In a tournament of upsets, it’s no surprise that the game between the #2 seed Tucson Saddletramps and #11 seed Columbia Quad Squad ended up being a tennis match of points and lead status designations. There were four lead changes in the first half alone, and a flurry of (failed) apex jumps. The first half was split nearly down the middle when it came to gameplay domination and jammer advantage: Tucson had 11 lead jam statuses and Columbia had 14. Columbia earned 76 points while Tucson gained 70.
Columbia came into this game with their biggest loss of the weekend thus far coming at the hands of #3 Paris Rollergirls. The QuadSquad came in looking to upend another high ranked team by their trademark overpowering. The Saddletramps, armed with speed control, was not ready to let Columbia take home another upset, especially after losing to #7 Boston earlier in the day.
#37 Death Proof and #717 Mystery Meat, already having stellar performances for Tucson this weekend, were ready to take on the brutality of #25 Chuck Town Bruiser and the coordination of Columbia’s #212 Magikaly D’vicious. While #618 Must Dash and #007 Poison Violet prepped for the lateral goodness of Tucson’s #77 Judo Gnomi and recycling power of #13 Blaxican Bomber.
At the half, neither team had distinct momentum on their side. Scoring came from hard work by both jammers since the first half only had two power jams in Columbia’s favor. That may have been just enough to give Columbia the lead, 76 – 70.
The second half did not see either team shift strategy significantly. Grinding triangles and well-timed offense were the name of the second-period game. Overall, the game continued to be split in the stats with Columbia ending up with 33 penalties and 35 for Tucson. Both teams had only two jammer penalties with Columbia giving up two power jams in the second half. While Columbia only had one foul out, they had a second skater who was a penalty away; meanwhile, Tucson had to say goodbye to two of their blockers during the game, Blaxican Bomber and Midnight Crasher.
While there were four lead changes in the first half, there was only one change in the second to the favor of Tucson. In the first 10 jams, Mystery Meat gained 19 points, which was as many points as Columbia did with all of their jammers.
Columbia never wavered in their tenacity, but Tucson’s #1 Mica Jackson and #5 Momo did not care about that. They cared about keeping the Quad Squad underfoot. #003 Agent Cherry Maim’her helped Quad Squad to quietly chip away at the score, bringing a 15 point deficit within 2 points in the final jam. Having burnt all the time outs earlier in the game, Quad Squad found themselves in a position where Poison Violet, having called it without gaining all 5 points in her previous second pass, called it off with under a minute left in the game.
Needing to get lead above anything else, Columbia went on the offensive but Shana Banana Hammock had a different idea, skipping through the pack for an almost instant lead. With 14 seconds left in the game, she called it off, and Columbia could do nothing to stop the clock and try again.
In the end, Tucson squeezed out the win 125-123 over Columbia. They advance to the 4pm EDT game on Sunday, facing the #4 seed Jet City Bombers for 5th place. Columbia QuadSquad will sit out Sunday, having lost their second game of the tournament.