Philly Roller Derby (#8) vs. Arizona Roller Derby (#9)
The opening game of the 2017 International WFTDA Division 1 Playoffs Dallas matched up two closely-seeded teams, Philly Roller Derby of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S. (Seed #8, WFTDA #25) and Arizona Roller Derby of Phoenix, Arizona, U.S. (Seed #9, WFTDA #27). Though Arizona raced out to a strong start, Philly took command of the game midway through the first half and never looked back, nabbing a 163–108 win.
The first half clearly reflected the teams’ close seeding. The first jam saw Arizona’s Luz Chaos use agile, hoppy line work to take lead jammer over Philly’s Herrmann Monster. Arizona jumped out to the first lead of the game with a 5–0 grand slam. Arizona maintained their lead through the first ten jams, though strong defensive work by Philly’s blockers, particularly ZipBlok and Meryl Strip-Her, both of whom had a number of key takeoffs and drawbacks of Arizona jammers, kept Philly within striking distance.
Halfway through the first half, Philly got the break they needed and quickly capitalized. Though Philly’s Buenos D. A$$ was sent to the penalty box on a back block shortly after picking up lead jammer, Arizona’s Stache followed quickly behind with a low block penalty. After both jammers returned to the track, Philly’s Strip-Her forced Stache into a track cut penalty. D. A$$ racked up 15 points for the game’s first, and what turned out to be only, lead change.
Philly held on to the momentum, keeping Arizona scoreless over the next 7 jams and stretching their lead out to 52–29 with 10 minutes left in the first half. In Jam 16, Arizona was able to put more points on the board after a star pass to Kootz, who, benefitting from a penalty to Philly jammer Niki Cash, took 12 points to Philly’s eight. Two jams later, Arizona’s Luz Chaos grabbed 10 points on a power jam. At the half, Philly was clinging to a slim lead at 62–55.
Arizona started the second half on the right note, with Luz Chaos taking lead and scoring four points while keeping Philly from scoring. The six point differential was as close as Arizona would get, however. Philly especially benefitted from multiple huge jams from Brandywine transfer D. A$$, who seemed happy to grind out long jams and take time off the clock, making it more and more difficult for Arizona to mount a comeback.
With six minutes left in the game, Philly enjoyed a comfortable, though not safe, lead at 138–100. Arizona’s jammer Choke Ya Latte, experiencing some success after being introduced as a jammer in the second half, put up eight points to bring Arizona within 30 while holding Philly scoreless. In the next jam, however, stalwart Philly jammer D. A$$ put up a 9–0 as Stache first took a penalty, and then was held by Philly’s defense for the rest of the two minute jam. Philly forced a track cut on Latte in the following jam, effectively dashing Arizona’s hopes for a last-minute comeback. The final jam saw another lead jam call for D. A$$, capping the game and a solid win for Philly.
Philly moves on to a showdown with the number one seed, Victorian Roller Derby League of Melbourne, Australia, at 6 p.m. today, Central Daylight Time. Arizona will play the first game of the consolation bracket, Sunday at 2 p.m. CDT, against the losing team of game 6, either the Texas Rollergirls or the Dallas Derby Devils.
Philly Roller Derby (Seed #8, WFTDA #25) 163
Arizona Roller Derby (Seed #9, WFTDA #27) 108