first game],” said team coordinator Michael Di Feo after the game. One of the team’s best plays came

in the early minutes. Two of the Concordia players managed to grab the first kill on an opponent by punishing UBC’s overly aggressive style in the jungle.

The UBC player was trying to secure his own kill when he moved too far forward, not noticing the second Concordia hero in the area. He was then “shackled up” and swiftly killed.

Even though UBC fell behind because of these small mistakes, they managed to chip at the Concordia defence and, through solid play, ended up taking the first game.

“[During the second match], things fell apart from the start,” Di Feo said. “[There isn’t] much to share except we got completely outplayed.”

The CESA Dota team is now looking ahead to their next match against Washington Esport Dota on Saturday, Oct. 21 at 3 p.m.

Main photo courtesy of Concordia Esports Association.


Exploring Concordia’s competitive Overwatch team

Students around campus are proving eSports are more than just video gaming

When reading any eSports article by mainstream sports media, you will see a range of opinions. Some argue eSports are legitimate sports—others not so much. But the fact is, eSports is a growing industry and will likely stick around for a while.

Universities are committing to eSports. There are diverse leagues, tournaments and scholarship opportunities popping up to support and fund competitive video gaming. For the past five years, Concordia has been developing an eSports association for those who want to play competitively against other universities.

The Concordia University eSports Association hosts different games, but is currently focusing on their Overwatch roster after earning favourable results in a couple of tournaments since the beginning of the school year.

This begs the question—what is Overwatch? The game is a team-based objective first person-shooter, which basically translates to two teams of six, composed of various characters, trying to win an objective over their opponent. The game came out in May 2016 and is still new compared to other competitive games, like Counter-Strike. The Concordia team was formed in September 2016.

On the weekend of Feb. 10, Concordia’s Overwatch team competed at LAN École de Téchnologie Supérieure (ETS), an eSports tournament held at Place Bonaventure. They placed in the top eight out of 41 competing teams.

“I loved the game and thought maybe making a team would let me enjoy [it] even more,” said Camilo Perez, the captain and coordinator of the Overwatch team. He and teammate Johnny Mak met in CEGEP and managed to get students of the same skill level together to create a competitive gaming team at Concordia.

Concordia’s eSports team made it to the top eight at LAN ETS a few weeks ago. Photos by Sabrina Ahn.

When building the team, Perez said it was important to take players’ personalities into account. If someone is toxic in the game and to their teammates, he explained, they would not be accepted, even if they play at a high skill level. “Having someone like that in the team wouldn’t make for a good environment,” Perez said.

“It’s really a team effort. So at our level of play, if someone makes a mistake, the whole team suffers,” Mak said.

Support player and shot-caller Alex Patton agreed. “We really have to trust each other,” Patton said. “Mistakes are heavy. Especially against good teams, any little mistake that we make we get punished for it.”

Their first tournament was the Tespa Collegiate Series, a web-based intercollegiate competition where participants can win up to $20,000 in scholarship money. “We played against other universities in the [U.S.], and that tournament is what sparked my interest in making the team more competitive,” Perez said. The team finished among the top eight of all the participating Eastern universities.

Since there isn’t a university league like U SPORTS for video games, the Concordia Overwatch team only participates in tournaments, such as LAN ETS or Tespa. To stay at their best and to build team chemistry, they practice two to three times a week.

Perez is the one who schedules scrimmages and practices for the team. “I set up a schedule for practice and everyone shows up. And that’s the law,” Perez said with a laugh. These practices are mostly against other Overwatch teams, such as their Université de Montréal rivals.

Yet, even when they’re not practicing, they still play the game. “We don’t necessarily have to always play together,” Perez said. “Even when we’re not practicing, we play by ourselves.”

“We [have substitute players], but we’re usually available,” Patton said when asked if the team has any backup players in case of absence or illness. In one of their tournaments, the Concordia University eSports Association vice president, Dimitri Kontogiannos, had to sub in for one of the players who was at a curling tournament.

Overall, the team has had their fair share of success in the short amount of time they’ve been together. They placed among the top eight twice in different tournaments, and won a series at Meltdown, a Montreal gaming café.

“I guess we can confidently say on record that we’re probably the best university in Quebec for Overwatch,” Perez said.

Going forward, the team has plans to stream some of their games online for fans to watch, once they find someone to voice the games. The Concordia Overwatch team is now focused on the Ligue Cyber Espoirs, an intercollegiate Montreal-based tournament in April, hosted by the Fédération québécoise de sports électroniques.


Canadiennes win home-opener in a tight game

A low scoring affair eventually led to a Montreal win over Toronto

Les Canadiennes de Montréal of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League (CWHL), defeated the Toronto Furies in a tight game by a score of 2-1 in their home-opener on Oct. 22 at the Étienne Desmarteau arena.

The opening minutes were sloppy, as both teams fumbled the puck and missed their passes. Les Canadiennes were especially shaky as turnovers and mistakes led to some early penalties. However, the Furies were unable to score on their early power play opportunities.

It was in the 16th minute, after a Furies power play had expired, that the Furies were finally able to score and take a 1-0 lead going to the second period.

“I don’t think we were at our best in the first and we had to re-adjust,” said Canadiennes goalie Charline Labonté. “It’s exciting playing at our home-opener and maybe the nerves got in the way.”

After that first goal, Montreal did a much better job of putting pressure on the Furies defence, playing far more minutes in the opposing zone than their own. Yet, their constant pressure generated no results.

The second period started off much stronger than the first for Les Canadiennes. It seemed as though the home-opener jitters were finally shaken off, because Les Canadiennes wasted no time scoring. The goal came from newly appointed captain Marie-Philip Poulin who batted the puck out of midair and into the net to the tie the game at 1-1.

“I closed my eyes and I hoped that I’d touch it,” Poulin said.

With Poulin’s goal, Les Canadiennes built up momentum and started to dominate the game. Montreal continued throwing pucks at the net and cycled the puck, creating pressure in the Toronto zone. The Furies were unable to generate any sustained offense for most of the period.

The energetic crowd helped motivate the home team during the second period. Canadiennes fans cheered loudly after every single shot on net, and the team gained momentum because of it.

“I think we feed off the energy. At the beginning they were a bit quiet,” Poulin said, “They got more energetic as the game went on.”

The third period started off much like the second ended, with Montreal being in control of the game. Toronto tried to counter, but their attempts were thwarted by Labonté, who kept the score tied at 1-1.

It wasn’t until the very end, with five minutes left in the game, that none other than Poulin scored on a breakaway to give her team a 2-1 lead and the win.

The win gives Les Canadiennes an undefeated record of 3-0 on the season. They will face the Furies again on Sunday, Oct. 23 at 1:30 p.m. in another match at Étienne Desmarteau arena.


Stingers blow out Vert et Or

Concordia women’s rugby picks up first win of the season in dominating fashion

Rain and humidity did not seem to affect the Concordia women’s rugby team as they shut out the Université de Sherbrooke 85-0 on Sept. 8 to bring their record to 1-1 for the season.

It didn’t take long for the Stingers to get on the scoreboard. They fought their way forward, and within the opening five minutes they got their first five points off a try by lock Jenna Thompson. This was followed up by another seven points within minutes, and by the 30-minute mark, Concordia was already leading 12-0.

The Stingers controlled the game for almost the entire first half, managing crisp passes, and communicating well with one another. Concordia was able to keep Sherbrooke trapped in their own zone at all times. Attempts by the opposing team to break away were quickly shut down by strong tackling and smart plays during the scrums.

The first half went by quickly, with Concordia dominating and scoring a total of 50 points within the first 40 minutes of the game.

“We have to focus on our work ethic and, just no matter what the score is on the scoreboard, that we’re going 100 per cent all the time,” said Stingers fullback Emily Hickson.

The second half slowed considerably in comparison to the first. Sherbrooke found some energy but was still unable to create any scoring chances. This allowed the Stingers to take even more control of the game, and increased their lead to 57-0.

With such a large lead, Concordia head coach Graeme McGravie subbed out some of their starters, giving other players a chance to get game experience as well.

“We put the girls on who don’t normally start and they’re pretty motivated to play so that kind of keeps the play going,” McGravie said.

Motivation for these players was not an issue as Concordia continued to press Sherbrooke, playing in the opposing end for almost the entire second half. Thanks to strong individual efforts as well as smart team play, Concordia managed to rack up another four tries and conversions to give themselves a 78-0 lead.

The Stingers will play an away game against Bishops on Sept. 16. Photo by Ana Hernandez.

In the last few minutes of the second half, Hickson got the ball and ran diagonally across the field into the try zone, adding yet another five points to their lead. A successful conversion brought the Stingers up to their final score of 85-0.

Despite the large margin of victory, McGravie felt that there was room for improvement.

“There was a lot of stuff that I thought wasn’t done properly, that we’ve done in practice, and if [the players] want to see the field against Bishops [University] or even make the bench against Bishops then they better start doing what we coach them,” McGravie said. “I know they’ll respond to that, they’re a good bunch of girls so I’m pretty excited.”

The Stingers’ next game is an away game against Bishops on Sept. 16.

Student Life

The unique experience of interning abroad

This Concordia student spent four months working with children in Brazil

Being able to go to another country for an internship is something many students dream of. Antony Maiolla, a third-year psychology student at Concordia was able to experience this first hand last year when he went abroad to São Paulo Brazil from June to September. Waking up by the beach, encountering an entire new culture and learning bits of a new language were only some of the things the young student got to experience.

Graphic by Florence Yee.

It all started at Concordia, where Maiolla signed up with AIESEC, a non-profit organization that helps students find internships abroad. After interviews and information sessions, he got matched with a non-profit organization in Brazil, his country of choice. The process took about two months.

He worked for ProBrasil, an NGO which helps educate children living in favelas, which are slums in the country. With this organization, Maiolla and other interns from around the world got to create a documentary about ProBrasil and a website in three languages. The projects led Maiolla to teach English to the children living there, played with them and witnessed their daily routines.

All interns had to be able to speak English, but Portuguese was not a prerequisite for the internship. Maiolla said knowing French helped him figure out how to break the language barrier between himself and the locals. “I would ask myself what the word for something was in French, and then tell myself to make it sound more Portuguese. About half of the time I got it right,” he said.

Of course spending an entire summer in Brazil did not just mean labouring constantly. Maiolla learned about the culture of Brazil. Something he noticed in Brazil was the overall attitude of people and how it differed from Canada. “I learned that Canadians focus way too much on the economy and the system and don’t realize how much it affects their happiness,” he said.

On his birthday Maiolla went hang gliding over Rio de Janeiro. “It was one of the best experiences of my life,” he said. “I knew it was going to be great, but I still did not expect to feel that kind of an adrenaline rush. I felt like I was five years old again.”

When asked if he had hesitated before going abroad on internship, the 22-year-old said: “It was a dream come true. However, I did have my worries about being robbed and perhaps being targeted for being gay. However, I saw more gay PDA in São Paulo than I’ve ever seen here. But it doesn’t mean that you’re safe while doing it.” Upon his return to Canada he said he felt like a whole new person, as though he had to learn to live in our society all over again.


Stingers fall to the Carabins by a score of 2-1

The Concordia women’s hockey team lost on Jan. 15 to the RSEQ division’s best team in a close match

On Jan. 15, the Concordia Stingers women’s hockey team lost to the Carabins from Université de Montréal at Ed Meagher Arena by a score of 2-1.

Going into Friday’s match, the Stingers were hoping to turn things around after having lost their last two games. Their last game against Ottawa had been close and so was Friday night’s tilt against the Carabins. What killed the Stingers was their start and penalty troubles.

Forward Keriann Schofield receives the puck at her own blue line. Photo by Kelsey Litwin.

Early on, the Stingers fell to a 1-0 deficit after constant pressure from the Carabins. This was the result of a couple of turnovers in the neutral zone. The Stingers weren’t able to clear the puck and the opposing team was able to sneak a shot from the right circle behind goaltender Katherine Purchase.

The Stingers continued to struggle throughout the first period, but with three minutes left they had their first real chance at the net when forward Claudia Dubois managed to dangle by a defenseman and tried a high shot, which missed the net.

“It was the first period. We came off a little bit slow and they came out to really play,” said Stingers captain Erica Porter.

The Stingers started the second period on the power play after Maude Laramée of the Carabins got called for tripping. The home team did not manage to score and only seconds after the penalty expired, the Carabins managed to score another goal off of a tic-tac-toe play in front of the Concordia net.

Down 2-0, the team turned the second period and the game around. The rest of the period, the Stingers continuously pressured the Carabins; working hard along the boards and managing to win puck battles they had lost the period before.

Keriann Schofield fights off a Carabins player during the Stingers loss. Photo by Kelsey Litwin.

The Carabins then took another penalty, giving Concordia the opportunity to come back. The Stingers had racked up a few minutes in the offensive zone. The team was cycling the puck well and once the penalty had already expired, they managed a shot from the blue line. The initial save was made, but Stingers forward Ann-Julie Deschenes managed to corral the puck and swipe it behind the Carabins goaltender to cut the visiting team’s lead in half.

The second period ended with the Stingers having most of the momentum. They were determined to come out and have an even better third period, but the team quickly got into penalty trouble. They took two back-to-back penalties early on, cutting their momentum and giving the visiting team a chance to increase their lead.

In the end, the Stingers’ penalty kill was perfect, but losing six whole minutes to defending lessened their chances of winning and the Stingers failed to make a comeback.

“We did great on our penalty kill, but that definitely breaks some of the 5-on-5 momentum,” Porter said.

The loss brought the Stingers record to 3-8-2 on the season, which puts them in fourth place in the RSEQ division.

The Stingers next game will be a home game against Carleton on Jan. 24, a team which they beat on Jan. 17, 3-1.


Skiing: A sport of fast slopes and good times

A spotlight on the somewhat extreme winter sport that has everyone bundling up for the cold

Snow, slush, ice; all of these are elements that have been conquered by skiers over the years.

Graphic by Charlotte Bracho.

Skiing is a dynamic and exciting sport that is different each time you go. If there is a single drop or rise in temperature, the conditions in which you ski change drastically, making for new and exciting adventures each time.

For most, skiing is more than just a sport. It is a community of people often called ‘weird’ or ‘crazy’ for willingly going out in freezing temperatures and paying large sums of money to slide down hills and mountains covered in snow. This creates a bond between skiers like no other.

Of course in the skiing community there are subcategories and slang not known to others who do not practice the sport. This makes it seem hard to integrate into the sport and the people enjoying the freedom of it because it can seem so exclusive.

Personally, in the last few years, I have seen less skiers out on the slopes and more snowboarders. Many believe there is a constant tug-of-war between the two sports, when really they share the mountain together. Recently though, skiing has found its spark once more thanks to park skiing, which the younger generation enjoys more. It is quite different from the traditional downhill racing, which many find ‘stiff’ or ‘lame.’

Even if someone doesn’t want to practice on a team or do crazy tricks in the ski park, there are other options for those who just want to go out, breathe in some fresh air and have a good time with friends. Groomed trails, which are runs that have the snow properly kept and compacted, are open to everyone and adjusted by difficulty level. Of course putting all beginners on the same run doesn’t always end well, but that is part of the excitement of skiing.

It’s unpredictable and each time you go on a run, you can always find something new and different about it. Conditions tend to differ and there are always new approaches to take when completing a run.

Sometimes you might fall, but the important thing about skiing is that even if you fall, you have to get back up and finish the run. The drive to not give up is there because you’ve got a whole community behind you. Often you’ll hear chants and laughs encouraging you from the lifts, because everyone is out there to have a good time, even if you mess up.

The lack of snow the past few weeks has made many anxious, as skiers want to get out on the hills. So much so, even  Mont Saint-Sauveur, one of the most famous ski hills 45 minutes north of Montreal, has decided to make fake snow to open the season. However, there will be many other options once the snow hits the hills. Mont Rigaud west of Montreal is best for beginners, while Mont Bromont is better for intermediate skiers wanting a bit of everything (groomed trails, parks and glades).

If anything, skiing is a fun way for friends to go out, be active and maybe sometimes sneak in a few drinks while having a great time.

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