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  • Writer's pictureNXL Classic Paintball

Image wins the ICPL Old Bay Classic Amateur 10-Man Division!

Team Image is BACK! Maybe with a bit of a roster refresh, but the legendary team has returned to compete in the ICPL 10-Man Amateur Division and their presence is already being felt. The team bodied their way through Prelims during the event only taking one loss (to Pro team, ac EMPIRE) until the finals (losing to Team Smoke) but ultimately walking away victorious after a 22-7 win against MUTINY.

Earl Acquaviva had this to say about their experience during the event : "As we approached the 2021 paintball season there were a lot of unknowns with the league and the team. It had been almost two years since our 2nd place finish at 2019 Iron City Classic and we aimed to carry our momentum and chemistry into the new ICPL even given the long break due to Covid-19. We continued to play local 5 and 7 man events with whoever from the roster was available during the 2020 and 2021 season, but limited practice and no ability to practice as a 10 man squad due to personal and professional obligations made the 2021 ICPL Old Bay Classic a true testing ground for the future of Maryland based Image paintball.

Even given the challenges, we were able to practice 2 weeks prior to the tournament with the majority of our 10 man squad on the trench field at OXCC against our other close friends from Team Hood which was invaluable in our preparation. Even though we only got to play one of the fields prior to the event, the location of the tournament was ideal for our team. The current Image roster of players are local Maryland and Pennsylvania residents that have played together for many years under the spirit of the Image legacy.

The ICPL Old Bay Classic was an incredibly enjoyable event and highly competitive as expected. The mix of Pro teams and Amateur prelim games gave an amazing nostalgic feeling combined with the unique ability to make strong statements. Image paintball is aggressive, fearless and sometimes ambitious, but to win this event we needed to adjust our plans on the fly as well as stay composed. Some early wins in the prelims provided us the ability to confidently enter the semi-finals but after a long 6 hour break on Sunday, we almost lost the event. Our first game after the break was against a very skilled team Fraction and they caught us flat footed and won a close game against us on hyperball almost ending our tournament. Fortunately, Portland Darkside was able to get the win against Fraction, but we still needed an almost perfect game to move on. We went out and played true Image paintball controlling the field from the beginning with maximum pressure to score a much needed 99 to move on, it is a game we will never forget!

In the finals, we knew that we had to play in the woods but we were ready, our players are the generation that started in the woods and then graduated to airball so we like the format, it fits us. Even so, both teams we faced dug in anticipating our advance, yet our maturity and patience finally paid off through methodical eliminations and moves which won us our first classic 10 man event. It was a bittersweet win, as we lost one of our key front players, Hutch Tower, to a shoulder injury for the year in the last game of the tournament. His sacrifice was the reason we won the tournament as he refused to leave the field after suffering a dislocated shoulder mid game and continuing to play with one arm. He is a legend amongst his 11 teammates forever.

This win was a huge accomplishment for this Image team. The majority of the team played competitively at the professional level from 2003-2007 but the first place finish at a national event was elusive. A group of close friends came back to the competitive classic paintball landscape with the continued support of Image legends like Richie and Tommy Maliszewski allowing us to continue to represent one of the greatest team names in paintball and we hope to keep the legacy alive with an amazing platform like the ICPL. See everyone in Chicago!"

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