DETROIT,MI—Since all of D2 is within 20 rankings of each other, it makes for tournaments chalk full of close match-ups. Game 9 featured bitter rivals, Nashville and Naptown (#48) who played each other in their first games ever. Each of the three times these teams have met, Naptown won. The game proved to be evenly matched despite some discrepancies in the stats.
Nashville earned more lead calls but struggled to convert; Nashville initially gave up fewer power jams but Naptown was more successful pouncing on every opportunity they were given. Only in the last 10 minutes of the game was one team able to pull away and sustain momentum. With the chance to qualify for Champs in St. Paul on the line, Nashville stepped up and took down their arch nemesis Naptown, 233-209.
Lady Fury for the Nashville Music City All-Stars opened things up with 4 points, but two of their blockers sat in the box. Naptown took the next lead call, allowing Cherry-oto-Fire to respond with 4 of her own. Blocker penalties became an issue for Naptown, at this point none of their skaters were in penalty trouble, but the frequency that they left only two blockers to defend against Nashville. They began to pay the price on the scoreboard and in lead percentages. Nashville continued to capitalize on the pack advantage with a nice offensive sweep off the line, and made two more scoring passes.
After a run of penalties, allowing Nashville to pull away slightly, Naptown called a team timeout. Naptown emerged from that to earn the first lead jammer call in 6 jams. After a star pass by Nashville, Scorpiopathic for Naptown chose to let the jam run and collect scoring passes while the pivot-turned-jammer struggled to escape the pack, resulting in a huge 27-point jam, followed by a 19 point jam that placed them in the lead, 64-58.
What followed was a series of scrappy, intense play that resulted in 4 back-to-back lead changes. The half closed with two back-to-back official reviews that were both denied.
In the first half Nashville controlled the clock with higher lead percentages but were not able to convert lead calls into points, as Naptown’s blockers were successful at protecting points and Naptown’s jammers were able to get out soon enough to put pressure on the Music City All-Stars.
In the last jam of the half, Naptown was able to steal 2 points to Nashville’s 1, ending the half with Nashville up, 93-87.
The second half opened with more back and forth play, with neither team able to create momentum that lasted beyond a jam. A series of jammer penalties on both sides paved the way for Naptown to take the lead. During power jams in their favor Naptown played effective offense, sending one blocker to draw Nashville’s attention for a few seconds, helping to create a larger lane for their jammer to pass through. With just 2 points separating the teams, Zip Drive was able to get a double grand slam on the power jam, and called it short to ice Naptown in the box. But Chelsea Dagger, went straight to the box on a back block, leaving Maiden America to pick up lead and 4 grand slams, to take the lead for Naptown, 120-108.
In a quick turn of events, Scorpiopathic picked up a forearm and had to take an extra lap adding more time to Lady Fury’s power jam. Lady Fury drew a high block and a forearm and thinned out the pack even further, calling the jam after 33 points which set Nashville up by 21.
Soon after, Chelsea Dagger headed to the box on a back block off the line, and Scorpiopathic soared over the apex, retaking the lead for Naptown 150-146. In the next jam, Lady Fury picked up a grand slam to put Nashville back in the lead by 1 point.
Naptown blockers filed to the box late in the game, including Dora The Destroyer who fouled out after 26 jams. Nashville was ready to take advantage of the thinned out pack, and outscored Naptown in the final quarter of the game, 77-42.
Naptown earned lead in the last two jams and with 1 second left on the clock, they called an official review with Nashville in the lead, 228-192. Nashville followed up with an official review of their own, asking for game to be called because they felt that Naptown called the official review after time expired. The officials confirmed that at the time the review was called there was 0.74 seconds left on the clock and there would be one more jam. Naptown sent Scorpiopathic to the line, who finished the game with 103 points, to face Lady Fury.
In the final jam Scorpiopathic won lead jammer, while Lady Fury picked up a low block, providing the perfect opportunity for Naptown to come from behind and extend their winning streak against Nashville, but needed at least 36 points just to tie it. The Nashville blockers had other ideas, knocking out and recycling Scorpiopathic while her blockers hung back. Despite being held up in the pack Naptown was able to add to their score but it was not enough, and for the first time, the Nashville Music City All-Stars defeated Naptown, 233-209.
Nashville will advance to the final of D2: Detroit and continue on the Champs in November. Naptown will have to settle for fighting for the bronze here in Detroit, tomorrow at 4pm (EDT).