MADISON, WI – With a nearly six-year history of winning games to boast of – save that single Championship game last year against winners Rose City – Gotham has continued to be the kind of powerhouse team that no one actually expected might be taken down at Playoffs.
The 3rd place game of WFTDA Playoff tournaments usually gets most of the anxious focus of fans since it’s the game that decides the third entrant to Champs. It must not be forgotten however, that the 1st place game determines which team wins the coveted Champs bye entrance, and an easier path in the final bracket. So both Gotham and Minnesota played the final game accordingly, with defensive formations in high alert mode, but the beehive ultimately took home the gold for Gotham, 326-71.
The first jam of the game started with a classic pack shut down by Gotham but with one caveat, Bonnie Thunders wasn’t the first jammer out of the pack. She did grab the first lead jammer status of the game however, but only since Minnesota’s Brickyard escaped with a ‘no pass, no penalty’ call. Brickyard managed to sneak in a full scoring pass before Bonnie made it out of the pack on her initial pass, but the Gotham blockers weren’t about to let her go so easily. They trapped her and pushed her back into the pack again and again, and the jam was called after one set of points were gathered for Brickyard, but 14 points for Gotham.
A similar set of sneaky points occurred in the following jam but this time for Gotham. MNRG took their chance to grab lead status while Short Stop was hit out and recycled back, allowing Jacked Pipes to get out while the pack was stretched out. Short Stop made full use of her speed and tiny stature though, and she sprinted through a fast and loose pack on a scoring pass while Jacked Pipes was swinging around a final Gotham blocker before calling it with four points apiece.
The following three lead statuses went to Gotham, who added enough points to build a solid lead, 46-8. Even though the next three jams went to Minnesota, they weren’t making as much progress up the scoreboard with Gotham’s defense keeping their scoring to a minimum.
It was in the twelfth jam of the game that Bonnie claimed lead jammer status for Gotham after Minnesota went on a small scoring run that brought the score to 54-26. With the momentum back in hands of Gotham, they proceeded on a run of lead statuses that would hand them the keys to the game. The hive mind held back Minnesota jammers from that point on for almost every single jam, with a few exceptions, until the final minutes of the game. The sheer weight and persistence of Gotham’s defense pushed Minnesota’s jammers repeatedly into star passes that still managed to yield no scoring advantage.
After a long second half in which Gotham rammed home their jammer status advantage by adding point after point while maintaining and pushing their pack dominance, the third-from-last jam of the game produced what was to be Gotham’s final jammer lead for the game, as claimed by Bonnie, with a 4-0 jam. By this point, the team had set up the kind of lead that can’t be undone in even the most successful final jams, at 322-61.
With minutes left in the game, a back block penalty was drawn on Vicious Van Go Go before she was able to finish the initial pass, and Sarin Dipity jumped at the chance to grab lead, and was ushered out of the front of the pack by a particularly heavy bump from Sexy Slaydie. The resulting enthusiasm from the Minnesota “Aqua Army” in the audience is hard to encapsulate, but only one single point addition occurred on the scoring pass, after Sarin Dipity first passed Slaydie’s hips, but then succumbed to another hefty connect by her and called the jam.
The final jam included one large offensive sweep from Diamond Rough, who had just returned from the penalty box and then immediately returned with a back block, which opened the pack and helped Jacked Pipes grab lead status. This collision became a point of internet contention, and was reviewed after the jam by Gotham with the purpose of upgrading it to an expulsion. Diamond Rough responded to the situation with a video on her Facebook.
Jacked Pipes was able to spin through the pack for a full five points in the last jam before Miss Tea Maven finally broke out of the pack, and then proceeded on to try and pick up some more points before ending the jam with the game clock at zero. Pipes added 9 points to Miss Tea’s 4, and the game concluded with a solid win for Gotham, 326-71.
Gotham took a 1st place exit from the Madison playoffs, as well as the bye entry into Champs, while Minnesota finished in 2nd place, still with the need to book some tickets to Portland for the Championship tournament.