DES MOINES,IA–The criminally under-ranked Treasure Valley–only in the tournament because teams above them had declined their inviation–looked to continue their fine run of form against fellow playoff first-timers Blue Ridge in their semifinal, having already done a comprehensive job of making their seeding look foolish.
With a place in the final on the line and both teams clearly in form, it was always going to be a tight game–and so it was. While Blue Ridge raced into an early lead, TVR repeatedly pulled the game back to within single digits–but fell agonisingly short as Blue Ridge held on to take the bout 179-170.
Blue Ridge claimed the jammer line almost three minutes before the bout started–but it was Treasure Valley who got the better start. Caslamity Jane opened the first jam with a major cut and headed to the box. Demolition Barbie got 7 for TVR–but got knocked out by Coma N. Ducer trying to sneak round for more and got a cut herself. Calamity Jane then evened things up at seven apiece.
Blue Ridge had a seven-jam hot streak after that, despite Ana Highway to Hell showing off her strong pivot skills. That left TVR in a 47-7 hole when Dawn of the Shred finally got lead jammer for TVR–and she spun around Punk Rotten to grab points, calling it off mid-faceplant.
Skater: Jams / Lead / Points
Caslamity Jane: 15 / 10 / 79
Lady Rider: 13 / 8 / 57
Skelley-Tor: 14 / 6 / 38
She-Wrex: 2 / 1 / 5
Dawn of the Shred: 13 / 5 / 82
Demolition Barbie: 14 / 2 / 48
Udaho: 17 / 3 / 40
Full stats courtesy of WFTDA.
Caslamity and Udaho then shared three penalties in quick succession to leave Blue Ridge with a 49-15 lead at the midway point of the half. The jammer penalties continued to fly as Coma N Ducer, Punk Rotten and One Hit Woundher combined in the pack to deadly effect for Blue Ridge, and TVR slipped a little further back before calling l a time-out to gather themselves for the final minutes of the period.
Treasure Valley’s Scarlet Danger was particularly effective against Blue Ridge’s Skelley-Tor, but this time it was Goober, Beast, and Bully who were getting the job done for Blue Ridge, showing again that it’s the togetherness of their defensive packs that has been the foundation of their 2013 success.
A couple of jams later Raggedy Ann-ihiliation and Sinister Kate combined to force a backblock on Lady Rider. Coma N. Ducer recycled Udaho and Punk Rotten almost forced a track cut on the penalty kill, but got herself an out of play penalty instead; Udaho got 3 laps in and brought the score to 49-72.
Skelley took advantage of some great offensive work from Punk a few jams later–Punk came out of the box, perfectly signalled to Skelly the line she was going to clear–and within seconds another grand slam was on the board for Blue Ridge. She gets 3 more before the combined efforts of Raggidy Ann-ihilation and Ana Highway to Hell forced another cut.
That let Demo in for 20, making it an 18-point game at 82-64 with five minutes left in the period. Blue Ridge employed their official review on Caslamityâ€™s cut–which was indeed overturned, but the damage was already done.
The final five minutes of the period were a wash as teams traded points and lead calls; Blue Ridge led 98-84 at the break, but with Skelley boxed.
TVR would have been hoping to capitalise on that at the start of the second period, but didn’t quite manage to. Skelley burst out of the box in the second half just in time to force a 0-0 call from Udaho–and just as Blue Ridge went on a five-jam 27-1 run to calm their nerves.
But TVR came back. Nickle-and-diming it at first, offense from Raggedy opened up the Blue Ridge wall for Demolition Barbie and got her a grand slam. Subsequent passes were slowed by Coma and Ashevillain plowing at the front–but her 14-0 jam made it a 3 point game, 119-116.
The teams again traded powerjams to keep that gap at 3 before Ana–key in the TVR packs–fouled out and the Blue Ridge lead inched up; it sat at 20 with 7 minutes to go.
As the clock ticked down the intensity ratcheted up. Udaho got stuck at the back as Skelley was recycled by Sinister Skate and Scarlet again. Udaho then picked up a back-block of her own, and while Skelley didn’t add any points, by the time Udaho returned had four minutes to close a 25-point gap.
That gap was 177-148 heading into the final jam. Scarlet forces a cut on Rider and Shredder got lead–but Coma and Bully combined to slow Shredder just enough and limit her to 22, while Rider snuck 2 points when she was released, leaving the Blue Ridge fans exultant in a 179-170 win, securing a place in the final and trip to Milwaukee for the Asheville team.