Bout Recap: WFTDA D2 Playoffs

Furies Pull Together But Fall Short During First D2P Match

Queen City Roller Girls’s Lake Effect Furies (6th seed, ranked 54) took on the hometown Killamazoo Derby Darlins’ (3 seed, ranked 46) in front of a raucous crowd on Friday, August 23, the final game of the first day of the Division 2 Playoffs.

Killamazoo and the Furies had not played each other before. However, this past year they had both played Tri-City and Toronto’s CN Power.  The Furies lost to Tri City in a close game (179-163) while Killamazoo won a decisive victory against the team (240-126).  Both Killamazoo and the Furies lost to CN Power:  Killamazoo fell 263-169 and the Furies fell 230-178.

Photo by John Wijsman.
Photo by John Wijsman.

It promised to be a tight and exciting game.  Unfortunately, the penalty box got in the way of that.

The box proved nemesis to both teams.  By half time Killamazoo had 2 players with 5 penalties and the Furies had one and by the end of the 60 minutes both teams had lost 2 players each to expulsion.  Killamazoo spent 26 minutes in the box in the first period, 3 of those minutes were jammer penalties.  The Furies spent 24 minutes in the first period, 5 of which were jammer penalties.

The game was won by Killamazoo in the first period. The Furies were rusty and scattered and struggled to hold back Killamazoo’s jammers.  Their walls were weak and they struggled to put points on the board.  Killamazoo capitalized on their 5 power jams and was able to limit the damage done by Queen City during their 3 power jams. By the end of the half it was 140-55.

“We went into this knowing it was going to be a battle. We knew that we were very evenly matched and that Queen City was coming here looking to win it.  We’ve been preparing for months. I think we had the home field advantage,” said Killamazoo’s Killie Holiday.  “Both teams brought it all out, especially in the second half of the game. After looking at our season, we earned this. And we’re looking to take all of it.”

Photo by Joe Mac.
Photo by Joe Mac.

The game was almost won by the Furies in the second half.  It actually started in the very last jam of the first period when the Furies’ LiBRAWLian (#622) had lead jam but was passed by the Killamazoo jammer.  As they approached the pack LiBRAWLian leaped over the apex, landed in the middle of the track while hitting her hips.  It woke everyone up on the Buffalo side and they came out of their locker rooms a different team.

Queen City scored 139 points in the second and held Killamazoo to 69 points.  They had 14 penalty minutes (0 jammer minutes) compared to Killamazoo’s 24 penalty minutes (3 jammer minutes).

Queen City won the second period, but it wasn’t enough to win the game.

Until midway through the period Killamazoo held onto at least a consistent 50 point lead until QC’s Pepper Stix (#60) grabbed a 24 point jam and brought her team to within striking distance.  The score was 185-151. Queen City inched closer and closer to Killamazoo but was unable to get closer than 19 points until the final jam. The hometown team was able to keep their defenses strong and their jammer out of the box at the crucial moments and Killamazoo pulled out the win.

Final score:  Killamazoo 209  Queen City 194.

Queen City Endures the Flames for Close Second Match

The Furies (seed 6, ranked 54) and the Burning River Roller Girls (seed 9, ranked 61) met on Saturday, August 24 in an afternoon game that turned into an inadvertent rematch.

The two teams met in June in Buffalo when the teams stood next to each other in the rankings (Queen City had been ranked 61 and Burning River had been ranked 60).  Queen City came out with a significant win: 256-149.  Burning River came into this bout itching for the rematch.

However, both teams had lost their first games of the tournament and neither had planned on playing each other – unless it was for first and second place.

Photo by John Wijsman.
Photo by John Wijsman.

“Burning River seemed like an entirely different game than the one they played against us in June.  They have been playing great all tournament long,” said Queen City Co-Coach Mr. T. “Their bouts have been some of my favorite bouts to watch.”

The bout started tight, both teams scrapping for a few points each jam as they tested each other out.  Queen City took a slight lead early in the first period, but Burning River took it away.  QC’s Queen City’s Mexicali Bruise (#420) caught a power jam and put up 13 points on the board to steal back the lead.

With quick jams where both teams chipped at the scoreboard, the close battle continued throughout the first period and Queen City kept a tiny lead heading into halftime. The score was 68-61.

Like every game, penalties played a significant part.  On the surface, the teams were evenly matched in skill, strategy and penalty trouble.  In the first half Queen City sat for 14 minutes (1 by a jammer) and Burning River sat for 17 (2 by jammers).  In the second half Queen City had 19 penalty minutes (4 jammer penalties) and Burning River had 16 penalty minutes (4 jammer penalties). Queen City had one player foul out.

Photo by Joe Mac.
Photo by Joe Mac.

In the first two jams of the second period,  jammer LiBRAWLian (#622) sat with back to back penalties and Burning River ran away with the opportunity scoring 42 points. By the time the dust settled Burning River had taken back the lead and although Queen City would come very close, they would never take it back.

The telling stat of the game might be lead jam status. It is the one statistic where Burning River had a clear advantage.  In the first half the teams just about split lead jam: 15 for Queen City, 14 for Burning River.  But in the second half Burning River earned 10 and Queen City only earned 5.

Power jams, too, leaned in Burning River’s favor.  Although both teams had equal number of power jams in the second half, Burning River was able to score more points than Queen City during their power jams.

With barely minutes left in the bout Queen City was able to pull to within 24 points; potentially one high scoring power jam away from winning the game.  Unfortunately, the time clock ran in Burning River’s favor.  Queen City had already used up their timeouts early in the bout and had to let the clock run down.

Burning River held on and took the game.

“We had played Queen City back in June and lost and so we came in today with a specific game.  We had planned a counter attack for their strengths,” said Burning River’s West Nel Virus.  “It wasn’t a power jam heavy game so it was a little more exciting. And it was a lot of fun.”

Final score: Burning River 192 Queen City 163

Furies Win Intense Third Game to Secure Ninth Place

Photo by John Wijsman.
Photo by John Wijsman.

In the battle for ninth place, the Suburbia Roller Derby (seed 10, ranked 65) from Westchester, NY and the Furies (seed 6, ranked 54) tore up the early morning track on August 25.  The teams last met in March of 2012 in a nail-biter of a game when the Furies came out with the win, but only by 6 points.  This game was equally as nerve-wracking.

“We are so happy to have the opportunity to play in this tournament.  Our goal all year was to make it to the Divisional Championships,” said Suburbia’s Vixen Von Bruizen. “We were seeded 13 before coming in and felt that any place we could step into was going to show the WFTDA and all of our competitors what we are made of and that we are ready to compete. We are just excited to be part of roller derby history.”

The play by play of this game would be repetitive because the Furies jammers did what seemed like an endless rotation in and out of the box.  QC jammers went to the box 13 times over the entire bout; Suburbia’s jammers only sat 6 times.

Suburbia was able to pack on the points when they were on the power jam, but Queen City was able to shut them down when they had equal advantage and were able to take full advantage of the power jams they did catch.

Suburbia frequently had the pack advantage, too.  The Furies had one player foul out and were given 46 penalties (included in that number are the 13 jammer penalties).  Suburbia wasn’t too far behind though; they collected 38 penalties (including the 6 jammer penalties).

At the half the score was 116-112 with Suburbia holding a slight lead.

The Furies struggled right off the bat when jammer LiBRAWLian (#622) visited in the box three times in a row, earning only 2 points during her brief stint on the track.  Meanwhile, Suburbia grabbed 45 points.  At the end of it, the score was 153-109 in Suburbia’s favor and it looked like the team was going to pull away and take the win.

Photo by John Wijsman.
Photo by John Wijsman.

But it was still early in the period and LiBRAWLian wasn’t done just yet.  She wasn’t finished scoring and, unfortunately, wasn’t done with the penalty box yet either.  Over the rest of the period she scored 93 points (out of her total points of 144), making up for those trips to the box.

With less than 5 minutes left in the bout Suburbia’s Lauren Forcer (#50) hit the box, leaving LiBRAWLian on the floor for a power jam.  The Furies were able to pull even and then ahead and earned their first lead since the second jam of the game.  It was a 7 point game with only a few jams left.

Both teams scrambled hard and when teams scramble they tend to make mistakes.  And LiBRAWLian made one in the last jam and headed to the box. During that jam she had some company in the box.  At one point, three QC blockers sat in the box during that jam.  Suburbia’s blockers were able to slow the pack down and Lauren Forcer was able to collect 20 points.  Unfortunately for Suburbia, they fell short and when the clock ran out Buffalo had held onto the lead.

“We worked really hard all year to get here.   There is no quit in our players either in practice or during a bout so although we’re disappointed in the scores of the earlier games, it’s great to leave on a high note,” said Furies Co-Coach Mr. T.  “Suburbia is always a great team to play.  They came out hard and strong and were very composed.”

Final Score: Queen City 224 Suburbia 221.