Detroit Roller Derby (#8) vs. Kallio Rolling Rainbow (#9)
Fittingly, the first WFTDA European D1 Playoffs game in history saw a matchup between U.S. and European teams, as Detroit Roller Derby of Detroit, Michigan, U.S. (#8, WFTDA #22) met Kallio Rolling Rainbow of Helsinki, Finland (#9, WFTDA #29) on track for the first time at the 2017 International WFTDA Division 1 Playoffs Malmö. With the winner moving on to face top-seeded Gotham Girls Roller Derby of New York, New York, U.S. (#1, WFTDA #3), both teams played with a fierce determination that led to a crowd-pleasing game and a fantastic opener to the tournament weekend. Detroit took the win, 169-162.
Detroit set the tone of the game with a quick nine-point jam for Sarah Hipel whilst the defensive walls helped secured successive lead jammer statuses and locked down Kallio’s scoring potential. Kaaos took the first lead for Kallio five minutes in and was met by a roaring cheer from the European fans in the crowd. The smart footwork from Detroit jammers allowed them to utilise the full track and to sneak up the edges past the Kallio defensive walls. A timeout to Kallio 15 minutes into the half saw them trailing Detroit 76-23. In a trend that continued throughout the game, Kallio returned to the track with vigour and picked up lead jammer status, although a later jammer penalty to J. Karpov gave Detroit’s Sarah Hipel the opportunity to rack up further points in the first power jam of the game. With both teams demonstrating similar tactics and utilising slow, solid walls the Kallio defence suffered depleted walls due to penalties and the half finished 157-59 in favour of Detroit.
The second half started with three successive lead statuses awarded to Kallio as jammers attacked the walls with speed, a penalty for Detroit’s McDonald in her debut jam allowed Gilbert to pick up another 20 points for Kallio as they broke the century mark, taking 101 points to Detroit’s 184. Strong jams from Jilleanne Rookard, Racer McChaseHer and Sarah Hipel continued to boost the Detroit score whilst Kallio opted to run long when they had lead jammer status and pick up as many points as possible. With both teams closing down jammers on the edges with tight paired walls and a brace, the jammers fought hard to earn every point.
With five minutes left on the clock Rookard capitalised on a power jam with well-timed offence courtesy of Terror Ettes. With walls locking down even further Kallio held Detroit’s Swift Justice for a full minute before she secured lead jammer status, but a back block penalty allowed the Rolling Rainbow All Colours to start the next jam with an advantage and less than 10 minutes on the clock. Gilbert secured lead as a wall of four Kallio blockers held Justice before a swift star helmet cover pass to McDonald freed the Detroit jammer.
As the deafening cheers from the crowd subsided Kallio secured 21 points, closing the lead and leaving the score at 235-146 in favour of Detroit. Exceptional one-on-one blocking from Feta Sleeze held the Kallio jammer as the game entered its closing minutes. With a final timeout from Kallio securing one more jam, Rookard slid past the All Colours wall as the crowd applauded the incredible footwork displayed by the Detroit jammer who clocked up a final five points to end the game. Detroit goes on to play Gotham Girls Roller Derby of New York, New York, U.S. (#1, WFTDA #3) at 4 p.m. Friday, while Kallio will play the losing team from Game 8 at 12 p.m. Saturday.
Detroit Roller Derby (Seed #8, WFTDA #22) 269
Kallio Rolling Rainbow (Seed #9, WFTDA #29) 162