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June 25-29, 2008
NXL - Tampa Bay
The PSP returned to the city of Chicago for their third tournament in 2008, as has been done for time immemorial. Chicago has been the center event for the series since before there was a PSP, and before there was an NPPL, Inc., back to the days when the original NPPL was owned by its professional 10-man teams and contracted with separate independent producers for each tournament.
The Chicago Open has always had the privilege to secure the largest number of players, with the exception of the World Cup, held at the end of the year. Founded by its original producer, Rennick Miller, owner of the professional team Aftershock, the tournament's central location, east to west, close proximity to two major airports and a varied and occasionally wild nightlife, make Chicago a team favorite.
Certainly the venue was not the same as the old timers would remember. Memories of poison ivy, ticks, incredible woods and of course, the ever present humid heat, at the old Badlandz fields outside of Chicago, along with the, in its time, revolutionary baseball diamond and later zipper hyperball fields. This year the series arrived at the Bolingbrook Recreation and Aquatic Center for the fourth year running.
Starting on Wednesday, the D1, 2 and 3 teams hit the field early alongside the NXL vying for their wins on the X-Ball field. The event plan would have these same teams playing on Wednesday and Thursday, then on Friday the 5 man teams would begin their games, with finals being played on Sunday in addition to the third annual NXL All-Star game.
Wednesday games played under the intense summer heat that is common to Chicago with high humidity and temperatures in the upper 80's, which often brings on either quickly passing rainshowers or builds to summer heat storms with lightning and thunder. The D1, 2 and 3 teams all got half of their preliminary round games finished during the day while the NXL battled it out on their field. First up for the pros was Boston Red Legion and St Louis Avalanche. Boston took the win with an 8-5 victory. Oakland Infamous beat up Chicago Aftershock on their home turf for a 9-2 win. Then Tampa Bay took on X-Factor with a single point victory of 9-8. The Los Angeles Ironmen beat Aftermath with a point at 8-7, and Dynasty did the same to Impact, with the same score. The afternoon games for the NXL proceeded with Philadelphia Americans taking on the Naughty Dogs, ending in a 9-2 victory for Philly. Tampa Bay continued their winning streak, taking down Boston with 9-3 win. Oakland, likewise continued winning throughout the day with a 7-6 score over Aftermath, delivering the second loss to Aftermath for the day. X-Factor came out from behind their first loss to beat Avalanche by a point 9-8 and Chicago dropped their second match to the Ironmen 5-9.
Thursday's NXL competition saw Boston taken down by Impact with a 9-5 score. Oakland Infamous beat the Seattle Naughty Dogs 8-6, then X-Factor took down last event's winner, Dynasty with a 9-3 win. Los Angeles Ironmen lost their match against Philly Americans 6-7 and Avalanche took down Tampa Bay 9-4. The afternoon saw temperatures in the upper 80's with Chicago Aftershock dropping to Aftermath 6-8. Dynasty dropped their second game of the day to Boston Red Legion with a 9-4 score going to the Russian based team. Philly dropped their first game of the event to Oakland with a 7-6 score going to the guys from Cali. Impact took their game against X-Factor with an 8-7 final score. Ending the day was Los Angeles Ironmen game beating the Seattle Naughty Dogs 8-4.
Thursday also saw the completion of the preliminary rounds for the X-Ball teams. With 8 D1 teams, 34 D2 teams and 58 D3 teams, the refs and players had had a busy first two days of the tournament.
The 2008 PSP rules of play state that when there are 21 to 34 teams in a division, the top 12 teams advance from the preliminary round to quarterfinals. If the division consists of 35-42 teams, the top 16 teams advance out of prelims, with the top 8 teams going directly to the quarterfinals while the 9th through the 16th go to an Ochofinal round for four head to head matches.
Although the Chicago D2 bracket had only 34 teams, games were scheduled as if there were 35, sending 8 teams to the Ochofinal round and 8 to the quarterfinal.
The D3, with their 58 teams, moved the top 24 teams directly into the Ocho round and would seed out the top 12 teams from the ochos into the quarterfinals.
Friday morning began the preliminary round for the 5 man competition as well. D3 and D4 five man fielded 34 and 75 teams respectively bringing the total number of teams, not counting the closed circuit NXL to 209 teams as compared to 138 in South Carolina and 122 in Arizona, Chicago proved itself once again as a great team draw.
On Friday the D2 Ocho final teams played out their matches in the hopes of continuing on to play on Saturday. Air Assault Factory beat New Jersey Jesters 6-5. Team Zone beat Team RNT 7-5. Project Mayhem took down East Coast Killers 6-3, and Guerrilla Air Factory took down G.S.E. 5-4 to secure their place in the D2 Quarters.
5 Man competition ran throughout the day on Friday with about half the teams finishing their games. Play would continue for the other half of the teams scheduled to do their prelim matches on Saturday morning.
Friday's NXL games saw Avalanche dropping to Impact with an 8-4 victory to the Canadians. Seattle Naughty Dogs beat Chicago Aftershock 9-6, then Dynasty took town Tampa Bay 9-6. Aftermath beat Philly by a point 9-8, and X-Factor beat Boston 9-5. In the afternoon, under cloudy and occasionally rainy skies, LA beat Oakland 9-2, then Tampa Bay continued their wins over Impact 9-6. Aftermath took out the Dogs 8-7, Dynasty beat Avalanche 9-6 and Philly soundly won over Chicago with a final score of 9-1. This would send LA, Oakland, Tampa Bay, X-Factor, Dynasty and Aftermath into the Playoff Round for the NXL on Saturday.
Saturday, the weather for the Chicago Open was ready to provide relief to refs, players and fans a like with high 70's forecasted and little to no rain expected to fall, though high winds were expected throughout the day on Saturday and into Sunday.
Of the 24 D3 X-Ball teams who played in the Ocho final round, just 12 would advance to the quarter final divisions. The Quarters also saw the top 8 of the D2 teams who were able to bypass the Ocho round, bringing the total participants up to 12. For both divisions, quarterfinals involved dividing the teams into four groups of three where each team played the other two in its group. After two games each, the top team from each group was selected to move on to the semifinals, with the strongest team (ranked by score) matched against the weakest.
The semifinal rounds saw D1 teams Vicious against Damage D1 and RNT Allstarz against TX Justice League. In D2, Fierce took the top rank, which pitted them against Raiden, and Warped Army would face Cross-Eyed Paintball. For D3, the semifinalists were top seated Chicago Wise Guys up against Velocity Wrecking Crew and Fierce Heat playing DSSP8NTBALL.COM.
Second round of games for the NXL wrapped up with two games for each of the 6 teams. Los Angeles lost to Tampa Bay 9-8, X-Factor lost to Dynasty 8-6, Tampa Bay won their second game over Oakland, 9-2. Aftermath beat Dynasty 7-5, then LA came back to win their second game, giving Oakland their second loss 9-5. Then X-Factor won over Aftermath 7-6.
Saturday held the showdown for the NXL as Sunday would play host to the All-Star match for the NXL players. Tampa Bay Damage went head to head with San Diego Aftermath, the top of performer from each division, with a 5-3 win going to Damage for the Chicago win, a great victory for newcomers of the series.
X-Ball semi final teams saw D1 Vicious taking on Damage D1 with a 6-4 win, then RNT Allstarz beat out TX Justice League with a decided 7-0 victory. D2 teams saw Raiden take on Fierce for a 5-3 win, then Cross-Eyed Paintball won with a point over Warped Army for a 4-3 score. D3 had Fierce Heat winning over DSSP8ntball 5-3 and Velocity Wrecking Crew over Chicago Wiseguys 5-1. This would send each victor team into the winner's bracket in the finals round to battle for first and second place and the losing teams into the loser's bracket to shoot for third and fourth place.
Five man competition wrapped up its preliminary round and sent 32 of the 75 D4 teams into a second round of games with 3 games each for the teams, playing in 8 divisions, the top two teams from each division then moved on to the Ocho round where they joined the D3 Ocho final teams. All 16 of the D3 Ocho final teams battled out with three games, then took the top 8 teams on to the Quarterfinals.
During the Ocho finals D3 5 Man team, No Limit performed nearly flawlessly with a 294 score, they were joined by PG Style, Storm, Wyldside, Inertia, SI Factory, Boom and Overhead
D4 Ochofinals were led by Fatal Effect with 296 points, then in second was Total Karnage Kids. Joining the two top contenders in the Quarterfinals would be Air Assault JR, 100 proof paintball, Texas Select, Pursuit, Vivid and WindyCity Kidz with 192 points in 8th place.
Quarterfinals for the 5 man teams would cull down from 8 teams to the top 4 to compete in the final matches of the tournament. In D3 Wyldside took top billing with 290 points. Joining them would be Storm with 288 points, Boom with 200 and PG Style with 122. The D4 teams saw higher scores during the quarters with 100 proof paintball at 288 points, Vivid with 202, Total Karnage Kids at 200 and Texas Select at 194. In both cases of the 5 man competition, the teams leading the pack out of the Ocho finals failed to perform during the quarterfinals, sending them home early. The 14 original D2 five man teams were culled down to just 8 teams where they fought it out during the quarterfinals. On top after their three games as Rogue with 294 points, Team RNT with 198, Pintura Fresca with 194 and Dark Army with 188.
Semifinals for the five man teams would take the top team and the bottom ranked performers from the quarterfinal round to battle for the privilege of first billing in the finals round. For D4, this pitted Texas Select against 100 proof paintball. Texas Select won the first two games with 98 points each making the third game unnecessary, putting them in the running for first place. 100 proof paintball would play for third or fourth place against the loser of the matchup between Total Karnage Kids and Vivid. The Kids and Vivid played their first match, the game going to TKK, but the second game was won by Vivid, then the last match was a max for the Kids, sending Vivid into the loser's bracket with 100 proof and TKK into the winner's bracket against Texas Select.
Semifinals for the D3 teams saw Wyldside on top over PG Style after two games. Boom then took on Storm with a trade in the first two games, 92-16 going to each team, then Boom came back to win the third game, putting them up against Wyldside for first and second place, and PG Style against Storm for the third and fourth place spots.
Semifinals for the D2 five man teams saw Dark Army on top over Rogue in three games, sending them on to the winner's bracket to compete with Team RNT after their win over Pintura Fresca.
Finals matches began on Sunday afternoon with the X-Ball teams taking the field. D3 third and fourth place was determined by DSSP8ntball winning over Chicago Wiseguys 5-1. D2 loser's bracket was fielded by Fierce and Warped Army. The Army lost their game against Fierce, resulting in a third place win for Fierce with a 7-3 score. The D1 loser's bracket was Damage D1 over TX Justice League 5-1.
The winning bracket of the X-Ball matches saw D3's Velocity Wrecking Crew taking down Fierce Heat with a 5-3 score, securing them the win for Chicago. D2 winner's bracket saw Cross-Eyed Paintball winning over Raiden 6-5 for first place, Raiden in second. RNT Allstarz beat out Vicious for first place with a 5-3 game, giving them their third first place win in D1 this season.
Five man finals were held with the D4 loser's bracket being filled by 100 proof paintball and Vivid. After three games 100 proof paintball won the day for third place, Vivid in fourth. Total Karnage Kids took the lead with a max and then another win over Texas Select for first place, Texas Select in second. D3 five man finals saw PG Style triumphing over Storm for third and fourth place respectively. Boom and Wyldside battled for first place, with Boom taking two of the three games, giving them the podium shot and first place. D2 had Team RNT and Dark Army going for the first place win, Team RNT pulled it out with two 98 wins, giving Dark Army second place Rogue took third after two solid wins over Pintura Fresca who took fourth.
After five days of competition, the PSP would begin preparations for the fourth event of the season in Greensburg, Pennsylvania in mid-August.