East Championship: 1E Gotham Repeats on 2E Philly, 232-107

BURLINGTON, VT — Since 2009, the East Region final has always come down to Gotham and Philly. This year’s edition was slightly different with the significant addition of Philly’s ace jammer V Diva, but in the end the score was relatively similar to last year’s final game in Baltimore. Gotham had their closest point total of the weekend, but it was still easily a triple digit win, 232-107, for Gotham’s 5th East Region title.

Philly unsurprisingly put out V Diva to get things started against Gotham, but unlike most of Philly’s other opponents, Gotham had both the strength and discipline to answer her — it was the only game of Philly’s weekend in which Diva was not the high scorer. Sexy Slaydie and Mick Swagger locked down on Diva while Bonnie Thunders hopped her way to 10-0; Suzy Hotrod added 14-0 over Teflon Donna next. Gotham was quickly out to another early lead at 24-0.

Philly got their first lead jam call of the game and points on jam 4 to Teflon Donna; V Diva followed that up with a 4-0 to make it 31-6 Gotham. Philly was able to take advantage of a 4-2 pack advantage a few jams later to get surprisingly close to the champs at 39-18 with about 15 minutes to go.

But it wasn’t long until Gotham got back to work. With four on the floor, it quickly became evident that Gotham’s towering blocker Sexy Slaydie was one of the few players at the tournament capable of matching strength with V Diva — Slaydie took her down a number of times during a Bonnie Thunders 25-0. Philly’s Antidote picked up 4 for Philly next, inspiring a Gotham timeout at 68-22 with 13:07 left to play.

While Gotham rattled off three lead jammer calls in a row to extend their lead to 83-22, Philly was able to answer with four such calls in a row — although they could not translate them into much of a comeback. The sequence went 12-4 Philly and left the score 87-34; two jams later the half closed at 91-34 favoring Gotham.

When the second half started, Philly once again managed to pick up a string of lead jammer calls without narrowing the score; after three in a row, the total score was just 6-4 to Philly, and they were at 95-40 earlier in the half. But two jams later, Philly finally got their first double-digit jam of the game as V-Diva pulled down a 10-0 to get Philly to within half Gotham’s score, 100-50.

Gotham finally put their foot down there with about 20 minutes to play, establishing much more control over the pack speed and often managing to get Philly to speed up with them. They allowed only 9 points over the next 13 jams, slowly whittling down the clock and eroding any opportunity Philly had to come back.

The first power jam didn’t come until there were just under 12 minutes to play — Suzy Hotrod cut her way to the box very early in a jam against Teflon Donna. Tef won that frame 15-8 to make it 156-74. Two jams later, Philly committed their first jammer penalty via track cut to V Diva, and Bonnie Thunders punctuated a 30-3 whack with a slick apex jump to make it 194-77 with about 5 minutes to play.

Those three points looked certain to be the last Philly would score — except that Suzy Hotrod, holding lead for Gotham with time having expired in the final jam, curiously decided to keep skating and ended up going to the penalty box with the win already ascertained. Exactly as had happened in the 2011 final, Philly got nearly 30 percent of their point total on a huge light-pack power jam – this time with Antidote racking up 30-4. That brought the final score to 232-107, giving Philly a moral victory for managing to break a hundred points against Gotham for the first time in their last three meetings.

Gotham won the East for the fifth time in six years. The win means that both the East (Gotham, Philly, Charm City) and the North Central (Windy City, Minnesota, Naptown) will be sending the exact same teams in the exact same slots to the WFTDA Championships as they did in 2011.