Columbia Upsets #21 Carolina, 99-88
RALEIGH, NC -- WFTDA apprentice league Columbia continued a string of recent impressive results by defeating their toughest opponent yet, the long-established Carolina Rollergirls (#21 DNN, #8E WFTDA), by a final of 99-88 in front of 2117 at Carolina's Dorton Arena.
Though Columbia's lead was as large as 45-18 late in the first half, the second half was a true nailbiter all the way through, with Carolina tying the game for the first time with 2:51 left but committing a fatal jammer penalty on the penultimate jam.
Carolina's roster was somewhat changed since their 8th-place showing at last September's WFTDA East Region playoffs, with Celia Fate, Eris Discordia, Holly Wanna Crackya, Pink Slip and Deviled Legs notable subtractions. Longtime vets DVS, Jesse King, MC Fyte, Daisy Rage and Ms. Anthrope the Mordant suited up, joined by some relatively new blood in Sue Yu, Pretty Reckless and Erna Beatin'. Thrashley, Ginger Clobbers, Jojo Gadget and Sheeza Freak rounded out the Carolina crew.
Columbia got a break on the very first jam, as leadoff Carolina jammer Ginger Clobbers was boxed and Columbia's Mel Anoma scored a 9-0 jam. The margin stayed very close through the opening 15 minutes to 17-8 Columbia, but Columbia turned a box trip for Carolina's Pretty Reckless into a 5-4 comeback win and a 5-0 on the other side to make it 27-12 with 13:50 to play in the first half.
The Columbia lead got up to 45-18 with 8 minutes to play in the first half before Carolina got their first big crowd-pleasing jam as their blockers Thrashley, Sheeza Freak, Ms. Anthrope the Mordant and Jojo Gadget locked down on Columbia's Mel Anoma and Reckless picked up a 9-1 for Carolina.
The remaining 6 minutes of the half were almost all very small-margin jams -- 2-1 Carolina, 1-0 Carolina, 2-0 Columbia, 1-0 Columbia and 0-0 -- but Carolina got a 10-0 pop from Pretty Reckless to make it a 10 point game at the half, 50-40.
After Columbia's Crystal Cutts got a 7-0 to open the second half with a 57-40 lead for the visitors, the teams immediately got back to scoring minimal points. For the next fifteen minutes, neither crew scored more than 4 points in a jam.
With 16:25 to play, it was 74-53 Columbia and points became even harder to come by on a pair of 0-0 jams -- but Carolina finally busted the first double-digit jam of the half when DVS rolled to a 14-0 that made it 74-67 with 12 minutes to play, the closest the game had been since the opening jam.
Over the next five jams, Carolina narrowed it to 81-78 with 5:29 on the clock. It looked like they were certain to take the lead on the next jam as their jammer Thrashley had lead and Columbia's Grafik was sent to the box -- but Thrashley called it before scoring.
DVS was out to jam next for Carolina with a full minute of powerjam to work with, but Columbia made a key defensive stand with Holly Hunter, Fearless Fritz, Chuck-town Bruiser and Truckstop holding her to just 3-0. That 3-0 was enough to tie the game at 81 with 2:51 to play, though.
On the second to last jam, Carolina got exactly what they needed -- a lead jammer call to Pretty Reckless -- followed by the last thing they needed as Reckless committed a major cut during her scoring pass. Left unopposed on the track, Columbia's Grafik dealt a massive blow to Carolina's comeback hopes with a 14-3 win, Columbia's biggest jam of the game.
Carolina still had a chance with 45 seconds on the clock and the score 95-84, but the final pack situation was a 4-2 favoring Columbia. MC Fyte and Ms. Anthrope the Mordant couldn't hold back Crystal Cutts from lead jammer, and she called after both she and DVS put up a single scoring pass, closing out the game at 99-88.
Columbia's next challenge is against a team that also put up a recent upset, Tallahassee (who beat Green Country on February 11); Columbia / Tallahassee is on March 31 in Columbia. Carolina's next scheduled game is against Ohio on April 14.