Saturday, March 24th marks the beginning of the 2018 roller derby season for the #19th Womens Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA) ranked Lake Effect Furies. They will be hosts to familiar competition – #37th WFTDA ranked Ann Arbor Roller Derby’s Brawlstars.
The Furies and the Brawlstars met in sanctioned play last June (2017) in Ann Arbor, Michigan. There were several lead changes in that game, but it finished with the Furies taking the victory 193-128. This Saturday’s game will be an exciting re-match for the two teams as they both set sights to climb the WFTDA rankings during the 2018 season.
The WFTDA season runs from December 1st – June 30th each year. Teams must play 4 sanctioned games during this time in order qualify for WFTDA playoffs. The WFTDA Division 1 playoff structure (slightly changed for 2018) includes 2 tournaments for the teams ranked 5-28 as of June 30th. The teams finishing in the top 4 spots at each Division 1 playoff tournament will progress to the Championship Tournament. Joining these teams will be the top 4 ranked teams from the overall standings, who will get ‘byes’ from the initial playoff tournaments.
Currently ranked 19th, the Furies have a solid shot at attending the WFTDA Division 1 playoffs for the 4th year in a row. This group of dedicated, hard-working, and disciplined athletes and coaches likely have their sights set higher than that. The Furies’ climb up the WFTDA rankings since their inception in 2011 has been persistent, and they are determined to make 2018 their best year yet… perhaps it could be the year that they can earn an invite to WFTDA Champs? Only time will tell.
The season for the Furies continues in April, where they will host (#24) Philly Roller Derby. This will be the first time these teams meet. The next weekend, April 28-29, they will travel to Santa Cruz, CA to play games against (#30) Rocky Mountain Rollergirls, (#29) Arizona Roller Derby, (#13) Bay Area Derby and the tournament hosts (#23) Santa Cruz Derby Girls.
In May the Furies will return home to Buffalo Riverworks to host the Orangeville Roller Girls from Canada on May 12 at 7 p.m. (doubleheader!).
The Furies will wrap up their home season in a game against the (#25) Windy City Rollers on Saturday, June 9 (another doubleheader). They wrap up their fight for a playoff spot when they travel to Detroit, Michigan to take on both (#26) Detroit Roller Derby and (#20) Tampa Roller Derby.
The Furies 2018 roster remains fairly consistent from 2017. Notable changes include the retirement of veteran blockers (and original Furies members!) Tabrina Schreier (formerly Cu~T) and Tuesday Hula. Jenna Hart (formerly Vajenna Warrior) has also taken a leave from skating, and remains on the team in a coaching role where her skating experience is an asset. New additions to the 2018 Furies include two transfers: Michele Angel (from Detroit Roller Derby and Ann Arbor Roller Derby) and Amazon (from Renegade Derby Dames). Also joining the team is home grown Veggy Cowgirl who began roller derby in 2011 with the Queen City Junior Roller Girls. She aged up mid-season in 2015 and was named ‘Rookie of the Year’ in 2016 after her inaugural season in the adult league. She also plays with the Subzero Sirens (B team) and the Alley Kats (home team). The Furies’ will continue to be spearheaded by captains Pepper Stix and Librawlian and coaches Guy-O-Tine and PapaWow along with Jenna Hart.
With all of the games scheduled for the 2018 season, not only do the Lake Effect Furies plan to maintain their top 20 rank within the WFTDA – they plan to continue their climb up the rankings. They have their sights set on Division 1 playoffs and beyond. One might suggest a berth to Championships is within reach for the team this season. Regardless, the Furies plan to continue their persistence in their climb, play the game their way and have some fun too.