ST. PAUL, MN – It was evident throughout this game that #2 Rose City had woken up early this morning to take notes on #3 London’s game against Angel City earlier. The Wheels of Justice used that knowledge to strategically work the clock and seal off boundary lines while providing proper offense for their jammers. Unlike the previous slow and dense packwork of the Victoria and Texas game, this was a hard-hitting and chaotic game.
London played a much cleaner game than their morning match-up, and picked up more lead jammer statuses as the game went on, but Rose denied them from translating that into major points. Despite outscoring Rose in the second half and earning a 63% lead status, London ultimately came up short in the semi-final round, falling to Rose City by 12 points.
After the first game that day, it started to become clear that London seemed to prefer the benefit of extra space while starting the jam at the front, Rose immediately started the game at the pivot line. When the whistle blew, Serelson and Griffin quickly fell back to attack London’s power quad. Lexi Lightspeed was able to pick up the first lead status, but after getting sucked back in the pack Loren Mutch sped out and was back around to score 4 points before Lexi called it off. Rose City held London scoreless for two more jams while Scald Eagle added 4 and Licker*N*Split put up 7 to make it 15-0.
A momentary lead status went London’s way along with their first 2 points by Rogue Runner, but then Rose City claimed the next 4 leads. With that power, Rose’s bench signaled Scald Eagle to let the jam run longer so they could get their pivot out of the box and start the next jam with a full pack. It inadvertently worked out better for them as Lexi Lightspeed ended up with a track cut. After that 13-4 jam, Mutch’s speedy footwork was at full volume as she jumped the straightaway for 4 points. When that was followed by 4 more by Scald Eagle, it put the score at 36-6 with 20 minutes left in the half.
Scoring stayed slow for London as they struggled to earn lead or pick up large enough points to make a dent in Rose’s lead. Scald and Mutch’s fast moves helped them beat London at the boundary lines, and they continued to work the clock to keep their penalty box empty.
With 10 minutes left in the half, the pack started to calm down and jammers were forced to push on the strong braced triangle walls formed by both teams. Trisha Smackanawa struggled until she was forced into a cut, but Licker*N*Split couldn’t finish her initial pass for Rose until there were only 17 seconds left on the jam clock.
London’s blockers filed to the box in the next jam, leaving Juke Boxx alone on the track momentarily, while Scald Eagle was left to pick up points. As Rose City picked up the penalty bug, Scald’s attempts to use jam time to spring them from the box was unable to work, and they started the next jam with only Chestnut on the track. The Rose bench took a timeout in the meantime, waiting until the very last second to do so to keep the clock on their side.
With Rose’s full blocker box, Mainey was able to go on a scoring run that forced Licker into passing the star. The spread out pack gave her plenty of room to score, but the chaos resulted in a low block by Mainey while previous pivot Jamie True had the star. With 5 minutes left London’s 21 point jam brought the score to 80-53. In the last jam of the half, Mainey got her own power jam, adding 14 points that brought the score to 91-73 at the break.
The second half began with Rose City and London trading lead jammer status, back and forth for 7 jams. One of those leads took Mutch 45 seconds to obtain after London learned to lockdown the lines, with Shaolynn Scarlett and Kid Block denying Mutch again, and again. Once she did get out, Trisha Smackanawa passed the star to Kid Block, but the Rose bench again signaled Mutch to keep going. Against the tall blocking force of London, she could duck under the attempts to catch her and she added 13 points to 4 by Kid Block.
Following that, a double power jam happened after a star pass attempt gave Licker a forearm penalty, but Rogue Runner followed her to the box on a cut. Rogue’s penalty carried into the next jam, which benefitted Scald with a power start and the ability to gather points. At 20 minutes left in the period, Rose was beginning to extend their lead, 135-88.
London seemed to have Loren Mutch figured out by this point in the game, as they continued to deny her speed and kept her to just 5 points for the rest of the game. In fact, London’s Juke Boxx, Olivia Coupe, and Kid Block worked effectively to hold down defense while Arocha and Die Die offered up offense to keep Rose City to just 4 more lead calls. On paper, the second half in general looked like it was London’s game, as they outscored Rose City, earned fewer penalties, and held a 60% lead jammer status.
In the end Rose’s efficient clock management, and 50 point score cushion going into the final quarter of the game, was too much for London to match. Even a broken skate by Scald Eagle didn’t keep them from taking the win, 166-154. Rose City will make a return to the final game of Champs, taking on the winner of Gotham and Victoria at 6pm CST. (update after whoever wins.)
Find all our scores and recaps at Champs Central!