Tucson Roller Derby Saddletramps (#2) vs. Jet City Rollergirls Bombers (#4)
It’s the situation every team prepares for: tie game, last jam, who will take the victory? The Tucson Roller Derby Saddletramps of Tucson, Arizona, U.S. (#2, WFTDA #42) answered decisively, earning fifth place in the 2017 International WFTDA D2 Playoffs and Championships in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S. with a 194-183 victory over the Jet City Rollergirls Bombers of Everett, Washington, U.S. (#4, WFTDA #44).
With the game tied at 183 with 1:46 remaining on the jam clock, Tucson jammer Shana Banana Hammock put up 11 points while her blockers Blaxican Bomber, Olive Jukes, Pinky McLovin and Midnight Crasher didn’t allow Jet City jammer an initial pass.
Tucson’s dominance in the final jam belied the back-and-forth nature of the game. Jet City held the lead for most of the game, including a 105-81 advantage at the half.
Ivana Hercha started strong with a 20-point jam for Jet City to open the game. That helped the Bombers to a 28-0 advantage in the first few jams. But Tucson countered with a 30-0 run of their own over five jams to force the first of four lead changes during the first period.
Tucson had lead jammer status more often, but Jet City jammers still had point-scoring passes in those situations. The Bombers took a sizeable lead thanks to Ivana Hercha and Mary Contrary combining for 24 points in two jams, while I’llah Smashya posted 20 in a single jam.
Tucson’s ability to defend was hampered by penalties; the team racked up 23 trips to the penalty box in the first half, compared to Jet City’s 14.
But the Bombers found their own penalty trouble. Their jammers took no trips to the box in the first half but gave Tucson four power jams in the second half, which the Saddletramps capitalized on.
Many jams were played short-staffed on both sides due to penalties, which tested the endurance of blockers playing in their fourth game in three days.
Tucson crept back in the second half, bolstered by an apex jump by jammer Mystery Meat that was challenged by Jet City as a track cut, but the no call was upheld by the officials. That sent the Saddletramps on a 35-16 run over several jams to tie the game at 133 with 16:47 remaining in the game.
Tucson took the lead on an 11-point jam from Shana Banana Hammock with defensive help from Blaxican Bomber. Tucson’s blockers also killed a power start for Jet City, and a few jams later that strong defense and penalty trouble allowed Tucson’s Death Proof to rack up three grand slams and stretch the lead to 19 points.
But Jet City’s jammers Mary Contrary, Ivana Hercha and Sofa King Ninja were having none of it. When those three jammers broke the pack, they put up multiple scoring passes in second-half jams. Ninja posted 10 points, bringing her team within nine, after taking a hit to the head that resulted in a misconduct penalty for Tucson’s Momo.
Jet City went on a 21-0 run to retake the lead, but Tucson wasn’t done. In the second-to-last jam, Tucson’s Mystery Meat went to the penalty box on a track cut, which could have been the death knell for the Saddletramps. Jet City’s I’llah Smashya got offensive help from her blockers Razor Wreckher, The Mexorcist, Bombshell and Beethoven’s Fist and used the power jam to put up nine points. Refusing to give up, Mystery Meat came out of the penalty box with a sense of urgency, and scored 11 points in less than 90 seconds to tie the game.
That set up Tucson’s strong final jam and delivered the fifth place finish.
Tucson was led by Death Proof with 60 points, Shana Banana Hammock had 52, and Mystery Meat had 50. For Jet City, Ivana Hercha had 60 points, I’llah Smashya had 42 and Mary Contrary had 41. Defensively Tucson standouts were Blaxican Bomber, Juno Gnomi, Trouble Shooter and Metal Maiden, while Jet City was led by Beethoven’s Fist, Razor Wreckher and Rock N Rolla Cholla.
Earlier in the tournament, Tucson defeated E-Ville Roller Derby (#15) and Columbia Quad Squad (#11) and lost to Boston Roller Derby (#7). Jet City defeated Treasure Valley Roller Derby (#13) and No Coast Derby Girls (#9) but lost to Naptown Roller Derby (#12).
Tucson Roller Derby (#2, WFTDA #42) 194 – 5th Place
Jet City Rollergirls (#4, WFTDA #44) 183 – 6th Place