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NPPL Kansas City Open
First Place Pro - Tie
The mid-country event for the NPPL was scheduled as the fourth tournament of the year, to be held at the Kemper Arena in Kansas City, Missouri. Reminiscent of the days of cold January's in Toronto at the Skydome, the NPPL Center Court would be situatedinside the state of the art arena. Built in 1974, the Kemper Arena holds upwards of 18,000 spectatators for anything ranging from other sporting events like basketball, soccer or hockey. Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey circus as well as various rodeo circuits have staged performances there. The arena would offer a nice contrast to the average paintball venue with restrooms, air-conditioned stadum seating, ATM machines, concessions and an on-site sports bar.
With the fourth event of the year typically being one of the smallest, NPPL, Inc. made a first ever move to boost attendance. After initial registration had begun, the league announced financial aid. Teams were invited to contact the league if they hoped to compete but thought expenses were too high, each to be evaluated and considered for reduced entry fees. The result was a turnout of 129 teams ready to compete in Kansas City.
The eighteen pro teams played in their usual two divisions of nine, each team getting in 8 games one against each team in their division, but their order of finish was anything but usual. The top four teams in each group, ranked by total score would advance to the pro Elite 8 round-robin round on Sunday. In Group 1, this was Ironmen, Stockhom Joy Division, Montreal Image and Jersey Authority. Chicago Farside led group 2, followed by Edmonton Impact, Portland Naughty Dogs and the New England Hurricanes. Equally notable to who made the cut was who didn't. San Diego Dynasty has been crowned Super 7 series champions each year since the league began, and Kansas City marked the very first time that they did not advance past the preliminary round. With a total score of 368, the end of the prelims meant the end of the event for Dynasty finishing in 12th place out of 18.
The amateur teams of Division II and Division III were sorted by the total scores of their 8 preliminary round games, the top sixteen teams from each being selected for Sunday's Sweet 16 round. The Semi-Pros, fielding 23 teams sent eight straight to Sunday's Elite 8.
On Sunday, D-II and D-III started off with their Sweet 16 games. In this knock-out round the teams were paired weakest against strongest (1st ranked vs 16th ranked, 2nd ranked vs 15th ranked, etc.) to play for the best two out of three games – win or go home. In short order Sweet 16 knocked 16 teams down to 8 for each group.
All amateur divisions played an Elite 8 round, where like the Sweet 16, the weakest faced the strongest in a best two out of three elimination, trimming down to four teams remaining in each division. The pro Elite 8 faced more games. They played a round robin, seven games each, creating more Sunday pro games both for spectators in the stands, and those who would be watching as the tournament was later broadcast on Fox Sports Net. The pros were ranked by total score, with the top four advancing and Jersey Authority, Stockholm Joy Division, Chicago Farside and Portland Naughty Dogs ending their day there.
The remaining teams in each division were then matched up for the semifinal and finals games. Ranked by their total scores from the Elite 8, the first and fourth ranked teams would play each other, as would the second and third. Playing for the best two out of three games, the losing teams from the semifinals would face each other in the finals playoff, competing for third and fourth place, while the winners would play for first and second in the finals.
In the pro division, Ironmen took down Montreal Image with back to back wins. Edmonton Impact did the same to the New England Hurricanes. Kicking off the semi-pro semifinals, the OC Bushwackers took SE X-Factor in their second game, but lost the next two, while SA X-Factor beat A-Team twice in a row.
In Division I, Dynasty Entourage had a draw game against RNT Allstarz, followed by a second draw game. In their third meeting on the field Entourage took the victory, to move on to play for first. TCP Machine fell to Misfits in their first game and the second resulted in a draw. In their third game, it was Machine that was victorious. At the end of the three games the teams were tied, so a one on one tie breaker game was employed, in which TCP Machine came out the winner. SCP Epic took down LA Wildcards twice in a row for the D-II semifinals.
Arsenal Kidz posted double wins over Legend, completing the Division II semifinals. The last semifinals played, were for D-III, and here Go For Broke beat Chi Town Raiders twice in a row. Enigma did the same to FYT.
With semifinals complete, it was time for finals games to begin. Go For Broke lost their first game to Enigma, but won the next two, to finish first place in Division III. SCP Epic lost their first game against Arsenal Kidz, but won the second. The third game went to Arsenal Kidz – first place for Division II. Back to back victories over TCP Machine put Dynasty Entourage in first place for Division I.
Back to back wins over RNT All-Stars gave Misfits the third place finish for Division I, while a pair of wins over SA X-Factor gave SE X-Factor the Semi-Pro first place trophy. New England Hurricanes took down Montreal Image for third place Pro and in the battle for first, between Edmonton Impact and Ironmen a win for each team and a draw put both teams tied, ready for a one on one tiebreaker game. Both teams however, declined to play the tiebreaker, instead agreeing to share first place. As no rule exists to cover an agreed upon tie, some could argue that failure to compete in the tiebreakers constitute forfeiture, however a first place tie was announced as the final result. Official publication of the updated season rankings will tell whether both teams are granted 26 series ranking points, or whether they will share the 26 points - 13 points each - as they had agreed to share the first place position. NPPL leadership will need to solve this dillemma as the league heads in to its final tournament - the Commander's Cup, to be held in San Diego November 29 through December 2, 2007.
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