COLUMBIA, SC – Rainy City prevailed in a highly physical and defensive game which included scoreless stretches for each team. The #7 seed Rainy City earned the first upset of the tournament, besting #6 Santa Cruz 166-104.
The first 6 jams echoed the Boardwalk Bombshells earlier game today, when they were held scoreless from the start. Rainy City’s jammer rotation showed their strength right off the bat with a 10-0 jam, followed by another grand slam in the second jam.
The Santa Cruz Boardwalk Bombshells occupied the jam line in a flat four-wall while Rainy City set up in an open braced quad, leaving some space between Santa Cruz’s defensive line and their own formation. Rainy City’s blockers covered the track well, even when down skaters to the box, and their tripod was strong enough to trap and hold SCDG. Thanks to their powerful jammers who could push and stretch the pack, Rainy City’s strong defense was able to hold Santa Cruz back and isolate their jammers away from help.
In jam 2 Santa Cruz immediately pulled a blocker from the inside line to run up and play offense for TARAism. The play was not successful, as Rainy City’s GoGOChanel took the lane left open and quickly spread Santa Cruz’s defense into a bridge that arched around the first turn. As soon as lead was awarded to Rainy City, SCDG’s blockers collapsed to provide some scrambled offense. Santa Cruz attempted a star pass, then stashed the star, finally escaping the pack, but only after Rainy City added five points to their score.
Santa Cruz altered their approach slightly, starting the jam with CoraZone mixed in with Rainy City’s wall, ready to clear out blockers one by one to thin the pack for their jammer. Rainy City struggled to adapt to this constant offense, and combined with quick star stashes by the Boardwalk, Santa Cruz slowed down Rainy City’s scoring. It went from two five-point passes in the first jam, to a single grand slam in the second, to a partial scoring pass, and finally they held Rainy City to 0.
It wasn’t until the 7th jam that TARAism earned the first lead call and broke the scoring drought for Santa Cruz with 8 points. They went on a mini-run from there, earning lead for the next 3 jams.
Penalties became an issue for Rainy City’s jammers and after picking up two close together, they gave up a third power jam when Wilde kept the jam running while pivot-turned-jammer Shamrock N’ Roller was wearing the star. With 10 minutes to go in the first half, Rainy City held a narrow lead 38-30. At this point, Rainy City slid their wall back up against Santa Cruz at the start, all but enveloping their blockers. This small change worked in their favor, helping them gain lead and add four more points.
The half ended with two huge jams for Rainy City. Faye-tal Blonde earned 12 points, which was followed by a 23-point jam from GoGO Chanel. At the half, Rainy City led 79-44.
Rainy City opened up the second half with a six-jam lead streak that quickly added 44 points to their score. It was kicked off with a little help from Santa Cruz’s Roasted Pony, who picked up a penalty, but then CoraZone drew a cut on Wilde.
Rainy City’s wall continued to adapt well to Santa Cruz’s offense, and was able to rotate around and shrug off hits that came from CoraZone and Beans. Being able to maintain their formation allowed Rainy City to isolate jammers, which was even more successful in the second half. Santa Cruz’s blockers on the other hand, struggled to keep their defensive formation intact and instead depended upon the crushing one-off hits from CoraZone, Hell Louise, Beans, and Shamrock N’ Roller. Unfortunately, the bigger hits were not always followed up with either a draw-back or successfully trapping of the jammer as they were in the first half.
With 15 minutes left in the game, Rainy City was once again met with some penalty trouble from both jammers and blockers. This allowed Santa Cruz to slightly close the gap, but they still trailed 123-73, while holding Rainy City scoreless for 3 jams. Despite Santa Cruz’s best attempt to nickel and dime their way back, two more double-digit jams from Rainy City, and continued strong defense, held the Boardwalk Bombshells to just three points over six jams.
Santa Cruz also began to experience some penalty problems of their own, including a full minute jammer penalty. It happened after a forearm penalty was issued just prior to a star pass attempt, resulting in an insubordination for not leaving the track soon enough. Roasted Pony then replaced Skirt Vonna-Gut in the box, after an injury.
The Boardwalk Bombshells earned a couple more lead status calls that added a total of 18 more points in the final few jams. The last jam was the second 0-0 jam of the game, ending the it with a strong defensive showing, 166-104 in Rainy City’s favor.