PHILADELPHIA, PA – Rose City earned a bye and had plenty to prove as they entered this tournament without the number one ranking, despite being victors last Championships. Arch Rival still continues to benefit from their transfers, with the rest of their team playing up and solidifying behind them, and keen to prove themselves, they were fresh from their victory over London on Friday and hoping to take Rose City on the same steam.
After a game filled with the steely control of Rose City, and few chances for points additions for Arch Rival beyond their initial few jams, Rose City cruise controlled into a win, even with a final quarter fight from Arch Rival.
First jam 5-0 for Arch Rival, setting their plan for the game trajectory, but always with the addendum that tournament play often yields an initial lead to the most eager team, but not necessarily the one able to most sustain game points.
Rose started their penalties early, beginning the second jam with just two blockers flip-rotating and covering the whole line, maintaining enough coverage to hold Arch Rival from scoring. 3-5 score by the end of that jam was not enough to unsettle Arch Rival’s headway.
By 4 mins in, and jam 4, Mutch took jam lead and decided to end Arch Rival’s time in front with dedicated lap after lap of points gathering, quietly pushing through and sliding up in front of the pack time and again. 25 points later, Rose City had thoroughly claimed their new game lead and settled in to pack control while Bonnie Thunders worked into the front inches and twisted through to start scoring.
Once Rose City had set their intentions, it was all systems go for the team – holding down the pack, with key offensive assists from Jennings, in particular, highlighting the quiet and alert pack control they were really capable of. From the 3rd jam, they clamped down so heavily on Arch Rival’s scoring that they held them relatively stationary on points with only one single 5 point addition till jam 20 when they added 14 points.
With 9 minutes to go in the period, Rose City tipped the 100 point mark and then sent Mutch onto the track. A quick unreplied 9 pointer later, Arch Rival was struggling to accept that their score still sat at 14 points, and Bolt Action rushed into a penalty, handing Rose City a power jam to capitalize on. Star stashes and flip turns at the front of the pack were barely eking out feet for Arch Rival at this point.
By the halftime break, Rose City’s lead had stretched to 143-31, with Arch Rival squeezing in a hurried 3-0 just before the whistle paused the game for intermission.
Rose City came back from the break with the same laser attention, permitting just one single point in from Arch Rival by the 5th minute back in, while they added almost 30 points in the same timeframe. But by this time, Arch Rival had worked out the slightest of wormholes and was inching points, with a stunning interlude at the ten-minute mark from Vicious Van GoGo, gathering the team 15 much-appreciated points, and crowd enthusiasm.
The following jam saw a heavily braced Arch Rival front line holding down Loren Mutch as she pushed for every inch, shoulders into the opposing blockers, head down, grinding out every yard. Even assists from Rose City as they released their jammer hold couldn’t break her through by the end of the second minute, and the jam ended 8-0 for Arch.
But the next jam saw Bonnie Thunders claiming jam lead, and 9-0, as per her usual, and the game returned to Rose City’s quarter. Even after a 13-4 addition from Swanson, against Bonnie Thunders, in Arch Rival’s favor, Rose City pushed past the 200 mark with 10 minutes to go, making the 100 point mark for Arch with Swanson’s 8-4 additions something of a quiet ripple in the game.
But by this point, Arch Rival had found their feet and wasn’t about to let go, with a 14-7 addition in their favor coming out of a well-fated star pass. Their waterfalling and rotating front walls weren’t as calm and controlled as the Rose City pack, but they started to really prove their effectiveness, holding Rose City jammers back just long enough to deny them leads and break out their own point scorers.
The final two minutes of play saw Brute push quickly through the front to audience discouragement, as they went for the underdog, to claim a 4-0 addition. An official review from Arch Rival saved the clock for more time, as they asked for a jammer penalty on Brute for bowling over her opposing blocker, but all they got was a game break (debatably their actual object with the review call), and a return to play. With the score sitting at 237-109 at this point, Bricktator took the star to get caught up in a frantic push cycle at the back of the pack, while Beyond ThunderDame had her own lesson in pushing at the front, only to be recycled way back to the rear just as the final whistle blew, neither jammer claiming lead.
Rose City took the win with an emphatic 237-109, to go on to play again at 8pm EDT, while Arch Rival continues their play tomorrow, Sunday, at 2pm EST.
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