East Playoffs: 2E Philly Stops 10E London, 140-53

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BALTIMORE, MD — After proving that they deserved to be at Regionals, 10 seed London took on a much harder task in the second-seeded Philly. Philadelphia proved to have too much power and experience for the Brits and the first half turned out to be extremely one-sided. Philly came in with a game-plan against London’s close-to-the-jam-line setups, using both their own starting 4-wall and also some run-ups to the jam line, and London could not come up with an adjustment before it was too late. Time and again through the first half, the London jammers could not solve the “barrel o’monkeys” linked-arms of the Philly blockers and Philly was able to do as they pleased. The second half saw London adjust successfully to keep the difference even but they were unable to cut into the huge Philly halftime lead; Philly won 140-53.

The first half began evenly enough. After Persephone’s quick skates got the Liberty Belles on the board at 4-0, London answered two jams later, as Stefanie Mainey captured the first of only four first-half leads for London and banged out 3 points. The Philadelphia defense, no matter who was in the pack, then put on a clinic, shutting out the Brawling for 25 minutes. With the score 7-3, Philadelphia’s Mo Pain took a running start against the stopped starting pack. She powered through for lead and 4 grand slams the hard way as Heavy Flo, Teflon Donna, and Olivia Face never let Ninjette out of the pack. The next jam began with no movement at all for the first 1:15, setting a precedent that would annoy some audience members throughout the bout. Shenita Stretcher, after a relatively short 30-second delay, grabbed lead and 9 points for Philly as her blockers goated Raw Heidi. Persephone then kept up the good Liberty Belle defense as Teflon Donna was already around turn 2 with lead while Stefanie Mainey was still a mere 10 feet from the jam line. Philadelphia led 47-3 at the midpoint of the initial half.

The bout continued very cleanly with few penalties and only two powerjams for the entire 60 minutes, both to Philly. The Liberty Belles slowly and patiently extended their lead, calling off each jam as London’s star-bearer was poised to re-enter the pack. Kamikaze Kitten twice captured lead jam for London but could not catch up to a suddenly speedy pack. With 6 minutes to go, Vagablonde was called for a major illegal procedure to give Philly the first powerjam of the bout. While Stefanie Mainey, Axis of Evon, and Ninjette valiantly tried to keep Gloria Grindem under wraps, Philly was still able to extend the lead to 74-3. Mo Pain then took the line with the powerjam continuing and the Philly blockers tauntingly skated in a line around the outside to challenge London to stop Mo Pain with a 3-on-none. Mo Pain still scored 12. London’s Stefanie Mainey captured lead in the final jam of the half and scored 3 to double their first-half output: 90-6.

London came out in the second half unveiling some adjustments. They mimicked Philly’s dodges around the initial scrums and also skated right at the linked arms of the Philadelphia blockers instead of unsuccessfully trying to avoid them. For the first 7 minutes, Kamikaze Kitten, Stefanie Mainey, and Vagablonde leapt, dodged, and somersaulted their way to outscore Philly’s jammers 13-4. Play became more physical but still fairly whistle-free as Liv or Die laid a huge hit on Olivia Face, who then returned the favor by laying a bigger one on Vagablonde as Goldy scampered for 8 points. London ended a 5-jam scoring drought as Stefanie Mainey adroitly leaped around a linked-arm 2-wall for 4 points as Vagablonde played good defense against Persephone. With 15 minutes to go, Philly led 110-26.

Persephone then kept up a relentless blocking attack against Stef’ Mainey, keeping her in the pack while Goldy lapped the track for 18 points the hard way, undoing all of London’s catching up. Kamikaze Kitten captured lead jam in two of the next three jams, for 7 and 8 points, battling Elle Viento in full contact for 3 turns to get lead and then making her whiff on her second scoring pass. Her teammate Ginger Vitis did not whiff two jams later, taking out both Raw Heidi and Sky Rockit with a big hit. Philadelphia ended London’s final 25-9 run with a their second powerjam of the bout. Content with 4 points, Shenita Stretcher called it as time ended, and sealed the 140-53 victory for Philly.

Philly moves on to play Charm City in the semifinals at 4pm on Saturday; London will play an 8pm consolation game against the winner of Boston vs. Maine (12 noon Saturday).

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