East Quarterfinals: 4E Charm City Outpaces 5E Steel City, 258-214
BURLINGTON, VT -- A persistent performance from 5E Steel City kept the outcome of their quarterfinal matchup with 4E Charm City moderately in question for the first three-quarters of the contest, but in the end it turned out like their previous two playoff meetings: Charm City led from the start and came out on top, this time 258-214.
The game began with some extremely tightly packed scrum starts, though Charm City picked up lead jammer status on the first four. They alternated between scoreless jams and small wins for Charm, putting Charm up 11-0 about five minutes in.
Steel City got their first lead jammer call on jam 5 to Snot Rocket Science, but a slightly late call turned a potential 8-0 into an 8-4 as Allie B. Back snuck up the inside at the last possible moment. Steel got lead again next, but Leannibal Lector back blocked her way to the box; Crowella D Vil gave Charm City a good cushion of points with a 23-4 run. Nine minutes in, Charm City led 38-12.
Charm City wasn't totally dominant over the next few jams but put in workmanlike defense to pick up lead jammer and single-pass wins. They got up to 54-16 before a minor Steel City rally; after a 4-0, Snot Rocket Science got lead and successfully trusted blockers Athena and The Crippler to hold Allie B. Back through a long 14-0. With 15 minutes in the half, Steel City was perking up at 58-34.
Unfortunately for Steel City, the next jam ended with their jammer Hard Times being boxed for a last-second back block. Charm's light pack of Lady Quebeaum and Battery Operated helped Crowella to a 14-0 power jam, putting it at 75-37.
Steel City caught a tough break a few jams later, when they got lead jammer call to Snot Rocket Science but lost her to the box when she barely left her feet in a juke but initiated contact in the air. What started out looking like a good jam for Steel City ended 17-4 Charm, with 112-50 on the scoreboard.
Charm City was sitting on their largest lead of the game thus far at 62 points there, but Steel City rallied hard on the back on ace jammer Snot Rocket Science, who used some crowd-pleasing spinning and mohawk dodging to pick up a 21-4 power jam. Three jams later, Snot Rocket did it again while Allie B. Back got completely stuffed by Athena, eventually forcing Allie to pass the star in a jam that went 22-0 Steel City.
At the break Steel City had closed the margin all the way down to 14 points at 118-104.
Charm City got their tough defense back early in the second half, holding Snot Rocket Science back much more effectively than they had in the waning moments of the first; Charm also removed Allie B. Back from the jammer line and went to a two jammer rotation of I.M. Pain and Crowella De Vil for most of the half. Five minutes in, they'd extended their 14-point halftime lead to a much more comfortable 41 at 153-112.
But though Snot Rocket Science couldn't find wins on her first few times out, Hard Times and Leannibal Lector stepped up with the star and helped Steel City keep pace with Charm to a new score of 166-134 with 17:30 to play.
Steel City seemed to be hampered a bit by taking risks with lead jammer status, trying to trade certain 4-0 jams for potential lopsided wins but occasionally having it backfire when the hard-nosed Charm City defense of Lady Quebeaum, Uvetta Work and Free Radical allowed their jammers to pull ahead on subsequent laps. Opportunities to close the margin became fewer as Charm City led 194-149 with 13:11 to play.
Both Hurricane Heather and O'Chit were boxed during a full length jam, but O'Chit -- in her first jam of the night -- got the better of it, 18-9, and with ten minutes to go Charm had a 216-158 lead that finally looked to be safe.
The margin stabilized around 50 for the last stretch of the bout and ended on a very strange note -- Steel City seemed to be waiting to call their final timeout before time expired, but the visible clock stopped on an official timeout before they did so. However, in actuality time expired during the official timeout due to a WFTDA clarification -- leaving Steel City lined up waiting for a final jam that never came while Charm City celebrated their tough 263-214 win.
Charm City moves to play top seed Gotham at 2pm Saturday in the semifinals; Steel City will go to the consolation bracket to play DC at noon.