KALAMAZOO, MI–In the first bout of the Kalamazoo Division 2 playoffs, Tri-City put up an early lead en route to a narrow 190-174 victory over Burning River. Both teams experienced jammer penalties, often back-to-back, keeping the score tight throughout the game.
The game opened with Sugalumps from Burning River Roller Girls squaring off against Ovaâ€™Kill of Tri-City Roller Girls, who fought her way out for lead as Sugalumps was sent to the box on a cut. The Burning River defense answered with a cut on Ovaâ€™Kill, and Sugalumps returned to pick up points for Burning River, ending the jam at 12-10. [Editorâ€™s Note: There was a bit of scoreboard confusion after the second jam, so itâ€™s possible that this score is not entirely accurate.]
Over the next few jams, the teams traded blows, and in Jam 4, Tri-Cityâ€™s Ovaâ€™Kill skipped out of the pack for lead, picking up a clean 5 points before Mae Burnya was able to escape the pack, bringing the score to 27-19 Tri-City. Tri-City extended that lead over following jams, with a track cut for LuLu giving Freudian Whip a chance to push the score up to 62-27.
In Jam 11, Tri-Cityâ€™s Leigh-zzie Borden was boxed on a cut, giving Mae Burnya a chance to pick up lead and score 19 points before Tri-Cityâ€™s blockers pulled a cut on Burnya as she attempted an apex jump. Burning River managed to close the score to 77-46 on the strength of that jam, but started the next jam with Burnya in the box. Smart blocking from Tri-City allowed Freudian Whip to pick up 14 points, bringing the score to 91-46.
A few jams later, Burning Rive held up Freudian Whip in the pack for multiple passes, which let Maul-ibu Barbie score 9 points before calling it. In the next jam, Sugalumps knocked out Ovaâ€™Kill and pulled her all the way to the back of the pack several times, letting Cupquake score. Ovaâ€™Kill went to the box on a cut but Cupquake followed her not too long after, bringing the score to 103-73. This would prove to be a common occurrence throughout the bout, with neither team able to capitalize on a powerjam since their own jammer frequently followed their opponentâ€™s to the box.
In the last jam of the half, …oooh SHINEE picked up a track cut penalty but Freudian Whip followed in her footsteps soon after. Shiney faced off against a strong wall of Tri-City blockers, then tried an apex jump but got knocked to the infield. Burning River suffered from a waterfall of blockers to the box, at one point only fielding a single blocker as both jammers were scoring. The half ended with Tri-City up 119-85.
Early in the second period, Burning River speedster Maul-ibu Barbie got out for lead as Freudian Whip picked up a penalty. She scored 13 points before getting hung up in the pack and called it with Whip still in the box. Cupquake began the next jam unopposed, but Freudian Whip streaked out of the box and seemed to catch the Burning River blockers by surprise, getting out of the pack on the heels of Cupquake. She called it, but not before Whip picked up a point, tightening the score to 125-100.
A few jams later, Burning River started with two blockers in the box. T-Wrecks tried to knock out Ovaâ€™Kill, but managed instead to pick up a forearm penalty against a Tri-City blocker. In a common sight, Ovaâ€™Kill followed Wrecks to the box. Once Ovaâ€™Kill was back on the track, Burning Riverâ€™s Sugalumps took her out with what looked a lot like a Slayride. Burning Riverâ€™s strong defense helped them close the gap to 134-113 with 22 minutes left in the bout.
Barbie was sent to the box in the next jam but strong defense from Burning River kept Freudian Whip in the pack, beating up on her and preventing her from running away with the score, allowing only 9 points before Barbie returned to the pack. T-Wrecks picked up lead in the next jam as Sugalumps beat up on a tired-looking Preying ManTease, who went to the box. After Wrecks was knocked to the ground hard, she called the jam at 143-130.
The teams traded blows for a few jams, with Freudian Whip scoring against T-Wrecks before she passed the star to the Burning River pivot, ending the jam at 174-146. The next few jams saw both jammers out almost at the same time.
In Jam 14 of the second half, Maul-ibu Barbie picked up lead then scored four with a great apex jump. She tried for the grand slam, but ultimately called it before Whip could start scoring, closing the gap to 174-153 with 8 minutes left.
In Jam 19, Ovaâ€™Kill was sent out on a forearm penalty, and Cupquake picked up lead. She lapped the pack, with two apex jumps in subsequent passes, and put up 20 points before cutting the track and ending her run in the box. The jam ended at 180-174 with less than two minutes left.
In the last jam, Freudian Whip picked up lead for Tri-City. Sugalumps pushed her out and recycled her backwards but Freudian Whip stayed calm and smart, relentlessly pushing forward. West Nel Virus fouled out as a blocker. Cupquake returned from the penalty box, but committed another infraction and returned to the box. Freudian Whip stayed cautious as she engaged the pack, and called the jam after the period clock expired, clinching the bout for Tri-City 190-174.
With the win, Tri-City progress to face Santa Cruz Derby Girls at 4 p.m. local; Burning River’s next game is tomorrow at noon.