PORTLAND, OR – In the fight for third place in the WFTDA D2 Championships, the game started with Calgary being visibly determined to take the game and go home with a medal. Calgary started strong by taking lead status and adding double digit points accordingly. Charlottesville was keen to reply, and made the Canadians work for their upwards momentum, slowing the pace of scoring.
By the second game half, the differential was starting to narrow, but not rapidly enough for Charlottesville to mount an effective comeback. Calgary wasn’t prepared to accept that narrowing and took advantage of the temporarily reduced roster after two injuries for Charlottesville to push back up and clinch the game by refusing to give up. The final score of 252-197 gave Calgary the game and the third place position for D2.
In the first jam Kris Myass took a swift lead for Calgary with a key assist from Hilary Boswell, who made a commitment to pivoting today when she would usually have been featured as a jammer. Boswell made space on the outside with a perfectly timed hit and Calgary scored first with nine points.
Then Charlottesville’s Boom! ShakeTheRoom was first to emerge from the pack by a hair, but not lead, ceding it to Easy Break Oven as Boom! gathered a back block and headed to the box. 10 points went up for Calgary in that jam, and with 13 more, they seemed to be setting the game trend.
It was past the five minute mark of play before Charlottesville was able to push back into the game with a 10-0 reply. Even though it was just a hit-it-and-quit-it response, Calgary wasn’t about to let that go without comment in the following jam.
Fluid packs, with skaters re-grouping in braced pairs particularly, seemed to be the name of the game. Teams played high and erred more towards the reactive than the deliberative. Movements were quick and slightly chaotic, and it was clear that both teams were hungry, and anxious not to lose opportunity, but also that neither team was fully playing ‘their game’.
By the final ten minutes of the first period, Calgary had climbed to 75-34, and was quick to take yet another jammer lead, but Boom! snuck up from behind to overtake Jenni Gunns on points while she was trying to run the jam long. After the final points for that jam were confirmed at 19-12 in Charlottesville’s favor, Calgary took the first of their team time-outs and brought it into a huddle to re-group.
At 6 minutes to go to the half, Calgary pushed past the 100 point mark, with Charlottesville lagging behind at almost the halfway mark at 53 points. Almost as though the full impact of what was at stake had sunk in, Charlottesville decided to reply, and after a 30-8 run they pushed back into the game 113-83.
A flip-flop jammer penalty serving handed the ultimate jam of the period to the teams as a full two minute jam, with the game clock elapsed, and Kris Myass pulled back into careful consideration of their options for negotiating opposing blockers, still managing to gather 8-0 for Calgary. The teams entered half-time with a score of 121-83.
When River Styx Phoenix grabbed lead status the first jam back into the game, Calgary’s jammer was so fast up behind them that the jam had to be called with no points. This was to start a series of hotly contested jams in which each team wasn’t keen to let the other have so much as an extra inch of track or points, and the score very slowly crept up in small increments. By the time Charlottesville passed the 100 point mark themselves, about five minutes into play, the differential had narrowed only slightly to 144-107, with Calgary still holding onto their lead.
The final game quarter wore in with a punctuation from Charlottesville in the form of a team time-out, taken after a hit to the face for Speed Junkie left them in the care of medics at the end of the jam. This loss, and another knock for Charlottesville’s Boom! in the jam immediately following brought home starkly the stakes for teams at this level of play, and also left the team down a key jammer for a few jams and blocker for the rest of the game at 187-145 and 11:30 still remaining in the game.
By this point, play had slowed as the teams were visibly displaying fatigue. Then Miller-Miller took lead status and 12-4, as Easy Break Oven sat in the box for most of the jam, and the score went to 199-170. That jam wasn’t to spell a comeback moment for Charlottesville, however, as the team struggled with their crucially reduced roster.
By the final few jams, Calgary seemed ready to truly solidify the game for themselves, and managed to reply in points even without jammer lead. They widened the differential back up over 40 points, and even with a team timeout with 2:30 on the clock from Charlottesville, immediately followed by one for Calgary, the teams couldn’t use the added rest to shift the game any further.
So while the penultimate jam saw Herculean efforts from both jammers, it took some time for Kris Myass to shake off her opposing blockers and the points added up almost evenly at 11-8. The final jam started with a longer gap between, thanks to Charlottesville using their official review to stop the game clock and take every extra second for play time, despite the now 45-point differential seeming pretty firmly insurmountable.
Boom!, back on the track by now, grabbed a quick lead but a run-back and Easy Break Oven’s persistent scoring passes started to spell the final blow. It was a penalty earned by Boom! that put the jam back into the full two-minute category, and Easy Break slowed down to patiently finish the game. The final score and third place in D2 went to Calgary, 252-197.