MADISON, WI – A formidable challenge from #4 Tampa wasn’t enough to keep #1 Gotham from running away with a victory this afternoon with a final score of 320-49. Gotham benefitted from strong blocker cohesion and lineup management, as well as their typically dominant jammer rotation, while Tampa’s braced walls proved taxing for even Gotham’s most talented blockers. In the end, Tampa were stymied by not only a dominant opponent, but also their own penalty trouble, which gave Gotham all the opportunities they needed to take an undisputed win.
In the first jam, paired blocking work from Gotham’s V-Diva and Flo It All forced a cut track on Tampa’s Laryn Kill, giving Bonnie Thunders a power jam, but Thunders’ ability to capitalize was limited by a strong defensive formation by Stepheree, Alli-Kat Scratch, Annie Virus and Pup that resisted offensive interference from OMG WTF. Thunders picked up 10 points. V-Diva repeated her performance, forcing another track cut, this time on on Tampa jammer PhDiesel, giving Bonnie another 23 points.
Gotham continued to stretch their lead, which was elongated further when Tampa’s Ana Cheng suffered a series of jammer penalties. With19:30 left in the half, Gotham was leading 70-4. Soon after, Tampa’s Little A, Zom B and D. Ride’s braced wall managed to contain Thunders and knock her to the inside, giving Laryn Kill the opportunity to pick up lead jammer, bringing the score to 74-10 with 18 minutes left.
PhDiesel, picking up lead once again, was given a little extra time to pick up three more points when Little A performed some rapid-fire blocking on Miss Tea Maven. Then, Bonnie Thunders picked up another track cut, giving Ana Cheng the opportunity she needed to cut through Gotham’s defense, picking up 14 before calling the jam after being sent flying inside by V-Diva.
Continuing an uncharacteristic run of penalties, Bonnie Thunders once again went to the box on her next run, giving Laryn Kill the ability to pick up 10 points, bringing the score to 87-37 with 10:30 left to play in the half. Gotham took defensive control of the remainder of the half, with a core of blockers stopping Tampa’s jammers from gaining the opportunity to advance. The end of the half saw Bonnie Thunders outpacing a defensive challenge from D. Ride and playing some jammer defense on Laryn Kill, giving Violet Knockout the chance to take control and making sure Flo It All, Caf Fiend and Fast & Luce would spend the rest of the jam restraining Kill and watching Thunders finish the half with a 24-0 run, entering halftime with a score of 147-39.
Gotham started the second half much like they ended the first—a surprise hit from Bonita Apple Bomb pulled Smooth Operator back into the pack for a full two minutes, allowing Bonnie Thunders to rack up 19 points. Gotham’s defensive structures loosened up a bit throughout the second half, relying less on rigid defensive structures and more on dynamic formations that punished jammers in sequence. Gotham held Tampa scoreless for 14 minutes in a stretch that included a dramatic apex jump from Vicious van Gogo, bringing the score to 209-39.
Tampa put their first points of the half on the board behind Annie Virus and Stepheree’s neutralization of Bonnie Thunders, giving Power Puff Curlz the chance to pick up two more. V-Diva continued her control of both sides of the pack with her confident reversals, slowing Ana Cheng’s momentum with an assist from a push by Bonita Apple Bomb. Bonnie Thunders managed to dance around Zom B a few times, while Power Puff Curlz couldn’t complete her drilling of the inside line, leading to a star pass that let former pivot Zom B take off and leave Roxy Dallas and Fast & Luce floored.
Gotham took advantage of a power jam by unleashing the fury of their offense, hunting down Tampa’s formation and giving Miss Tea Maven another chance to put up 20, stretching the score at 292-45 with four minutes left. Ana Cheng picked up another four when Vicious van Gogo’s apex jump turned into a track cut, but by game’s end, Miss Tea Maven was able to elude a hit from Pup, sealing Gotham’s victory at 320-49, and punching their ticket to Portland.
Gotham will be playing for gold and a first round bye tomorrow at 6pm, taking on the winner of Arch Rival v Minnesota, while the loser of Arch/Minnesota takes on Tampa for the last, and as yet undecided, place at champs tomorrow at 4pm.