Minnesota RollerGirls (Madison #2) vs. Jacksonville RollerGirls (Columbia #3)
With just one ranking point separating the Minnesota Rollergirls of Saint Paul, Minnesota, USA (9th in WFTDA rankings), and the Jacksonville RollerGirls of Jacksonville, Florida, USA (10th in WFTDA rankings), it came as no surprise that game three of the 2016 International WFTDA Championships included 8 nail-biting lead changes. Only in the final few minutes of the game was Jacksonville able to upset the higher ranked Minnesota and clinch their spot in the quarter-finals. Taking the win 207-158, Jacksonville will move on to play Victorian Roller Derby League (Vancouver #1, 2nd in WFTDA rankings) on Saturday.
The exciting game was a rematch for Jacksonville and Minnesota, who played eachother for the first time earlier this summer when Jacksonville took the win 179-156.
Today’s matchup was highlighted by ongoing jammer penalty trade offs; Minnesota gave Jacksonville a total of 9 power jams, while Jacksonville jammers were sent to the penalty box 11 times in total.
The score was indicative of highly matched defensive walls from the two teams. Blockers on both sides continuously stymied opposing jammers with slow braced walls and knocking jammers out of bounds, forcing them to recycle through the pack repeatedly. Minnesota’s initial strategy of a flat four wall quickly transitioned into a braced three wall in order to stabilize their defense against Jacksonville’s outstanding jammer rotation, while also allowing a blocker to take on an offensive role.
Jamsterella, Jacksonville’s highest scoring jammer (94 points), started the power jam trade off in the second jam when she swapped out with Jacked Pipes, Minnesota’s second highest scorer (40 points) just as her penalty time expired. Jacksonville kept a close lead early on but Jamsterella headed to the penalty box for a second time while Brickyard of Minnesota was left to storm through the pack with the full offensive assistance of her team. She tied up the game with a 19 point jam. A few jams later, Minnesota again took advantage of a penalty for Jacksonville jammer (and world class speed skater) Erin Jackson, grabbing 19 points.
No lead lasted long, however.
After trading points throughout the first half, Jacksonville’s Krispy Kreme-Her grabbed an 18 point jam, pushing her team into the lead 81-75 with less than 3 minutes left on the clock. Jacksonville held onto the lead and ended the first half ahead 88-84.
Minnesota returned from the locker room with fire in their bearings and quickly shot into the lead with a score of 103-92. Unfortunately it didn’t last for the Great Wall of St. Paul. Less than five minutes later, Jamsterella took advantage of a power jam and racked up 23 points to pull back into the lead.
Another momentum robber for Minnesota came ten minutes into the second half, when Minnesota’s stand-out blocker Second Hand Smoke fouled out of the game with 7 penalties.
The high intensity continued as both teams kept up the fight for every point. With 10-and-a-half minutes left in the game, Minnesota was back in the lead 147-138.
Brickyard put on the scoring pressure with a sailing apex jump and gave Minnesota a little more breathing room with a score of 155-141, but Jamsterella in response stole another 23 point power jam with just over 7 minutes left for yet another lead change. This initiated the lead that Minnesota would never overcome. Though a win still appeared within reach up to a minute left on the clock, a forearm call on Minnesota jammer Jacked Pipes sealed the team’s fate in the final jam.
Jamsterella carefully threaded her way through the pack as the clock counted down and in a burst of excitement prematurely hugged her teammates while forgetting to actually call off the jam. When she realized her error, she jumped back into the pack, called of the jam, and celebrated the win over Minnesota, with a final score of 207-158.
Jacksonville will play Victorian Roller Derby League tomorrow at 2 p.m. PST
Jacksonville RollerGirls (#10) 207
Minnesota RollerGirls (#9) 158