Arch Rival Roller Derby (#3) vs. Minnesota RollerGirls (#4)
In the third place game of the 2017 International WFTDA Division 1 Playoffs Dallas, Arch Rival Roller Derby of St. Louis, Missouri, U.S. (Seed #3, WFTDA #8) and Minnesota RollerGirls of Saint Paul, Minnesota, U.S. (Seed #4, WFTDA #11) squared off for the opportunity to take home a shiny bronze medal. Arch Rival took the lead early and never looked back, slowly building on their advantage to emerge with a 186-91 win.
Fans of Arch Rival may have noticed a familiar name missing from the lineup — jammer Bricktator sustained an injury and was not skating. However, another name familiar to most fans of roller derby appeared in her place: Vicious Van GoGo, last seen skating with Gotham Girls Roller Derby (WFTDA #3), debuted with Arch Rival at Playoffs on Sunday.
Arch Rival’s Swanson took the game’s first lead jammer status call over Minnesota’s Jacked Pipes but could only squeak out one point before being forced to call the jam as Pipes crept up behind. Minnesota’s Second Hand Smoke broke through the middle for lead in the next jam, taking three points to none for Arch Rival’s Bolt Action. The third jam saw Arch Rival take the point advantage they would maintain through the rest of the contest. As Arch Rival’s Harmony Killerbruise faced off against Minnesota’s Switch Please, K. Woodward handed St. Louis a power jam by drawing a track cut penalty on Switch and then continued to assist offensively with forceful blocking to open up a clear lane past the opposing Minnesota blockers. Arch scored 16 points on the jam and opened up a 17-3 lead.
A few jams later, Arch Rival’s Cloak N’ Drag-her forced a track cut penalty on Minnesota’s Second Hand Smoke, allowing Swanson to score nine points to Minnesota’s zero. With ten minutes gone in the period Arch Rival had extended their lead to 31-7. Though Arch Rival had the lead and took the majority of the lead jammer status calls over the next several jams, Minnesota did a good job of limiting the damage by getting their jammers out of the pack quickly enough that Arch Rival was forced to call jams after only picking up a handful of points. With 10 minutes remaining in the half Arch Rival was up 45-15 when they received another power jam opportunity as Minnesota’s Jacked Pipes was issued a penalty at the very end of a jam. On a power start, Swanson nabbed lead and another 12 points for Arch Rival. Two jams later, Second Hand Smoke picked up lead against Harmony Killerbruise and a 7-0 jam, which notably was the first multiple scoring pass jam for Minnesota.
At the half, Arch Rival had extended their lead, 90-34, thanks to their jammers being able to capitalize on a number of power jam opportunities and strong offensive and defensive efforts by their blockers. Arch Rival made their run while staying squeaky clean on the penalty board, committing only four penalties as a team in the first half.
The second half saw Arch Rival take lead jammer status and an additional 15 points in the first two jams. The third jam saw a heavy defensive grind from both teams — triangle formations of Shear-Ra Powers, Salty, and Grant for Arch Rival and Crust Almighty, Rhea Volt, and Diamond Rough for Minnesota, kept jammers Switch and Harmony Killerbruise contained for nearly a minute and a half before Switch was finally able to escape and pick up lead jammer, ending with a 4-2 jam win for Minnesota. With 10 minutes gone in the second and Arch Rival up 122-44, Minnesota received a power jam opportunity as Harmony Killerbruise was called on a track cutting penalty. Jacked Pipes picked up nine points but Minnesota lost additional blockers to the box, helping Arch Rival to pick up lead jammer status on the next jam. While Arch Rival took the majority of lead jammer status calls in the second half, Minnesota made the most of their scoring opportunities when they could, opting to let jams run long even if it meant Arch Rival would pick up extra points. This strategy particularly worked to their favor when, with about 10 minutes left in the game, Minnesota’s Switch took lead jammer status and Arch Rival’s Reptar cut the track on a scoring pass. The jam ended up 19-6 in Minnesota’s favor and brought the score to 152-72 with Arch Rival in the lead.
Arch Rival surged further ahead several jams later thanks to a 15-0 jam by Harmony Killerbruise while the bruising Arch Rival defense kept Switch bottled up. At the end of the jam, Switch committed a track cut penalty and was issued an additional insubordination penalty, giving Arch Rival a full minute of power jam time to work with in the next jam. However, Minnesota’s strong defense stepped up to limit the damage, allowing Reptar to score only seven points in that full minute of unopposed scoring time.
With just three minutes remaining and Arch in the lead 186-75, Jacked Pipes picked up lead jammer status for Minnesota and Swanson lost the jammer helmet cover. As Minnesota’s defense legally played keep-away with Arch Rival’s star by standing over the helmet cover, Pipes picked up 15 points and Swanson received a cutting the track penalty, so no points for Arch Rival in that jam. In the final jam, Shock Therapy picked up lead jammer status for Minnesota and put one additional point on the board before calling the jam, but Arch Rival had the convincing win at 186-91.
Arch Rival leaves the tournament with third place, and Minnesota with fourth. Both will compete at the 2017 International WFTDA D1 Championships Philadelphia in November.
Arch Rival Roller Derby (Seed #3, WFTDA #8) 186
Minnesota RollerGirls (Seed #4, WFTDA #11) 91