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So Cal Open
Gridlock - First Place D-I
Team Speed - First Place D-II
Data Support Systems - First Place D-III
Paintball Sports Promotions headed back to the West for the So Cal Open. The tournament made use of a venue that was all new to the league, the BLAST Soccer Complex.
The BLAST Soccer Club started in 1990 with a group which had been involved in youth soccer through the AYSO. As the group grew, it eventually worked in cooperation with the City of San Bernardino to develop the BLAST Soccer Complex, a 17 acre complex with soccer fields that is home to 26 teams and is also used by national teams in training. The groomed soccer turf also is ideal for paintball, and the facility was chosen to host the 2006 PSP So Cal Open.
The now standard event format kicked things off with divisional X-Ball and NXL professional X-Ball games starting on Thursday morning, playing their round-robin preliminary round through into the weekend, with 5-man X-Ball starting on Saturday.
For all of the teams flying home from the event, and the 5-man teams not flying until Thursday, heightened airline security was a fact of life. A major terror plot was foiled in the United Kingdom in the pre-morning hours on that day with the arrest of more than 20 suspected terrorists. According to CNN.com, the plot involved smuggling explosives in liquid form, disguised as drinks and toiletries aboard numerous aircraft bound for United States destinations, including California. As a result US Homeland Security brought about a swift response. Commercial flights originating in the UK were considered at a code red terror threat – the first time a single country of origin was issued a unique threat level. The remainder of flights in the US were placed at a code orange. In a public release, Homeland Security Secretary Michel Chertoff stated, “Due to the nature of the threat revealed by this investigation, we are prohibiting any liquids, including beverages, hair gels, and lotions from being carried on the airplane.” This of course meant extra scrutiny for those flying with paintball gear in their checked luggage. In a televised press conference, Chertoff recommended packing luggage neatly and uncluttered as a strategy for getting through security screening with minimal delay.
With only spotty clouds in the skies and peak temperatures approaching 100 degrees, the So Cal Open was underway with the divisional X-Ball teams jumping into their preliminary round games. Twenty-one teams made up the Division III competition, broken into groups of 4 or 5 teams each, where they played four preliminary round games. An even 20 teams came out to compete in Division II, while six made up Division I. Division I teams played a single game each on Thursday while the remaining Divisions played two games each, getting halfway through their schedule.
Thursday saw a day full of closely matched professional games. In the NXL, Boston Red Legion triumphed over the league’s newest team, X-Factor 13 to 3. The Philly Americans doubled Ultimates score 14 to 7. The Los Angeles Ironmen edged ahead of New York Xtreme by just one point, finishing at 8 to 7. Las Vegas LTZ stood strong before Sacramento XSV, but lost by a single point 7 to 8. Detroit Strange surpassed the Portland Naughty Dogs by one point 9 to 8. Dynasty took down Chicago Aftershock 10 to 6. The Oakland Assassins beat Baltimore Trauma 9 to 8 and San Diego Legacy beat the Miami Raiders 6 to 5.
The divisional X-Ball teams continued to plow through their preliminary round games, with Divisions II and III completing the round by the end of the day, while Division I would get in more games Saturday.
Friday’s pro games started with Aftershock and the Philly Americans. Philly took that game 6 to 5. The Ironmen then beat the Assassins 11 to 6. Legacy, which is really starting to show its strength in the NXL defeated XSV 9 to 3. Strange fell to X-Factor 3 to 7. Dynasty rolled over Ultimate 14 to 2, and Trauma did the same to Xtreme, followed by another 14 to 2 game between Miami Raiders and Las Vegas LTZ.
Through the day Saturday, Divisional X-Ball teams finished up their preliminary round. At that point, PBC Gridlock was leading Division III, Vancouver Shock had topped Division II, and San Diego Aftermath was the top D-I team. Division III got in their quarterfinals games on Saturday as well. The top teams from the four prelim groups advanced into four quarterfinal groups of three teams each, where they played two games each. The top team in each group from the end of this round would play in the semis on Sunday. East Coast Killers was the highest ranked team, followed by Inside Paintball, Data Support Systems and Drama Paintball.
Saturday’s professional action kicked off with Sacramento XSV falling to the Miami Raiders 4 to 12. San Diego Legacy beat Vegas LTZ 9 to 3. The Los Angeles Ironmen triumphed over Baltimore Trauma 12 to 7, and New York Xtreme posted an 11 to 5 victory over the Oakland Assassins. In the afternoon it was Dynasty taking out the Philly Americans 7 to 6, followed by Chicago Aftershock defeating Ultimate 7 to 5. Boston Red Legion took down Detroit Strange 7 to 4 and the Portland Naughty Dogs fell to X-Factor 5 to 6.
Meanwhile, X-Ball teams weren’t the only players out on the field. The 5-man X-Ball teams played their preliminary rounds on Saturday as well. Fourteen teams made up D-III-5X. Scheduled in groups of 7, they played against the 6 other teams in their division. The best two out of three 5-man format allowed them to keep the scores from their two best games in each pairing. The teams were then ranked by total scores for advancement into their next round. Here it was Team Kamikazi that took the lead rolling into the next round.
On Sunday Division III teams had already taken care of their quarterfinals, and Division I was small enough that the top four teams from the prelims went straight into Sunday’s semifinals. This left Division II with more games to play before the semis. Like D-III, D-II quarterfinals consisted of four groups of three teams each, playing two games – the top team from each group moving on to the semis. Team Speed topped this group.
Five-Man X-Ball teams were able to go to quarterfinals, where each division was split into two groups of four teams each played three games to be ranked for the semifinals. In this round it was TX Justice League leading D-III-5X, and HK Nation Allstars as the standout in D-IV-5X.
The top eight teams from the NXL prelims went on to the pro quarterfinals. This single-elimination round knocked out half the teams, to leave four semifinal/finalists. Dynasty knocked out New York Xtreme with a 12 to 2 win. This was followed by Boston Red Legion defeating X-Factor 13 to 2. San Diego Legacy edged ahead of the Philly Americans by one point to take them out of the running 6 to 5. The Los Angeles Ironmen were eliminated by the Miami Raiders in a 6 to 11 loss. The semifinals did not eliminate teams. This round only re-ordered the teams for the finals, where the semifinal winners would face off for first place. Dynasty defeated the Miami Raiders 13 to 4. Boston Red Legion defeated San Diego Legacy 9 to 5.
In the divisional X-Ball semifinals Drama Paintball prevailed over East Coast Killers 5 to 3, and Data Support Systems beat Inside Paintball 5 to 0. In D-II it was Team Speed beating Swatpaintball.com 5 to 1 while Voltage took down PunishersPB.com 7 to 3. San Diego Aftermath came down on the Jacksonville Raiders 7 to 0 in Division I, and Gridlock posted a 6 to 5 win over the Jax Warriors.
In the finals round, losing semifinalist teams played for third and fourth place, while the winning semifinalists played a single game to determine first and second. In D-III Inside Paintball brought home a 5 to 1 win over East Coast Killers for third place. Data Support Systems finished first by defeating Drama Paintball 5 to 1. PunishersPB.com grabbed Division II’s third place finish from Swatpaintball.com with a 4 to 2 victory. Team Speed edged out Voltage for first with a single point – 5 to 4. Division I saw a Jacksonville showdown for third place. Jacksonville Raiders versus Jax (Jacksonville) Warriors. That game ended with the Raiders’ 9 to 4 victory. Gridlock finished in first place by a point, beating San Diego Aftermath 7 to 6
In a change of format,
starting with the So Cal Open, while the NXL has 16 teams competing, the
finals playoff game for third and fourth place has been discontinued. The
third and fourth placed teams are now ranked based on performance through
the event, and each takes home the same size prize check. This left San
Diego Legacy in third place, and the Miami Raiders in fourth. The Los Angeles
Ironmen finished fifth, Philly Americans sixth, X-Factor seventh, New York
Xtreme eighth, Baltimore Trauma ninth, Chicago Aftershock tenth, Detroit
Strange eleventh, Naughty Dogs twelfth, Oakland Assassins thirteenth, XSV
fourteenth, LTZ fifteenth and Ultimate in sixteenth. The big game of the
tournament was between Dynasty and Boston Red Legion. The Legion triumphed
doubling Dynasty’s score 10 to 5, and claiming the first place