MONTRÉAL, QC — All eyes were on #3 Bay Area today as they played their first playoffs matchup of 2016, against #6 Boston. While the 3 v 6 matchup is less likely to be a game of note than other closer pairings at playoffs, Bay Area has been in a rebuilding season this year, having lost seven starting players from their 2015 championships roster. It was up to Boston to upset a veteran team with consecutive championship tickets every year since 2012.
Bay Area brought their traditional flat wall, which lent itself well to other formations as needed, as well as a newer jammer rotation. With the likes of Fluezy, Skrappie and Lulu Lockjaw no longer on the team, and Frightmare out on a leg break, it took jammers such as vet Huck Sinn to hold down the fort for Bay Area. To counter Bay Area’s force, Boston Massacre’s defense came out swinging, with veteran blocking lines and strong braced walls; a formation Bay Area tends to shy away from. Boston controlled the start of the game, taking advantage of a back to back power jam that culminated in a 26-0 score after five minutes.
Boston continued to dominate throughout the first quarter, punctuated by big jams from Maya Mangleyou and Space Invader. Bay Area built their comeback slowly but the momentum did not seem to shift until Sterling Archer tied the score 67-67. Once tied, Bay Area pushed the score and held Boston scoreless for three jams. Boston, immediately responded with fierce braces and kept Bay Area off the board for three jams of their own.
Both teams had a high total penalty count.In the first half alone, jammers from both teams were boxed eight times each, and by game’s end, Boston took a total of 41 trips to the box (11 of which were jammer penalties), while. Bay Area went to the box 42 times (including 13 trips by jammers).
At the half, Bay Area led Boston, 122-85.
During the plentiful power jams throughout the game, Boston often set up in pairs along both lines and sent two blockers forward to collapse the opposing wall. Defensively, Boston often stifled jammers at the top of the pack, relying on two blockers swinging laterally to drive Bay Area out. Meanwhile, Bay Area’s most impressive defensive showing was a full minute penalty kill where their flat formation stretched and collapsed around Boston’s jammer, not allowing any points to be scored.
Boston’s defense mixed in with Bay Area’s flat wall at the start of each jam, which was met with mixed success. Bay Area’s wall morphed into a lightly braced four wall, before unfolding again to cover the whole track, while Boston chose to put forward a braced four or three wall, depending on blocker penalties.
On the offensive side, Bay Area’s offense picked off Boston in one-on-one match-ups to create space. The steady stream of offense is a welcome departure from last season, when a more veteran roster struggled to create effective offensive movement.
In the end, Bay Area was able to chip away at Boston’s halftime lead, ultimately securing a victory with a solid second half performance, 187-131.
Boston falls to consolation bracket to play Sun State at 10am. Bay Area advances to play Texas Saturday at 2pm.