Friday Recap: 2019 International WFTDA Playoffs Kick Off in Seattle

The 2019 International WFTDA Playoffs: Seattle hosted by Rat City Roller Derby kicked off on Friday September the 13th, with teams from the United States, Canada, and Sweden coming together to battle for a spot at the International WFTDA Championships in Montréal this November.

More on the day’s action:

Game 1

Arizona Roller Derby (Seed #8) v. Stockholm Roller Derby (Seed #9)

197

Stockholm Roller Derby 95

See Game Details on stats.wftda.com

In the first half of Game 1, both Stockholm Roller Derby of Stockholm, Sweden (Seed #9, WFTDA #22) and Arizona Roller Derby of Phoenix, Arizona, US (Seed #8, WFTDA #23) came prepared with their nimble jammers taking to the lines to escape the pack.

Arizona’s jammer, LUZER, emerged with powerful hits against Stockholm’s walls. Stockholm attempted to utilize their power jams as a result of Arizona’s jammers’ high penalty counts in the first half. Although Stockholm tried to take advantage of this, Arizona’s strong blockers prevented their attempts. Stockholm’s blockers worked to provide offensive play for their jammers, but were unsuccessful against Arizona’s fast moving walls. Arizona went into halftime with a 34-point lead against Stockholm.

As the game entered the second half, the roles were reversed as Stockholm saw many of its jammers go into the penalty box for track cuts. Arizona was able to take advantage of power jams, however, and further widened the point gap against Stockholm.

Stockholm’s jammer, Party-O executed a remarkable 16-point jam after re-emerging from the penalty box to tie the jam score. But in the end, Arizona’s jammers, WestCoast MaFia and LUZER’s agile lateral movements across the track prevented Stockholm Roller Derby from regaining any potential comeback for the game.

2019 International WFTDA Playoffs: Seattle Game 1: Arizona vs Stockholm
Photo: Keith Bielat

Arizona defied many predictions for a close score game and blew everyone’s expectations out of the water with a 100+ point win against Stockholm.

Arizona played later on Friday against Denver Roller Derby, while Stockholm will play Saturday afternoon against Queen City Roller Girls.

– Iron Butterfly

Game 2

Minnesota Roller Derby (#12) v. Rat City Roller Derby (#5)

Minnesota Roller Derby140

Rat City Roller Derby 330

See Game Details on stats.wftda.com

In the second game of the day, Minnesota Roller Derby of Saint Paul, Minnesota, U.S. (Seed #12, WFTDA #30)
faced off against the tournament hosts, Rat City Roller Derby of Seattle, Washington, U.S. (Seed #5, WFTDA #13). Although they have played one another a number of times previously, the two teams had not met since 2017.

From the start of the first half, Rat City dominated play, earning lead in the first seven jams. With strategic call-offs and swiftly cycling defensive walls, Rat City was able to hold the opposition to two points for nearly 10 minutes, until Little Rascal won Minnesota’s first lead and 11 additional points. Throughout the period, Rat City took 15 leads out of 20 jams. Although they also lead in penalties, the home team continued to build their lead significantly, ending the half 161-82.

Minnesota returned from halftime with a renewed sense of urgency. Stronger walls, offensive follow-through, and fancy footwork by jammers Switch Please and Homo Erratic allowed them to pick up lead five out of the first seven jams.

Each time they earned lead, however, the Minnesota bench waved their jammers on, running the jams long even when the Rat City jammer was able to outscore them. Rat City jammers, on the other hand, called off jams quickly and frequently, carefully expanding their point differential.

2019 International WFTDA Playoffs: Seattle Game 2 - Rat City vs Minnesota
Photo Kieth Bielat

The game ended with a 16-0 jam for Rat City’s high scorer, A. Green, bringing their final score to 330-140 over Minnesota. In a post-game interview with the host team, Red deVicious said, “It’s been really fun for our whole community down here to pitch in, setting up, everyone’s been working super hard. We’re just really feeling the love.”

Rat City moved on to play the Crime City Rollers later on Friday, and Minnesota will face off against Ann Arbor Roller Derby in the consolation bracket on Saturday afternoon.

– Molly St. Clair (Kanga Ruin)

Game 3

London Roller Derby (#6) v. Queen City Roller Girls (#11)

London Roller Derby201

Queen City Roller Girls 136

See Game Details on stats.wftda.com

Despite the seeding differential, London Roller Derby of London, England, U.K. (Seed #6, WFTDA #17) and the Queen City Roller Girls of Buffalo, New York, U.S. (Seed #11, WFTDA #26) gave the roller derby audience — including new viewers on Twitch — a great, close first half before London pulled away with the 201-136 victory.

The first half featured a quick Queen City lead, two lead changes, a tie and some solid defense from both teams, leading to a relatively low-scoring half. Queen City jammer Librawlian, who led all scorers with 68 points, helped keep her team in contention.

But London picked up the attack as the game moved toward halftime, and took a solid lead in the last jam of the first half when jammer Sable scored 15 points while performing some acrobatics. London led 97-66 at the half.

The second half was all London, as they spent most of the half on a 57-4 run, including a 14-point jam by Delta Strike, and held Queen City scoreless for nine jams. Penalty trouble hampered the Buffalo team on both offense and defense, while London Brawling did an excellent job on the penalty kill when their jammers were in the box.

London’s defense was led by Shaolynn Scarlett, Beth Lord, Katie Hellvetica Black and Gaz. Queen City’s defensive standouts were Squirrel, Head Huntress and Murphy.

“Feeling pretty great right about now. Actually when you come to playoffs, every game is hard work, it really is,” London’s Kristen Lee said after the game.

London vs Queen City in Game 3 of the 2019 International WFTDA Playoffs in Seattle
Photo: Keith Bielat

London advances to face Philly Roller Derby of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S. (Seed #3, WFTDA #9) on Saturday. Philly won the last game in June.

“Rematch! We are really looking forward to it,” Kristen Lee said. “The last six weeks we’ve been training hard and have everyone on board, we’re really excited to face Philly again.”

Queen City will face Stockholm Roller Derby of Stockholm, Sweden on Saturday.

– PulHitzHer Prize

Game 4

Jacksonville Roller Derby (#7) v. Ann Arbor Roller Derby (#10)

Jacksonville Roller Derby251

Ann Arbor Roller Derby 123

See Game Details on stats.wftda.com

In their first ever matchup, Jacksonville Roller Derby of Jacksonville, Florida, U.S. (Seed #7, WFTDA #18) claimed victory over Ann Arbor Roller Derby of Ann Arbor, Michigan, U.S. (Seed #10, WFTDA #25) during Game 4. With each team sporting an Olympic speed skater apiece in their jammer rotation – Jacksonville’s Erin Jackson and Ann Arbor’s The Hammer – the game promised to be hasty and heated. Despite the lopsided score, it delivered in spades.

Jacksonville took control quickly in the first period, opening with a 17-0 jam by their top-scorer, Jamsterella. Employing patient and strategic offense, Jacksonville’s blockers helped their teammates to secure lead jammer status in all but five jams of the first period. Ann Arbor’s offense, on the other hand, was frequently thwarted by the perpetually mutable Jacksonville walls, and their defense, though solid, was unable to contain the formidable footwork and sheer speed of their opponents. The half ended with Jacksonville leading 147-53 over Ann Arbor. Jamstrella scored 72 points in the half compared to 14 points by Goddamn Goddamn, Ann Arbor’s leading jammer.

The second half began with a sense of deja vu as Jamstrella overtook Ann Arbor’s Hand Over Fist once more in a 16-0 jam. There seemed to be no stopping Jacksonville as they ran up the score while their jammers ran (and spun) up the lines. Halfway through the second period, however, Leanne Groll received the first Jacksonville starpass of the game, and the momentum began to shift ever so slightly. Ann Arbor finished the game fighting, with a string of lead jams, holding Jacksonville scoreless for three jams. The point spread began to close, but time was already up; the game ended 251-123 in Jacksonville’s favor.

Jacksonville vs Ann Arbor in Game 4 of 2019 International WFTDA Playoffs: Seattle
Photo: Keith Bielat

Jacksonville advances to play Montréal Roller Derby on Saturday afternoon. Ann Arbor moves into the consolation bracket, facing Minnesota Roller Derby on Saturday.

After the game, Jacksonville’s Erin Jackson spoke about her injury prevention between roller derby and speed skating: “I’m trying to take it as easy as possible. I think I only jammed maybe five jams in this game. I’m just trying to do as little as possible to get us through the weekend.”

She also discussed who has the best after parties: “The Olympics…it’s a little too serious there, you know? I think we have better dance parties here.”

– Molly St. Clair (Kanga Ruin)

Game 5

Denver Roller Derby (#1) v. Arizona Roller Derby (#8)

257

68

See Game Details on stats.wftda.com

Game 5 saw Denver Roller Derby of Denver, Colorado, U.S. (Seed #1, WFTDA #4) claim a convincing win over #8 seed Arizona Roller Derby, 257-68. Arizona, who earned the right to face the top seed with a convincing win over Stockholm earlier in the day, kept the game tight in the first half but wasn’t able to stop Denver from pouring on the points in the second.

From the start, this match-up was notable for the fast pace and brutal defense from both squads. Though Denver jumped out to an early lead, Arizona’s punishing defense and quick transitions to offense kept the score tight. Even as Arizona’s jammers started to get into penalty trouble midway through the first, their defensive blocking (featuring some standout work from Blok N Dekher) limited Denver’s ability to capitalize. At the half, Denver enjoyed a respectable but certainly not insurmountable lead at 107-43.

In the second half, Denver’s blockers were clearly committed to buckling down on defense, allowing the Arizona team to score only 15 points throughout. Denver’s impressively deep jammer rotation, in turn, put on a points-scoring clinic, with double-digit jams coming from several of their scorers. For their part, Arizona kept up the intensity, and a number of jams turned into flat-out footraces as each pack tried to protect their points from the speedy jammers. As the game drew to a close, Arizona proved they weren’t done fighting, picking up several lead jammer statuses, notably Casstrator pirouetting around the inside line in the final jam. But as the final whistle blew, it was Denver Roller Derby who had earned the right to move on, with the 257-68 victory.

Denver vs Arizona in Game 5 of the 2019 International WFTDA Playoffs in Seatte
Photo: Anja Wettergren

Speaking after the game, Klein spoke about how Denver prepared, not knowing in advance who their opponents would be, Klein: “Practiced a lot of D, bringing it back to fundamentals. If we can play solid D, we should be good against anybody. We also watch a lot of footage…I watch hours of footage on every team here.”

Denver Roller Derby progresses to play the Winner of Game 6 in the semi-final Saturday evening, while Arizona will play the loser of Game 7 in the consolation bracket.

– Ally McKill

Game 6

Crime City Rollers (#4) v. Rat City Roller Derby (#5)

Crime City Rollers163

Rat City Roller Derby 119

See Game Details on stats.wftda.com

In what was sure to be an exciting game, the closely matched Crime City Rollers of Malmö, Sweden (Seed #4, WFTDA #11) took on Rat City Roller Derby of Seattle, Washington, U.S. (Seed #5, WFTDA #13). The teams have met twice before, in 2017 at the Big O and 2018 at the Kallio FINvitational, with Crime City winning both games. This time, however, they were playing at Rat City’s home, and Rat certainly had the hometown crowd on their side.

Led by King K and Curly Håår, Crime jumped straight into an early lead, with a 26-3 jam to open the game. After Crime controlling the first 15:00, Rat City regained control, with some strong defense, headed by Carmen Getsome, Natural Selector, Red deVicious, holding Crime scoreless for for three jams.

In her first postseason game since aging up to the team from junior roller derby, Rat City’s top jammer, Rival-E brought the score to 41-41 tie shortly before the end of the half. This was closely followed by Crime City’s King K closing the half with a 19-point jam.

Opening the second half with a 20-point jam, King K solidified Crime’s lead, which, following some penalty trouble, Rat City was unable to threaten. Crime’s strong defense, led by Nasty, YAS, Belin and Sexy, kept Rat City’s points to a minimum, and despite the home-crowd advantage, saw Crime take the win.

Crime City vs Rat City in Game 6 of the 2019 International WFTDA Playoffs in Seattle
Photo: Keith Bielat

After the game, Curly Håår spoke about their leaguemates and fans back home, where the game was broadcast at 6:00 a.m. “They’re watching in our venue, they woke up really early and had a watch party in our venue.” Advancing to play Denver, she said: ““I guess we’re just going to play our best and use all the stuff that we’ve been working on for such a long time and level it up for the game.”

Crime City progresses to play top seed, Denver Roller Derby, on Saturday. Rat City will play the loser of Game 8 on Sunday afternoon.

– PulHitzHer Prize


Join us for Day 2 of the 2019 International WFTDA Playoffs Seattle on wftda.tv, as we find out who will compete for the gold medal on Sunday and clinch a spot at Championships in November.

Visit 2019 International WFTDA Playoffs: Seattle Tournament Central