CHICAGO, ILâ€”The first game of Golden Bowl III was a true barn-burner, coming down to the very last second. While the visiting Texas side opened up an early lead, Windy City dominated the middle of the gameâ€”and the last 15 minutes were a rollercoaster of power jams and lead changes. The Texecutioners came within 20 feet of victory in the last jam but time was on the hostsâ€™ side and Windy City escaped with a three-point victory, 155-152.
The key difference seemed to be one of flexibility. While Texas have seemed an adaptable side thus far in their season, a rigid commitment to their jamming rotation proved their undoing this time out; they fell behind as Windy played to their own game-day strengths, sitting KillaNois and instead sending out an on-point Athena de Crimeâ€”rarely jammed this yearâ€”with the star. The Texecutioners also struggled at times with pack definition tactics and timing, allowing Windy City game-changing scoring opportunities.
Duelling powerjams opened the bout, but it was Texas who came out the better, leading 20-15 after a 15-0 run for Hauss the Boss over a boxed KillaNois. The match-up was repeated a few jams later and while KillaNois stayed on the track, a 4-2 pack advantage let Hauss run for a series of natural grand slams, bringing the score to 38-19 in the Texiesâ€™ favour with ten minutes gone.
Athena DeCrime and Ying oâ€™ Fire answered for Windy with successive lead jammer calls, adding 4-0 apiece; Varla Vendetta followed that run with a grand slam of her own, as her pack stifled Olivia Shootinâ€™ John, making it a six-point game at 38-32 with Windy trailing.
The next jam saw Thievinâ€™ Tyler and Hauss the Boss both commit penalties while wearing their teamâ€™s stars. The resulting full-length jam that left Windy leading 44-40, and prompted an official time-out.
Windy City had a big opportunity in the next jam as Bloody Mary cut her way to the box on her initial pass. Ying oâ€™ Fire barely escaped a track cut of her own on her first scoring pass, but recovered to bring Windy into the lead. She called the jam off as Bloody stood in the box, allowing Athena DeCrime to run out the final seconds of the penalty in the next jam.
Shortly thereafter, it was another power jam for Windy as Sarah Hipel landed in the penalty box, leaving Varla Vendetta scoring unopposed. Fifi Nomenon and Polly Gone slowed the bleeding, though, abbreviating Varlaâ€™s second scoring pass â€“ but Windy opened up the margin to 73-45 with eight minutes left in the half.
A 4-3 pack advantage let Olivia Shootinâ€™ John pick up a much-needed lead jammer call for Texas which she converted to a 4-0. It didnâ€™t herald a shift in momentum, though, as Athena de Crime pushed past a Texas front wall for lead jammer status, while Windyâ€™s defence held Hipel at the back of the pack, allowing Athena a 4-0 to answer OJâ€™s points in the previous jam.
As the half closed out, Hauss picked up a quick lead jammer call and was approaching on her first scoring pass as Varla Vendetta landed in the penalty box for a track cut as she finished her initial pass. Hauss immediately called the jam for 0-0 and Texas sent out OJ to skate the power jam. A 4-2 pack advantage gave her an easy initial pass but as Windyâ€™s blockers returned to play, OJâ€™s scoring slowed. She called off the jam after Varla returned to play and made her own initial pass, closing the gap to 79 Windy, 62 Texas. Hipel added a couple of points to Texasâ€™ tally in the last jam of the period, leaving Windy holding a 79-64 halftime lead.
Texas came back from the locker room carrying that momentum–Ying oâ€™ Fire landed in the penalty box and Hauss the Boss ran up 9-0 in the ensuing power jam before calling off the jam as Ying stood to return to play. Hipel picked up lead jammer for Texas in the next jam as Smarty Pants held Ying in the pack and brought the score to 79-76 in Windyâ€™s favour.
Olivia Shootinâ€™ John took the star for Texas in the next jam but it was Varla Vendetta who took lead jammer status as Bork Bork Bork held OJ. Varla couldnâ€™t quite shut OJ out, though, and the Texas jammer picked up one point at the back of the pack as Varla finished her scoring pass.
Bloody Mary added another 1-0 for Texas, but Hauss the Boss handed Windy a power jam next time out after an out-of-bounds block. Thievinâ€™ Tyler capitalised on a 4-3 pack advantage to put up 15-0, bringing Windyâ€™s lead to 20 points at 98-78 with 22 minutes to play. She called the jam a little too late, though, forcing the fourth whistle as Hauss was released from the box and allowing Texas to field a jammer in the next jam.
It was then Texasâ€™ turn for a power jam as Ying oâ€™ Fire picked up lead jammer status, but then landed in the penalty box after a back block. Heavy defence from Sargentina and Hoosier Mama at the front of the pack kept Hipelâ€™s scoring slowâ€”but-steady. Windy broke the century mark on that jam, bringing their score to 102, but Texas were hot on their heels at 93.
Over the next three jams, Texas racked up just two points but managed to hold Windy scoreless. On that third jam, Hauss picked up lead jammer status over KillaNois but was swallowed back into the pack after being hit to the infield. She never did make it back out of the pack and was forced to call the jam off for 0-0 after KillaNois escaped the pack and approached to score.
Despite a 4-3 pack disadvantage, Varla Vendetta was able to secure lead jammer status and put up a quick grand slam as Hipel struggled with Sargentina at the back of the pack. That pack disadvantage was long-standing as Moby Nipps was serving a two-minute penalty; Oliva Shootinâ€™ John took advantage of it to push Texas past the century mark, too, bringing it to 108-103 in Windyâ€™s favour with fourteen minutes left to play.
In the next jam, Bloody Mary took the lead for Texas as Fifi Nomenon and Polly Gone stifled Athena de Crimeâ€”at the twelve minute mark, Texas led 115-108.
Windy City struck back in the very next jam, thoughâ€”KillaNois ran for 8 and retook the lead, 116-115, as Hauss the Boss was pinned down in the pack. The host team sent out Yvette Yourmaker to try and extend that lead; Hipel struggled with Windyâ€™s defence and only barely managed an initial pass as Yvette added 10-0.
However, Texas forced a track cut on Windy jammer Varla Vendetta in the next jamâ€”and Olivia Shootinâ€™ John took advantage of the power jam to retake the lead for the visiting side. KillaNois added a couple points for Windy in the next jam to bring it to 134-128 in Texasâ€™ favour.
Olivia Shootinâ€™ John put four more points on the board for Texas in the next jam but committed a track cut right as she called off the jam; this prompted an official time-out as Texas appeared to challenge the cut call. The call stood, though, and Windy sent out Athena de Crime for the ensuing power jam. She faced a 3-2 pack disadvantage but easily picked up lead jammer status and her first scoring passâ€”and a second to retake the lead for Windy.
Athena called off the jam with OJ standing in the box and Windy sent out Yvette Yourmaker to finish the power jamâ€”she picked up lead jammer status and added points as Sargentina held OJ. At the end of that jam, Windy held a 151-138 lead with just under three minutes remaining to play.
Varla Vendetta took lead jammer status over Oliva Shootinâ€™ John, jamming back-to-back; that went 4-0 for Windy to give them a 17-point margin. It was Texasâ€™ turn for lead jammer status at that point, though. Hauss ran for 4-0 over Ying, calling it with a minute left on the clock despite her significant pack advantage and time not being on her side. Windy had two blockers in the pack and another in line to sit at that point, while Texas fielded a full complementâ€”but with Olâ€™ Drrrty Go-go and Sargentina holding down the front of the pack, OJ was slow to score.
Luce Bandit and Polly Gone pinned Yvette Yourmaker downâ€”and forced a star pass to Sargentina to make an initial pass as period time expired. Sargentina landed in the penalty box for a track cut with the Windy star after the period clock expired and OJ brought Texas within a single scoring pass of the win but didnâ€™t have quite enough time to retake the leadâ€”she was about 15 feet back from the pack when the jam clock ran out, letting Windy City escape with a 155-152 win.