Cleveland, OH — Sunday morning’s schedule kicked off bright and early, pitting #4 Treasure Valley (#49) against #3 Columbia (#46) in the battle for 9th place in Division 2 Cleveland. Both teams had yet to claim a win this weekend, each returning to the track after some disappointing losses against lower-seeded opponents.
Perhaps it was Columbia’s razor-thin loss to Jet City by 1 point yesterday that spurred their skaters on to victory today- but to Treasure Valley’s credit, this competition was hardly an easy one to win. Columbia came back from a halftime deficit to claim 9th place, 133-129.
The very first jam set a slow and grueling pace as we saw about 45 seconds tick by before Columbia’s Poison Violet took lead jammer status. A pattern quickly emerged that would prove to hold throughout the game; when these two leagues could avoid penalty troubles and keep all of their skaters on the track, their tight walls and recycling proved difficult for jammers on both sides. As the pendulum of penatly troubles swung back and forth, each team took various turns holding a small to moderate lead before running into their own troubles as their opponents answered back with the same. This really could have been anybody’s game, right up until the last jam which ended in the QuadSquad’s 4-point win.
Columbia’s lead scorer, Poison Violet (46 points total this bout) drew first blood, eventually breaking out at the front of the pack and picking up 4 quick points to get the QuadSquad on the board. Columbia’s Do U Juana, who picked up 45 total points for her team, also emerged early on as a force to be dealt with on the jammer line. However, despite the best efforts of Treasure Valley’s jammer rotation (led by Demolition Barbie with a total 56 points), they just could not pull away far enough to keep the momentum going in their favor despite a strong effort and a lead jammer percentage nearly double that of Columbia’s in the second half. Between blocker penalties removing much of their pack, and a total of 10 jammer penalties allowing plenty of power jams against them, Treasure Valley ultimately saw this bout barely slip through their fingertips at its conclusion.
Treasure Valley was not alone in their woes, however, and the tight score throughout is a testament to the fact that Columbia had very similar troubles happening on the track. Columbia saw 9 of their own jammer penalties, including a forearm against Angrybird-T just after receiving a star pass with about 13 minutes to go in the first half, allowing Treasure Valley to open up a 46-28 lead. A couple of additional power jams for Treasure Valley started to tip the scale more favorably in their direction leading up to the half, until Treasure Valley jammer Udaho was sent to the box, giving Poison Violet the chance to close things up again to within 10 points. At halftime, the score stood at 61-57, 4 points in Treaure Valley’s favor – a situation that Columbia would end up reversing exactly over the course of the second period.
Despite starting the second half with their jammer in the box, Columbia seemed to use their new bench nearer to the jam line to their advantage, closing the small gap and moving back into the lead early on – but Treasure Valley would not be going quietly. Halfway through the second period, the teams were still battling back and forth in a 1-point game. The tides continued turning as Treasure Valley’s Cruel La La picked up an illegal procedure penalty for calling the jam without lead status, returning to the track only to cut the apex, giving Columbia the chance to pull ahead by 4 points with 12 minutes to go.
With two minutes left on the clock, Columbia’s 9-point lead was instantly threatened by Udaho taking lead and putting up a quick 4 points before calling it off with less than 1 minute remaining. Each team called a timeout before what would be the final jam, bringing Poison Violet and Demolition Barbie to the line to face off one last time. As the final seconds ticked by, Poison Violet dedicated much of her effort to hold back Demolition Barbie in order to hold on to their small lead. No lead jammer was called for over 1:30 into the jam, as each jammer worked carefully to avoid penalties at the last moment. Violet’s defensive jamming efforts ultimately paid off as the final whistle blew with Columbia still in the lead by 4 points, 133-129.
Both teams depart this tournament placing lower than anticipated, but Treasure Valley has ultimately sealed their spot in 10th place after this third loss of the weekend.
Head over to our Cleveland Central page for more scores and recaps.