COLUMBIA, NC – Staying true to seeding, the #6 Santa Cruz Boardwalk Bombshells scratched #9 Ann Arbor’s Brawl Stars off the consolation bracket in order to advance to Game 10 against Rainy City Roller Derby later today at 4pm EDT. Ann Arbor Derby Dimes came in ranked 34th in the WFTDA with Santa Cruz at 23rd. Twelve scoreless jams in the first half really put the brakes to the Brawl Stars’ momentum, allowing a win for Santa Cruz 216 to 107 in the early morning game for Day 2.
Ann Arbor started their first showing in Division 1 Playoffs with their first loss to tournament host Columbia in an insanely close game by only 4 points. As a three-year-old squad, they have a lot to be proud of. Ann Arbor showed strength during penalty kills and in maintaining their tough brace walls which were more than enough to slow Santa Cruz but as the game wore on fatigue and inexperience set in. Santa Cruz was quick to pounce on every opportunity afforded them to take control in jam 3.
Striking first on the scoreboard was the Derby Dimes while the Boardwalk Bombshells took some time to wake up for a 7am game start time. Santa Cruz, as we saw in yesterday’s game against Denver, frequently used star stashes to counteract against the Brawl Stars’ amazing positional blocking technique. Dr. Maims U put on the clinic, shutting out the Bombshells for the first two jams.
Santa Cruz jumped ahead in the third jam thanks to a 15 point jam by Ace Wenchura. The Boardwalk Bombshells continued to build their lead by double digits over the next several jams. Around halfway through the first half, the score stagnated at 78-29 for 2 jams with Santa Cruz in the lead due to quick call-offs by Ann Arbor as the Boardwalk Bombshell jammers put on pressure. By half-time, both teams looked to be licking various wounds settling the score at 92 to 34 with Santa Cruz in control.
The second half started off with momentum having shifted to the Boardwalk Bombshells. In a reversal of the first half, Santa Cruz moved the points forward while shutting out Ann Arbor in the first two jams. Capitalizing on the power jam situations was the Bombshells despite their larger number of jammer penalties. A grand total of 12 jammer penalties separated Santa Cruz to Ann Arbor’s 8.
Santa Cruz, despite coming off a loss against Denver, exuded confidence and strong walls throughout the first half and well-executed defensive strategies into the second half. Ann Arbor’s Lethal and Michelle O’Bomb Ya threw their weight around in the second period prompting praise on Twitter. Penalties were not too much of a factor early in the game, Santa Cruz nickel-and-dimed the Dimes on time and space within the track boundaries as they forced more jammer penalties in the second half. The Boardwalk Bombshells brought the pain to the Rain with Hell Louise, CoraZone, and Shamrock N’ Roller as a tripod of doom.
The Boardwalk Bombshells brought the pain to the Rain with Hell Louise, CoraZone, and Shamrock N’ Roller as a tripod of doom. The penalty kills from the Santa Cruz defense did the most damage to the Ann Arbor rotation. At one point, the Derby Dimes changed their jammer rotation to compensate for the vicious assault by the Bombshells.
Eventually, Santa Cruz forced more than a change in line-up for Ann Arbor. Ann Arbor adjusted their offensive strategy to include more star passes and stashes. The game clock was barely a factor for the contest as most of the time was spent do-si-do-ing of power jam exchanges. Ann Arbor did not capitalize on their power jam situations, which left a lot of questions about the Dimes’ lack of offensive plays. What was not questionable was the jammer strength from Santa Cruz as they owned a staggering 51% success rate for lead jammer statuses compared to the average 34% from Ann Arbor for entire game stats. Santa Cruz dominated the fourth quarter of the game ending it with a 216 to 107 victory.
Boardwalk Bombshells’ captain Shamrock N’ Roller spoke with WFTDA after the game and explained the “timely offense” as part of the strategy to take the win over the Derby Dimes. Heading into the Rainy City game, Shamrock N’ Roller declared the Boardwalk Bombshells as a second half team well prepared to accept Rainy City’s heavy defense and strong jammer rotation.