2×4 Roller Derby (#8) vs. Windy City Rollers (#9)
One of the most anticipated games of the 2017 International WFTDA Division 1 Playoffs Seattle was between the closely seeded 2×4 Roller Derby from Buenos Aires, Argentina (Seed #8, WFTDA #24) and the Windy City Rollers out of Chicago, Illinois, U.S. (Seed #9, WFTDA #28). When these teams met earlier this year at The Big O Tournament, 2×4 Roller Derby held a marginal lead over Windy City throughout the game, but then in an exciting final jam, Windy City snuck ahead by 5 points to take the victory. Today, 2×4 held onto a more substantial lead for most of the game and Windy City just couldn’t to string together enough breakaway jams to pull another win.
From the first whistle, 2×4’s jammers were adept at slipping by Windy City blockers on the lines while also dancing, hopping, and busting through walls as their blockers held onto the Windy City jammers, recycling endlessly to keep them in the pack. Windy City fought to gain control but struggled through most of the first period to lock down a consistent defensive wall formation that could get a solid touch on 2×4’s jammers, and as a result were held scoreless for 10 out of the 16 jams in the first period.
But the momentum began to swing in Windy City’s favor when Mia Go Hamm caught some speed and sailed over the apex — twice in one jam. Even though the jam score was 8-5 in 2×4’s favor, it gave Windy City the morale boost they needed.
Windy City started locking down 2×4 jammers and closing down the lines. When they had speed, 2×4 jammers were wily, with fast spins that seemed impossible to defend. But as Windy City’s blockers tightened up their walls, they were able to regain some control over the game.
Right before the half, Rita Hateworthy demonstrated some impressive apex jumps of her own and collected 19 points for Windy City. Mia Go Hamm followed with a 10-point jam, allowing Windy City to pull away from a 65-point deficit to a more narrow 106-61 in 2×4’s favor at halftime.
Though 2×4 may have maintained their lead in the second half, it wasn’t without a fight from Windy City. The game showed intensely strong defense from both teams, sometimes taking a minute and a half for a lead jammer to emerge after grinding through relentless walls and fierce recycling. But Windy City was stymied from propelling themselves into the lead due to 2×4’s quickness in recycling and in playing aggressive offense.
With less than seven minutes remaining in the game, the score sat at 152-101, in favor of 2×4. Windy City still had a chance at pulling off a win like in their game at the Big O, but they really needed the next few jams to go in their favor.
2×4’s Rayo got through for lead, but then headed to the box on a forearm penalty and left Mia Go Hamm as the only scoring jammer on the track. Windy seemingly didn’t attack with enough speed and intensity at first and it looked as though Mia might not be able to take advantage of the power jam — but she finally got enough space to jump the apex on two scoring passes. The 2×4 blockers eventually caught her on the straightaway and recycled her, ending the jam with an 8 point advantage for Windy City and bringing the score to 159-117 with four minutes and twenty seconds left on the clock.
In the last two jams, Windy City was hoping to control lead jammer status and grab enough points to close the gap, but 2×4’s Lula Zan and Rayo slipped through the Windy City defense, earning lead twice in a row and sealing the win for their team.
Not only was this 2×4’s first invitation to WFTDA Playoffs, but it was the first time ever for a South American team. To start off with a win is an impressive demonstration of the league’s fast development — along with the rapid growth of WFTDA member leagues outside of North America.
On Saturday, 2×4 will play the number one seeded Rose City Rollers at noon PDT and Windy City will play the seventh-seeded Tampa Roller Derby in the consolation bracket at 4 p.m. PDT.
2×4 Roller Derby (Seed #8, WFTDA #24) 178
Windy City Rollers (Seed #9, WFTDA #28) 135