SEATTLE, WA – Any momentum that #6 Rat City picked up in their blowout win over the Mad Rollin’ Dolls early Friday appeared stalled when they took the track against #3 Jacksonville, falling quickly into penalty trouble and a swift New Jax lead.
An inspired defensive effort from the Seattle blocker line let the home team retake control of the game at halftime, however, and despite a Jacksonville rally, that closed Rat City’s lead to just one point, impressive footwork, and smart strategy from jammers Luna Negra and Alyssa Pray ultimately gave Rat City a 186-170 win.
Each team’s jammers thrived on the inside line, none more so than Luna Negra who dominated that line twice in a row in the first jam for an effortless-seeming four points as their blocking line knocked out and strung back Jacksonville’s Krispy Kreme-Her.
Alyssa Pray’s penalty woes began in the second jam, picking up a track cut and a forearm as New Jax’s Snot Rocket Science took the lead and thirteen points with it. Some chaos in the Rat City defense courtesy of Jacksonville’s Noam Bombsky allowed Krispy Kreme-Her to continue running up their early lead, holding Rat City scoreless for three early jams.
It was Seattle reserve jammer Renegade Ruthie who broke Rat City out of their funk, taking advantage of a power jam to pick up fifteen points while outmuscling a disciplined Jacksonville tripod.
An Alyssa Pray forearm penalty and some penalty whistle confusion appeared to shake Seattle, as Snot Rocket Science picked up eight points on a power jam, calling it only after an acrobatic hop along the inside line by a returning Pray forced the matter. A big offensive maneuver from Rat City’s H. Botts gave Luna Negra a chance to do a swift apex hop for another ten points, closing their deficit to just nine points.
But with barely ten minutes elapsed, Alyssa Pray picked up their fourth penalty with a back block on their first scoring pass. Heavy defense from Rat City locked down Snot Rocket Science and killed Pray’s penalty, but Rat City’s Carmen Getsome added insult to injury, laying out Snot just as they were being called for a track cut. Penalty trouble appeared not to faze Pray, who kept jamming as aggressively as ever, winning the jam 17-8 putting Jacksonville’s lead at 74-64. A forearm from Luna Negra allowed a returning Snot Rocket Science to pick up another nine points.
Seattle’s defense came alive to close out the half, holding New Jax scoreless while picking up six consecutive lead jam calls. Rat City’s jammers spent their spare time on the way through the pack assisting with defense, as Alyssa Pray helped contain Snot Rocket Science before picking up some points of their own.
Rat City’s R. Rickel and Carmen Getsome bumped New Jax’s Leann Groll back and forth as Seattle’s Evergreen Jean picked up another seven points to close out the first half. Rat City’s 24-0 run gave them an 88-85 lead going into the second half.
Krispy Kreme-Her absorbed a series of hits from Rat City’s defense to allow New Jax to retake the lead early in the second half, 90-89, but a track cut from Snot Rocket Science gave Renegade Ruthie a power jam. With a one-footed spin, Ruthie picked up a 14-2 advantage while a returning Snot couldn’t quite outmaneuver H. Botts. Snot made a quick switch to jammer defense, knocking Ruthie out and stemming the bleeding, but Rat City lead 103-92.
After picking up five jammer penalties in the first half, Rat City’s jammers tightened things up in the second half, only picking up two.
An emboldened Luna Negra soon found their way through the pack, lapping Jacksonville twice for ten points before Leann Groll could make their way out of the pack. Krispy Kreme-Her was quick to respond, finding a space open on the inside line and picking up 10 of their own, only calling it after forcing a Rat City star pass.
A Leann Groll apex jump with a one-foot landing and a Krispy Kreme-Her weave through a separated Rat City pack put Jacksonville on a 17-0 run while Luna Negra and Renegade Ruthie found themselves trapped by the Jacksonville defense, bringing New Jax within four points. Alyssa Pray found themselves stuck on a 70 second initial pass, only picking up two points on a power jam.
Luna Negra picked up Rat’s first jammer penalty in 24 jams as a Leann Groll apex jump gave New Jax another fourteen points and cut the Seattle lead to 142-141. But Evergreen Jean returned the apex jump favor just one jam later, picking up 12 on a nearly two-minute jam as Rat City resisted Jacksonville offensive efforts and compelled Krispy Kreme-Her to make a star pass.
It was Luna Negra and Alyssa Pray who took over the last six james of the game, further extending Rat City’s lead and running jams long to wind down the period clock.
A 14-point effort by Leann Groll was matched by another 9 from Luna Negra as the period clock expired. Rat City’s upset punched their ticket to Championships, giving them a chance to play Angel City for a spot in this weekend’s first place game.