Here is part 2 of Mike McGowan's report on D2 divisional play in Galveston.
I will say that there is a HUGE difference between Race-To-5 points and Race-To-4 points. Game 3-2 is match point in D3. Just getting to the meat of the match in D2. The ebb and flow of the game starts to become a factor. Several teams would go up 2-0, only to lose the match. Whether CEP D2 vs. Vipers in the Prelims or Prime vs. Boom in the Quarters. I'd say, and many agreed, that this was the most fun a layout that has been created. Allowing for not only attack, but on all three sections of the field.
As familiar as the undesirable weather was for a paintball tournament, the D2 division did get to experience something unprecedented. Playing Quarters to Finals on the PSP Pro field with Pro officials. All on Paintball Access Webcast vision. The difference in officiating is dramatic. They are less forgiving. There are more of them. They are scary. I will also say that they are highly professional and all of them were very polite and explanatory. They would also just as politely throw a major or minor flag, which by comparison at the divisional level, might appear to be a lessor infraction. I can say that Boom and Prime may have paved the way with 3 Majors and 4 minor penalties. Presumably, these guys are professional refs with long-ago playing experience. The refs in D2 are decent refs with recent player backgrounds. They seem more forgiving for hits on the loader and pack. If you're still rolling that gun in PSP Pro, you've got confetti coming your way. All the majors I saw in the Boom vs. Prime match were indeed justified. Just as your margin for error playing-wise undoubtedly decreases at the Pro level, so it does with the Pro officials.
I'll also say there is a fundamental disconnect between those that understand the Professional division and the Divisional. The announcers could not figure out how penalties were assessed. Minor penalty is one plus one. Major is one plus two. If there are not enough bodies left, then they are pulled off the box for the following point. So, if one man plays with an obvious hit and there is no one else, 3 will be left on the box for the ensuing point. Perhaps, us divisional teams are to blame by not lasting long enough. Teams only being known if they are a Pro feeder team. Some day I hope it'll be like MMA, only instead of being out of "Black House", or the Miletich camp, or American Top Team, they'll say, "Revo out of PAP", or NJJ 2 under New Jersey Jesters program.
The Quarters saw PB Vipers, PR1ME, and Zone quickly scraped from the field. PR1ME got up early but were clearly mentally unprepared for the match, gaining lots of penalties. Boom capitalized. According to Mike Hinman, Revo "outclassed" Vipers, while Todd Martinez questioned the "discipline" and "competitive" nature of the Vipers as well. For how young a team they are, I'd expect them to be a top-four force some time this season. There is a also a perfectly captured pod paint-throw on footage. Hilarious. Zone looked athletic, but earned early penalties as well. They'd be trounced by Elevation. The only close Quarters game was Coaltion edging out Siege 3-2 playing patient paintball. This is the only game I saw Coaltion play on the webcast. They zoned up, crossed up, and laned up. Occasionally taking corners off the break, but more often doubling back bunkers and allowing teams to run into their guns. Siege almost tied it up with 3 secs remaining. By their scores, this appears to be how Coalition played the whole tournament. Most of their games being narrow wins to time. This trend continued against Boom, 4-3, in the semis.
For the one and two spot, I'd be curious to watch the Coalition vs. Revo match. Revo was ambitious on the snake side all tournament and willing to hold. Revo dominated every team, with a combined tournament 25-10 point margin with one 2-3 loss in the prelims. Perhaps guys from Maryland came in unprepared for a slow grind after so many easy wins. But it came to be a 3-1 victory for the team from New Mexico. They've won D4 PSP 5-man and a pair of D4X, one in AZPL, the other in the WCPPL. They didn't lose a single match the entire Texas tournament. Apparently there was a miscommunication or lack of time and the consolation game between Boom and Elevation for 3rd place was never played. Both teams listed as "Forfeiting" the match-up. By hearsay they were each given 3rd place prize and 3rd place points for the event. That might be unprecedented. The fog of war against the elements I suppose. Maybe the elements assisted Coalition's patient play (by slowing down their opponents as well). But a zero-loss tournament speaks for itself. Congrats Coalition, you gloriously bamboozled the preseason alignments.
It was a miracle the event was finished at all, not just the D2 Division, which had the first fields to be ripped up from the winds. Despite the majority of the field coming from East of the Rockies, several teams from the West side of the nation found success in D1 (Pirates) and D2 (Coalition). The WCPPL birds haven't ceased their chirping on ProPaintball.com And why not. They took down two top finishes. But I'm not sure anyone was really provoking them to begin with anyway.
Mission accomplished for the PSP, but everyone is hoping for normalcy in Phoenix. We'll see if that alters the results for the D2 Division.