In their first matchups in recent memory, Ohio and Gem City faced off in two fierce battles that resulted in one win and one loss for each league.
ALL STARS EDGED OUT BY PURPLE REIGN, 118-134
Aggressive from the opening whistle and only building in intensity, the charter game saw both teams fighting to find and maintain the narrowest of leads throughout both periods, and was ultimately determined in the final minutes of play.
The All Stars jumped onto the scoreboard with a 4-0 inaugural jam, but the Purple Reign quickly answered with two consecutive shutout jams, causing the first lead change in jam 3. Speedy packs minimized Gem City gains in the early minutes of the period, and Ohio jammers took advantage of holes left by their opponents to race away from the defense and force early call offs. While unsuccessful in their request for an illegal contact penalty assessment to the Reign jammer at the end of jam 8, the brief lull in action allowed the All Stars to reset; BrussKnuckles pulled off the first double-digit scoring run in jam 10, sprinting up the inside for a 15-4 gain and flipping Ohio into the lead, 25-24. Gem City fired back in the following jam, retaking a narrow 25-28 lead, but made minimal progress on a series of power jams. Fueled by a roaring home crowd, Catch Mikachu slid past defense in jam 16 to earn lead jammer status and 4 points while Betty T. KayO, Amy Spears, and Kelsey Khaos reabsorbed Bullistic to force a star pass. Birch Slap offered relief to the jammer rotation, surging into lead status and tiptoeing along the back apex for 8 clean points; meanwhile, Pain Train ricocheted through the pack to provide offense before going face-to-face with the Reign jammer and repeatedly delaying an initial pass. A power jam allowed Gem City to widen their lead to 16 with an 11-point improvement, but the All Stars outscored them 16-10 over the next four jams and rolled into halftime trailing 59-69.
Returning to the track with cooler heads, the All Stars found success in reining in blocker penalties and reaped the results; Kelsey Khaos forced the Gem City jammer into a track cut, allowing Bigg Rigg to grab lead status and attack the defense for 8 points. Ohio continued to chip away at a shrinking lead over the next seven minutes of the period, as Lara Del Rage recycled Supersonic to the rear of the pack on a runback, and Vyles and Pain Train held Archangel Anarchy on an initial pass for a full lap before opening a lane up the middle for BrussKnuckles. Betty T. KayO burned a Gem City power jam before taking a star pass and bulldozing through the pack for 3 points in jam 33. Zigzagging around defenders to obtain lead jammer, Mikachu outran the Reign jammer for 4 unmatched points; Bigg Rigg built on the momentum to boost Ohio to an 89-86 lead in the following jam, hopping the apex to uproarious cheering and racking up 11 points while Chainsaw and KloverKill used the Gem City defense to help hold their jammer. The All Stars focused on point denial, posting three consecutive shutout jams and slowly wedging open the point gap, but never reaching a comfortable lead. As penalties piled up on both sides, Gem City forced the final lead change of the game with under 6 minutes remaining, 106-110. Mikachu scraped up 4 points to tie the game in jam 44, but back-to-back lead jammer calls for the Reign allowed them to shut out the home team and pin hopes on a final jam with just seconds on the period clock. Bigg Rigg found lead easily and opted to run the jam long to maximize point potential, and depleted defense on both teams left little resistance against an 8-12 run, bringing the final to 118-134 in favor of Gem City.
MVPs for Ohio were Catch Mikachu (jammer) and Pain Train (blocker).
MVPs for Gem City were Reckless Ratchet (jammer) and Doity Die (blocker).
Unofficial lead status gain, jamming, and scoring for Ohio were: Catch Mikachu (9-14, 41 pts); BrussKnuckles (2-11, 21 pts); Bigg Rigg (7-16, 36 pts); Jane, Literally (1-3, 2 pts); Birch Slap (1-2, 8 pts); Belle A. Trix (0-1, 0 pts); Betty T. KayO (0-2 [2 star passes], 3 pts); and Pain Train (0-3 [3 star passes], 7 pts).
Unofficial lead status gain, jamming, and scoring for Gem City were: Supersonic (8-15, 44 pts); Reckless Ratchet (11-17, 55 pts); Bullistic (6-11, 26 pts); Archangel Anarchy (2-5, 9 pts); Lexical Dexterity (0-1 [1 star pass], 0 pts); and Outer Spacey (0-2 [2 star passes], 0 pts).
GANG GREEN OVERHAULS THE VIOLET FEMMES, 229-126
Putting on immense pressure from the very first jam, Gang Green opened a formidable lead early in the first half and held their opponents at a distance for the entirety of the game.
After feeling out defense and testing lines in the first handful of jams, Belle A. Trix grabbed lead status and made the first big move for the home squad in jam 6 with 16 unanswered points, opening a 28-6 lead that would continue to grow unchecked. A power jam provided the Violet Femmes with their first chance for double-digit scoring, allowing them to negate most of Gang Green’s points, and scoring on both sides slowed in subsequent jams as packs increased in speed. Employing a bit of magic, Belle A. Trix scooped up 12 initial points in jam 11, then doubled that for a 24-3 gain as the Femmes pivot-turned-jammer picked up a forearm penalty. Smash Panda took full advantage of a power start and abbreviated defense in the following jam, sneaking through for 12 clean points while Slayna Scully and Ka-Pouch! held the Femmes jammer at bay on her return to the track. Hoping to play catch up, Gem City looked to exploit a string of Gang Green jammer penalties late in the period, but found it difficult to escape a two-wall of Lara Del Rage and TactiGal. Quick offense by Baby Kakes sprung Jane, Literally free on a 4-0 pass; as the clock ticked down to halftime, Kegel Scout forced the opposing jammer out of bounds while TactiGal threaded through the pack to end the period 110-52.
Gang Green continued the onslaught in the second half, holding the Femmes scoreless for the first three jams. The visiting team found room to work, with Honey Basher picking up 7 points on a power jam, but Gang Green retaliated with multiple scoring passes in each jam that the Femmes chose to run long. After being held scoreless for two jams, Belle A. Trix snuck through for 5 points while Foxy Force landed a merciless hit on MurderMaid to force a call off. A two-minute jam with penalties assessed to both the Femmes jammer and pivot provided all the time Jane, Literally needed for a tidy 20-point jam; TactiGal repeated the story for 20 more points in the following jam as a full contingent of Gang Green blockers shut down Archangel Anarchy. The Violet Femmes managed to steal lead status in jam 39, but a star pass to Frida Killo kept the home squad on a roll as she collected 8 additional points. Two 0-0 jams ensued before Gang Green regained momentum; Belle A. Trix picked up lead status, taking a jersey whip off a teammate to squeak through the pack and push Gang Green over the 200-point threshold while Baby Kakes finished bumping the opposing jammer out of bounds at the front of the engagement zone. Grabbing lead easily after starting in the penalty box, Tone Cold secured 8 unmatched points as Slamazon Prime cleared a hole on the inside line. A power start to the last jam gave No time to earn lead jammer while a revolving tripod of Foxy Force, Frida Killo, and HardKore stymied the Femmes jammer on their return to the track, bringing the final score to 229-126.
MVPs for Gang Green were Belle A. Trix (jammer) and Kegel Scout (blocker).
MVPs for the Violet Femmes were Honey Basher (jammer) and Mighty Midgett (blocker).
Unofficial lead status gain, jamming, and scoring for Gang Green were: Belle A. Trix (6-10, 80 pts); Smash Panda (4-7, 40 pts); TactiGal (6-9, 44 pts); Jane, Literally (7-8, 34 pts); Ka-Pouch! (2-2, 4 pts); No (1-4, 11 pts); Tone Cold (1-5, 8 pts); and Frida Killo (0-1 [1 star pass], 8 pts).
Unofficial lead status gain, jamming, and scoring for the Violet Femmes were: MurderMaid (6-14, 37 pts); Cheyster (2-6, 15 pts); Honey Basher (5-12, 59 pts); Archangel Anarchy (3-9 [1 star pass], 12 pts); Blitzkrieg Becks (0-2 [1 star pass], 3 pts); LGBTease (0-3 [2 star passes], 0 pts); Slayer Cub (0-2, 0 pts); and Florida Man (0-1, 0 pts).
Photos by Chris Baker.