CHICAGO, ILâ€”Host side Windy (#13 DNN, 10 WFTDA) went 2-0 on the first day of the third Golden Bowl, barely escaping a comeback from Texas and securing a big upset win over Bay Area. In their final bout of the weekend, they went on a big early run against Denver (#3 DNN, 2 WFTDA) to open up a 100-56 halftime leadâ€”and shook off a second-half comeback to escape with a six-point victory, 138-132, as well as an undefeated tournament record.
Massive penalty trouble was the order of the day for both sides here, but it struck Denver a little harderâ€”they found themselves with just a single blocker on the track all too often and gave up key power jams in the first half. They were able to keep Windyâ€™s score within striking distance throughout the match, though, andâ€”as Texas did against Windy yesterdayâ€”fell barely short of coming from behind in the final jam. Here it wasnâ€™t the clock that saved the home side, though, but rather a game-saving hit from Sargentina on Denver jammer Lester that forced a cut to end the power jam.
The game opened with jammer musical chairs; Varla Vendetta cut her way to the box on her initial pass but mere seconds later, so did Julie Adams and the ensuing full-length jam went 9-0 for Windy. Denver worked with a consistent pack disadvantage over the first few jams, routinely fielding just two or three blockersâ€”and just three jams in, theyâ€™d already given up two power jams and were 24-1 in the hole with seven minutes gone.
Penalty trouble for both sides continued as both teams filled their boxes; Sharpless picked up Denverâ€™s first lead status of the night over a 2-2 pack as Serelson and Akers held Ying oâ€™ Fire pinned down. Sharpless was content to let the jam play outâ€”and whittle down the considerable penalty time faced by her sideâ€”after picking up her first four points; the decision paid off as Ying got stuck on her first scoring pass, the Denver penalty box cleared and Sharpless put up a further 13 points to bring the score to 28-18.
Two jams later, though, Denver was back at a 4-2 pack disadvantage with Serelson still in line for the box. Wilhelm got battered by Sargentina at the back of the pack, finally getting out, earning lead jammer status and calling off the jam after Varla ran up multiple grand slams.
The penalty trouble continued as Denverâ€™s pack dwindled to just a single skaterâ€”and Ying picked up a big scoring opportunity after Adams landed in the box twice in a single jam with the Denver star. That opened it up to 63-18 in Windyâ€™s favour halfway through the period.
Adams returned to play to pick up lead jammer status over Athena DeCrime and held her scoreless; Sharpless followed with lead jammer status as Serelson repeatedly recycled Varla to the back of the pack and added 10 points. Lester brought Denverâ€™s run to 17-0 over three jams and left the score at 68-35 with 10 minutes in the half.
Both teams continued to haemorrhage blockers with packs dwindling to 2-2 almost routinely; Windy City tended to hold a single-blocker advantage, though, and used it to hold Denver scoreless for three jams, answering Denverâ€™s own three-jam run. As the half entered its last five minutes, Windy held a 92-39 lead.
Wilhelm picked up lead jammer status and a natural grand slam over KillaNois but again opted to run the clock in an attempt to free her blockers from the penalty box; again, that decision paid off as Cathey forced a cut on KillaNois, handing Denver a much-needed power jam with two minutes in the period. Adams took lead jammer easily but struggled on her second passâ€”but escaped Sargentina skating sideways to pick up 5 points before calling it off with KillaNois standing.
Sharpless headed out to close the half but KillaNois came from the box to pick up lead jammer status after a front-of-pack fight with Salvador. Sharpless got stuck at the back of the pack behind Bork Bork Borkâ€”and then at the front by Olâ€™ Drrrty Go-Go, never escaping the pack on a jam that ran just under 2 minutes. Denverâ€™s defence held KillaNois to a single scoring pass, but it wasnâ€™t enough to keep their score under the century mark; Windyâ€™s halftime lead was 100-56.
Adams picked up the first lead jammer status of the second half but opted to run out penalty time rather than call it after her first scoring pass, despite Varla running hot on her heels. Denver had 2 in the box at that point and Serelson picked up yet another penalty during the jam, forcing the side to start the next jam with just a single blocker on the track and two standing. Despite that, Long managed to hold the Windy jammer solo.
Windy City had a series of low-scoring jams but the pattern was broken as Gator Dunn picked up a power jam as Ying landed in the box. Heavy defence from Sargentina, Bork Bork Bork and KonichiWow slowed her scoring, though, and she was forced to call the jam from the floor after paired heavy hits from Sarge and Bork.
Adams picked up a quick lead jammer status and grand slam over a thin packâ€”at one point Long again found herself the only Denver blocker on the trackâ€”she put up 14 points to bring it to 118-87 with 20 minutes to play. Lester added a single point in the next jam while holding Athena scoreless.
Two jams later, Varla Vendetta picked up an easy lead jammer status against the sole Denver blocker Akersâ€”but Sharpless was right behind her and forced the call-off for 0-0.
A 3-2 pack advantage let Ying oâ€™ Fire pick up lead jammer status before Adams landed in the penalty box for a forearm on her initial pass. While Denver held a rare 4-3 pack advantage, they couldnâ€™t hold her completelyâ€”she ran for 9 to bring it to 127-88 before calling it off with Adams still in the box. Adams returned in the next jam and snuck through an unaware Windy pack to force Athena to call off the jam with just a single point.
Gator Dunn picked up lead jammer status but got leveledâ€”to the great glee of what crowd was in the houseâ€”by Olâ€™ Drrrty Go-Go, forcing the call-off; in the next jam, Sharpless picked up lead jammer status but then landed in the box for a back block, handing Windy a power jam. The penalties were really starting to add up by this pointâ€”with 12 minutes left to play, Denver had three skaters sitting on six penalties: Barrett, Cathey and key blocker Serelson.
Intense blocking from Bork Bork Bork held Sharpless in the back of the pack on her initial pass as Barrett locked down Athena at the front on her first scoring pass. The heavy defence ultimately forced a Denver star pass to Sage, who got lit up by Bork and was motioned to the penalty box for a cut as she stood in the outfield while attempting to put on the helmet cover. Denver sneaked past the century mark in there, bringing it to 136-100 with 5 minutes left to play.
Denver called their second time out and when play resumed, Wilhelm had a huge opportunity as KillaNois landed in the box for a back blockâ€”but Sarge, Go-Go and Moby Nipps made her fight for her 10 points before Killa returned to play.
It was a rare full pack with 3:30 to play; Windy fielded Ying who battled Serelson, while Yvette Yourmaker seemed to have Adamsâ€™ number. She finally broke out for lead jammer status after a full had elapsedâ€”but Windy had lost two blockers during that hard-fought pass. Akers and Serelson held Ying as Adams ran for 14-0 to bring it within 12 points with 1:30 left to play, 136-124.
Lester picked up lead jammer status with a half-track lead over Varla and called for 4-2 as Varla hit the back of the pack; Denver called their final time-out to stop the clock with 48 seconds left to play and ten points to make up. Windy had a 4-3 pack advantage and fielded Yvette Yourmaker with the star for this last jam of the gameâ€”and she cut the track as she escaped the pack to hand Lester a power jam. The advantage wasnâ€™t to last, though, as Sarge forced a track cut of her own on Lester with a minute left in the jam. Both jammers returned to play but neither were able to break the pack in the final seconds of the jam, letting Windy escape the Denver comeback with a 138-132 win for an undefeated record at Golden Bowl III.