NIAGARA FALLS, NY — Coming into the semifinals at the North Central Playoffs, it was widely expected that 1NC Windy City would have little trouble with 5NC Ohio but 2NC Minnesota and 3NC Naptown would have a tight one. Reality would not comply, as Minnesota jumped all over Naptown early and squashed the uncharacteristically ineffective Indianapolis crew, 283-86.
Almost nothing went right for the Tornado Sirens from start to finish. A very lopsided jammer penalty count kept Naptown from gaining any traction at all in the first half, as they lost their jammer six times against none for Minnesota; by the time the game was over, Naptown jammers had been boxed 10 times in the game against just once for Minnesota. Minnesota’s defense excelled at setting up nearly impenetrable walls that thoroughly frustrated the opposing jammers. As if all that wasn’t enough, Naptown lost key double-threat Majestic for the game and presumably the season on a broken fibula in the first half.
The first jam went to Minnesota’s Harmony Killerbruise in a 5-0, and things continued to go badly early for Naptown as they lost jammer Maiden America to the box on jam 2 while L’exi Cuter picked up 14. It looked like Amooze Bouche would manage to chip some off that lead on jam 3 when she claimed lead with an apex jump past Juke Boxx, but she’d eventually go to the box as well and the jam went 10-8 for Minnesota. Right out of the blocks, Naptown was stuck in a 29-8 hole.
Minnesota kept it up with a 10-0 next, and the 5th jam began with a 4-2 pack favoring Minnesota jammer L’exi Cuter, who pulled a 4-0 while icing both Naptown blockers in the box. When Minnesota’s Medusa claimed a quick lead status and scrambled her way past tough blocking from Enya Grave and Asian Sinsation for two scoring passes, it was a quick solid advantage for Minnesota at 53-8. Rocked back on their heels, Naptown called their first timeout with 19:22 to play in the first half.
The timeout worked out temporarily, as Majestic claimed 4-0 and Maiden America added 5 more on the next. That made it 53-17 with 17 minutes in the half, but after four jam wins in a row for Minnesota — with the second beginning a lengthy power play as Amooze Bouche committed back-to-back majors as jammer — Minnesota had increased their lead to a dominant 94-18 with about 11 minutes in the half.
It was 107-21 with seven minutes in the half when Naptown picked up their fifth jammer penalty of the game; that led to a 13-0 Harmony Killerbruise run that made it a 99 point game at 120-21. A bad situation became even worse for Naptown on the next jam, as key double-threat Majestic went down on the infield and had to be carried off the track — after a trip to the hospital, it was confirmed to be a fibula break. Piper Sonic would replace her in the Naptown jammer rotation.
The final jam of the half was yet another power jam favoring Minnesota as Piper Sonic was boxed. Diamond Rough, Shiva Shankn, Naughty Kitty and Scarmen Hellectra controlled the pack for Medusa, who put up 10-0 and iced Piper in the box to end the half. At the break, Minnesota had shocked the normally raucous Naptown fans into near-silence with a highly unexpected 131-22 lead.
The second half started with a bright spot for Naptown as Piper burst out of the box to claim lead and 4-0, but it wouldn’t last. Jam 2 resulted in the 7th Naptown jammer penalty of the game — to Maiden America — and Minnesota’s lead swelled to 148-30.
By the time there were 15 minutes to play, Minnesota had all but dismantled Naptown, holding a 188-49 lead with most of Naptown’s points allowed by Minnesota in trade for killing penalty time. Minnesota broke the century mark for the second time at the 12 minute mark at 210-58 during yet another Naptown jammer penalty. The final score of 283-86 was Naptown’s biggest loss in their six-year history.
The win sets up a huge rematch in the tournament championship game, as Minnesota will face the Windy City team they played to a 155-155 tie in June; that game goes down at 6pm Sunday. Naptown has a chance for redemption and another trip to Championships in the 4pm third-place game, but will have to stop a hot Ohio team to do so.