Four Corner Feud: Full Recap

Saturday

Opening Round: (t4) Denver 149, (t5) Tucson 99 – The first half of the opening bout started with the teams neck and neck, with the game tied 4-4 after two jams and the lead switching hands on the subsequent four jams until Denver was holding a 17-12 advantage. The seventh jam, though, found Denver’s Vicky Cruz with an appropriately slick 18-0 power jam victory over a very light pack that made it easy for the Denver defense to drop a couple of 20ft traps.

Two more double-digit jams from Denver put them in the driver’s seat early with a 55-16 lead, and their defense had a chance to shine on the following jam when they managed to kill a power jam for Tucson’s Polly Graf, who spent the full two minutes trying to complete her opening pass. Tucson got it together quickly afterwards, though, outscoring Denver 31-10 over the last few jams of the half.

In a bit of a strange sequence, TRD caught an unexpected break on the final jam. Tucson lead jammer Luce Bandit attempted to call the jam after her first pass but wasn’t seen by her jam ref, who was looking away to report the score — but when Luce saw opposing jammer Sheila Tack get sent to the box, she abandoned that plan and grabbed more points. Protestations from Denver captains Crash Dance Quigley and and Disco Akers went for naught, and the period ended with a 10-3 jam for Tucson and a 65-48 lead for Denver.

As the second half started, it appeared that Denver was going to pull away again, but a fierce comeback from Tucson started the game all over with about 15 minutes to play. Things got off on the wrong foot for TRD when their jammer Luce Bandit took a penalty that spanned the first two jams, which went 9-4 and 10-3 for Denver.

With the score 84-55 Denver, though, Tucson reached deep. Sami Automatic took a quick 4-0, and Luce Bandit followed up by redeemed herself with a enormous, momentum-swinging 14-0 jam — with big help from TRD blocker Helen Wheels stifling Denver’s Sheila Tack until Sheila fouled her way into the penalty box.

Even when Denver got two lead jams in a row they couldn’t arrest the Tucson momentum, with a 4-4 tie and a 4-3 win for Tucson. Pixie Axe then won 7-0 over Disco Akers to get the score to 90-87 Denver, and finally a textbook 4-0 for Sami Automatic put Tucson in the lead 91-90, having erased a harrowing 39-point gap.

However, as they’d continue to do all weekend long, Denver’s defense turned it on right when it mattered the most. Though there were 16 minutes left to play, Tucson could only find 4 more points as Denver’s defense clicked into place, keyed particularly by Deirdre Sage and and Teresa Rusk. The second half of the period bore almost no relation to the first, as Denver closed the game with a 40-0 run, refusing to let Tucson score in the final 10 minutes.

Opening Round:
(t3) Pikes Peak 160,  (t6) Arizona 62 – Pikes Peak took control early in this bout and never seemed in any trouble, playing a very physical and occasionally psychological game against an Arizona team that didn’t quite have the agility to keep up with the dynamic PPDD.

Things kicked off with a full-length 9-4 for Pikes Peak’s DeRanged over Shirley Demise, and Pikes extended the lead to 17-4 over the next two jams before Arizona’s Gratuitous Violet managed to take a 6-0 in a power jam over Kamilla Bloodspilla. That made it 17-10 in favor of Pikes early, but that would be the last time the game was in any real question.

Pikes Peak began playing a style they’d favor all weekend long, with primary jammers Swiss Missile, PsychoBabble and DeRanged usually blocking the opposing jammers directly off the line and waiting for the pack to set up favorably before turning on the jets for their opening pass. This led to a lot of lead jam calls and a long dry spell for Arizona, as Pikes took 54 more points before Arizona could manage just one — a stretch keyed by 15-0 for Ecko Girl followed by an even bigger 19-0 for DeRanged. With about 10 minutes to play in the first half, it was 71-11 for Pikes.

Though AZRD managed to get a little more offense moving in the final third of the half, it was still an all-but-insurmountable 90-28 lead for Pikes at the end of the first half, and there was no miracle comeback in the final 30 minutes for Arizona. Pikes pushed the margin to over 100 points late in the bout at 148-47, but Arizona managed to avoid that milestone with a couple of nice 5-0 power jam wins from Loca Lena and Shirley Demise to make the final score a 98 point margin at 160-62.

Fifth Place Bout: (t5) Tucson 135,  (t6) Arizona 49 — Tucson was not quite as dominant as Pikes Peak in their battle with Arizona, but the final margin would end up being similar, as both teams looked a little depleted from their bouts earlier in the day but Arizona was suffering the additional disadvantage of having to play back-to-back bouts.

In an opening sequence somewhat reminiscent of the Tucson / Denver bout, the lead would switch early and often, but this time it’d be Tucson climbing into the driver’s seat afterwards. AZRD took the first lead with a 2-0 jam for Loca Lena over the impressive young rookie from Tucson Luce Bandit, but Tucson took it back with a 3-0 Sami Automatic jam over AZRD’s Gratuitous Violet. Arizona answered with a 4-0 that made it 6-3 Arizona, but Tucson rolled up 25 unanswered points over the next four jams.

WIth the score 28-6, it’d be Arizona’s very impressive jammer Diana Saurus Wrexx capitalizing on two power jams. She followed some timely blocking from teammate The Bone Setter for a 10-0, and after a quick scoreless jam, was back on the line unopposed to notch a 3-0 against a tough Tucson defense.

Arizona had closed it to single digits at 28-19 and inched closer with a 1-0, but Tucson’s Sami Automatic took that moment to put up the biggest jam of the game over rapidly dwindling numbers in the AZRD pack, a 20-0 that changed the game’s momentum for good. The half ended on a big 15-0 for Luce Bandit over Rayna Rage, leaving Arizona in a 67-28 hole.

Much like in Arizona’s first bout of the evening, the second half would end up being primarily a struggle to avoid a 100 point margin. Tucson threw 32 points up on the board before Arizona could squeak out a 1-0 win (in a jam that ended early due to a momentarily scary injury to the young Gratuitous Violet — she’d leave the bout on that jam, having gotten hit in the chin in a messy pileup.) While TRD did hold a 101 point lead at the 5:43 mark, Arizona closed with a 5-0 and a 10-0 that managed to make the final score slightly closer than that of their battle with Pikes Peak.

Sunday

Heather Juska gets some air time. Photo: Elisa Baker.Semifinal: (t4) Denver 118, (t1) Duke City 71 — This semifinal bout was all about momentum swings, but Denver’s were longer and more pronounced. Denver opened up holding Duke to just a single point over the course of the first five jams, and established a 21-1 lead before Duke took back the initiative. A power jam for Duke gave Meep Meep a 10-0, and they continued to nickel-and-dime their way to a score of Denver 21, Duke City 18 with about 11 minutes left in the first half.

The rest of the first would be a rough time for Duke, though, as they didn’t put another point on the board while Denver went on a 29-0 run, putting the halftime score at Denver 50, Duke 18.

Momentum swung right back as the second half began, with Duke slowly but surely stringing together single-digit victories and closing to within 53-35 before a bit of a mental error by Duke jammer Tronsexual handed Denver a free power jam. Tron was jamming unopposed and was then sent off to the box, but took an abnormally long time getting there, turning what would have been a jammerless jam reset into a power jam for Denver’s Heather Juska. That one went 13-0 for Denver, erasing all but 4 points of the Duke comeback at 66-35.

But Duke got it all right back on a mirror image. Juska went to the box at the very end of that jam, giving Duke’s speedy Muffin a chance for an unopposed minute of her own, and that went 13-0 in Duke’s favor. Kamikaze Kim followed up with a 3-0, and with about 17 minutes to play, Duke was one big jam away at 66-51.

Denver, though, dropped the hammer on the subsequent jams, with defense utterly locking down the Duke jammers. Denver scored 37 unanswered points to get over the century mark at 103-51 with 8 minutes to play.  Though Duke managed to then answer those with a 20-0 run of their own, and had a prayer at 103-71 with 2:49 on the clock, Heather Juska definitively closed the door with a 15-0 in the game’s last scoring jam, eliminating the top seed — and the non-Colorado teams — from the tournament.

In a statistical anomaly, the great majority of the scoring in this bout happened during lengthy unanswered streaks, including a 20-0 for Denver, 17-0 for Duke, 29-0 for Denver, 16-0 for Duke, 37-0 for Denver, and 20-0 for Duke.

Semifinal: (t3) Pikes Peak 120, (t2) Rocky Mountain 113 – The most narrowly contested bout of the weekend started out looking like it was going to be all Pikes Peak, as they jumped out to an early 21-6 lead after five jams. However, jammer penalties would quickly become a major factor in a series of lead changes that led up to a controversial conclusion.

Photo: Charlotte GearyFirst, an enormous 19-0 power-jam victory for Rocky’s She Who Cannot Be Named on jam 6 changed the complexion of the bout in a short 2 minutes, making it 25-21 Rocky Mountain. About halfway through the first period, Pikes capitalized on an unopposed jam for DeRanged with a 7-0 over a light pack and took the lead back 36-33, but momentum swung again a couple of jams later as Rocky’s Frida Beater put down a 13-0 to make it Rocky Mountain 46, Pikes Peak 36 with under 10 minutes in the half.

Rocky Mountain held most of the control for the rest of the half, mostly on the back of one of Frida Beater’s disturbingly common 20-0 jams, as she took full advantage of a chock-full Pikes penalty box. With the halftime score Rocky Mountain 81, Pikes Peak 66, Frida Beater’s quadruple slam stood as the majority of the difference in the game.

Four jams deep into the second, though, it was time for Pikes Peak to answer loudly. They’d closed it to 84-75 when Kamilla Bloodspilla took the star against Frida Beater, and yet another jammer penalty — a track cut on Frida — paid great dividends to the opposing team. Kamilla followed perfect situational blocking from the PPDD pack to explode for a 20-0 of her own, and it was 95-84 with 23:37 to play in the bout.

Pikes continued to run it up to 108-84 for what stood as their biggest lead of the bout, but Rocky got it back together before things could get out of hand — with more than a little help from box trips in consecutive jams for Pikes jammer Kamilla Bloodspilla. Rocky took 21 unopposed points on those two power jams, making it 108-105 with 11:30 to play.

Two scoreless and two extremely low-scoring jams later, Rocky had edged one point closer at 110-108 with about 6 minutes to play, but as it turned out, the deciding frame would be yet another power jam. Needing to open up some breathing room, Pikes sent DeRanged against Frida Beater, who hit the box early in the jam, leaving DeRanged alone for two grand slams that made it 120-108 for Pikes.

After a jammerless jam reset that Rocky called at 0-0, it seemed as if there would be time for two more jams. She Who put up a 5 point grand slam that narrowed the score to 120-113 and called it with approximately 30 seconds left on the scoreboard clock.

There would be no last-second jam, though. The bout ended here in a bit of a chaos, as RMRG bench coach Pinky500 attempted to call timeout — but the officials ruled that the scoreboard time was not in sync with the infield official clock, and that time had already expired in the bout. Rocky didn’t get their chance at the last-jam comeback, leaving Pikes Peak to explosively celebrate a very hard fought win that sent them to the championship.

Third Place Bout: (t1) Duke City 173, (t2) Rocky Mountain 93
– The bye seeds ended up meeting in the third-place game instead of the championship, and Rocky Mountain, playing their second game in a row, came out of the gate a little flat against an energized Duke City. On the bout’s second jam, lightning-quick jammer Kamikaze Kim tied her own scoring record with a 25-0 over a penalized Frida Beater, and after a 16-0 for Meep Meep with help from Dahmernatrix tying up RMRG’s She Who for multiple laps, Duke was sitting on a 45-3 lead after just three jams.

Duke's Death Ro holds off the RMRG pivot. Photo: Charlotte Geary.Rocky Mountain continued to have particular trouble dealing with a Duke defense that was playing their signature extreme isolate-and-brake strategy to the hilt, leading a number of jams that brought the majority of the skaters to a near-dead stop. Duke City pushed their lead to 66-17 with under ten minutes to play in the half, but Rocky Mountain got it together enough to go on an impressive 41-11 run that made a game out of it at the intermission at Duke 77, Rocky 58.

Unfortunately for Rocky, they wouldn’t be able to keep that run going after the break. Duke City came out on fire, using three big jams from Meep Meep, Kamikaze Kim and Muffin to break 100 before Rocky got back on the board on the 4th jam, making it 104-62 Duke. That was only a momentary respite, though, as Muffin dropped a big 16-0 on a battered Lil’ Bitch and set off another Duke scoring run to 132-64.

With about 3 minutes left on the clock, Duke City had broken the 100 point margin with a 179-73 lead, and took the opportunity to jam their exclusive blockers on the last two jams. On the first Carson B. Demented got out first with lead, and was more than pleased to settle for a 0-0 against She Who, but the final jam would go big for Rocky Mountain’s Ho J. Simpson over ElviraMental, getting Rocky more points in the final jam (20) — than they’d scored in the entire half thus far (15.)

It was the final Duke City bout for four-year veteran Dahmernatrix, headed to play for San Diego this year.

Championship Bout: (t4) Denver 182, (t3) Pikes Peak 64 — Proving themselves as the fastest-rising force in Western derby, Denver blasted off the blocks against Pikes Peak and took them out of their game both physically and mentally. The primary Denver jammer stable of Sheila Tack, Heather Juska and Angela Death pulled a 15-0, a 5-0 and a 10-0 to start the bout, and Pikes was stunned by a 30-0 deficit after just three jams.

Pikes didn’t fold immediately, though, and their packs were able to create three lead jam calls in a row to answer, though they couldn’t quite get the lopsided jams that Denver had opened with. After six jams it was 39-11 Denver, and what appeared to the slightly superior agility of the Pikes jammers was getting consistently trumped by the superior discipline and teamwork from the Denver blockers, with excellent recycling work that quickly began to frustrate the home team.

That frustration boiled over in a particularly bad way for Pikes with about 13 minutes left in the half, as they were looking at a 48-13 deficit. Pikes Peak pulled off a star-pass from Kamilla Bloodspilla to Psycho Babble (in what appeared to be part of a psychological-game strategy, Pikes Peak was the only team to be pulling star passes until the very end of the weekend) and it looked like PPDD might get a good margin when opposing jammer Sheila Tack was boxed. But Psycho Babble got exiled to the box and responded with a double-finger salute to her jam ref, earning herself an immediate game expulsion (although she wasn’t quite done making her feelings known before actually leaving the track.)

With Pikes Peak suddenly down one of their best and most dangerous all-around players, the road to a home-team victory looked a lot rougher, and Denver made it all but impossible with incredibly effective play on both offense and defense that made them the only team to break 100 points before halftime on the weekend at 108-40.

Denver celebrates the win. Photo: Charlotte Geary.Things wouldn’t look any better in the second half. An early sequence seemed to be representative of Pikes’ troubles, as they went back to the star-pass attempt during a power jam, but Kamilla Bloodspilla couldn’t complete the handoff. When she came back around to retrieve it, a heads-up block from the Denver defense knocked her away from the fallen star again, and Pikes lost the majority of their power play just trying to make somebody a legal jammer.

It was nearly all Denver to close the evening, although there was an extraordinarily rare double-star-pass jam about halfway through the final period that saw Kamilla Bloodspilla giving it over to Swiss Missile while Angela Death passed to Teresa Rusk for Denver. That one went 5-0 for Denver, making it 150-52, and Denver went on to finish out the game with the only 100 point margin of the weekend to put an exclamation point on their tournament victory.

Photos: Charlotte Geary, Elisa Baker, Andrew Dittmeier