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Schedule of Games
Professional First Place - Golden State Ironmen
With the 2008 tournament in full swing, NPPL, Inc. found an all-new location for its third Super-7 event – the Empire State. With a long paintball history as the first state to have a commercial paintball field, as well as the state which hosted the original National Professional Paintball League's first Paintball World Cup, New York also offers a regional access to the many teams based out of the northeast.
Situated on the grounds of Ralph Wilson Stadium, home to the Buffalo Bills, the Super-7 World Series tournament brought out 120 teams to compete on five fields over three days. Although skill classifications started at D-III, as usual, all eyes were on the closed division of 18 professional teams.
Unlike days of old, when playing pro meant just ponying up a heavier entry fee, the right to play pro in the Super-7 must be earned. The same is true of staying pro. At the end of each season the three weakest professional teams are cut, to be replaced the next year by the top ranked semi-pro teams.
Although winning a tournament is sought after, and a major accomplishment in itself, the big prize the pro teams shoot for is the national championship – being the best ranked team for an entire season. Winning the series title doesn't just mean being able to win a tournament, it means being able to consistently be a top-finisher at all five events over the year. To date, only one team has ever done this in the NPPL Super-7. Every year since the competition started in 2003, San Diego Dynasty has taken the crown, but each year, other teams have come closer and closer to taking the top slot.
For the boys in blue, 2008 has gotten off to a rough start. A third place finish in the Huntington Beach season opener earned them good series points, but a 13th place finish knocking them out at the end of the prelims in Jacksonville left them ranked number 8 overall, barely above the halfway point. With a 15 point gap between their position and top ranked Golden State Ironmen, Dynasty will need a solid performance in Buffalo, as well as surprise lower finishes from the Ironmen, Avalanche, and X-Factor in order to take 2008.
Due to heavy storms at the end of the Jacksonville tournament, Buffalo would also include make-up games from the finals round, with the Jacksonville D2 trophy to be decided in New York.
Games kicked off Friday morning for preliminary rounds of the Divisional teams, but the pros would not hit the field until the weekend. With games running all day Friday under sunny skies and temperatures in the 80's, semi-pro, D1, 2 and 3 got through half of their prelim games with the 100 teams in the competition, the same number that competed in Jacksonville, but with a different configuration. In Jax, there were 16 semi-pros the 12 in NY, 18 D1 to the 17 here, 29 D2 to the 21 competing in New York, but the big change was in the D3 classification. In Florida, just 37 D3 teams hit the fields, where 50 came out to play in Buffalo.
Saturday games wrapped up in the evening with every division's prelim games completed. The Professional teams showed two divisions with 18 teams competing. Edmonton Impact took top billing with 2 losses out of 8 and 617 points out of 800, heading into the next round of games. Joining them would be San Diego Dynasty, DC Arsenal, San Antonio X-Factor, New England Hurricanes, Golden State Ironmen, Los Angeles Infamous and Sacramento XSV. Top finisher for Jacksonville, Escondito Aftermath dropped all but two of their games, sending them home with just 280 points, after a powerhouse win in Florida.
The Semi-Pro division had just 11 teams playing and would send on 8 of them to the next round of games, excellent odds for teams. On top was Arsenal Evolution with 698 and just one dropped game. In their bracket were Dynasty Entourage, Phoenix United, Avalanche Army, Method of Destruction, Impact, Rhythm and SF Design.
D1 sent 8 of their 17 teams on with DC Monstars in first out of the prelims with 684 points. Joining them would be Red Devilz, Splat Kids, Aftermath II, RNT Allstarz, Arsenal Kidz, New England Xpress (NeX) and Chop Shop with 502 in 8th.
Of the 21 D2 teams, 8 would move on on Sunday morning with Miami Rage leading the pack, joined by L.A. Endurance, Asylum, RipTide, Go 4 Broke, Infamy, D.C. Arsenal Predators and Wiseguys.
Sixteen would move on from D3, giving a greater number of teams the opportunity to make it to the limelight. Playing on Sunday in the Sweet Sixteen were Shogun with a top score of 779 out of 800, C.S. Union, Velocity, PB+J, Crims Factory, Ranjerz, NXe Jrny, NV, All Out, Chicagland-Paintball, Long Beach Bushwackers, Topgun Factory, Paintball Authority Kids, NY Status, Black Cell and Manitoba Fury with the 16th ranked score of 516.
The Sweet 16 games started off on Sunday with cool temperatures in the 70's and lots of action. The Sweet 16 allows the 16 teams of the D3 one shot at moving on. The first ranked team Shogun dropped to 16th placed Manitoba Fury, sending Shogun home for the tournament and Fury on to the Elite 8 round. C.S. Union won over Black Cell, Velocity dropped to NY Status, PB+J lost to Paintball Authority Kids, Crims Factory beat Topgun Factory, Ranjerz took down Long Beach Bushwackers, NXe Jrny lost to Chicagland-Paintball, and NV won over All Out.
The Elite 8 moved on for the rest of the teams with Semi-Pro Arsenal Evolution taking down SF Design, Dynasty Entourage beating out Rhythm, Phoenix United winning over Impact and Avalanche Army dropping to Method of Destruction. D1 teams saw DC Monstars over Chop Shop, Red Devilz out against NeX, Arsenal Kidz taking down the Splat Kidz and Aftermath II taking down RNT Allstarz. D2 saw Miami Rage over Wiseguys, DC Arsenal Predators over LA Endurance, Infamy over Asylum and Go 4 Broke over RipTide. D3 had C.S. Union over Manitoba Fury, Velocity dropping to Paintball Authority Kids, Crims Factory over Chicagland-Paintball and Ranjerz dropping to NV. During the Elite 8, the Pro teams played an additional 7 games, moving the Golden State Ironmen, New England Hurricanes, San Diego Dynasty and Sacramento XSV on to the semi-final round.
Semi-final rounds saw Ironmen taking down XSV, moving the winner to the winner's bracket for a chance at first or second place. XSV, the losing team, then went to the loser's bracket for a chance at third or fourth place. Dynasty then lost to the Hurricanes. The Semi-Pro teams saw Arsenal Evolution moving on to the winner's bracket after their defeat of Method of Destruction. Joining Arsenal would be Dynasty Entourage after their win over Phoenix United. D1 semi-finals saw NeX taking down DC Monstars and Arsenal Kidz winning over Aftermath II. D2 had Miami Rage over DC Arsenal Predators and Go 4 Broke over Infamy. D3 had CS Union over Paintball Authority Kids and NV over Crims Factory.
Finals rounds started off mid-afternoon with the Semi-Pro loser's bracket of Phoenix United winning over Method of Destruction. The winner's bracket had Arsenal Evolution over Dynasty Entourage for first place, Entourage in second, Phoenix in third and MoD in fourth. D1 third place was taken by Aftermath II after their win over DC Monstars. Arsenal Kidz beat out NeX for first place. D2 saw DC Arsenal Predators winning third place over Infamy who landed in fourth place. Miami Rage took first after their win over Go 4 Broke. D3 Paintball Authority Kids beat Crims Factory for third and fourth place respectively. NV beat out CS Union for first place in the D3 division.
Professional teams Golden State Ironmen and New England Hurricanes battled for first place, the tournament going to the Men, the Hurricanes in second place. Dynasty took third place over XSV who dropped their game for fourth place.
Houston Texas will play host for the fourth event of the NPPL in September. Everything is bigger in Texas, follow the story here to see which teams set themselves apart.
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