Rose City Rollers (Columbia #1) vs. Victorian Roller Derby League (Vancouver #1)
The second semi-final of the 2016 International WFTDA Championships pitted the host league, Rose City Rollers from Portland, OR, USA, against the league that traveled the farthest, Victorian Roller Derby League from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Neither team was lacking in fan support with packed sections cheering for the underdog, Victoria (WFTDA #2), which has never made it to the gold medal game and Rose City (WFTDA #3) fans getting a chance to watch their team at home.
When these teams last met six months ago, Victoria took home a 12-point victory. Rose City had won the first meeting between the teams. After Saturday’s semi-final victory, 155-152, Rose City can claim dominance — and VRDL can maintain their underdog status.
Rose City put up 13 points before Victoria scored their first points on a 10-0 jam by Lady Trample with Rose City’s Licker *N* Split in the box. She came out of the box to earn lead jammer status against Giles pick up five points. The jams in the early part of the game were characterized by grinding defense, with Rose City jammers preferring the inside line and Victoria jammers the outside. There were huge hits and pile ups when offensive blocks landed on their targets and Rose City maintained a small lead.
About midway through the first half, things changed. A track cut penalty to Victoria jammer Giles and a scattered-looking Victoria defense saw Rose City grow their lead by 21 points in a single jam to lead 52-15. The point spread stayed about the same until an 18-point jam by Victoria’s Christy Demons when Rose City jammer Frisky Biscuits was trapped by Victoria blockers Mick Swagger and Serelson. Victoria started to look more awake and by halftime the gap closed to 77-59.
The second half showed us what Victoria can really do. The first two jams saw 17 points for the Australians and a frustrated Rose City jammer Licker *N* Split stuck in the box with two penalties. While Rose City’s Scald Eagle and Loren Mutch were performing solidly on the jammer line, Licker *N* Split and Frisky Biscuits had trouble. Victoria’s Mary Fagdalene put up another 8-0 jam with Frisky Biscuits stuck in the pack and three minutes later, Victoria took the lead for the first time in the game with Mary Fagdalene again donning the jammer star.
With only 15 minutes left in the game Victoria was ahead 99-88 and that lead grew in the very next jam. Jammer Scald Eagle and three Rose City blockers all went to the box within five seconds of one another, leaving only Hannah Jennings on the track. Christy Demons scored 19 points despite Scald Eagle initially having lead in that two-minute jam. The two teams traded the next two jams 5-0 apiece before Victoria would grow its lead once more when Christy Demons scored 10 points to Frisky Biscuits’ four.
With only eight minutes left in the game, and an almost 30 point deficit, Rose City could not afford to let Victoria have any more big jams. A clean 4-0 run by Loren Mutch was followed by a 5-4 for Scald Eagle bringing the score to 137-115 with only five minutes on the clock. Rose City jammer Licker *N* Split took the line for the first time since Victoria had taken the lead — the only other jam where she’d started on the jammer line in the second half.
Facing off against Christy Demons, Licker *N* Split secured lead. Rose’s blockers held back Demons and prevented any star passes while Licker *N* Split completed three full scoring passes and picked up two extra points on a fourth pass before calling the jam off. Victoria’s lead was down to five points with three minutes remaining on the clock. The next jam went to Victoria, 7-4, and the following to Rose City, 6-4. Rose City called a timeout trailing by six points, 148-142, and with only three seconds left on the period clock.
The final jam saw Loren Mutch donning the star for Rose and Lady Trample for Victoria. Earning a quick lead jammer status up the inside line with Lady Trample right behind her, Loren Mutch kept the jam running while Lady Trample was trapped by Rose City blockers Tarantula and Jes Rivas. Scoring another full pass and then a handful of points, Loren Mutch called the jam giving Rose City the win, 155-152.
Rose City Rollers will face Gotham Girls Roller Derby from New York, NY, USA, for the championship and the Hydra trophy at 6 p.m. PST on Sunday. Victorian Roller Derby League faces London Rollergirls from London, England, UK at 4 p.m. PST for third place.
Rose City Rollers (#3) 155
Victorian Roller Derby League (#2) 152