D1C Semifinal: Texas Boxes Denver, 298-129

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MILWAUKEE, WI — The history of recent Denver / Texas matches — a 227-189 Texas win at this year’s Golden Bowl III and a 210-199 Denver win in the 3rd place game of last year’s WFTDA Championships — suggested that Saturday night’s Championships semifinal would be another narrow nail biter. It was not to be, though; this time out, Denver dug themselves an enormous hole by committing a whopping 13 jammer penalties against just 4 for Texas. That greatly smoothed the path for Texas to build a 84-point halftime lead and eventually cruise to a stunningly large victory at 298-129.

The 169-point loss was just 13 points shy of Denver’s largest WFTDA-sanctioned loss ever, a 221-37 game against Gotham way back in 2008. With the victory, Texas earned a spot in a WFTDA championship game for the first time since 2009; they’ll face the winner of Gotham / Bay Area at 6pm Central on Sunday.

Texas took an Olivia Shootin’ John 5-0 on the opener and then got an big opportunity on the second frame when Denver jammer Julie Adams cut her way to the box; Hauss the Boss rolled through a severely depleted Denver pack for 13 to put Texas up 18-0 after four minutes. On the third, Bloody Mary added multiple natural grand slams as Denver continued to labor under major penalty trouble to blockers, and it went 19-4 to give Texas a 37-4 advantage.

Both jammers hit the box in jam 4, but Denver got a much-needed break when Olivia Shootin’ John picked up a second minute for insubordination on top of her track cut; DRD’s recent transfer Urrkn’ Martin danced her way to Denver’s first jam win at 13-4. Texas led 41-17 after nine minutes.

But Texas got right back to work after OSJ’s penalty was done, with Fifi Nomenon and Smarty Pants stuffing Denver jammer Amanda Sharpless while Bloody Mary racked yet another Texas natural grand slam. Ten minutes into the game, Texas was up 46-17.

Denver rallied a bit with three lead jammer calls and shutout jam wins to move things to 46-33. It looked like the comeback might falter when Amanda Sharpless was boxed as jammer next, but a nice block from Shania Serelson forced a track cut on opposing jammer Hauss the Boss before Hauss could score. The resultant full-length jam saw Denver continue to creep on Texas with a 9-3 win, and Texas’s lead was down to single digits at 49-42 with 13:20 in the first half.

But Texas got another bite at the apple when Julie Adams trucked off to the box against Olivia Shootin’ John; this time, Texas finally capitalized on the power jam chance with a 11-0 to OSJ, getting a bit more daylight at 61-42.

Four low-scoring jams later, Texas had scraped out a slightly larger lead at 70-44, but yet another Denver jammer penalty – this time to Amanda Sharpless — let Texas’ Bloody Mary put up a lopsided 20-0, giving Texas their largest lead of the game at 90-44 with 5 minutes left in the half. Timely offense from Smarty Pants on the followup let Sarah Hipel put Texas over the century mark at 103-48.

Denver’s jammer penalty trouble continued apace next as Julie Adams cut her way to the box, and OSJ followed solid help from Barbara Ambush and Polly Gone to rack up a crushing 29-0. Suddenly looking at a potential blowout at 132-48, Denver called their first timeout with 1:10 left in the first half.

It looked like Denver was finally going to get a much-needed momentum jam when Ashley Buscek took lead and ran up a grand slam on Sarah Hipel following the timeout, but Buscek cut the track by inches on a quick reentry and the jam ended even at 9-9. At the half, Texas was enjoying a surprisingly large advantage, 141-57.

The teams traded 4-0 jams to start the second half, putting things at 145-61, but Denver got right back to their crippling jammer penalty woes as Julie Adams cut the track early in the third jam; that finally extended Texas’ lead to triple digits at 169-61 with 24 minutes left to play. Yet another track cut to a Denver jammer — this time Urrkn’ Martin — let Olivia Shootin’ John make Denver’s night even tougher with a huge 25-0.

With the score 194-61, the contest was pretty much out of hand even with 22 minutes still left to play. Denver managed to cut a chunk off of that margin over the next 12 minutes by finally putting together a extended sequence free of jammer penalties, but was still over 100 points down as the clock ticked into the last ten minutes, 210-109.

Just when Denver looked like they were going to finally make it a double-digit game again, though, Denver jammer Lester kept the theme of the game alive by committing both a track cut and an illegal re-entry on the same jam for Denver’s 10th and 11th jammer penalties of the game. On that jam and the next, Texas buried them for good with 42 points against 3, leaving the score at an insurmountable 252-112. Six minutes (and two more Denver jammer penalties) later, Texas had the win at 298-129.

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