COLUMBIA, SC- Santa Cruz (#6) and Columbia QuadSquad (#8) were both hoping to be playing for a higher ranking than #7, but neither showed up with baggage or disappointment in their faces. From the first whistle, both teams played a hard and fast game. Santa Cruz defeated the home team for 7th Place, 174-141.
For CQS, the hard and fast game is part of their repertoire; you could see them fall into the pattern easily. The problem was that Santa Cruz picked them apart easily. From Jam 2 through 9, Santa Cruz held CQS scoreless. Santa Cruz also played a fast and loose game at first, mirroring Columbia’s style, but they utilized their opportunities for offense better.
CQS turned it around in Jam 10 when Do U Juana put up 10 points to bring them within 15 points. The trio of StarSpandled BanGRR, Chuck-Town Bruiser, and Holly Hunter got into a groove of slow, controlled derby to stop the flow of Santa Cruz points. Erin N Carrino and Poison Violet helped Do U Juana chip away at the Santa Cruz lead in the next four jams. Taking them over the top was a 13 point jam by Poison Violet via power jam.
Then, Santa Cruz settled down and took the reins. Recycling by Hell Louise, CoraZone, Hellth Hazard, and Chelsea Smile put the CQS jammers in “The Sad Place” – that place in the middle of a tripod where all you can do is grind and hope. The CQS jammers kept tending towards the lines, hoping to squeeze by Santa Cruz with small, quick steps. The lateral mobility of Santa Cruz houses kept Do U Juana and Carrino confounded.
Watching CQS blockers, you can understand why the jammers had been trained in such a way. The speed of Skirt Vonna-Gut, Ace Wenchura, and TARAism took them up the lines and past the CQS blockers on the regular. Columbia just did not have the quick reaction in their lateral mobility to catch the agile jammers or the offensive maneuvers to help their jammers escape after Santa Cruz. In the last six jams of the half, Santa Cruz had three jams with more than three lap passes. Ace Wenchura scored 20 points in one jam, and Skirt Vonna-Gut had 18 over two jams.
At halftime, Santa Cruz led 92-56.
The second half continued the trends of the first. Columbia did calm down their ‘Smash and Grab’ game, bringing tripods of Poison Violet, Barney Rebel, and Chuck-Town against the agility of Santa Cruz. There was never a moment in the second half where Columbia was down-and-out, they were always on the edge of a comeback (Poison Violet’s 47 points in three jams were a major contributor to that).
But Santa Cruz did not relent. Ace Wenchura, who was so good at breaking the links of Columbia’s walls, and TARAism’s ability to dance the line, could not be denied. TARAism earned a 70% lead jam percentage and put 54 points on the board. Ace had a 72.7% lead jammer percent, and 39 points. Ace became a fan favorite this weekend, putting 192 points on the board for Santa Cruz this weekend.
Mostly, Santa Cruz played a contain-and-eliminate game, walking jammers to the lines and popping them out of bounds. Columbia tried to implement their tripods more effectively in the second half, but Santa Cruz was too good at engaging offense during defensive maneuvers. While Columbia was either in offense or defense mode, Santa Cruz was good at doing both at once which made a big difference in the game. When Columbia was tried to use offense the jammers did not know how to follow their blocker’s leads. Santa Cruz looked much more practiced in their offensive tactics.
The final three jams were defensive battles, with Columbia holding Santa Cruz scoreless, and Santa Cruz only allowing 3 points in the final jam. The Santa Cruz Boardwalk Bombshells come out of the Columbia tournament as the #7, defeating the Columbia QuadSqad 174-141.