2019 Championships Game 9: Gotham v Victoria

Gotham Girls Roller Derby (Seed #2) v Victorian Roller Derby League (Seed #3)



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Yeti or not, here they come. Gotham Girls Roller Derby of New York City, New York, U.S. (Seed #2, WFTDA #3) is on their way to the Finals of the 2019 International WFTDA Championships Montréal. The game could not be described as nail-biting, but rather knuckle-biting for the grueling intensity that Victorian Roller Derby League of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia (Seed #3, WFTDA #2) brought to the track.

This game was only decided by six points and in the last jam of the game. The two teams have such different styles of play, but both adapted to whatever style needed to be played for the fast, grueling, and intense game.

In Jam 4, Space Invader of Gotham and Sarah Love of Victoria played an entire two minutes with no lead being awarded and having to travel the entire track. That basically set the stage for how the game would play out.

There were times when Gotham’s Kate Sera Sera and The Smacktivist, or Victoria’s Spinach and Anna Pave-U’Ova would manage multiple passes and throw up several points. But there were other instances in which no one would score. Twice in Jams 13 and 14 neither team scored a point. In Jam 13 The Smacktivist was awarded lead jam and was held scoreless and played some defense while pulling the VRDL jammer Anna Pave-U’Ova around the track to take time off the clock. In Jam 14 Sarah Love was awarded lead jammer status and again was unable to score due to the amazing blockers of both teams.

Gotham vs Victoria in Game 9 of the 2019 International WFTDA Championships
Photo: Ryan Quick

At halftime the score was close, 53-44 in favor of VRDL. Gotham’s Space Invader and Beauty Andie Beast were hitting either walls of both teams’ blockers or simply held back due to VRDL’s defense. They shifted their walls and were nearly impassable, as the low scores and the low number of total jams showed. In the first half there were only 16 jams and in the second half, 17 jams.

The game was so close that even with five jams left to go, both teams had 29 penalties. Those penalties came to play by the blockers having to be more aware of the scrums they often found themselves in. GGRD blockers Yeti or Not, Here I Come, Livvie Smalls, DARYL, and Bonita Apple Bomb all worked so hard to make it nearly impossible for the opposing jammers to score.

Gotham vs Victoria in Game 9 of the 2019 International WFTDA Championships
Photo: Ryan Quick

The same is easily said for VRDL which had blockers Lorrage, Slamazon, Bianca Sciarretta and Bicepsual made the inside and outside lines look so appealing to Space Invader, Kate Sera Sera, Beauty Andie Beast, and The Smacktivist, but closing the lane or knocking them out for long draw backs, and then, back to the grueling, slow, muscle-burning pace of the jams.

Gotham’s Violet Knockout fouled out of this game, but not before she laid some pretty violent hits on VRDL players. Just when a jammer would think they were getting through, they would get sucked back into the pack that has now been named The Sad Place. The Sad Place is when a jammer is met with a wall so dense and strong and just when you see a spot to slip through, they bump the jammer out, recycle them, and make the jammer do it all over again. Meeting with the likes of the blockers from both teams, would be exhausting on the easiest of days. Today was not that day.

The last jam of the game was an emotional one, as Gotham realized they were advancing to the Finals and VRDL’s Sarah Love sprawled out on the track. It was obvious she gave the game everything she had, and there was speculation it may be her last trip to the International WFTDA Championships as she could retire. However, Sarah Love and her team will get to play for a chance for third place at Champs on Sunday.

Gotham vs Victoria in Game 9 of the 2019 International WFTDA Championships
Photo: Ryan Quick

Postgame interviewer Sissy Splaysek spoke to Gotham’s Yeti or Not, Here I Come. Yeti was pumped with adrenaline, smiling from ear to ear. Sissy stated that often, blockers don’t get as much credit as they deserve and wanted to know, how did Yeti and the other blockers prepare. Yeti answered, “We have a hive mind. We work together. We look to bring our walls back together and for the three others in our line back. That’s what we train for. And I’m so stoked that we could do it. I’m so stoked that we could do it. I’m just stoked to be a cog in the machine that makes this work.”

Yeti is a hardworking blocker who gives a lot of credit to her teammates. “We have good leadership, good coaches, good teammates. We work well together and listen to each other. I’m so stoked. If you would’ve told me a year ago that I’d be playing with Gotham in the Finals, I would have given you a generous shot of tequila.”

When asked who she would rather play in Sunday’s Finals, Yeti said they want to play the best. “It would be nice for a rematch with Rose, but playing Arch Rival would be great too,” Yeti said.

As for preparation for Sunday’s final, she said they’re just going to bask in tonight’s win and just be happy with all the things they’ve accomplished this past year.

Gotham Girls Roller Derby will play at 4:30 p.m. ET on Sunday against either Rose City Rollers of Portland, Oregon, U.S. (Seed #1, WFTDA #1) or Arch Rival Roller Derby of St. Louis, Missouri, U.S. (Seed #4, WFTDA #5).

Yeti or Not, Here Gotham Comes.

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