ST. PAUL, MN– The first half of this matchup was full of fast jams, incomplete scoring passes, and quick call offs which resulted in 5 lead changes and 1 tied score. #10 Arch Rival went into halftime with the lead by 23 points and maintained a small cushion for almost all of the second half, until #8 Jacksonville took advantage of some late slip ups, resuming the lead and ending the game. New Jax City will take on #1 Gotham tomorrow at 2pm CST after their 8 point victory today.
Arch Rival started the game taking the back wall off the jam start, which helped Brickyard earn the first lead, but it worked against them as she was forced to call it off with Jackson hot on her heels. The second jam got off to a confusing start as ARRG almost had no jammer on the track, but Bricktator jumped on after Krispy already got lead and forced her to call it off after just 3, giving Jacksonville the first lead. The first official review was called 4 minutes and 35 seconds into the half with no resulting changes.
There are generally two types of jammers, patient pushers or toe-tappy footworkers, and this game saw a mix for both teams. Mighty Mighty Boston’s quick jukes gave her no headway against the immovable Jacksonville wall. Jamsterella earned lead and also gave up the first power jam with a cut that sent Boston on a 15 point jam, taking the lead for Arch Rival 15-11.
Brickyard was able to add a grand slam to Arch Rival’s lead while K. Sieber, Chewblocka and Jamheiser Bush clung to Jackson, but an ARRG jammer penalty in the next jam allowed Jacksonville to re-take the lead. Swanson sat with an out of bounds blocking penalty and with 20 minutes left Krispy Kreme-Her added 18 points, putting them up 29-21.
Things settled down as nearly every jam for the rest of half was a low-scoring and racing call off for either team. Arch Rival held the slight advantage in lead jammer percentage in this period, and after adding Harmony Killerbruise into the rotation, to the delight of ARRG and Minnesota (her former team) fans in turn 3, they had a 5-skater scoring arsenal to keep Jacksonville on their toes.
Arch Rival blockers also kept changing things by either taking the front line or the pivot line, but when Jacksonville had a full pack on the track, they were hard to navigate. Stephanie Gentz, Fancy Schmancy, and Legs R Us utilized a power triangle that could cover the width of the track with ease, and catch jammers when they thought they had an exit route. Jacksonville struggled with forearms and direction of play calls however, which left gaps in their defense.
As the halftime break was drawing near, Arch Rival first tied the game, and then took the lead a few jams later while Sieber took Jackson out to ensure that Swanson could pick up at least 3 points. Krispy Kreme-Her got lead for Jacksonville next however, and that bounced the lead back to them by 3 points with 8 minutes left.
The pack started to get frantic, and as packs thinned out and got pulled apart, blockers had to race away from oncoming jammers. After numerous small point increments, a power jam for Arch Rival let Bricktator add 10 points which put them back in the lead by 5. Despite the following power start, Swanson ended up in the penalty box but was followed up by pivot Patti Smithereens who was holding the star. While ARRG blockers ran back Jamsterella again and again, Bricktator closed out the half with a 14 point jam, putting the score in their hands 80-57.
Jacksonville returned from the half by picking up the first 2 lead calls and closing the gap to 7 points after Jamsterella added 3 and Jackson put up 13. Arch Rival responded to that with the next 4 lead status calls and extended their advantage to 96-73. This run also included a power jam when Jackson’s speed earned her a back block.
As the loose, speeding packs resumed, Jacksonville did a good job picking off opposing blockers to get small points for their jammers. For the following ten minutes ARRG maintained their 20-point advantage by matching any points that Jacksonville got and springing their jammer quickly when they weren’t lead.
The final 8 minutes got more interesting for Jacksonville and big point grabs started to matter more as the clock was ticking down. Dueling power jams gave 10 points to Bricktator but 18 points for Erin Jackson shortened ARRG’s lead to 12 points. Bricktator’s penalty ran into the next jam and she was able to earn lead from the box but in trying to waste some clock with a last second call off, she allowed Krispy Kreme-Her to sneak in 3 points.
With 5 minutes left, it looked like Arch Rival would run their score back up, but as Brickyard got worked over by a tough Jacksonville pack, she picked up a cut and Krispy Kreme-Her brought it to a 6-point game after 3 grand slams. With a power start to follow, Jacksonville fielded Erin Jackson who was able to take the lead back for her team by 6 points and under a minute left on the clock.
Arch Rival called a timeout, and with a consecutive team timeouts by Jacksonville, Erin Jackson was well-rested to resume jamming duties again next to Bricktator. With the pack advantage Jackson sped out for lead and after both scored points while the clock ran out, the Jacksonville Rollergirls still had the lead 149-141. They win the chance to play Gotham tomorrow afternoon.
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