Houston Roller Derby (#11) vs. Atlanta Rollergirls (#5)
The Houston Roller Derby All-Stars of Houston, Texas, U.S. (Seed #11, WFTDA #36) fell to the Dirty South Derby Girls of the Atlanta Rollergirls, Atlanta, Georgia, U.S. (Seed #5, WFTDA #13) by a score of 323-143 in the last game of the consolation bracket at the 2017 International WFTDA Division 1 Playoffs Dallas.
The 23 WFTDA ranking spots that separated the two teams gave Atlanta the edge from the very beginning, as they took the lead in the second jam and held on to it for the entire game. Although Atlanta dominated the game, Houston did not make it easy, with tight braced walls led by Payo Dues, Speed O’, and Death By Chocolate, who displayed phenomenal pack awareness and delivered some hard hits in her last game before retirement. One of the last jams of the first period saw both jammers struggling to push past the opposing walls, finishing 0–0 after one minute of strong, unyielding defense. The score at the half was 124–62 in Atlanta’s favor.
The second period brought with it an abundance of points for Atlanta but also penalties for both teams. The Dirty South Derby Girls started off a little scattered and ran into some penalty trouble but reasserted themselves in the last 12 minutes of gameplay, locking down their strong defensive tripods to hold Houston scoreless for as many as five jams at a time. Queen Loseyateefa, Blaque Jac, and Baller Shot Caller led Atlanta’s strong defense but visited the penalty box many times throughout the game, coming close to fouling out.
With eight minutes left in the second half, victory was completely out of reach for Houston at 272–128. One of the last jams of the game saw Diamond Cut-Her stuck behind an increasingly steadfast Atlanta wall that did not advance past the jammer line for more than 1:30, ultimately unable to complete her initial pass with 2:30 left in the game. The game ended at 323–143 for Atlanta.
This was the last game of the tournament for both teams. The Dirty South’s Slams McKenzie was the top scorer of the game with 84 points, followed by 81 from the nimble-footed Ana Cheng who transferred to Atlanta from Tampa this season. Arrak-kiss was the most successful jammer for Houston at 60 points, showing impressive footwork and strength throughout the game.
“This isn’t necessarily what we wanted out of the weekend but I’m super proud of our team. We played how we wanted to play and I’m very happy with that,” said Atlanta’s Rebel Yellow, reflecting on the team’s performance. The team had defeated Wasatch Roller Derby of Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S. (Seed #12, WFTDA #40) on Friday before losing a two-point game to Minnesota RollerGirls (Seed #4, WFTDA #11) of St. Paul, Minnesota, U.S. on Saturday.
Houston Roller Derby had a difficult summer leading up to D1 Playoffs after Hurricane Harvey devastated their city.
“We couldn’t have practice for at least a couple of weeks leading up to D1,” said Death By Chocolate. “It definitely hurt us. You worry about your friends and family who didn’t fare as well, because although a hurricane blows through, rebuilding after it hits takes months and years down the line. Everyone in our derby family is okay. As long as we can help our friends rebuild and get back on their feet, that’s the important part.”
Death By Chocolate and Speed O’ said they were moved by the Queen City Roller Girls of Buffalo, New York, U.S. (Seed #6, WFTDA #18), who created a campaign to support long-term recovery efforts in Houston by selling specially designed t-shirts, the proceeds of which will go to the Saint Bernard Project. Houston and Queen City were each other’s first opponent in the tournament, with the Buffalo team taking the 195-104 victory Friday.
Atlanta Rollergirls (Seed #5, WFTDA #13) 323
Houston Roller Derby (Seed #11, WFTDA #36) 143