TUCSON, AZ- Game 3 was slated to be an exciting match up, with the up and coming #6 Des Moines United taking on #3 Arch Rival 4 months after ARRG beat them by just 38 points. Few had gotten that close to the St. Louis team who has dominated their 2015 season with a 13-1 sanctioned record. Des Moines was looking to come out strong in their first tournament, but struggled to put up the points they needed to keep up with Arch Rival.
Arch Rival’s consistent game and penalty control helped them take advantage of the penalty heavy United team, taking the win 241-76, advancing them to the semi-final round, and the furthest ARRG has gotten in post-season play.
Arch Rival opened up the game with a 20-point power jam by Brickyard while Je NE Sais Quoi sat in the box. Scoring slowed down after that as both side’s defense locked down and made the jammers work for every point. Lolo Gunz grabbed a grand slam with the help of offense by Vyolent GriMm in jam 2 while Bricktator was held up by United blockers trading backwards holds.
Arch Rival picked up the next four leads, but one of those was after Kayci Gallion passed the star to GriMm. She was able to earn a grand slam before Harmony Killerbruise finally made it out of the pack with lead and called it. Des Moines helped keep ARRG’s next jams minimal by getting their jammer out quickly. With 22 minutes left in the half, the score sat at 29-10 in Arch Rival’s favor.
Des Moines tried to gain an edge by taking the back wall with all four of their blockers on the track. At full power, Lolli Pop Ya was able to provide offense for EnerGEEzer Bunny, who earned lead but only 2 points with Bricktator hot on her heels.
Gallion, a recent transfer from Brewcity, lined up against Swanson to follow but got stuck behind a relentless wall of K. Seiber, Mayor Frances Slayer, and Jamheiser Bush. Swanson was able to pick up 2 grand slams before Gallion passed the star to Sunami, but the damage was done at 11 unanswered points and ARRG advanced their score to 40-12 with under 20 minutes left.
When United could keep their blockers on the track, their walls were tough and puncuated with aggressive kockout blows. They traded lead and points for a few more jams until Des Moines gave up another power jam and 15 points to Swanson.
Down by nearly 50 points, United put Vyolent GriMm on the jam line, after she had been on the receiving end of multiple star passes. She was able to get lead but no points with Harmony right behind her, so she went right back to the line. The second time was less successful as she picked up a back block which sent Mighty Mighty Boston on a power jam. Des Moines helped kill the penalty a bit by keeping Boston to just 7 points.
Arch Rival’s jammers were taking the line with fresh feet every time with a 5-deep rotation, while Des Moines was already changing up their 4 jammers, forcing some to play double duty. Lolli Pop Ya took the star as well, but also a penalty, adding to her already rising total.
The jammer penalties continued for a few more jams, and with under five minutes left in the half, Arch Rival led 116-33. Des Moines was able to add 8 more points before the half ended, and they left for halftime down, 125-41.
Des Moines has been notoriously penalty heavy in the past, and with playoff level officiating, they had certified critical eyes on them. But also in the past, they had led some impressive comebacks in the second half, keeping teams like Rocky Mountain on their toes until the last jam.
In the second half, Des Moines did a better job keeping their jammers out of the box, but was having a harder time earning lead jammer status. With Arch Rival’s large jammer crew, they were likely not tiring as quickly as the frustrated United jammers.
The game started to take it’s toll on Des Moines’ blockers as well, as Lolli picked up her 6th penalty, she was sat for a quarter of the second half. Later in the period, they also added Sunami to the jammer rotation and she was able to add just 3 more points.
Arch Rival’s pack awareness and timing was key in this half, at continuing their grip on scoring. Often when United had a strong back wall, they would clump to the inside, allowing ARRG to open up the outside lane. Sieber also highlighted how well they work 1 on 1, holding Bunny at the back of the pack, and then rushing to the front to catch her again.
Arch Rival did give up 3 jammer penalties late in the half, but Des Moines had quite the deficit to overcome. As a testament to their defense though, they did hold Mighty Mighty Boston long enough for Bunny to score 8 points and force Boston to try and pass the star.
At the culmination of the game, Arch Rival took a solid win, 241-76 and will take on Bay Area in game 4. Des Moines hits the consolation bracket tomorrow against #8 Arizona (#31).
Stay up to date on all this weekend’s scores and recaps at Tucson Central.