ECDX: (8) Arizona Edges (18) Steel City, 209-193
FEASTERVILLE, PA -- Arizona (8 DNN, 10W WFTDA) played one of the most closely contested games of the ECDX on Sunday afternoon when they took on Steel City (18 DNN, 4E WFTDA). The lead changed hands over ten times in the game and came down to the last jam before Arizona escaped with a 209-193 win.
Through the first 15 minutes of the game, the teams seemed very closely matched, going point for point with each other and trading the lead multiple times. With 10 minutes gone, Arizona was barely up 37-32, but with 13 minutes left in the first half, Steel led 58-57. Atomatrix, jamming for Arizona, gave the lead back to her team with a 4-0 that made it 61-58 Arizona.
Steel City occasionally made some unorthodox choices on calling the jam, willing to keep jams running after putting up a sure point differential. On the next jam, that made the game 69-69 as Snot Rocket Science played a little cat and mouse away from the pack with Arizona jammer Luz Chaos but eventually allowed her to start scoring passes. However, the next jam was bad news for Steel City as The Shocker went to the box as jammer in a no-lead full-length jam; Atomatrix converted that one to a huge 29-6 win and Arizona had their biggest lead of the game at 98-75 with 7:37 to play in the first half.
However, Arizona completely filled their box with Joy Collision, Wetback Attack and jammer Luz Chaos on the next frame. Steel City went to no-engagement offense and Hurricane Heather pulled down a 25-0 that flipped the lead to Steel City 100-98.
That lead was short-lived as well. Joy Collision, wearing the star for Arizona, tied the game at 104-104 with just about three minutes left in the first half. Arizona took the lead on a bang-bang 4-0 when Luz Chaos snuck up an undefended inside line a bare instant before Steel City's jammer called it off, and AZRD would hang on to that lead for the rest of the half. At the break, it was Arizona 112, Steel City 106.
Scores remained tightly matched in the early going of the second half, and Arizona was up 120-112 after a jam that ended with their jammer Wetback Attack in the box. However, Arizona's line of Messy Missy, Loco Lena, Havoc and Joy Collision killed the full minute of penalty time with excellent work on The Shocker; though The Shocker finally got called lead, she waited too long to call it off and Arizona managed to win a disadvantaged powerjam 4-2. It was 124-114 about five minutes into the half.
Steel City's strategy of keeping jams running past their usual expiration date worked out particularly well against Loco Lena again, as Hurricane Heather picked up two grand slams in a natural 17-10; that made it 137-131 Arizona with about 20 to play. With Lena getting boxed at the very end of that one, The Shocker put up a big 14-0 and the lead changed yet again -- 145-137 Steel City.
SCDD pushed that lead to 149-137 on the next jam, but Hurricane Heather barely cut the foremost blocker on the next jam and was boxed as Steel City jammer; Arizona's Wetback Attack put up yet another lead chance by scoring 14-0. With 16:08 to go in the game, Arizona led 151-149, and added 5-0 next to make it 156-149.
Of course that lead would also soon vanish as Hurricane Heather took 9-0 to make it 158-156 Steel City; on the very next jam, though, Arizona got back ahead in a big way as Atomatrix took a natural 19-0 and made the new score 175-158 Arizona with 11 minutes to play.
Heavy SCDD defense bottled up Arizona's Wetback Attack on the next jam, though, and the natural 14-0 made it a five-point Arizona lead at 177-172.
The score was 181-174 Arizona with 5:58 to play when Steel City blocker Athena went down in apparently excruciating pain to her knee -- that jam was called early on injury, and Athena did not return to play. On the followup, Steel City lost a golden opportunity when Atomatrix was boxed early but Steel City's jammer Shocker followed her in during her first scoring pass. The full length jam left the new score at 200-182 with 3:15 to play, and Joy Collision claimed 4-0 next with a few athletic jukes and cuts. Steel City called their second timeout down by 22 at 204-182 with 2:30 on the clock.
A 4-0 for Snot Rocket Science moved the score to 204-186. Steel City called their last timeout with 1:44 showing and played the remaining time quite effectively by taking 7-0 and calling off the jam with about 40 seconds left on the clock. That guaranteed a final jam with the score 204-193 Arizona; AZRD took a timeout to talk it over and 18 seconds on the clock.
The last jam had Atomatrix burst up the inside line almost instantly, but she mysteriously went for a scoring pass before calling it off even though Steel City couldn't stop the clock again. Fortunately for Arizona, they avoided disaster as the scoring pass was clean; Atom called with a 5-0 to end the game at Arizona 209, Steel City 193.