Columbia, SC – The final game of the WFTDA Division 1 playoffs in Columbia brought together #1 seed Rose City and #3 seed Denver, both teams coming off of two hard-fought wins throughout the weekend. While Rose City held a strong lead for the duration of the game, consistently scoring 6.5 points to every 3.5 points for Denver, both teams displayed the strong defense and incredible jammer talent expected at this level of play. Denver put up a noble fight against the reigning world champions, but in the end, Rose City’s all-around consistently strong gameplay earned them the gold medal in this tournament, winning 250-137.
In the first jam of this game, Denver’s Wilhelm took the line against Loren Mutch, getting lead jammer for Denver. Mutch was not far behind her, and Wilhelm was forced to call the jam, taking two points. This was the only time Denver would have a lead over Rose City in this game but not because of any lack of effort on Denver’s part. The second jam really set the tone for the rest of the game, with Scald Eagle getting lead very quickly for Rose over Denver’s Klein. Scald flew through the pack twice nearly untouched, landing one of her infamous apex jumps to bring the score 9 to 2 in favor of Rose.
In the next few jams, Denver and Rose both obtained lead jammer status equally, with jammers frequently finding holes on the inside or outside line very quickly after the first whistle. However, in spite of even lead jammer status, Rose was generally able to get at least three scoring passes in before being forced to call it when lead, while Denver was typically forced to call it after taking only a few points. This allowed Rose to steadily increase their consistent lead over Denver. With just under 20 minutes left in the half, the score was 59 to 23.
During the first ten minutes, Scald also received her first of four penalties of the game, which may have kept her from scoring as many points as she may have otherwise, but it did not seem to impact the Wheels of Justice’s gameplay – Rose was able to kill penalties well in this game, making it hard for Denver to take full advantage of these situations.
About halfway through the first half, Denver completed one of their first attempted star passes of many throughout this game, with Wilhelm passing the star to Akers who was able to put four points up for Denver. With Scald Eagle as her opposition in this jam, however, Rose took 19 points in this jam, the score 78 to 30 with 16 minutes left in the half.
Denver took lead in the next four jams, holding Rose scoreless for four consecutive jams, but not taking many points of their own. With 11 minutes left in the half, the score was 78 to 46 in Rose City’s favor.
The Mile High Club encountered some jammer penalty trouble over the next few jams that allowed Rose to put some points up for the first time in several jams. Klein went to the box on a multiplayer, giving Licker *N* Split the chance to score some points for the Wheels of Justice. She called the jam before Klein came back in, and the following jam began on a power jam. Denver regained some control during this time, holding Rose scoreless for two more jams, the score 87 to 55 with 6:45 left in the half.
Frisky Biscuits, a transfer from Santa Cruz, had a 15-point jam for Rose that put them ahead 102 to 55 with 4:43 left to play. After this jam, Denver requested an Official Review of a low block penalty on jammer Curtis, but the call stood. In the following jam, Licker *N* Split came out very strong out of the gate, but quickly got an elbow penalty. This allowed Curtis to come in off of her penalty and get through for lead. Licker came back in, and Curtis got a back block penalty sending her back to the box. After this game of jammer penalty tag, Rose’s lead increased, even more, the score 117 to 59 with 2:30 left.
Rose finished out this half with strong defense that almost made it look like there were more than four blockers on the floor at times because they were seemingly everywhere on the track. A power jam in Rose’s favor in the final jam of the first half allowed them to take 12 more points, the score 129 to 67 at the half.
The second half of this final game went much as the first, the scoring, penalty, and lead jammer stats from this half nearly identical to the first. Both teams jammers were still consistently finding room on the inside and outside lines to tiptoe around strong defensive walls to get lead. Denver did not get lead as frequently in the second half as the first, taking it only about 35% in the second (opposed to 61% in the first). This, coupled with some jammer penalty trouble cost Denver in this half and allowed Rose to play their infamous strong offensive game, continuing to outscore Denver time and again. With just under 20 minutes left to play, the score was 168 to 82.
In spite of the score difference, Denver was certainly playing a tough game against Rose, frequently forcing jammers back and making Rose really work for the points they were scoring. After a much-needed timeout, Denver picked up a little speed and their defense seemed to tighten up. Unfortunately, they were still unable to match Rose offensively, and with 13 minutes left to play, the score stood 205 to 96.
In jam 12 of this half, Scald Eagle quickly got called on a misconduct near turn one, her fourth penalty of the game. This gave Denver a power jam opportunity, but they were not able to take advantage of this. Scald came back in and took 10 points and combined with strong defense, held Denver scoreless. The score stood 233 to 100 with 8:45 left to play.
As the clock wound down, both teams continued their slow, gritty defense, frequently holding their opponent’s jammers behind barely moving braced walls. Jammers were still finding holes on the inside lines on both teams. With just under four minutes left to play, Rose was ahead 250 to 116. Denver dug in for the last two jams, holding Rose scoreless and taking lead in both. Curtis took lead for Denver while Frisky Biscuits came out of the box from a last second penalty in the previous jam. She passed the star to Scald, but Curtis took four points and called the jam before Scald could put any up for Rose.
In the final jam, Loren Mutch came in a bit aggressively and went to the box on a forearm penalty shortly after Klein obtained lead for Denver. Klein used some impressive footwork to put up 17 total points for Denver in this jam. This was not nearly enough to catch Rose, however, and the jam ended naturally, Rose City taking the win 250 to 137.