ATLANTA, GA — For the first twenty minutes of the quarterfinal bout between 1W Oly and 2NC Minnesota, it looked as if Minnesota might be able to land a major upset — but Oly took over in the last minutes of the first half and never relinquished control of the game. Oly’s lead was as high as 115 points in the second half, and they took a 218-125 win to advance to the semifinals against Texas.
It didn’t start out looking very promising for the underdogs, as Oly jumped out to a immediate solid lead in the first four jams of the game, taking lead jammer status on each and dropping natural 6-0. 15-0, 9-0 and 10-0 jams to put Minnesota in a 40-0 hole to start.
With the score 40-3 Oly after the opening ten minutes, Harmony Killerbruise finally got the crowd into the game with a big 20-0 over Scara to Death as Oly started running into some penalty issues. That made the score 40-23, but following a 0-0, Oly’s Atomatrix managed to battle her way through a 4-2 pack favoring Minnesota to make it 44-23.
Onda Sligh was on fire on the followup, rushing the inside boundary line and twirling to barely avoid stepping out of bounds — her 8-4 kept the Oly lead growing to 53-27 with 15 minutes left in the half.
Following a L’exi Cuter 4-0, MNRG blocker Diamond Rough had some crowd-pleasing solo work on Oly jammer Joy Collision, wrapping her up at the front of the pack just long enough for Second Hand Smoke to claim lead and 3-0. Minnesota was still in it at 53-34, and kept the crowd rocking on a 4-1 to Harmony Killerbruise that saw Harmony barely hang on to the boundary line on one foot. Psycho Babble hit the box as Oly’s jammer in the next frame, but great defense from Hockey Honey, Sassy and DeRanged kept the damage to just 5-0. As the clock ticked into the last ten minutes of the half, Minnesota trailed by just 11, 54-43.
However, Minnesota could only claim 6 more points in the half as Oly claimed lead jammer on eight straight jams to close it out. Oly played the second-to-last jam effectively as Second Hand Smoke was sent to the box for an Oly power jam — DeRanged picked up a 8-0 and then called with exactly 30 seconds left on the period clock, allowing Atomatrix to add 9-0 in the extra time with Smoke still boxed. When the half ended, Oly had reclaimed and added to their opening margin of 40 points, leading 97-49.
The score stayed right there for the opening two jams of the second half, both of which went scoreless, but Onda Sligh put on a kinetic show for a big 20-0 to start the scoring as Scara to Death and Ecko bottled up Medusa.
Two jams later, DeRanged lapped L’exi Cuter and then pulled off some perfectly executed jammer defense to suck L’exi back into the Oly pack from nearly half the track away. That jam ended big to DeRanged — but also ended with Oly losing blocker Scara to Death on an apparent foot injury — she had to be removed by wheelchair. When it was over, Minnesota was looking at a 130-49 disadvantage on the scoreboard with 24:18 left in the game.
Minnesota tried to get something going by putting out Juke Boxx for the first time as jammer, and she got MNRG on the board with 5-0 over Onda Sligh as Second Hand Smoke had some timely blocks on Sligh; Harmony Killerbruise added three more next, but Minnesota was still down by 74 points, 130-56, with 21:14 in the half.
The Minnesota rally was erased soon after with a 16-4 to Atomatrix as Sassy and Ecko had Juke Boxx under control for the majority of the jam, and an early-jam jammer penalty on Minnesota’s Harmony Killerbruise led to a bad situation for the underdogs — Onda Sligh racked 10 and then handed off the power jam to DeRanged, who added 9 more. That sequence gave Oly a triple-digit advantage for the first time in the game at 165-60 with 16 minutes left to play.
The rest of the bout was marked by some seriously big hits — one a devastating shot to Minnesota jammer Harmony Killerbruise that left her clearly hurt and inspired a star pass to dedicated blocker Diamond Rough. That pleased the Minnesota fans — until she ended up in the box with Oly leading by exactly 100, 187-87. There were only 5 minutes left to play at that point, and although Minnesota narrowed the final margin back to back big jams at the very end, it was still a solid win for Oly at 218-125.