2017 D1 Playoffs Dallas Game 5: Victoria vs. Philly

Victorian Roller Derby League (#1) vs. Philly Roller Derby (#8)

In their third playoff matchup in the past four years, both Victorian Roller Derby League of Melbourne, Australia (Seed #1, WFTDA #1) and Philly Roller Derby of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S. (Seed #8, WFTDA #25) brought in some new blood but with the same result. The gap between the two teams has steadily grown from 2014 until now: VRDL took the win by just over 60 points three years ago, nearly 200 points last year and more than 260 points this year with a 314-50 win at 2017 International WFTDA Division 1 Playoffs Dallas.

Both teams have seen some changeover since they last met. Former VRDL skaters Giles and Tui Lyon now skate for other teams, and Philly didn’t travel with longtime Liberty Belles Mishel Castro and Elaine Kilmartin. The jammer rotations for both teams have been a process of evolution this year.

“We wanted to take this game as an opportunity for our jammers to warm up and find their feet on this track,” said VRDL jammer Lady Trample. “This is Chambers’ first season with the A team and Anna Pave-U’Ova was actually with the B team at the Big O this year so we need to season our newer jammers.”

Sarah Chambers took advantage of the opportunity and was the game’s leading point scorer with 111 points in only nine jams.

Philly also tried skaters in new positions, “We wanted to try skaters in new roles. Rousey hasn’t actually jammed for us this season but we looked at what VRDL was bringing to the match and thought we should try her,” said Philly team captain Wolf.

Rousey, who was not rostered in Philly’s earlier game Friday, also capitalized for the Belles as the highest scorer with 22 points, more than double what any other Philly jammer put up.

The game was a defensive battle from the beginning with most jams being a single scoring pass or less for the Australians.

“Our goal in this game was to maximize score differential while playing as little offense as possible. Philly is a really strong defensive team and they made that a struggle,” said VRDL’s Lady Trample.

2017 International WFTDA Playoffs: Dallas - Game 5: Victoria vs Philly
Keith Bielat

Offensive blocking from Evans and Serelson allowed VRDL jammers IvyK’nivey, Christy Demons and Lady Trample to score 18 points in the first five minutes. Sarah Chambers then took the jammer line in her first WFTDA playoff game and almost doubled the score with a 15-point jam. The score continued to creep up for VRDL with strong defensive play from blockers on both sides. After a 19-0 jam by Chambers which left Philly jammer Voltairine de Sleyre standing in the penalty box, Philly put up their first point when VRDL found themselves in penalty trouble with Jaana Nuku, Lorrae Evans and Screw Barrymore all going to the penalty box in the same jam. IvyK’nivey, trying to spring her teammates, called off the jam a little too late and sophomore Liberty Belle Voltairine de Sleyre put up a single point.

In the next jam Jail Bars and ZipBlok for Philly sucked VRDL veteran jammer Christy Demons back into the pack and force a 0-0 call off. With five minutes left in the half, Chambers outdid her initial jam for the Australian team and scored 20 points to bring the score to 134-1. In the next jam Philly had their second power jam of the game (the first resulting in zero points) and a chance to capitalize, Rousey earned Philly’s first lead jammer status of the game and scored four points, winning the jam 4-0. Philly won one more jam in the half again on a jammer penalty. There was a two-minute jam to end the period as Christy Demons went to the penalty box on a forearm penalty and Voltairine de Sleyre scored eight points, ending the half 158-13 in favor of VRDL.

The second half started with VRDL increasing their lead until once again their blockers had penalty trouble. Rousey with the star for Philly capitalized on a light Australian pack with help from her blockers and more than doubled Philly’s score in a single jam scoring, 18 points to Christy Demons’ 15. At the end of that frenetic two minutes, VRDL lost blocker Amy Booth for the rest of the game due to an expulsion. Philly scored points in the next two jams before a team timeout from VRDL allowed the Australians to regroup. With Chambers donning the star and Nuku, Serelson, Screw Barrymore and Bicepsual blocking, VRDL returned to their first-half form with a 9-0 jam and dominated until the end of the game, winning 314-50.

With the win, VRDL is guaranteed a place at the 2017 International WFTDA Championships Philadelphia and moves on to play in the Dallas playoff semifinals at 6 p.m. Saturday to determine their seeding for Championships.

Having defeated Arizona Roller Derby of Phoenix, Arizona, U.S. (Seed #9, WFTDA #27) to advance to this game, Philly will be looking to leave Dallas with an overall winning record after playing Santa Cruz Derby Girls of Santa Cruz, California, U.S. (Seed #7, WFTDA #19) at 4 p.m. Saturday.


Victorian Roller Derby League (Seed #1, WFTDA #1) 314
Philly Roller Derby (Seed #8, WFTDA #25) 50

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