Gotham Girls Roller Derby (Madison #1) vs. Angel City Derby Girls (Vancouver #2)
The second quarterfinal at the 2016 International WFTDA Championships saw an East Coast-West Coast matchup with Gotham Girls Roller Derby of New York, NY, USA facing underdog Angel City Derby Girls from Los Angeles, CA, USA. This was Gotham’s first game of the weekend, while Angel City had to win yesterday against Montréal Roller Derby in order to advance to play today. The Californians have never advanced beyond the quarterfinals, while Gotham has played in the Championship game every year since 2011.
The first couple of minutes were slow and grinding with Bonnie Thunders taking one minute to earn lead for Gotham and only picking up 5 points on a two-minute jam. After a quick 4-0 jam by Micki Krimmel, the pace picked up and packs became more fluid. Angel City found themselves in penalty trouble again (they had 9 jammer penalties in their game yesterday), and Vicious van GoGo racked up 22 points while Ghetto Fabu-lez spent time in the penalty box. The next jam saw Miss Tea Maven adding to Gotham’s total while Satan’s Little Helper was off the track due to a back block. The Angel City jammers cleaned up their skating but unfortunately, Gotham drew a lot of blocker penalties on the Californians. ShortStop put up 14 points against two lone Angel City blockers, Tui Lyon and Rachel Rotten, bringing the score to 63-14. From there, the momentum changed — with fuller packs and both jammers on the track, Angel City inched their way forward. Satan’s Little Helper, Darby Dagger, and Micki Krimmel won the next three jams for the Californian team leaving the scoreboard reading 65-24 in favor of the New Yorkers. Both scores lept up in fits and spurts until the last two minutes of the first period when Angel City took control. Masterful penalty killing by Lo allowed Darby Dagger to come out of the box and earn lead jammer status and a couple of points. The next two jams saw Gotham’s first penalty kills as Vicious van GoGo and Miss Tea Maven went to the box. Micki Krimmel and Satan’s Little Helper dodged and darted to put up 29 points across the two jams despite the efforts of V-Diva and Sexy Slaydie. At halftime, the scoreboard read 91-83 and momentum was in Angel City’s favor.
“We had to let the crazy momentum go and take it one jam at a time,” Vicious van GoGo, Gotham skater said. “We stopped looking at the score and letting that affect our play. We slowed it down.”
The second half started like it was anyone’s game. A grinding 4-0 jam for Gotham was followed by a quick 3-0 jam for Angel City. The third jam saw the cracks in Angel City’s armor reappear though. While Micki Krimmel got out first, she wasn’t lead and Angel City’s blockers were rotating through the penalty box, leaving only Tui Lyon on the track at one point and Rachel Rotten alone at another. Gotham’s blockers, Caf Fiend and Violet Knockout, shut down Krimmel while Bonnie Thunders easily juked the lone Angel City blockers. Gotham’s lead grew again, sitting at 119-89 with five minutes gone in the half. The next four jams went in Angel City’s favor 8-0, bringing Gotham’s lead to just 22 points before a penalty to Micki Krimmel allowed Gotham to regroup with Vicious van GoGo putting up 8 points with 20 minutes left in the game. Angel City, trying something new, put Bubbles on the jammer line. The gamble didn’t pay off, as she got two track cuts in the same jam and Angel City’s blockers started heading to the box via desperate play (offensively and defensively). Gotham scored 29 points in those two jams, and Angel City’s blocker Rachel Rotten fouled out before Bubbles could pass the star to pivot Laci Knight to stop the bleeding. Angel City regrouped in a time out and put out their most successful jammer, Darby Dagger, who ran the jam long after earning her fourth lead jammer in her fourth jam of the half and scored 16 points for Angel City. Gotham’s lead was 55 points with just over five minutes left in the game when Darby Dagger took the jammer line once more. With three track cut penalties to Miss Tea Maven, Darby Dagger scored 14 points and called off the jam with Maven still in the box. Satan’s Little Helper took over where Darby Dagger left off and put up another 18 points.
With three minutes left in the game, a two-minute jam saw Bonnie Thunders pass the star to V-Diva for Gotham and Darby Dagger go to the box on a track cut. V-Diva got the better of the jam, scoring 12 points for Gotham to Darby’s 5. However, she finished the jam in the box on a forearm penalty, which left Satan’s Little Helper on the jammer line unopposed with 46 seconds left on the clock and the scoreboard in Gotham’s favor 194-160. Running the jam long, Satan’s Little Helper picked up 8 points to V-Diva’s 3, closing the score gap. Bonnie Thunders won lead jammer status and called off the final jam of the game to secure Gotham’s win with the score remaining 197-168 and the closest any team has come to beating Gotham this season.
“We ‘took it to the hoop,” Vicious van Gogo said.
Gotham Girls Roller Derby goes on to face London Rollergirls from London, UK at 6:30 p.m. tonight in the semi-finals.
Gotham Girls Roller Derby (D1 Madison #1, WFTDA #1) 197
Angel City Derby Girls (D1 Vancouver #2, WFTDA #4) 168