DETROIT, MI-The final game of the 2015 Division 2 WFTDA playoffs in Detroit, Michigan brought together #1 tournament seed Nashville and #2 seed Sacred City in arguably the most exciting game of the weekend. While both teams brought might and determination to this battle of defensive strength and jammer wit, Nashville ultimately emerged victorious, claiming lead in the final jam, taking a 194 to 189 win over their opponent.
Nashville’s Music City All Stars started the battle for gold looking strong and cohesive, holding a small but steady lead over the Sacred City Sacrificers for the duration of the first half. Both teams brought strong defense into this game, but early penalty trouble for Sacred City blockers gave Nashville the opportunity to take a significant lead by jam 7, the score sitting at 52 to 15 with 20:30 left in the half.
Not to be easily overtaken, Sacred City maintained consistent and focused game play over the next several jams. Both teams experienced penalty troubles, but Sacred seemed better equipped at taking advantage of these and the holes in Nashville’s gameplay. Sacred quietly continued putting points up. Nashville’s Lady Fury, who was the hero of yesterday’s game against Naptown, struggled in much of the first half, getting 3 penalties as jammer across two jams.
By the last few jams of the first half, Nashville solidified their defense, but Sacred was still able to work their way to a much closer point margin. Chelsea Dagger, who announced her end-of-season retirement at the beginning of this tournament, was a strong jammer for Nashville during the entire tournament, and this game was no exception. Ariel-LA-Twister, Pink Freud and The 4Closer were pivotal jammers for Sacred. With both teams fighting hard at the end of the first half, Sacred was able to bring the score 99 to 97 in favor of Nashville at the half.
Coming into the second half, Sacred City initially looked like a new team. They were steadily holding Nashville’s jammers, and took their first lead of the game in the first jam, the score 101 to 99 in favor of Sacred City. Nashville quickly reclaimed lead in the following jam, 103 to 101.
Nashville was able to maintain lead over Sacred for the next several jams, but their lead did not extend to more than 10 points at any point. Both teams looked frantic by jam 7, seeming to have lost the calm they both came into the second half with. By jam 8, with 20:45 left in the half, Sacred took lead over Nashville, 127-119. They maintained this lead through solid defense and took advantage of Nashville’s jammer penalty issues, namely in Lady Fury, who racked up two penalties in two jams once again in this half.
Sacred began a steady stream of blocker foul outs halfway through the second half. Gnar Gnar Jinx fouled out first, followed by Annie Anklebiter and Rose Villain later in the game. In spite of this, Sacred increased their lead over the Music City All Stars 150 to 135 with 14:45 left to play. At this point, the game belonged to anyone, but it was clear Nashville would need to reclaim the strength and cohesion they brought into the game.
Nashville did just that. With 8:40 left to play, Nashville’s defense strengthened and they were able to reclaim lead over Sacred, albeit small. 169 to 163. They maintained this lead for the next several minutes of game play, but Sacred was hot on their trail, the score sitting 177 to 174 with 4:16 left to play.
Lady Fury increased Nashville’s lead 184 to 174 with 3:00 left to play, but Sacred was not going out of this game without a fight. Sacred City tied the game with 1:47 left to play. Nashville took a time out to regroup, but Sacred came into the next jam taking the lead again, 188 to 184 Sacred City favor, 1:12 left to play. Nashville took yet another timeout, and in the next jam, Ariel-LA-Twister took lead for Sacred, increasing their lead 189 to 184, 0:38 left to play.
Taking their final timeout, Nashville took a risk and put Lady Fury in as jammer, with 5 penalties and some inconsistent game play overall in this game. Lady Fury took lead quickly, and Ariel-LA-Twister took a game-ending trip to the penalty box. Lady Fury cleanly completed her pass through the majority of Sacred’s strong defensive wall, called the jam, and won the game 194 to 189.
Nashville will go on to play Demolition City, the second place team from Cleveland’s playoffs, in St. Paul this November.