MONTREAL, QC – The opening game of the 2016 D1 International WFTDA Playoffs provided an upset between #10 Rocky Mountain and #7 Kallio. Despite the large number of powerjams on both sides, the final score was relatively low; a tribute to the staunch defense on display by Kallio All Colors. Kallio put up a valiant fight, but was unable to make up for early mistakes, which included a string of jammer penalties and questionable time-out management. Former hydra-holders Rocky Mountain remained steady throughout the game, and stepped up at crucial moments to secure lead jammer and the win, 155-151.Kallio started the game fumbling, and picked up two jammer penalties right away, bringing the score to 14-0. Within the first five minutes, a cool Rocky Mountain was able to enjoy four powerjams in their favor. Kallio’s Sara Gilbert was an early top-scorer for her team, picking up all 26 of Kallio’s points in the first 10 minutes, but fell into a penalty spiral that had to be managed by strong defense by her teammates. It became evident early on that Kallio would need to be careful about when to jam Gilbert, in order to save her from an early foul-out.
Rocky Mountain opted for playing defense as a trio, with one dedicated offensive blocker. Defensively, Rocky struggled to stay together and reform quickly, but offensively, Rocky Mountain often trapped a Kallio blocker to force the release of their jammer at the top of the pack; this strategy proved hugely effective for a team that appeared to be struggling when attempting single blocker clears.
Close to the end of the first half, Gilbert picked up penalty number five after hitting a blocker who was returning from the penalty box after the whistle. Kallio called their official review, hoping to have Gilbert’s fifth penalty scrubbed from the record, but their attempt was unsuccessful.
Seizing the opportunity to rack up more penalties on Gilbert, Rocky chose to let jams run, even when trading points. With just over five minutes to play in the first half, Kallio called their second team time out. Rocky Mountain used their official review as a team time out with 23 seconds to go after seeing an upswing of penalties.
Rocky Mountain led Kallio at the half, 88-63.
Kallio came out strong in the second half, and played without jammer infractions for multiple jams. The effect of keeping their jammers on track was clear, as Kallio closed the gap to 84-96 within ten minutes.
Returning the favor paid to them in the first half, Kallio ran a jam on Winona Fighter. Fighter, along with a number of Rocky blockers, picked up penalties, allowing for Kallio’s Gilbert to take the lead 103-95. However, near the end of an otherwise successful jam, Gilbert picked up a low block—her sixth penalty—after scoring 19 points. Kallio’s bench called an official review to contest a no call on a Rocky jammer, but the no-call stood.
Soon after, a power jam opportunity to Rocky Mountain allowed Havoc to retake the lead. Out of the box, Kallio passed the star but their new jammer picked up a penalty of her own, extending the power jam into a power start for Rocky Mountain.
Rocky Mountain’s blockers played aggressively at the top of the pack for the majority of the game, with hard hitting from Winona Fighter and Fiona Grapple. This style of play kept Fighter on the referees’ radar, leading her to foul out with 4:57 to play. When Fighter was sent packing, Rocky called their first team time-out of the game.
Rocky displayed a good handle on clock management just two minutes later, taking a second time out with a 17-point lead- 155-138. The timeout was not an effective reset, however, as they picked up a jammer penalty soon after, allowing Kallio’s Leila Gay to close the gap to four; the score sitting at 155-151 to Rocky with just one minute remaining in the game. Rocky Mountain followed the power jam with a team time out. Kallio sent out Sara Gilbert, making this her fourth jam skating on six penalties. Fiona Grapple gave great offense to help clear the path for Havoc to earn lead, who almost immediately called off the jam, allowing time to expire since Kallio could not stop the clock.
The final score was 155-151 to Rocky Mountain, who opened the tournament up with an upset. Kallio moves to the consolation bracket where they will face the loser of Montreal versus Dallas on Saturday at 12pm. Rocky Mountain advances to take on Texas today at 4pm.