Texas Rollergirls (#2) vs. Arch Rival Roller Derby (#3)
While both teams in the final game of Saturday night at the 2017 International WFTDA Division 1 Playoffs Dallas had already booked their tickets to the2017 International WFTDA Championships Philadelphia, only the Texas Rollergirls of Austin, Texas, U.S. (Seed #2, WFTDA #6) will be guaranteed a medal, having won the last Saturday game, 209-119, over Arch Rival Roller Derby of St. Louis, Missouri, U.S. (Seed #3, WFTDA #8).
Texas entered the semifinal by beating host league, Dallas Derby Devils of Dallas, Texas, U.S. (Seed #10, WFTDA #34), on Friday evening, 248-89. Arch Rival had already played a game Saturday, defeating the Queen City Roller Girls of Buffalo, New York, U.S. (Seed #6, WFTDA #18), 339-123, just six hours prior to the matchup with Texas.
“We felt good despite the game earlier in the day. We ate extra food, some skaters saw a massage therapist and we went into the game with a good mindset,” said Arch Rival skater Cupquake.
The game had something for everyone with stalwart defensive walls, huge offensive hits, and jammers who were powerful and agile. Sometimes there were 30-second jams and other jams went the full two minutes with only a handful of points scored. The blocking of both teams, notably Polly Gone, Peacewar, Smarty Pants and Stone Her for Texas and Cloak N’ Drag-her, Grant, Shear-Ra Powers and Salty for Arch Rival was versatile, adaptive, and impressive.
The two teams traded lead jammer status for the first ten minutes but Texas ended up ahead on the scoreboard 39-16. Freight Train, Olivia Shootin’ John, and Gravy, Baby! all had success against the Arch Rival pack while Hauss the Boss was less successful relying often on jammer star passes to double-threat Smarty Pants and get the jammer cover out. The score gap continued to stay around 30 points until Texas’ Freight Train put up 15 points against newer Arch Rival jammer, Reptar, with five minutes left in the first half. The Arch jammers appeared to have trouble in the final jams of the period with Swanson getting stuck behind Aja Gair and Peacewar, and then Harmony Killerbruise needing to pass the star to Cupquake while Freight Train scored eight points. Then Bricktator, Arch’s most successful jammer in the first half, took a massive hit from Texas blockers Smarty Pants and Polly Gone trying to get out on her initial pass. By the end of the half, Texas had a solid lead, 117-54.
The second half started similarly to how the first ended. Olivia Shootin’ John earned lead jammer status for Texas and was coming around to score points when the jam was called off due to injury after Bricktator sustained another huge hit from the Texas blocking contingent.
Arch Rival rallied to support their injured captain and kept Texas scoreless for five jams, including a jam where Gravy, Baby! never completed her initial pass for the full two minutes. The St. Louis squad inched forward on the scoreboard, 118-75.
However, Texas adapted like the experienced team they are. “We changed the line ups a bit to put skaters with different skill sets together. That unified the team and brought us together to clinch the win,” said Texas skater Jackie Daniels.
All of Arch’s points were recovered by Texas in a single jam where Freight Train powered through her opponents while the Texecutioners blockers drew a cut on Arch Rival jammer, Bolt Action.
“That jam changed our momentum,” said Texas skater Jackie Daniels. “We skated clean and everyone used that jam as motivation to step up.”
While there would be a few fumbles in the remaining 20 minutes, Texas continued to look stronger until the last three minutes, growing the lead 198-89.
“Ultimately, our goal was to outperform ourselves and improve every jam,” said Arch Rival skater Cupquake.
The last jams of the game saw Arch Rival achieve that goal, winning them 12-10, 5-0 and 8-0 with two successful Official Reviews in the second half. The final jam was a 1-1 tie when Freight Train called the jam off when the period clock hit zero, and Texas took the game, 209-119.
Texas will go on to play for first place in the Dallas playoff against Victorian Roller Derby League of Melbourne, Australia (Seed #1, WFTDA #1) at 6 p.m. Sunday. Arch Rival will face midwestern rivals the Minnesota RollerGirls of Saint Paul, Minnesota, U.S. (Seed #4, WFTDA #11) for third place at 4 p.m. Sunday.
Texas Rollergirls (Seed #2, WFTDA #6) 209
Arch Rival Roller Derby (Seed #3, WFTDA #8) 119