18 August 2012

A8otF Games 7-9

Game 7: Granite State vs. Shoreline [photos from this bout]

Sunday started off with a bout that Flocci was excited about. Shoreline and Granite State had never met before, and Granite State hadn't been around for the previous day's bouts, so nobody knew what to expect. Shoreline got things started with a 5-0 first jam and held the lead for a few minutes, and then Granite State tied the score in jam 5. Shoreline wasn't having it, though, and they took the lead back a few jams later and held on tight. As the first half wrapped up, it looked like anybody's game, with Shoreline leading 37-25.

Shoreline spent the second half poking holes in Granite State's armor. The girls from New Hampshire have a lot of speed and good jammers, but their defense just couldn't stand up to Shoreline's strategic blocking. A 12-point lead turned into about 40 points by the middle of the half, and despite a power jam, Granite State couldn't close that gap enough to turn the tables. Shoreline took the win 86-56 and advanced to the semi-finals.

Game 8: Rock Coast vs. Maine [photos from this bout]

This semi-final was one of the best bouts we've seen in a while. These two leagues from Maine are familiar friends, and they're at similar skill levels, but instead of either getting nasty or going easy on each other, they stay classy and still fight for each and every point. Watching this bout reminded us why we love WFTDA-style roller derby -- heart, skill, and respect were consistent and obvious from the first whistle to the last.

Maine Roller Derby's Calamity Janes took first blood with four points in jam 2, Rock Coast outdid them by a point in the following jam, annd it took the Janes another few jams to tie things up at 10-10. Rock Coast shifted into a new gear at that point, and that was the last time the Janes saw the lead in the first half. They were poised for a strike by the halftime whistle, though, only trailing Rock Coast 35-36.

The Janes followed through on that strike in the first jam of the second half, but Rock Coast shot them down in the next jam and held the lead for the remainder of the game. Maine got lead jammer in more than half of the jams in the second half, but Rock Coast's blockers used superior strategy to keep the Janes from improving their score by more than a few points here and there. Rock Coast likes backwards blocking, and they use it extremely well to intimidate opposing jammers. Coming up on a blocker's booty is one thing, but having her staring you in the face while she slams into you is something else. Between that and two solid power jams in the second half, Rock Coast took the 84-58 win and moved on to the finals.

Game 9: Pioneer Valley vs Shoreline [photos from this bout]

Pioneer Valley had been hanging around the arena since their scrubbed bout with Upper Valley the previous morning, so they'd been watching Shoreline move up the brackets and knew what to expect. Shoreline, on the other hand, came in blind, and ended up blindsided.

[EDIT: We got it wrong! Pioneer Valley actually went home to play a bout Saturday night, so not only were they not around to watch the tournament action, they were also not as well-rested as we'd thought. Our apologies, and a big thank you to PVRD's Chewbecca for setting us straight!]

This was Shoreline's third bout in two days, while Pioneer Valley got to come in fresh and well-rested, so that probably influenced the score considerably. It took Shoreline six jams just to get points on the board, and once they did, they took a tiny lead and struggled to hold it. A few jams later, though, it was back in the hands of Pioneer Valley, who not only refused to relinquish it, they also didn't let Shoreline score again for the rest of the half. They held a solid 54-13 lead at the halftime whistle.

Shoreline managed to score in about half of the jams in the second half, but those points weren't enough to make up for Pioneer Valley's lead coming in, never mind all the points they scored in the second half. This bout came with an extra break in the middle of the second half while an ambulance was summoned to take ref Saturday Night Beaver to the hospital for a dislocated shoulder (ouch!), and Shoreline scored more points after that break than they did in the rest of the bout, so with some R&R they could probably have a well-matched game against Pioneer Valley. But that's the chance you take with tournaments, and Pioneer Valley took advantage of Shoreline's fatigue to sweep a 116-43 win, moving up to the finals against Rock Coast.