East 3rd Place: 4E Charm City Rebuffs 6E London, 183-159
BURLINGTON, VT -- In the third place game of the WFTDA West Region Playoffs, 6E London trailed 4E Charm City for the entire game but launched a late-game comeback that had them just 21 points off the lead going into the last five minutes. London's only jammer penalty of the game all but knocked them out of contention -- but they'd make the last seconds of the game thrilling by threatening to take record-setting advantage of Charm City's only jammer penalty of the game. In the end, a desperate attempt to make up a huge gap on the last jam wasn't enough, and Charm City scored their third straight trip to Championships by beating back London's challenge, 183-159.
Charm relied extremely heavily on I.M. Pain as a jammer, sending her one-on-one-off for almost the entirety of the first half and a significant portion of the second. However, even though Pain (47 points) jammed a tremendous 24 frames, the Charm leading scorer was Trixy Von Doom with 59 points on just 4 jams; Kamikaze Kitten and Rogue Runner led London with 59 and 50 respectively.
Charm City took first blood on a 8-0 to I.M. Pain, though Stefanie Mainey saved it from being more with a well-timed denial of an attempted apex leap by Pain. When Rogue Runner took lead on jam 2, though, it was clear where the audience allegiance stood as the crowd exploded. Rogue called two beats too late, though, and Crowella De Vil equalized the jam at 4-4 just at the fourth whistle. Back to back classic 4-0 jams to Charm next made it 20-4 Charm City after five minutes.
On jam 5, it was again Rogue Runner making the crowd blow up for an LRG lead -- this time, she got a margin of 8-0 to move the totals to 20-12 favoring Charm City. It stayed back-and-forth to a new score of 24-14, where there was an anticlimactic jam start as both teams were willing to kill a lot of penalty clock time before releasing the jammers. By the time the jammer whistle blew, there were only 20 seconds left in the jam. It worked out to Charm City's favor, as Allie B. Back claimed lead and three points in the little time remaining.
It was 27-14 after ten minutes, narrowed to 27-18 after a Flamin' Aggro 4-0 hit and quit. Trixy Von Doom claimed lead for Charm next but failed to call before Kamikaze Kitten penetrated, causing a tie at 4-4.
With 15 minutes to play in the opening half, it was a 31-25 game still favoring Charm City. Charm blocker Quickshot Kitty and London blocker Shaolynn Scarlet both brutalized the opposing jammers in a nearly full-length jam that only went 5-0 to Charm City. That moved the scoreboard to 36-25 Charm City -- on the next jam, Flamin Aggro got a big pop with a pirouette hit-and-quit 3-0 to get the margin back into single digits at 36-28.
London closed to just five points at 40-35 before Charm City stuffed them for five jams in a row. London was handcuffed by having two blockers in the box for most of that run while the Baltimore defense stayed slow and tight. They'd get particularly good defensive work from Battery Operated, Rosie the Rioter and Quickshot Kitty during a run that saw Charm City drop 28 unanswered points. When London finally got back on the scoreboard, there was 4:30 remaining on the half clock with the score 68-37.
Charm City tried to catch London sleeping with an immediate star pass off the line from Crowella De Vil to dedicated blocker Uvetta Work, but it didn't work out for Charm as London took lead and won the jam 5-0. Baltimore matched that on the followup, though, and it was 73-42 going into the last two minutes of the half. Two jams later, Charm went into the break with a 77-42 lead.
As the second half began, Charm City continued their slow-but-steady work; down 84-46, London lost an opportunity when jammer Rogue Runner got London's first lead jam call of the half but incorrectly thought she was the trailing jammer - she called immediately while I.M. Pain was still stuck in pack for 0-0.
However, it was Charm City's turn to find themselves suffering from penalty trouble. Following that 0-0 London pulled five more lead jammer calls in a row and took 4-0 or 3-0 on all of them to close to within 19 points at 84-65.
I.M. Pain ended the 19-0 London run with a 3-0, but Flamin' Aggro managed to absorb a brutal front-of-pack hit from Uvetta Work to claim lead and 4-0. London kept coming and pulled to within just 10 points, 89-79, with 16:46 to play; there was a short play stoppage there as Charm's Rosie the Rioter went down hard and had to be helped up and off the track.
Charm settled down defensively a bit after the break, moving Holden Grudges into the jammer rotation, taking the next three lead jam calls and increasing their lead to 28 points at 115-87 with 13:09 to play. London called their first timeout there, but still could not break Charm's momentum -- having particular trouble keeping I.M. Pain from dancing or ramming her way to very quick lead jammer calls. As the clock ticked into the last ten minutes, it was looking increasingly grim for London at 128-87 -- and getting considerably quieter in the venue.
But four 4-0 jams in a row for London suddenly got the crowd heavily back into the game with the score 128-103. Looking to stop the sudden momentum shift, Charm City called their first timeout with 6:34 left to play in the game. but the timeout did nothing to stop London's slow march. They scored yet another 4-0 on the other side of the break and were within 21 points at 128-107 with five minutes to go.
But after 55 minutes, the first jammer penalty finally came against Flamin' Aggro, who was called lead as the trailing jammer after Trixy Von Doom had already scored 4. Desperately trying to equalize the score before Trixy caught up again, Aggro tried to force an apex jump around Charm blocker Quickshot Kitty, but Kitty saw her all the way -- and the resulting crash landing sent Aggro to the penalty box. Trixy turned the first power jam of the game into a 28-7 run that erased a significant part of London's painstaking work in the comeback.
With 3:22 to play, Charm City was in a very good position, up by 42 at 156-114. There was more bad news coming at the end of the jam for London, as key blocker Stefanie Mainey was ejected for what was called as a deliberate low block -- and even worse news when the next jam started with London looking at a 4-1 pack situation. Trixy Von Doom was back out to pick up 18-6 in the full length jam, but more importantly she removed the majority of the time on the clock for a potential London comeback. It was 174-120 with just about a minute remaining in a quiet building going into the last minute.
However, London was handed the longest of shots, as Charm City finally committed their very first jammer penalty of the game -- to Free Radical, who fouled out of the game on the penalty. Rogue Runner picked up 10 points and called the jam with about five seconds left on the clock, and London got their final timeout called just in time, setting up a Hail Mary jam for Kamikaze Kitten as Trixy Von Doom took the seat from Free Radical.
She was starting unopposed, but with the score 174-130, she also had to make up 44 points in two minutes. The only thing she had working in her favor was the fact that Trixy was finishing off a two-minute penalty for the departed Free Radical. For a few shocking -- and very loud -- moments, it looked like Kami might actually do it as Charm City filled their box to overflowing. Kami racked 25 points in just over a minute to bring the score to 174-155 as Trixy Von Doom stood in the box. But Charm City's Quickshot Kitty blasted Kami to the ground during her fifth scoring pass, and when Trixy got out of the box and picked up a scoring pass for Charm, London was simply out of time. The last jam went 29-9 London, but that wasn't enough to bridge the gap, and time expired with the score 183-159 Charm City.
Charm City's win means that the East Region will send the same three teams to the WFTDA Championships for the third year in a row -- they'll be joining Gotham and Philly in Atlanta. London will have to console themselves with having improved from a controversial 10 seed in 2011 to a undisputed 4th place finisher in 2012.