D1R: (4) Philly Clips (1) Angel City, 263-157
RICHMOND, VA--The first semifinal of the second WFTDA division on playoff was contested by two teams seemingly headed in very different directions. Angel City had been languishing in the Western region and struggling with the regional powerhouses when the new divisional structure was brought in, and an exceptionally strong home season saw them climb to #5 in the rankings to claim a top seed. Philly, near-constant Champs attendees had to give up their accustomed second seed from the east and come into this tournament seeded 4, with results this season suggesting they are a team on the slide as they struggled with jammer penalties putting up a number of very close scores against teams they would have previously been expected to blow away.
Both teams struggled on day one, having trouble with teams they would have been expected to beat handily and came into this bout looking to both quiet some doubters and book tickets to Milwaukee in November. Philly took a few jams to get into their stride but had a strong first period despite a handful of jammer penalties--and continued their dominance throughout the second period, with Angel's only serious scoring runs coming from on powerjams. The Liberty Belles sealed a WFTDA upset win with a comfortable 263-157 win, securing both tickets to Milwaukee and a place in the tournament final.
Antidote opened the bout for Philly, dwarfed off the line by the indomitable figure of Krissy Krash lined up right in front of her, with Angel's Chica Go Lightning poised to take the outside. Antidote shrugged off those attentions to spring through for lead with Chica hot on her heels--she stole two and called it to give Philly a 2-0 lead with seconds gone. The size differential was reversed in jam two when VanEssa Sites towered over Cris Dobbins on the jam line. But again it was the more diminutive skater who got lead--and she nabbed three and the lead before Sites forced the call.
Angel used the bench advantage to hit the jam line first in the first few jams, and managed to hold the back as they extended their lead a little with Philly's front walls struggling to keep themselves in play. Tarantula dominated Chica for the first multi-pass jam of the game as Clam Jammer restored the Philly lead before the Dobbins / Sites duel resumed.
WIlkins recycled Sites as Dobbins again won that fight before Phlly switched up their rotation to put Sites in a against Tyra Shanks. Sites got her first lead call as Shanks was held at the back by a tight Philly swarm--and she racked up the points courtesy of a spinning hip-check from Teflon Donna as the last tine of defence. That started a period of real dominance for the Liberty Belles as the Angel jammers struggled in turn against a Philly defence that was starting to show its class. Holden Grudges then forced a cut after a Teflon Donna hit to send Mickispeedia to the box with Sites already scoring. She made the lead 64-9 with 12 minutes gone as Phily's run extended to 52-0.
Devoida Mercy hit the box on a backblock and allowed Chica to end ten scoreless minutes for Angel City. Chica put up 14 before picking up an inexplicable track cut as she was sent sprawling out of bound by a Teflon Donna hit, and simply stepped back on the track and skated on only to be instantly sent off. Sites had the chance to finish off the powerjam but got a backblock of her own in a low-speed tangle with Krissy Krash on her initial pass. Chica narrowd the gap to 83-53 courtesy of a 4-1 pack advantage for much of that powerjam.
Philly began to dominate from the rear as they regularly won the pre-jam jammer line race. Shenita psyched Chica into a long recycle in jam 16 as Mercy took Philly into a 100-53 lead inside the final ten minutes.
Tef continued to be the bane of many an Angel jammer as the last line of defence in the closing moments of the period just as Sites found her jamming legs with a run of lead calls to close out the period and keep Angel City shut out when she wore the star. Laci Knight was briefly removed from play to have some bleeding staunched during an official review that saw Sites boxed for a backblock at the very start of the previous jam when she skittled ACDG blockers bursting through the red wall.
Cris Dobbins closed out the first period with a 19-0, and Angel 118-80 behind.
A 3-0 for Mickispeedia kept Angel's momentum going into the second period, but a 4-0 for Sites cancelled it out immediately. Four Clam Jammer points were followed by a Dobbins cut that set Devoida Mercy up for a powerjam that made the Philly lead 145-83... and it would have been more had Mercy not been delayed for a chunk of that jam by a ref disagreement that saw her sent off and then waved back on for an apparent cut.
But Angel hit back with a powerjam of their own after Antidote was boxed on a backblock to the outrage of Liberty Belles captain Teflon Donna who thought the fouled blocker had gone down deliberately to draw the penalty. Chica put up 15 as the Philly bench's collective blood pressure rose. Dobbins jumped the apex with lead to carve another chunk out of the Philly lead before being boxed on a low block at the whistles when she was hit out and tangled ankles with a Philly blocker as she went down. Angel challenged the call, but it stood.
Soledad battered Devoida Mercy to initially limit her powerjam scoring before Sites restored the 60-point cushion. Sites then made the lead 88 with a 27-0 powerjam after a low block on Mickispeedia with three quarters of the bout gone; Tarantula continued to prove her worth for the Liberty Belles as Philly's lead crept up. But a pair of two-minute penalties on Tarantula and Holden Grudges in quick succession gave Angel a pack advantage heading into the final ten minutes. Angel used their numerical advantage to play some hard-hitting offense; Mickispeedia, Dobbins, and Chica all cashed in.
But a forearm call on Dobbins let Philly clear their box and let Mercy undo their hard work in a single stroke with a 33-0 jam to make the lead 242-130 with six minutes to go. A backblock on Mickispeedia in the very next jam gave Clam Jammer the chance to remove any semblance of doubt in the result. But Krash and Chinese Cheker tag-teamed her to force an infield cut to deliver a small slice of late drama--but the lead was still 115 inside the final three minutes when Mercy was released as Chica was limited to 10 points across the full minute. Five more points from Chica as she was chased down made it 255-145 with the clock stopped at 2:23 by Angel City's final time-out.
Diva and Micki traded points in the final jam--and Philly finished 263-157 winners to book another trip to Championships and a final against the winner of Texas and Naptown at 6 pm tomorrow. Angel will compete for third at 4 pm against the loser of that bout.