ECDX: (3) Denver Bottles Up (11) Philly, 228-130
FEASTERVILLE, PA -- It was relatively close in the early going, but Denver (3 DNN, 4W WFTDA) slowly but surely built a nearly triple-digit margin of victory on Philly (11 DNN, 2E WFTDA) in their Sunday-afternoon bout at ECDX, taking a 228-130 win. Denver ended their weekend 1-1 after their big loss to Gotham on Saturday; Philly lost both their games for the second ECDX in a row.
As they'd done on Saturday against Texas, Philly started most jams with a somewhat unorthodox opening formation of blockers on the pivot line taking a knee, facing backwards and skating towards the jammers when they were released. Denver started out lining up directly on the jammer line, but eventually changed tacks and set up at the middle of the straightaway.
Denver took the first two jams to go up 11-0 early, but a jammer penalty to Denver's Amanda Sharpless allowed Philly's V-Diva to run up a big 21-nothing to put the home team up by 10 after the first five minutes. Jam 4 found Philly's Persephone solving some tough Denver defense to take 3-0 and leave Philly up 24-11 early. But a big jam to Heather Juska next put Denver ahead again 25-24; after 10 minutes, they were up 33-26. V Diva, by far Philly's most effective jammer in the game (she'd finish with 68 points, more than the rest of the Philly jammer rotation combined) tied the game at 35-35 there.
Denver's defense of Gabrielle Begeman, Monica Carson, Susie Long and Ariel Quigley absolutely shut down Shenita Stretcher in a frustrating jam for Philly next, as Amanda Sharpless was able to pick up a natural 19-0 and move the score to 54-35; Juska took 12-3 next as Denver gave Mo Pain a hard time. Denver led 66-38 with 15 minutes left in the first half.
Denver temporarily extended their lead to 82-42, but Philly closed to 82-57 and then got a highlight-reel lead jam from V Diva, who balanced on one leg just barely enough to avoid getting knocked out of bounds. With 9 minutes in the half, Philly was closing in at 84-61.
Still, V Diva was the only jammer having consistent success for Philly against the smothering Denver defense, and Denver ran up 14 unanswered points over the next few jams and was up 98-64 after Philly finally stole a 3-0.
With 3:31 on the period clock, there was a lengthy injury timeout as Denver's Tracy Akers went down hard and took some time to get up -- though she was able to eventually skate off under her own power. On the last jam of the half, Denver moved a 102-70 advantage to 117-70 on a Sandrine Rangeon power jam and took that lead into the locker room.
Philly seemed to abandon their first-half start strategy after the break, opting instead to crowd the jammer line with Denver, but they could not turn their fortunes around over the first ten minutes of the half. Denver advanced the margin to 150-88 and Philly called their second timeout with 20:14 showing on the game clock. With 15:58 to play, the score hit 171-98 Denver after a full length jam that saw jammers Julie Adams and Teflon Donna both spend a split second in a very busy penalty box.
The Belles got a little something going at about the 13 minute mark, once again built on the back of big jams from V Diva, whose strength seemed to give the otherwise implacable Denver blockers a lot of trouble. They narrowed the 73 point Denver lead down to 59 points at 177-118, but a killer jammer penalty on Philly let Heather Juska pull down a momentum-stuffing 14-0 that put the margin right back at 73, 191-73.
With only about 8 minutes to play, Denver went to a clock-killing strategy, willing to let Philly equalize points in trade for running two minutes off the clock. It almost backfired on them as Amanda Sharpless was boxed after both teams put up 8 points, but Shenita Stretcher was then boxed on the subsequent power jam after getting knocked out of the air and cutting track on an attempted apex jump. When that lengthy sequence was over, Denver had a 219-126 lead with under three minutes to play and it was just a matter of time -- the final score was 228-130 Denver.