Using the 2014 American Paintball League opener as a warm up, Houston Heat had high hopes set for the opening PSP tournament held last weekend in Dallas, Texas. At the APL event it seemed as if the team was running right on time as the additions of snake player Thomas Taylor, mid player Tim Montressor and dorito stars Ryan Moorhead and Greg Siewers were integral players in the second place showing in California. Not only that, but longtime players such as Nick Solwiak and John Woodley made major contributions and the team finished with a second place trophy.
After a solid 7-3 start in Dallas against Omaha Vicious, it seemed as if their winning ways would continue, however Heat ran into a virtual wall of adversity against their next three opponents: an overachieving Chicago Aftershock, a rebuilding Los Angeles Ironmen and a deadly San Diego Dynasty.
The final score for each game: 7-3.
The only loss that makes sense here, really, is to San Diego Dynasty who has had the same core of players for years. Dynasty played superb the rest of the event, winning all of their prelim matches and making the Sunday cut where they played Los Angeles Infamous – who would eventually go on to win the event. But it is hard to excuse the two losses against a Los Angeles Ironmen team who completely restructured their program in the 2013 offseason by merging with Challengers Division team San Jose Royalty, and Chicago Aftershock, who has been a bottom dweller for the last few years. Frankly, based on individual talent alone Houston should have at least been able to split these two games.
Just when things couldn’t appear to be any worse, Houston found themselves nursing a intense feeling of deja vu as they were matched up on Sunday morning against a raging Tampa Bay Damage in one of the most important matches in the history of either team because the winner would stay in the Champions Division, and the loser be relegated to the Challengers. The game was back and forth, however when the dust settled Tampa was able to claw their way out of the pit, leaving Houston behind 7-6.
Looking at the confirmed kills stat provides an interesting perspective:
- Jon Woodley- 25 ck
- Greg Siewers- 21 ck
- Ryan Moorhead- 15 ck
- Keith Devit- 13 ck
- Sam Monville- 12 ck
- Chad George- 10 ck
- Ronnie Dizon- 9 ck
- Chad Bouchez- 8 ck
- Thomas Taylor- 8 ck
- Nick Slowiak- 3 ck
- Tim Montressor- 2 ck
What’s keeping the high powered guns of Tim Montressor and Nick Slowiak – both of who were dominant at the APL – either off the field, or nullified? And did anybody really expect Chad George or Thomas Taylor not to thrive in the Fort Knox snake? Perhaps it was a poor coaching job by Jason Trosen, or perhaps it was the 8 majors and 2 minor penalties assessed on the team…either way, Houston Heat – one of the most successful teams in the last five years – is in unfamiliar waters and is now in the position of having to fight their way back to the premiere division in paintball.