CHICAGO, ILâ€”Denver (#8 DNN, 2 WFTDA) opened up a 40-point lead early in their match against the DNN-favoured Bay Area (#3 DNN, 4 WFTDA) and maintained that margin through most of the gameâ€”although not consistently. Their lead looked decidedly insecure at times, as Bay Area brought it within a single point late in the first half and within two halfway through the second. Bay Area were never able to take the lead, though, and the bout ended as it beganâ€”with a string of penalties and a big lead for Denver. The Mile High Club finished 181-137 victors.
This game proved an object lesson in the importance of pack play. Denver’s unimpeachable awareness of pack definition and ability to shift the location of play forced strings of track cut penalties on Bay Area jammers, and limited the damage when their own jammers sat in the box.
The game opened with a power jam for Denver as Bricktator landed in the penalty box, letting Adams open scoring with an easy run. She called off the jam with Bricktator still seated and Denver sent out Sharpless to finish the power jam; the two jams went 27-0 in Denver’s favour as they put up a slow and grinding defence to hold Bricktator on her initial pass.
A 4-2 pack advantage let Wilhelm grab lead jammer over Nock Nock on the third jam; she ran for 8 as Serelson locked the Bay Area jammer down in the pack. The string of blocker penalties continued, leaving Denver working with a consistent pack advantageâ€”but they finally got the opportunity to get on the board when Julie Adams landed in the penalty box. Lulu Lockjaw put up 15-3 in that jam, leaving the score at 39-15 in Denver’s favour.
Bricktator followed that up with Bay Area’s first lead jammer call of the night and a 1-0 run over Sharpless; Nock Nock added another four to bring the game within 20 points with 19 minutes remaining in the half.
The teams traded low-scoring jams over the next few minutes but the pattern broke when Bricktator escaped the pack without gaining lead jammer status; Denver’s Gator Dunn earnt lead jammer but didn’t call off the jam, despite Bricktator being on a scoring passâ€”the decision paid off when the BAD jammer landed in the penalty box for a track cut. That brought it to 55-24 in Denver’s favour.
Sharpless left the track, thinking she was motioned to the penalty boxâ€”but it turns out that it was Bricktator, recently returned to the track, who was penalized for a forearm. Long and her fellow blockers in blue trapped Murderyn Monroe at the back of the pack as Denver’s lead stretched out.
It was dueling power jams then as Nock Nock landed in the penalty boxâ€”but Adams committed a back block to free Nock Nock. At the conclusion of that jam, Denver led 69-30 with 10 minutes remaining in the half.
The next jam opened with a dubious advantage for Denverâ€”they fielded the only jammer in Lester after Nock Nock had been boxed at the conclusion of the previous jam, but had just two blockers on the track to Bay Area’s four. That dwindled to one as Rivas headed to the penalty box. Lester added 5-0 before calling off the jam as Nock Nock returned to play.
Chantilly Mace picked up a much-needed lead jammer call as Brawllen Angel, Kristi Yamagotcha and Demanda Riot locked down Wilhelm, letting Mace add two natural grand slams before Denver’s star was passed to Quigley.
The advantage didn’t last, thoughâ€”Lulu Lockjaw cut her way to the box, handing Sharpless a big scoring opportunity and leaving Denver’s lead at 92-44.
The next three jams went 12-7 for Bay Area thanks to a natural 10-0 for Bricktator, but Denver still held a relatively comfortable lead at 99-56 going into halftime.
Bricktator took the first lead jammer status of the second half and a quick two points, calling off the jam mid-pass to hold Adams scoreless; Chantilly Mace continued the momentum with a natural grand slam and a few extra points over Sharpless to bring it to 99-66 in Denver’s favour.
A track cut penalty for Nock Nock let Wilhelm answer those points, though, as the 4-3 Denver pack slowed the pace to a crawl. She restored Denver’s half-time margin and broke the century mark at 119-66 with 25 minutes left to play.
Nock Nock added 4-0 on her return to play in the next jamâ€”but it was then Bay Area’s turn for a power jam after Adams was penalized with the Denver star. Lulu Lockjaw had a 4-3 pack advantage to work with and fought through for two scoring passes before calling the jam as Adams left the box. That made it 110-80 in Denver’s favour.
Sharpless made it out with lead jammer status and a half-track lead on Bricktator in the next jamâ€”but the scoring advantage was Bay Area’s, as Bricktator scooted in to pick up 3 as Sharpless was shut down at the back of the pack.
A few jams later, Bay Area had a power jam after Dickie landed in the penalty boxâ€”Lulu Lockjaw opted to call the jam off rather than skate out the power jam, though. Bay Area sent out Bricktator to finish the task; she faced a 4-3 pack disadvantage but brought it to 120-97 in Denver’s lead with 15 minutes left in the half.
Chantilly Mace followed that up with yet another BAD power jam, as Dickie returned to play and quickly returned to the box; for the second time in two jams, the Bay Area jammer called it off with Dickie standing in the penalty box. That brought the score to 120 Denver, 111 Bay Area; Nock Nock brought it within a single scoring pass with a 4-0 as Dickie struggled at the back of the pack.
BAD looked set to tie it up as they sent out Lulu Lockjaw to work with a 4-3 pack advantage over Lesterâ€”but she couldn’t quite make it as Lester escaped the pack a half-track back and Lulu called it for 3-0, leaving Denver with a two-point lead.
The pack advantage swung the other way in the next jam and Denver’s Wilhelm added a single scoring pass; Adams put on a balance clinic in the next jam, dodging multiple blocks on a single foot along the inside line as she put up two natural grand slams over Chantilly Maceâ€”then picked up a power jam after Serelson forced a cut on Mace. That went 29-0 in Denver’s favour, giving them some breathing space at 153-118. Sharpless followed that up with a 9-0 of her own to make it 162-118 with 7 minutes remaining.
Nock Nock struck back with 11 points to close the gap, but Adams promptly reopened it with a 8-0. With 4:25 left on the clock, Denver held a 170-129 lead. In the next jam, Wilhelm zoomed through for lead jammer status but got hung up on ex-DRD skater Dorato and friends on her first scoring pass as Bay Area lost jammer Lulu to the box on a high block callâ€”but that penalty was no sooner assessed than Wilhelm picked up a penalty of her own. The jam expired with Denver on 172, Bay Area on 133, and two minutes left to play.
Denver looked set to put the nail in Bay Area’s coffin with a late-game lead jammer call, but Sharpless committed a back block on her scoring pass as Chantilly Mace battled the Denver defence. The jam ended on time after the period clock expired as Mace deliberatelyâ€”seemingly resignedlyâ€”took a last-second track cut after Long forced her out. The clock ran out moments later, leaving the final score at Denver 181, Bay Area 137.