Boston Roller Derby (#7) vs. Paris Rollergirls (#3)
In the umpteenth upset of the 2017 International WFTDA Division 2 Playoffs and Championships Pittsburgh, the seventh-seeded Boston Roller Derby of Boston, Massachusetts, U.S., outlasted the third-seeded Paris Rollergirls of Paris, France, to cap off their weekend with the Division 2 Championship trophy. Paris’ enthusiasm at making it to the final of their first WFTDA Playoff tournament was unmistakeable, but Boston’s veteran presence was unsurpassable as the team smartly managed the clock down to the last seconds.
The game started off with the sort of grinding jam that proved to be the hallmark of the game, with Boston’s Maya Mangleyou and Paris’ Kurdy Malloy unable to escape the pack as lead jammer for nearly a minute thanks to nearly immovable walls of blockers from both teams. Malloy had nearly made it through the pack when Boston blocker Eszter Boros managed to draw a track cut, allowing Boston to earn lead jammer status — only to lose it a few seconds later as Mangle switched places in the penalty box with Malloy after a cut track call, allowing both teams to post points with Boston in the lead.
The teams traded low-scoring jams while they sussed out their opponents’ strategies, and Paris pounced on a power jam opening for Malloy thanks to snappy offense from Rose Hyene as Boston simultaneously bled blockers to the penalty box for the game’s first lead change, 24-18. That lead didn’t last long though, as Boston raced right back with a two-pass jam for Swirko to reclaim a tentative lead, 24-26. A series of lead jam calls in Boston’s favor helped the team build a more comfortable point margin by relying on their shutdown defense to hold Paris’ jammers at bay, including holding Malloy to a single pass on a Paris power jam that still saw Boston win the jam 10-4.
By halfway through the game, Boston had doubled Paris’ score and held a 30-60 lead thanks to achingly solid walls from the likes of Amy Rock, Shark Week, and Wednesday Atoms. However, two strong jams from Paris cut that gap in half as Paris blocker Charlie wreaked havoc on Boston’s jammers while the French team’s Sue Percute helped her own team’s jammer through.
Neither team made much headway without offense, with packs coming to near standstills when jammers were left to push on their own against viciously effective walls, but Boston was able to capitalize slightly more often than Paris was, rebuilding a 30-point lead with five minutes left in the period. However, after a thorough penalty kill that saw both teams go 3-3 despite a Boston power jam, the French team began to slowly but surely tip the scales again, with Boston still in the lead at halftime, but by a mere 16 points.
Things looked to be tilting Paris’ way as the team started the second half by forcing a power jam after blocker Nasty drew a cut on Boston jammer Kacie McLean, who brought the score within one point to 84-85, despite Wednesday Atoms’ and Little Loca’s best defensive efforts for Boston. The Massachusetts team was able to hold Paris to just eight points in the next four jams, though, as Boston’s jammers became more effective at shoving their way through Paris’ defensive tripods to regain a 21-point buffer (90-111) that became the critical difference to the final score.
Although the remaining minutes of the game were marked by low-scoring jams, they weren’t the fast-paced hit-and-quit jams usually indicated by single-digit jams — instead, jammers routinely took nearly a minute (sometimes longer) to bust their way through the pack, only to have an opposing jammer hot on their heels and have to call it off with next to no points. A strong jam for McLean put her team’s margin over 30 points again and left Boston feeling confident as a last-second penalty to Paris pivot-turned-jammer Sam’u meant a power jam start for Boston to start the next jam, but a penalty to Boston jammer Swirko left the next jam tied, despite the power jam hopes of both teams.
Only two points went up on the board (both for Boston) in the next three jams as both teams played aggressive — but smart — derby to try to wear down the opposing team’s jammers in the waning minutes of the game. A nine-point jam for Paris’ highest-scoring jammer, General Moulinator, broke the impasse, but a well-timed 15-point power jam for Boston’s HardCore seemed to halt Paris’ momentum and brought the game to its widest margin, 123-162.
But the Paris Rollergirls didn’t travel all this way to give up at the last minute, and cut the gap nearly in half with an 18-4 jam as Rose Hyene ran the jam long and relied on her blockers to tie up Boston’s jammer, a gamble that paid off. With less than two minutes on the jam clock, Paris got a much-needed lead jammer call for General Moulinator, and a forearm call to Boston jammer Mangle seemed to be a gift for Paris, but despite the team’s best efforts, the period clock expired before General Moulinator could force another jam. The jam, and the game, ended with a final score of 150-166, handing the D2 Championship trophy to Boston Roller Derby.
Boston Roller Derby (Seed #7, WFTDA #47) – 166 1st Place
Paris Rollergirls (Seed #3, WFTDA #43) – 150 2nd Place