TUCSON,AZ- #6 Team United (#22) and #5 Charm City (#19) took the track for the 7th place game, and both found themselves fighting for a lower finish, due to penalties taking control of their previous games. That pitfall in their performances continued throughout this match up, and they handed the momentum off to each other like a baton, as one or the other found themselves in a penalty trap.
Charm City took an early lead, but things tightened up in the second quarter of the game, and stayed that way with repeat small points swings in each direction. Team United pushed ahead when it mattered, however, and in the last jam with Niki Cash seated in the box, they confirmed their first playoff placement at 7th place, 191-165.
In their prior games, Des Moines mostly utilized Sunami as a blocker, but she was the first to take the line for them this time, and it worked well with the first lead and 7 points. Lolo Gunz went out next, but got out of the pack with the help of a forearm, and that penalty let Dottie Deathwish score two grand slams, taking the lead for Charm City.
Je NE Sais Quoi filled out United’s 3-jammer rotation, and sped through for a quick 4 points, taking the lead back by 1 point. They were down a jammer for this bout as EnerGEEzer Bunny was reportedly out sick for this game.
Earning one more total penalty at 49 to Charm’s 48 however, Team United faced some issues first, allowing Charm City to take leads again and push the score to 47-15 with three big jams by Holly Gohardly, Dottie Deathwish, and Niki Cash.
It was United’s turn to take charge, and they held Charm City to just 4 points over 7 jams while they staged a comeback. With the help of a double power jam, Je NE Sais Quoi put up 18 points to bring the game closer at 47-42.
Both teams attempted offensive moves while both jammers were in the pack, but at this point in the game, Team United was reforming around them, holding on to Cash while Je NE Sais Qoui added 9 more unanswered points. In the last jam of United’s scoring run, both jammers took over a minute for anyone to finish the initial pass, and Sunami returned to only pick up 3 more, setting the score at 67-51, Des Moines leading with 9 minutes left in the half.
Part of Charm’s lack of lead calls may have been due to pack disadvantage at the jam start, but they also took the front defensive line, leaving about 8 feet of space. Whether they were doing this intentionally to try and force Team United to move up, or they just enjoy more blocking space, it was allowing the powerful United jammers room to move and push their walls out of play. Lolo powered too hard through their wall however, giving another power jam opportunity to CCRG. This put She-Bear to work in her first jam of the game, and she was able to pick up 2 grand slams, but with 4 to Lolo at the end of a full 2 minute jam, United held a slim 10 point lead, 71-61.
Vyolent GriMm took the star for the first time next, and after Thunder Cat folded Dottie into a back block with a backwards hip hit, GriMm had a power jam while Dottie took lead status with her to the box. GriMm stayed patient and let her blockers work offense for her, but was forced into her own penalty when she stumbled back onto the track after a hit. At the end of the chaos, Des Moines managed to stay ahead and increase their lead to 24 points.
Close to the end of the half, Holly Go Hardly tumbled with an opposing blocker, and unable to recover, the jam was called. She ultimately spent time with the EMTs, returning to the bench with an ice pack in the second half, but did not see any more game play.
At the halftime break, United held onto the lead, 103-83, with Je NE Sais Quoi as the lead scorer for Des Moines at 36 points and Dottie scoring more than half of Charm’s at 50.
Dottie and Cash took on most of the jamming for the second half, with She-Bear as relief, but penalties started to take their toll on the former two. With power jam opportunities, Team United’s Karried Away and Synyster Skates attempted quick and powerful offensive moves, but now it was Charm who could recycle quicky, dissolving Des Moines’s 1 on 1 strategy. Colleen Best often came out of nowhere for CCRG, either springing her jammers or pulling penalties on United’s. Playing over half the game, it wore on her with 6 box trips, but she did finish the game out on the track.
Charm City started the second half strong again, re-taking the lead with bigger scores when they had power jam opportunities. Dottie kept their small lead up with her fancy toestop side-stepping around the outside, but United worked their way back at the 15 minute mark. Their work paid off, and with 11 minutes left, the score tied up at 136.
It became genuinely anyone’s game as the teams traded power jams, as well as the game lead. At this point, the penalties started to weigh heavy as United’s jammer rotation took a hit with Lolo getting benched for awhile at 5 penalties, and Charm City losing Free Radical and Hittsburgh to foul outs.
Down by 10 points, Je NE Sais Quoi pulled of a 19-point jam which put them in the lead by 9, and GriMm followed up with 5 more. In what looked like the last jam, Je NE Sais Quoi took the star again, getting lead and a quick 5 points, but with Dottie out of the pack as well, she called the jam with 11 seconds left.
Charm City used their last timeout to have another try at the win, but Cash ended up in the penalty box after snagging lead, and at the end of the two minutes, Team United finally secured 7th place with a 191-165 win.
Catch up on all the scores and games from the weekend at our Tucson Central.