Championships Quarterfinal: 2SC Kansas City Overcomes 1NC Windy City, 112-95

BROOMFIELD, CO – An opening, nail-biting victory over Rose City for the Kansas City Roller Warriors set up this well-balanced rematch with the Windy City Rollers, whom they narrowly defeated on their own track back in September. A slightly subdued crowd compared to the frenzy of the previous bout watched a defense-dominated first half where Kansas City crawled to a 42-29 lead at the break. In the second half, shutdown defense and consistent lead jamming out of the no-pack brought Windy City back to take the lead with 15 minutes to go, but Kansas City employed the same strategy to claw back and eventually capture the first seeding upset of the tournament, 112-95 — a nearly identical score to their 111-92 final in September.

The bout began with what looked to be a return to traditional pack-work, but that ended after the first jam as teams returned to the familiar slow, close game. Windy City’s defense was strong from the get-go with good work by Yvette Yourmaker and Ol Drrrty Go-Go setting up an initial 3-0 by Jackie Daniels. Track Rat won the first lead jammer for Kansas City but got her skates tangled with Zoe Trocious and went to the box. Great penalty killing by Bruz-Her and Eclipse controlled the damage for Kansas City and Windy City’s lead was only 6-4. Windy City’s Bork Bork Bork and Jackie Daniels then put on great work at the front wall to keep Case Closed from scoring on her own powerjam. But Young was able to knock out 8 in the following jam as the penalty continued and Kansas City had taken the lead at 12-6. Kansas City extended the lead as Bruz-Her recycled Athena DeCrime a couple times and then drew a back block. Track Rat and Jade Lightning stretched the gap to 25-11 with just over a quarter remaining.

Windy City slowly inched their way back, however. A cut by Young allowed Jackie Daniels, shrugging off hits from Eclipse and Bruz-Her, to score 11 on the powerjam. Two jams later, Zoe Trocious tied the game at 25 as Sargentina put on a great blocking show for Windy City to both the inside and outside, keeping Hall Balls off the board. Unfortunately, that was almost all the scoring Windy City would get for the half. Eclipse cleared the way for Track Rat to score 4. Young fought off Hoosier Mama and Bork Bork Bork for 5 while Eclipse held back Athena DeCrime. Case Closed escaped an Amy Nonamey-Jackie Daniels sandwich to score 2 as Bruz-Her controlled Wreck N Shrew at the back of the pack and the Roller Warriors were back up by 34-25. Track Rat hammered Varla Vendetta at the whistle, but then could not escape the white 4-wall at the back as Windy City scored 4. A back block by Varla Vendetta set Track Rat up with a powerjam but an injury kept her from taking advantage. Jackie Daniels’ good defense completed the penalty-kill shutout in the next jam. Young followed next and was able to win a natural grand slam in a no-lead situation as Eclipse kept Zoe Trocious under wraps to bring the half to the very low total of 42-29.

That gap stayed consistent through the first third of the new half. After Young rattled off a 4-0, Case Closed fought off Sargentina’s big blocks to get 3 more. Varla Vendetta then followed good blocks by Yvette Yourmaker through a tiny 2-1 pack to get 9 back for Windy City. Georgia on Yer Behind kept up the good defense at the back for Chicago, setting up Jackie Daniels for a natural grand slam. But the Windy City jammer was called for a back block and Hall Balls rode out the powerjam to get 8 back, sucking air at the end catching the speeding pack. The score was 57-43, Kansas City.

At that point, Windy City put on a tremendous run, grabbing lead jam in 5 of 6 straight jams while their pack, led by Sargentina, Amy Nonamy, and Georgia on Yer Behind, shut out Kansas City. Varla Vendetta went quickly around the outside for 4 points. Zoe Trocious followed, going untouched up the middle on her passes for 9 points. Athena DeCrime’s 4-0 grabbed a 60-57 lead for Windy City and two jams later, a great one-leg pirouette by Varla Vendetta scored her 10 against a stopped wall. In six minutes, Windy City had turned the game around to a 74-57 lead.

Kansas City battled them for four jams to keep the gap the same and then went on their own run, shutting out Windy City for 6 jams while winning lead off the stopped pack every time. A forearm by Wreck N Shrew gave Young a powerjam which she turned into 10 points after eventually escaping the clutches of Hoosier Mama and Bork Bork Bork. Jade Lightning got another 4 and then Case Closed burst through the pack for 8 as Archie Lee put a great block on Varla Vendetta on the inside. Kansas City had recaptured an 87-82 lead.

Hoosier Mama continued her good work on Young but the tiny jammer eventually escaped to score a 4-0 and end the jam in a friendly embrace with the Chicago blocker. Keeping Windy City from getting a powerjam the entire half, Kansas City jammers continued their smart play with Jade Lightning and Case Closed stretching the lead with a couple one-and-outs. With three minutes to go, they’d broken the century mark at 100-82. Young tip-toed through the line and then intelligently killed the clock, pacing the 2-2 pack around the rink as the boxes emptied. Bruz-Her ended a great game with excellent work throughout the comeback as with just over a minute left, Kansas City led 108-86. In the final jam, Varla Vendetta was first out but did not grab lead. Case Closed, skating backward to watch the scoreboard, ran out the clock and ice the 112-95 upset victory. The Roller Warriors progress to the semifinals to take on the winner of Oly/Philly later today.