Game 4: 2×4 Roller Derby (#8) v Windy City Rollers (#9)
This weekend is the first 2017 International WFTDA Division 1 Playoff tournament in Seattle, Washington, hosted by the Rat City Roller Girls. 12 teams were seeded into this bracket, and while D1 is a bit more predictable than D2, one game in particular stands out as the match to watch. The #8 seed, 2×4 Roller Derby from Buenos Aires, Argenta will face off against the #9 seed, Windy City Rollers from Chicago, Illinois (USA) on Friday at 4pm PDT. These two teams just met up four months ago at the Big O for an exciting, down-to-the-last-jam game.
While a lot can change in four months, the outcome will come down to roster adjustments and strategy adaption in the time since they last played. In May, 2×4 Team Osom outscored Windy City in the first half 90-61 with a combination of quick, recycling defense and efficient offense that helped them earn lead status 14 times to Windy City’s six. However, Team Osom picked up 29 penalties in the first half to WCR’s 18, a trend that took its toll by game’s end. The second half was a much different game for both teams, and while it was nail-biting throughout, Windy City took the win in the final jam, 150-145.
Both 2×4 and Windy City took five jammer penalties in the first half, and it was these five jams of seven that Windy was able to score in. Mia Go Hamm was the most effective Windy City jammer with 62 points in the whole game and six lead statuses, but Bambi Bloodlust had the same amount of leads in fewer jams and grabbed 47 points, including the final 14 that helped them win the game. Although it’s a blow to the Windy City All-Stars that longtime jammer, Killanois, won’t be with them this weekend, she contributed only 13 points in the last match up. However she was one of five to their benefit at the Big O which gave each plenty of time to recover, but it doesn’t look like they will be heading to Seattle with quite the same jammer bench.
2×4 had a strict three-jammer rotation of Rayo, Tropical Mecanica, and Lula Zan with strong pivots to back them up if they needed to get the star out of the pack. While Lula Zan is one of their more penalty prone skaters and was one of five who fouled out in the May game, Tropical Mecanica plays a clean game and only got a jammer penalty in the very last jam. It was a testament to 2×4’s defense since Windy City got 76% of their total game points from power jam opportunities, but it’s clear that that defense broke down when Windy City overwhelmed them with offense, such as during power jams.
Another weak spot in 2×4’s game was their penalties troubles. With 59 total penalties, five foul outs of key players diminished their defensive power and took two blockers out of the game in the final jam which gave Bambi only one defender to dodge at times. Coming from a secluded corner of the world has likely kept them from certain levels and styles of officiating, so learning to adjust their play after the 15 direction of play penalties and 11 track cuts will be vital in this upcoming game.
2×4 held Windy City scoreless for two sets of seven jams in the first half that were only broken up with a power jam for WCR. A star pass to Rita Hateworthy in the final jam of the first half that earned them 24 points closed up the game and kick-started the momentum Windy City needed for the second half. As a bout of two halves, one major factor was 2×4’s penalties as we said before, but also Windy City’s adjustments. They added more offense in the second half, reduced their jammer rotation by not playing Phoebe Fi Fo Fum who only scored one point, and were able to earn lead status more often. They took advantage of the mistakes 2×4 made, and often sent their skaters flying off the track with solid hits, making it more difficult for a tiring Team Osom.
At the time, 2×4 Roller Derby was ranked #19 while Windy City was #38. This weekend they align more closely with 2×4 taking #24 in the June 30th rankings and WCR holding the 28th spot. 2X4 hasn’t played sanctioned games since the Big O, where they also beat Helsinki by 90 points, a team currently ranked nine spots above them. Since May, Windy City has added two more wins to their season against the Mad Rollin’ Dolls (#11 seed in this bracket), 200-145, and No Coast (finished 12th at D2 Champs.), 113-82. This time things will come down to whether 2×4 can play a consistent game throughout two halves, and what possible roster changes and cohesion Windy City will arrive to Seattle with.
Get your WFTDA.tv pass and tune in at 4:00pm PDT to see how this match-up shakes out!
Get all your 2017 International WFTDA Playoffs and Championships information at Tournament Central.