Houston Heat takes the PSP Phoenix Open in a hard fought match against one of the most dominant and well-trained paintball programs the sport has seen, Moscow Red Legion. Though Moscow has a few new players among their ranks, the winning system behind their World Championships is alive and well. They played very aggressive in their road to the finals. New roster additions Alex Guadin, and Marcello Margott, coupled with solid veterans Aleksandr Berdnikov, Kirill Prikhidni and Vasiliy Panteleez were tough to beat and doing damage all throughout the tournament. But in the end, it was a few unheralded players, Sam Monville and John Woodley, who stole the show for Houston Heat.
Late in the final game, with just 1:34 seconds to play, Moscow was pushing into Heat’s back line, the score 4-3 in favor of Houston. Only Woodley and Monville remained in the fight for Heat. Berdnikov was pushing hard up the snake side of the field and set into a fierce gunfight with Monville, who had only a tiny back bunker to battle from. If Moville wins, his team wins, and if Berdnikov pulls off a shot, he would tie the game for Moscow. With Woodley battling strongly out of the back bunker on the pit side, and after a half dozen quick snap-shot exchanges, Monville prevailed, getting a shot in as Berdnikov was pushing forward, saving the point and giving Houston Heat the game and the tournament.
To win in the PSP Professional Division is a daunting task. There are 12 teams here who represent the best the paintball world has to offer, one hundred and twelve players who, given the chance, will run you down and destroy your dreams, taking from you what you have spent so much time, and so much energy, to achieve.
Force of Will creates wins here; skills just get you through the door. There is no quarter given and none asked for in this league, because a win in these ranks means what you’re fighting for works. It’s a validation.
The games plans, the practice and training regimen, the gear, the teammates and roster decisions, the time, the huddle speeches, the intense glares shared seconds before the horn, it means what you are doing is right. The memory of the win will live in your mind as long as you, but your place at the top can be fleeting, because the season is long and grueling.
Chicago won’t be easy for any team, as it is one of the hardest events to win in paintball. Since it falls midseason, the teams are refining their on-field formulas, and approaching top form. Also, the oppressive Chi-town summer heat and humidity is legendary for sapping endurance at this event and every player in every division will have a tough road in front of them on their quest for a win.
As we move towards the Chicago Open, stop number 3 on the 2012 PSP tour, Paintball Access will be breaking down the last event and the season so far in detail, the triumphs and the failures, the moves and the players, giving you the inside track in what to look for come June 22nd - 24th.