Flames' five teams finish in top 10 at tourney in Kentucky
November 9, 2013 | Louisville, Ky.
All five squads Liberty University's paintball team entered into Saturday's National Collegiate Paintball Association MSCC Event No. 2, hosted by the University of Kentucky in Louisville, placed in the top half of the 19-team field.
"We took 25 players, all five lines, and we ended up finishing second (gold), third (red), fifth (black), eighth (white), and ninth (blue)," Flames Head Coach Todd Hoglund said. "So all five teams made it out of the preliminaries and we had two teams in the (final four). We showed them what Liberty paintball looks like."
Liberty's gold squad, made up of its top guns, finished runner-up to defending NCPA Nationals Tournament champion Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU).
"For our first away event, going to a large tournament and playing in the championship match against the defending national champions, it was a tremendous challenge," Hoglund said. "They're a good team. We were battling them all day. Some of my lines met them in the prelims, others were battling them in the quarterfinals and the gold team met them in the finals."
The Eagles were led by Luis Munoz, a professional, as well as some highly-ranked divisional players.
"He's really good at what he does," Hoglund said. "When we were able to shut him down, we were able to score those points. If we let him do what he does, he did well."
In the best-of-three, Race-to-2 finals, FGCU scored the first point before Liberty evened the match and it came down to a winner-take-all third point.
"It was leave it all out on the field and they just came out on top," Hoglund said.
FGCU didn't lose a man in the deciding match.
"We went out to show them what we've got and it wasn't enough. I'm still really proud of all them. I couldn't ask for more from five lines of teams," Hoglund said.
Liberty's fifth team, the black squad made up of mostly newer players, was the talk of the tournament. The Flames came out of the preliminary round ranked second and wound up fifth overall.
"They surprised me and played really well," Hoglund said. "For the fifth line, our 20th through 25th players at Liberty, to beat well more than half of the teams there, it says a lot about how far the program has come."
Bradley Kauffman, a freshman with experience from Florida, had a breakout performance on the Dorito side.
"He performed better at the tournament than he had at practice showing really dominant play," Hoglund said. "He came alive and that's why the black team did so well."
Though the white team finished fourth out of five teams and eighth overall, it got a terrific performance from Randy McKinsey, who won a one-on-three in a preliminary match.
"It was just a tremendous individual effort to deliver in the clutch," Hoglund said. "He was on Dorito side, and they had players all over the place — one on the snake, one up the center, one on the Dorito side — and he just took them out one by one. I thought we had lost the point (but) he pulled it out. It was quite impressive."
Other teams in the field were Clemson, Georgia State, Georgia Tech, Kennesaw State, Missouri, Purdue, Akron, Missouri University of Science and Technology Prestige, Tennessee, VMI, West Virginia, Western Kentucky, and Virginia Tech, the only other school that entered more than one team, with Orange and Maroon squads.
There were eight teams from Virginia including Liberty's five, Virginia Tech's two, and one from VMI.
Complete results will be posted online.
MSCC Event No. 3 will be hosted by the University of Georgia on Feb. 15.