Yeti Does Dallas – Lake Effect Furies Division 1 Playoff Preview

The Lake Effect Furies head out to Dallas, Texas for the 2017 Women’s Flat Track Derby Association Division 1 Playoffs which will be held September 22-24. They will play for a chance to compete at the WFTDA Championship Tournament in November.

But they need to get through Dallas first.

The Furies head into this tournament as a Seed 6, the highest seeding they’ve earned since they were a 5 Seed in D2 Playoffs. Other teams that will be playing in Dallas are: Victoria Roller Derby League (Melbourne, Australia), Texas Rollergirls, Arch Rival Roller Derby (St. Louis, MO), Minnesota RollerGirls, Atlanta Rollergirls, Santa Cruz Derby Girls, Philly Roller Derby, Arizona Roller Derby, Dallas Derby Devils (and also the hosts of the tournament), Houston Roller Derby and Wasatch Roller Derby (Salt Lake City, UT).

This year the WFTDA reduced the number of tournaments from four to three and increased the number of teams playing from 10 to 12 which means the top four teams head on to WFTDA Champs.

Photo by Brie Grinham
Photo by Brian Grinham

The Furies will play their first game on Friday at 4 p.m. CST (5 p.m. EST) against Houston Roller Derby.

First, we have to take a moment to send out derby love and support to Houston. We don’t know what they’ve endured since Hurricane Harvey hit town, but it can’t be good. We hope they have been able to stay safe throughout this time.

Houston enters Playoffs ranked 36 while the Furies are ranked 18. The Furies have never played Houston but both teams played Ohio Roller Derby this year. Both teams won: the score for Houston was 259-203 and for the Furies 304-95. Houston won by 56 points; the Furies by 209 points. Does that guarantee the Furies will win over Houston? Not at all.

Houston has some jammers to watch. Slayer Moon earned 85 points in their game against Grand Raggity at the BrewHaHa tournament. EnJen, another top scorer, had 61 points in that game.

Photo by C.K. Photographic Systems
Photo by C.K. Photographic Systems

There aren’t many upsets at WFTDA Division 1 Playoffs but they do happen. At the 2017 WFTDA D1 Playoffs in Seattle Seed 6 Rat City Rollergirls beat Seed 3 Jacksonville Roller Derby to earn their spot at WFTDA Champs in November. Also, Seed 5 Montreal Roller Derby won against Seed 4 Bay Area Derby and will be joining Rat City at WFTDA Champs.

The Furies don’t take any team for granted, no matter where the opponent is ranked. The game again Houston will not be easy. First games of a tournament can be mentally difficult as a team adjusts to a different floor, a brand new opponent, and new officiating crew. Sometimes the mentally stronger team is the team who wins.

For the sake of this article, let’s say the Furies win their game against Houston. Then they will move on to play Seed 3 Arch Rival Roller Derby out of St. Louis, MO. Arch Rival is currently ranked 8th in the WFTDA. Although there are only 10 spots between the Furies and Arch Rival there are 159.62 ranking points. For comparison, there are only 126.9 ranking points between Houston and the Furies.

It’s going to be a difficult game.

Photo by Rene T. VanEe
Photo by Rene T. Van Ee

At last year’s D1 Playoffs, Arch Rival won over Tampa Roller Derby in a tight game (149-131) to make it into WFTDA Champs and then went on to win against their first round opponent Denver in another close game (177-165). They lost to London Rollergirls but have remained in, or close to, the top ten in WFTDA this season.

If the Furies win against Arch Rival they will advance to play Texas Rollergirls (and former QCRG player Alley Oops) and will have a place at WFTDA Champs in November.

If they lose against Arch Rival they still have a game to play on Sunday. They will play Atlanta Rollergirls (Seed 5, WFTDA 13), Wasatch Roller Derby (Seed 12, WFTDA 40) or Minnesota RollerGirls (Seed 4, WFTDA 11). Any way you slice it, it is going to be an intense weekend.

This year’s roster has a difficulty that last year’s did not. They have 1 too many players. Last year the team played short due to injuries. This year, with the recent return of KonichiWOW the team sits in that unfamiliar place of too many players.

Photo by Rene T. Van Ee
Photo by Rene T. Van Ee

KonichiWOW started her derby career with QCRG but then moved on to Windy City Roller in Chicago and then to Montreal Roller Derby. She has returned to her roots and began skating with the Furies. She adds another solid, reliable, and smart blocker to their roster.

The team’s first game is Friday, September 22 at 5 p.m. EST. If they win, they will play Saturday, September 23 at 1 p.m. EST.

You can watch all of the D1 Dallas action on WFTDA.TV where you can purchase a watch pass for the weekend. You can also listen to the audio for free. Check FB and Twitter for score updates.

~Vile Love It