Rat City Roller Derby (#4) vs. Texas Rollergirls (#2)
The Texas Rollergirls (6) from Austin, Texas, and Rat City Roller Derby (18) out of Seattle, Washington, met in game four of the 2017 International WFTDA Championships. This was a repeat of both teams’ first game at the 2016 Championships, and the outcome was the same: Texas won (final score 254–128). But this year’s Rat City gave them a great deal of trouble along the way.
The first lead jam status and first points went to Texas, but the jam gave Texas a taste of Rat City’s tight defense. A. Pray pulled Rat City into their first lead of the game while her blockers — Carmen Getsome, Amythest, R. Rickel and Thumper Skull — kept Freight Train busy in the pack.
Luna Negra’s first jam was a productive one. She earned 13 points while Texas’ Gravy, Baby! was only able to put up four after fighting hard against Rat City’s defense.
Four jams into the game, Rat City had a 10-point lead, but it wasn’t just the scoreboard that might have given Texas a minute or two of worry. The locked-down defense caught Texas jammers and held them. There was no light between Rat City’s blockers.
Several jams later, with the teams five points apart, Rat City’s Jex got the first jammer penalty of the game and Olivia Shootin’ John grabbed 15 points on the power jam. It was the opening that Texas needed.
Jammer penalties would go on to become the differentiating stat for these teams. Rat City ended the game with nine jammer penalties, whereas Texas had only five. Several jams after Jex’s first penalty, she caught her second and Gravy, Baby! scored 21 points.
Texas was able to take advantage of some of the power jams, but Rat City’s blockers would often recycle Texas jammers several times and contain the potential impact of the power jam. During their power jams, Rat City jammers were also not able to find much open space in which to exercise their speed and agility. Texas held them, recycled them, and either kept them from scoring or reduced the differential significantly.
At the half Texas had a lead, but at 110–75, it was hardly comfortable. Rat City went into the locker room within reach of a comeback.
We don’t know what Texas discussed at the half, but they locked down lead jam statuses in the second period, which allowed them to pull ahead to a commanding lead. In the first period, Texas earned 55% of lead jams; they upped that to 80% in the second half.
Luna Negra was by far the most successful jammer for Rat City, scoring 61 points over the course of the game. She made use of her toe stop–dancing talent, regularly squeaking by the Texas defense. Texas’ Olivia Shootin’ John was the lead scorer for her team (82 points), but Freight Train was just a smidge behind her (81 points).
There was a distinct difference in penalties between the two teams. Texas had 20 total penalties, while Rat City racked up 33.
Both teams struggled to play effective offense by sending one blocker at a time. The defense had the jammers locked down — more than one helper would have been required to break it up enough for them to find a way through.
Just about halfway through the second period, Texas had extended their lead. The score was 154–112.
With about 12 minutes left in the game, Luna Negra, caught by Texas blockers, passed the star to Carmen Getsome. Freight Train had earned lead jammer, and Texas decided to run the jam. It worked to their advantage as Carmen Getsome was stymied while Freight Train picked up 24 points and then, after an official review, sent to the box as the jammer (earning her sixth penalty).
Texas then sent out Olivia Shootin’ John, who picked up 12 points with the power start. In the following jam, new jammer Alley Oops earned 22 points (in her second jam of the game), while Rat City’s A. Pray was stuck in the endless recycling of Texas’ defense.
Texas will move on to play Gotham Girls Roller Derby on Saturday while Rat City will play the loser of the Denver Roller Derby vs. Angel City Derby Girls game.
Texas Rollergirls of Austin, Texas, U.S. (Seed #2, WFTDA #6) 254
Rat City Roller Derby of Seattle, Washington, U.S. (Seed #4, WFTDA #12) 128