D1M 9th Place: #8 Sun State swarms #7 Kallio, 155-148

D1M 9th Place: #8 Sun State swarms #7 Kallio, 155-148 Photo credit: Matthew Becker Photography. facebook.com/mbeckerphoto

MONTRÉAL, QC – #8 Sun State (overall rank #29) overtook #7 Kallio (overall rank #27) in a closely matched game for 9th place. While the game began, as so many have this tournament, with a quick lead by Sun State, Kallio mounted a comeback late in the first half. They were not able to shut down Sun State however, even after they made some adjustments to their offensive approach. Sun State powered through the last half and came away with an emotional win, 155-148 for 9th place at the 2016 D1 International WFTDA Playoffs in Montréal.

Sun State opened the 9th place game with an early lead at 10-0 after the first jam. Sun State’s Trauma Junkie relied heavily on spin moves and jukes to skirt around the Kallio quad defense, but overall, Sun State’s jukes were stifled by a strong and swift moving Kallio defense.

These closely ranked teams shared the same defensive style, each with their braced quad that usually stayed separate and defined from the other team. Offensively, their were similarities as well, though Sun State’s offense often sprung from whoever was available while Kallio relied on key players to provide dedicated offense. It usually began with one blocker trying to create space by distracting Sun State’s blockers, followed by a coordinated two blocker sweep to the outside. The sweeps were not entirely successful as Sun State was consistently able to reform and recapture the jammer.

Both teams used their official reviews and time outs, though at somewhat questionable moments. At times, each squad opted to take a time out after a successful jam, which tended to halt their momentum and allow for their opponent to gather themselves and win the subsequent jam. Sun State requested their official review very early in the first half with just over 20 minutes to play, asking for a cut call on Kallio’s jammer, but the no call stood.

Kallio called the jams off a little to late, allowing Sun State to repeatedly steal points. The All Coulours jammers also stashed the star a few times before lead was even awarded, and Sun Sate utilized star passes to escape the pack. With 12:48 left in the half, Sun State took a timeout with a small lead, 43-40. Just after that however, Pretty Sick for Kallio ushered in a lead change 53-43.

Kallio started their defense arched around Sun State in a 2-2 formation that closed around Sun State’s jammer. With this starting formation adjustment, Kallio was able to gain lead and hold Sun State scoreless for four jams. With one blocker down, Kallio separated their tripod from Sun State’s wall, leaving just a little too much space that inadvertently helped out Sun State’s agile jammers.

A few jams later, Trauma Junkie called off the jam, without being lead jammer and gave a power start to Kallio who ended the half in the lead, 68-63.

In the second jam of the second half, Sun State regained the lead 76-68. Sun State’s jammers altered their strategy, leading their attack at 45° angle drives, followed up with well-timed jukes. This new approach, combined with their ability to quickly take advantage of gaps in the pack, helped Sun State earned three lead status calls in a row. Kallio responded to this streak by reverting to starting in front of Sun State, as they did in the first half. The change worked well for them, and helped Kallio earn the next two two lead calls after that adjustment.

10 minutes into the second half,  Kallio was only able to score three points in the second half, and were held scoreless for 5 jams, resulting in the biggest lead of the game for Sun State with the score at 102-71. Part of Sun State’s plan to keep Kallio off the scoreboard was to speed up the pack whenever Kallio earned lead.

Sun State stretched their lead and seemed to control the momentum, culminating in a 19-point power jam that was followed by a team time out that ended up halting their flow. Out of the time out, Kallio gained lead and collected two points, and then began to slowly chip away at Sun State’s lead. Towards the end of the game, Kallio’s star passes came faster and were executed more smoothly, helping to slow Sun State’s scoring.

Pretty Sick put up a huge 23-4 jam with the smart choice to run the jam after Sun State passed the star, finishing the jam at 127-98 with just under 10 minutes to play, and the Swarm still leading.

Kallio put together a last quarter run and were down 24 points with just over seven minutes to play. Fatigue and nerves showed on both sides, resulting in a rise in jammer penalties in the last 5 minutes of game play. Kallio’s run reached its peak with a 27-10 penultimate jam, bringing the score to 148-155.

Kallio burned all of the the lead up time between jams before calling a team time out, followed by a second team time out. They did have one more to use, to rest Sara Gilbert before sending her back out, but Kallio chose not to use it. The final jam was a matchup between Jambi and Gilbert and after Jambi got lead almost immediately, she waitedto call off the jam as soon as time expired. With the game over she collapsed to the ground, overcome, joined by her team.

Sun State took the win, 155-148 and came away with 9th place in Montréal after entering with the #8 seed and losing two close games against Detroit and Boston. Kallio leaves their first WFTDA tournament in 10th place after coming in as the #7 seed and losing to Rocky Mountain and Dallas.

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