CLEVELAND, OH— Game 2 of the 2015 International WFTDA Playoffs between the #8 seed Jet City Bombers (#57) and the #9 seed Oklahoma Victory Dolls (#58) was a battle to see who could keep their players out of the box. The penalty heavy game resulted in Jet City having three key players fouling out opposed to Oklahoma only having one skater leave the track early.
Though Oklahoma suffered a sting of jammer penalties in the first half, the tables turned in the second half when Jet City led the way with jammer penalties. Once Oklahoma cleaned up their play, they began to climb back, taking control of the game. The Victory Dolls upset the Bombers, 222-190, and will advance to face the #1 seed Santa Cruz (#42) later today.
The game opened up quickly in Jet City’s favor with a 15-8 lead after they broke through the pack first, but without gaining lead. Jammer penalties began to trouble Oklahoma in the second jam when Fatal Inferno was sent to the penalty box twice in a row. After a power start for Jet City, Chic-lets Rock picked up a low block just as Fatal Inferno returned to the track before collecting her third penalty, a track cut, in three jams. After seven minutes and three power jams in Jet City’s favor, Jet City led 31-13.
The jammer penalties against Oklahoma continued leaving Jet City in control of the clock and alone on the track. Soon after, OKVD was given an opportunity to close the gap as Eva Derci was sent out, the Victory Dolls took advantage of the power jam and cut the differential by 11 points.
When Oklahoma was able to field a jammer in the first half, Jet City used an interesting and effective defensive formation: a tripod at the back with the 4th blocker skating backwards on the other side of Oklahoma’s wall. The tripod stopped the jammer, while the separated player watched for the star pass and was in position to set a screen for their jammer as she engaged Oklahoma’s wall. Even when Jet City was down a blocker they still chose to leave one in front. The strategy worked best when Nasty Nikki Nightstick held the top position, and was able to catch Oklahoma’s jammer for just a second so that the other blockers were able to waterfall and join her. Oklahoma preferred to grab the jam line and set up in a four wall with bracing sides, which played into Jet City’s formation.
While the Victory Dolls struggled with jammer penalties, Jet City’s blockers were the main cause of penalties late in the half for the Bombers. Nasty Nikki was a key piece in Jet City’s wall, but received 3 penalties in three straight jams. With her off the track Oklahoma was able to escape the pack much faster, gaining lead for a string of jams. Halfway though the first half, Oklahoma steadily closed the gap though smart call offs and a few power jams.
In a move that is rarely executed effectively, Oklahoma’s Polly Punching Pocket knocked out Whoa Nellie! and recycled her all the way around the track where she was met by the pack who were able to capture the Jet City jammer. The move enabled Oklahoma to close the gap, and take the lead in the next jam.
The blocker penalties for Jet City continued to mount late in the half especially for Nasty Nikki, who picked up penalty number five with eight minutes to go in the first half, and Star Ta Riot who received 6 penalties.
In the next jam, Jet City responded—despite losing blockers to the box—retaking the lead 76-73. Oklahoma earned lead jammer status and took it back in the next jam, 78-76.
At the half: Oklahoma barely led 97-96.
The second half began with a power start for Jet City, but a track cut on Eva Derci gave a power jam to Oklahoma. After a star pass to Menace, Oklahoma added to their lead slightly.
In the second half, jammer penalties in addition to continuing blocker penalties hurt Jet City. Star Ta Riot picked up her seventh and final penalty in the first jam of the second half. Oklahoma gained lead status after Whoa Nellie! was assessed a misconduct penalty for making contact with a downed skater, giving Oklahoma their second power jam of the half.
While Jet City had a few power jam opportunities to close the gap, they were never able to retake the lead. The speed of the game changed dramatically from the first half of play and a racing pack played into Oklahoma’s favor, allowing their jammers the space to juke and cut around blockers. Through the half, Jet City struggled to maintain a wall, often finding themselves split up and playing as individuals when the Victory Dolls pushed the pace of the pack.
With 9:30 left in the game, Nasty Nikki Nightstick fouled out. As Jet City crept up in the score after a string of lead calls, they caught a break as T Pain from Oklahoma went to the box, but moments later a track cut sent Eva Derci to the penalty box as well.
Jet City cut the difference to 26 with just under six minutes to go but unfortunately, two more penalties against Chic-lets Rock allowed Oklahoma to push their lead. Chic-lets Rock fouled out in the last jam of the game, as well as Mount Crushmore, a key blocker for Oklahoma.
Oklahoma Victory Dolls won, 222-190 and will advance to play #1 seed Santa Cruz at 6pm EDT. Jet City will play again tomorrow at 12pm EDT against #3 seed Columbia QuadSquad. Watch the games live on WFTDA.tv.
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