Ann Arbor Roller Derby (#10) vs. 2×4 Roller Derby (#8)
The mantra “work until your idols become your rivals” brought Ann Arbor Roller Derby of Ann Arbor, Michigan, U.S. (#10, WFTDA #30) and 2×4 Roller Derby of Buenos Aires, Argentina, (#8, WFTDA #24) to the culminating game of the consolation bracket of 2017 International WFTDA Division 1 Playoffs Seattle, and it was obvious the teams came to work. Buenos Aires’ Team Ossom aggressively coordinated execution consistently dominated gameplay, and combined with a plague of Ann Arbor Brawlstars’ jammer penalties, drew the game to a close with a solid 255-105 win for 2×4 Roller Derby.
Team Ossom dominated the game, earning 36 points within the first two minutes of gameplay. Ann Arbor responded by grabbing lead jammer status in the third jam, as Helen Killer sprinted up the outside line, returning on a two point scoring pass. Ann Arbor’s Fracture Mechanics continued to chip away at the score, picking up another lead and two more points, though her team’s defense continued to be challenged as jammer Terror Misu took a seat in the penalty box in the next jam. By the time Misu was back on the track, Lula Zan brought Team Ossom’s score to 64, and held Ann Arbor at five points.
Though tightening up their defense, jammer penalties continued to trouble the Brawlstars when Helen Killer took the star and a seat in the box on a track cutting penalty, Team Ossom’s offensive pack opened the outside line for Lula Zan to bring her team to 99 points, holding Ann Arbor at 22 and freezing Killer, who was then on her second jammer penalty in that jam and sixth for the team overall, in the box. Buenos Aires fielded Rayo for the power jam start, but Ann Arbor’s tenacious defensive line helmed by blockers Slamet, Havelka and Lethal, prevented her from escaping the pack for 22 seconds of the power start.
With five minutes left in the half, Ann Arbor’s Lezzie Arnez broke Lula Zan’s four-jam lead streak, but Team Ossom was able to pull ahead to 108-32 as Lezzie took a seat for Ann Arbor’s eighth jammer penalty. The trend continued and the next two jams saw Ann Arbor jammers sitting in the penalty box and Team Ossom able to build their score to 134-35.
The last jam of the half saw Ann Arbor’s Fracture Mechanics and 2×4’s Lula Zan toe up on the line. They were both the most effective jammers for their teams through the half and the game itself. Fracture earned lead jammer status, spinning through the Team Ossom pack and closing the half in a 12-4 jam with a score of 138-47 overall, and securing herself as the only jammer in the game to earn 100 percent lead jammer status in the first half.
Ann Arbor came back into the second half more confident and more in control, earning lead jammer status in the first three jams of the period. Four minutes into the half, holding the score at 151-62, it looked like their jammers had shaken off penalty problems and the defense was more secure and coordinated. But in the fourth jam, the Brawlstars returned to old habits as jammer Terror Misu took a trip to the penalty box. Quickly followed by Team Ossom’s jammer, Loba, Ann Arbor was able to keep Team Ossom from scoring more than one pass in what was 2×4’s first jammer penalty of the game.
Brawlstar Fracture Mechanics maintained her perfect lead jammer record against Team Ossom’s Tropical Mecanica, scoring seven points to Tropical’s four. Then Lula Zan, Team Ossom’s most effective jammer, scored 24 points in the next jam as the Brawlstar’s jammer Helen Killer sat in the box on her fifth penalty of the game. Team Ossom’s offensive strategy of distracting and swarming the Ann Arbor defense effectively broke apart the Brawlstars’ walls, allowing Lula enough scoring passes to effectively erase the Brawlstars’ earlier second half gains, with the score at 184-69 ten minutes into the second half.
Team Ossom continued their strike against Ann Arbor, breaking Fracture Mechanics’ perfect lead jammer record when Rayo earned lead jammer status and 15 points, bringing the score up to 199-69. Loba added 13 points to send 2×4 over the 200-point mark as her blockers held Brawlstar Jadzia Smax. Ann Arbor got back on the board as veteran Lezzie Arnez earned lead after 50 seconds of defense, ending Team Ossom’s 51-point run in the prior three jams. As Tropical Mecanica headed to the box, Ann Arbor executed effective offense, adding 14 points to their score, but with 13 minutes left on the period clock Team Ossom still held a comfortable lead at 212-83.
Team Ossom’s jammers ran into some penalty trouble in this last ten minutes of the game, but their effective defense was able to prevent Ann Arbor from capitalizing on it. Ann Arbor pivot Slamlet received a star pass and earned five points as Lula Zan sat in the penalty box, but Lula returned and responded with three scoring passes to negate Slamlet’s gains.
With less than ten minutes left in the half, Ann Arbor started to execute more effective offensive and defensive strategies to lock down the jammers from Buenos Aires and prevent the 2×4 blockers from destroying the Brawlstars’ walls. Fracture Mechanics grabbed ten points in the last three minutes of the game. Having earned lead jammer status on all but one of her jams for the Brawlstars, Fracture scored 69 points for the team, proving her efficacy as a jammer. In the last jam Lula Zan showed her mettle as a point scorer for Buenos Aires, snagging another 14 points, having shouldered nearly half of the load for Team Ossom, earning lead jammer status on 7 of her 8 jams, and 104 points to her credit in the game.
Ann Arbor posted two losses over the weekend while 2×4 leaves the tournament with two wins and a loss.
2×4 Roller Derby (Seed #8, WFTDA #24) 255
Ann Arbor Roller Derby (Seed #10, WFTDA #30) 105