Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Battle of Rock Hill

X-Factor vs. the World

I feel like ever since we entered this league we’ve taken shit for stepping up from a select group of individuals. A few have given us the respect we deserve considering this team has accomplished what most will never do in an entire lifetime. From D3 to Pro in less than 3 years is almost unheard of. This tournament hopefully showed people we belong at this level and we’re not going anywhere.

X-Factor vs. Legacy

Yet again we found ourselves in what I felt to be another stacked bracket. With recent pick-ups and one of the best coaches behind them, Legacy is always a contender in any tournament. Not to mention they would be coming hot off their win in Huntington Beach. The match would go back and forth for the most part. Lucian was doing serious work in the snake but in the 2nd half we were able to slow him down and capitalize on it. Score 12-7.

X-Factor vs. Baltimore Trauma

Going into MAO, Trauma was ranked 16th seed and in no way is this a 16th place team. Even after suffering some losses of Hamen (before world cup) and Lucian, this team is filled with talent that is hungry to win. With the seasoned players like Tyler Humphrey, Chris Lasoya, and Dave Fason mixed in with a bunch of hungry Gridlock kids; this turns into a dangerous combination especially when you’re playing in their neck of the woods, literally. The match would go back and forth with penalties haunting us the whole way. Trauma would remain in control most of the match and we had trouble mounting any offense especially with the crowd behind them. Score 7-9.

X-Factor vs. LA Ironmen

Coming fresh off their win over the Russians in the LA open, this was the team to beat. Going into Saturday they were undefeated and after losing to Trauma this put us into a must win situation to move on to Sunday. The match would again go point for point with no one really stepping out and taking the lead. With about 8 minutes to go, we received a 5-minute major for an illegal gun. Not only would we have to play 4 on 5, but one of our strongest snake players (Cody Bayless) would also receive an ejection. Down a point at 5-6, we were able to put two more points up on the board and only allow the Ironmen to score once while burning the penalty off. With less than 2 minutes to go and we were able to put one more point up on the board, take the lead, and hold them off for the remaining time. Score 8-7.

On a less serious note, Sean MacDonald head’s was not in the game due to the fact he received the wristwatch from X-Factor’s own Devin O’Dell before the match.

With us winning the match this put the #1 ranked Ironmen in a position where they could miss the Sunday cut if Trauma beat Legacy. With almost the whole Ironmen roster coaching Legacy and some penalty trouble, Trauma would have a hard time gaining any momentum. You could see a visible sigh of relief on all the Ironmen’s faces when it was certain Legacy had the match.


X-Factor vs. LA Infamous

We knew going into Sunday that from here on out it would be a bloodbath. Infamous wouldn’t let us down at all. We practiced these guys a few weeks before the event so both team knew what the other was capable of. After receiving a major in the 4th point we would be fighting an uphill battle of the rest of the way. Keeping the match close, we tied it up with 51 seconds left on the clock. We knew going into the last point we could win it right here or just lock it up if we lost bodies early on. With a few key eliminations off the snake side early in the point, and a big run-thru down the dorito side, we were able to draw a major penalty in the closing seconds and take the match right there with no need to go into overtime. Score 8-7.

X-Factor vs. Dynasty

Our goal as a team coming into MAO was to finish top four, so that allowed us to play this match with nothing to lose. Dynasty was playing well up to this point. I’ve seen them play better considering they were struggling to close out matches against weaker teams, but they were one of the few to win all three prelim games and they convincingly beat a strong Aftershock in the quarterfinals. Despite all that, we all know that Dynasty shows up Sunday to play ball and I’m truly surprised we had such a good showing against them this early in the season. We would have a real rough start going into halftime down 0-5. What worked for us the best was taking the dorito can and locking up snake side. This would help slow down Ryan and Angel on the snake side and allow us to mount our own offense. Our backline would go on to pull off a few big points when we were down on bodies, and it gave us enough momentum through the 2nd half to take the lead and hold it. Score 10-7.

X-Factor vs. Russian Legion

What can I say? Even after losing LA to the Ironmen I knew these guys wouldn’t settle for 2nd place again. They are the strongest team in the league with virtually no weakness. And when one shows up, you better capitalize on it. These guys are in no way invincible, but the fact that most American X-ball organizations have to concentrate on 7-man half the year are really letting the Russians run away with X-ball. I thought we played all right, but a few big mistakes would cost us critical swing points. With only 3 NXL events under our belt leading into MAO, we’re still making D1 mistakes but with time and maturity, we should be able to fill those holes. They would dominate us through the 2nd half and finished us off. Some people thought we gave up and didn’t play the last 1:30 because we didn’t care. Honestly our whole S.A. crew started taking gear off right there so they could make their flight. Trust me, we wanted to play every minute of that match. Score 4-9.


After upsetting Dynasty and the Ironmen the day before, I can truly say I was living a dream. Or even something more. For the past 5 years I’ve been following these teams and the players and looking up to them as my own heroes. When I was given the chance to play on the same field as them, it was a dream come true. When we beat them, well words can’t even explain. I always knew we had the talent and the heart to make it this far but I didn’t think it would happen this early. To play in the finals of an NXL tournament is what any professional paintball player’s life is about. Those 40 minutes is what we all strive to play for. What we all practice for. What we all waste our lives for. And to get to play those 40 minutes means everything. I can say that in the past 2 years, only a select few teams have gotten that chance and I’m proud of my boys for being one of those teams. Can we do it again? I fucking hope so. We’ll be practicing harder than ever so we don’t fall short should we find ourselves there again.

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