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East Consolation: 10E DC Shocks 5E Steel City, 239-223

BURLINGTON, VT -- Apparently inspired by Boston's stunning first-half performance against heavily favored Philly on Friday, 10E DC jumped out to an astonishing 44-0 lead over 5E Steel City to open their consolation-round bout and continued to lead Steel City until the final minutes of the first half. Unlike Philly, though, Steel City simply could not pull it together in the second half while a fiery whole-team effort from DC made Steel City pay for almost every mistake they made. In the end, DC's spirit was just barely more than a match for Steel City's talent; DC landed one of the biggest upsets of the year by upending Steel City 239-223.

Bout stats via Rinxter.

DC employed six jammers over the course of the game, getting mostly balanced performance led by Lenore Gore (74 points) and Jersey Jill (46 points); meanwhile, the Steel City offense was overwhelmingly on the back of phenomenal Snot Rocket Science, who put up 140 of Steel City's 223 points. The game turned, though, on Steel City jammer penalties; Steel saw their jammers boxed 11 times to DC's 7, but six of Steel City's jammer trips came in the last third of the game, allowing DC to make up a 51-point deficit.

2-0 for Dual Hitizen over Snot Rocket Science opened the scoring, before Hurricane Heather's tough weekend continued; she was boxed on a major cut struggling with her first pass. Lenore Gore put up a 28-0 in a second jam that saw multiple players from both packs go to the box. Marion Barrycuda got lead quickly but had trouble with J-Bomb and Death Cake for Cutie on her second scoring pass, but eventually added 9 as Heather was boxed again, this time on a major back block. But Athena limited the damage next time as she held Jersey Jill to a single full scoring pass.

Steel City called their first timeout looking at a very unexpected score of DC 44, Steel City 0 with 22:49 showing on the period clock.

On the other side of the break, Snot Rocket Science had a highlight reel jam, using every possible angle to get past tough defense from Hoova Dayum and Soledad -- but even though she finally got her team on the board, DC still won the jam 9-8. It did break the seal for Steel City, as that marked the beginning of three lead jam calls in a row. On the third, Hurricane Heather had a 4-2 pack and ran it for the full two minutes while Marion Barrycuda was hopelessly stuck on her first scoring pass. That finished 19-4 to Heather -- and left Cuda in the penalty box at the very end.

The score was 57-32 on a DC timeout at 17:52 there. On the other side of the power jam, Steel City used passive offense to repeatedly see Snot Rocket Science bust through DC's attempts at slow defense -- but she lost her jammer cover on her fourth scoring pass and was boxed upon skating clockwise to retrieve it. DC managed to get those points back on the power jam switch, losing that jam 19-10 but winning the other side 10-0. That set the score at 77-51 with about 15 minutes in the half.

Impressively, DC managed to hang on the lead for some time after Steel City's sudden flurry -- helped along a bit by Steel City employing the same unconventional call-off timing they'd used on Friday against Charm City. Steel would often look willing to keep jams going past a guaranteed 4-0 regardless of the penalty box situation, although it ended with Steel eventually on the wrong side of the point margin as often as not.

With the score 93-65 with eight minutes in the half, Steel City got a key power jam opportunity and exploited it well as DC's pack shrank from 4 to 2 as they repeatedly picked up out-of-play and multiplayer block penalties trying to hold back Hard Times against passive Steel City offense. That went 15-0 and had Steel City within striking distance at 93-80 with 6:23 on the clock following an official timeout.

Points were sparse on both sides for the next few jams, with the score inching up to 96-80 going into the last three minutes. But DC got in big trouble at that point -- Steel City's strategy of keeping jams running past their normal expiration date finally paid off big as DC jammer Marion Barrycuda got boxed before grabbing points on her opening pass. Yet again it was Snot Rocket Science making DC pay, comfortably weaving her way to a huge 29-0 that finally got Steel City in front, 109-96.

The half ended a jam later on a DC win, leaving it Steel City 109, DC 101 at the break.

DC switched it up a little after the break, sitting the penalty-prone Cuda and putting in dedicated blockers Chinese Cheker and Jackie May Day as jammers in the first three jams. They stepped up to pick up three lead jam calls in a row and take back the lead for DC, 124-109 after the first two.

Cheker was back to make it three lead jam calls in a row for the new-look DC jammer line -- but as she escaped the pack with Snot Rocket Science on her tail, she tried to throw a can-opener that only got her boxed on a high block. The full length jam got a little weird upon Cheker's return -- she apparently tried to pass the star but was boxed again in the process of doing so. That jam went 39-4 to SRS and the followup went 24-4 to Hurricane Heather.

Suddenly Steel City was solidly ahead 172-132; a full-length 18-7 to SRS made it 190-139 with about 20 minutes to play.

That was a 81-18 run for Steel City and it seemed that DC was out of luck -- but Steel City's jammers often seemed intent on creating luck for DC, going to the penalty box six times in the last 20 minutes. DC was able to cut into the 51-point Steel City lead a bit when Snot Rocket Science was boxed twice in the same jam, letting Chinese Cheker battle through for 15 points. On a official timeout with 17:45 to play, DC was still in it at 190-154. But the official timeout cost DC a key blocker, as Soledad fouled out on 7 box trips.

Still DC would not go away. They stole 3-0 on the other side of that timeout when lead jammer Hurricane Heather waited too long to call the jam, and then a jammer penalty to Leannibal Lector let Jersey Jill pick up 19-0. With about a quarter of game time left, it was 190-171 Steel City.

Two jams later, Steel City opened the door for DC yet again, this time on a jammer penalty to Hurricane Heather. Steel City blocker J-Bomb led a tough penalty kill and Heather eventually scored out of the box, but it still ended with DC creeping closer at 201-188.

With the score 208-191 Steel City with 9 minutes left, it was again a Hurricane Heather box trip that gave DC the opportunity to close in -- a visibly tiring Dual Hitzen made it 208-201. The next jam saw a much more energized Lenore Gore take a lightning-quick 4-0 and call over Snot Rocket Science.

WIth DC down by just three points at 208-205, both jammers returned for an immensely chaotic frame that saw both jammers boxed on apparent false starts -- followed by SRS getting boxed a second time upon her return. Steel City's pack dwindled to just one blocker momentarily, with The Crippler unable to stop Lenore Gore. At the end of Gore's 21-0 run, DC had finally gotten back in front, 226-208.

After a quick 3-0 to Hitzen, there was one more confrontation between Snot Rocket Science and Lenore Gore. SRS took lead and once again went back to Steel City's strategy of trading guaranteed 4-0 for a potential big whack -- but she couldn't get more than a lap away from the tenacious Gore. In the pack, it was DC's Jackie May Day finally -- after nearly an hour of play -- finding ways to take the agile SRS off her feet. Steel City won the jam 12-8, but was nearly out of time with under a minute to play and a 17 point margin on the board, 237-220.

When Dual Hitzen picked up a crowd-pleasing lead jammer call on the next one, Steel City was out of chances. Hitzen started a scoring pass but eventually disengaged and waited for the period clock to expire. The jam went 3-2 Steel, but the game went 239-223.

Now with two losses on the weekend, Steel City cannot place higher than 9th when they face Dutchland in Sunday's 10am game. Tournament 10 seed DC is guaranteed to improve on their own placement -- they'll play Carolina at 6pm today to determine whether they'll play in the 5th place or 7th place game Sunday.