Paintball team goes splat

The club paintball team took part in a tournament where it faced Rutgers and other teams.

MILFORD, Mass. – On Saturday, the club paintball team traveled to Milford, Mass., 50 minutes outside Boston, to compete in the Northeast Intercollegiate Conference North Fall Open Tournament. The event was the first of the year for the Owls, who finished sixth in the national rankings last year. The tournament, which took place at the Fox4 Paintball Field, featured an eight-team field.

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The team finished in fifth place in its opening tournament of the season. Courtesy Brendan Hurley Blank Photos

Temple paintball competed with the goal of taking home first place and the hope of getting word out about the team’s talented group.

Team captain sophomore Frank Isgro was clear about whether anything short of victory would satisfy.

“I don’t think anything but a victory ever satisfies us,” Isgro said.

The morning started off early as the teams arrived at 7 a.m. to begin preparation for the day’s event.

A humid, muggy morning and the field’s close proximity to a swamp made for tough playing conditions, but that did not disrupt the pre-match preparations. Temple and the other teams walked the field to study the layout and get an idea of how to tactically defeat their opponents. Each of the 40 obstacles placed on the paintball field were identified and studied by the players to make sure they were aware of the obstacles’ locations when it came time to begin.

Each team receives the layout before the match, but the space appeared tighter than the team expected. The Owls used pregame time to slightly adjust their strategy to fit the field of play.

As the eight teams readied their equipment, the morning was filled with the clicks of guns being adjusted and the sound of paintballs being loaded into the weapons.

The Owls donned new uniforms for the match. The tops are white with cherry feathers from the neck to the chest and on the sleeves, and a shield with a Temple Owl in the middle. Multiple Temple T’s adorned the bottoms.

The Owls kicked off the day with a five-minute game against Rutgers.

As the bell sounded, the competition began. All one could hear was the simultaneous bang from the guns as the five players on each side moved toward one another from opposite sides of the field. With two minutes, 40 seconds left in the first game of the day, Rutgers was able to eliminate each of the five Temple players, capture the flag and take the point. The opening loss was characterized by a gun malfunction of Temple junior Sam Agelan’s gun.

“The piece of equipment that went down is notorious for that, so to correct the issue we switched it out with another player’s equipment, and it worked beautifully,” Isgro said.

The correction seemed to work. While Temple fell to Hartford in its next game, the teams was able to rattle off three wins in a row, including one against Rutgers.

“[During that streak] we started communicating better,” Isgro said. “We made a slight change to the lineup, but even once we switched back, we played great because of communication. Lack of [communicating] is what cost us early.”

The Owls’ final game of the first round was their ninth of the day and their third against Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights defeated Temple in the hardest-fought game of the round and won with 1:54 left. The game was characterized by a valiant effort by Agelan, who was left alone against two opponents for two minutes but was unable to survive their onslaught.

After the match, the Owls waited as scorers tallied the points to determine the four teams that would make the final. Temple came in fifth, just one place shy of qualifying.

“Communication was either going to help us or kill us, and it killed us today,” Isgro said. “We have to overcome adversity from here out.”

Steven’s Institute of Technology, Hartford and Southern Connecticut finished in the Top 3. The paintball team’s next action will be Oct. 16 in Chesapeake City, Md.

Raymond Boyd can be reached at raymond.boyd@temple.edu.

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