West 9th Place: 8W Wasatch Finishes 7W Arizona, 245-134

West 9th Place: 8W Wasatch Finishes 7W Arizona, 245-134 Photo: Dave Wood.

RICHMOND, CA — Coming into the West playoffs, two of the key storylines and questions were how 7 seed Arizona would handle the midseason departures of their 3 world-class additions Atomatrix, Joy Collision and Hockey Honey — and whether Wasatch, appearing in their first postseason ever, would justify their placement. By the end of the 9th place game between the two teams, Wasatch came out of the weekend looking like a team with a bright future while Arizona suffered their third triple-digit loss of the weekend, 245-134.

Things were fairly low-scoring through the first five jams, with Wasatch going ahead 11-8 on the fifth, but Wasatch’s Ali3 Kiit3n took advantage of a jammer penalty on Kiki UrHaz on jam six to drop a 15-8. On the next jam, both jammers hit the box in the course of a 13-10 to Wasatch; after about 12 minutes, Wasatch led 39-18.

The girls in blue kept the lead at about 20 points for the majority of the half, but Arizona made a run late in the half. Luz Chaos, Kiki UrHaz and Loco Lena combined to go on a 15-4, 9-0, 10-0, 4-0 sequence that moved the score from 58-31 Wasatch to 69-62 Arizona. Two jams later, the half ended with Arizona narrowly up 73-69.

However, Wasatch wasted very little time coming back after the break. The Utah team picked up lead jammer status on the first four jams of the second half and put up 54 unanswered points. Shortly after being down by 4, Wasatch was sitting on a 50 point lead at 123-73 with just under twenty minutes to play.

The fatal blows came with about 14 minutes to play. With Wastach up 133-91, Arizona managed to fill their penalty box to overflowing, including jammer Loco Lena. That created plenty of space for Wastach jammer Moon Raker to put things almost out of reach with a 39-4, moving the score from a surmountable 133-91 to a blowout at 172-95. Two jams later, Squid Vicious dropped 34-1 to remove all doubt, making Wasatch’s lead triple digits at 206-96.

From that point it was just a matter of time. There was a lengthy injury timeout when Arizona blocker Ovary Z went down awkwardly and was removed by wheelchair; she would not return to play. On the scoreboard, though, the margin barely budged from the 110-point mark in the last ten minutes. In the end, Wastach won their first game of the weekend 245-134 to finish 9th.