Game 1 of the 2016 International WFTDA Division 2 Playoffs Wichita featured a showdown between two teams from North Carolina: the Blue Ridge Rollergirls of Asheville, NC, USA (seed #7, WFTDA #55) and Carolina Rollergirls of Raleigh, NC, USA (seed #10, WFTDA #62). While both representatives of the grey squirrel state, it’s been two years since they met on the track (May 30, 2015). The outcome from a year ago (a win for Blue Ridge) stayed true for the second match in as many years. Blue Ridge defeated Carolina handedly, with a score of 309-94.
The tale of the first half was one of lead jammers and dominating blockers from Blue Ridge. In the first half alone, Blue Ridge gained lead jammer 13 of 19 jams, as well as five power jam opportunities during which the team scored 58 points. Carolina attempted a change in offensive strategy, using a star pass in jams four and six, but Blue Ridge defense, headed up by blockers Ashevillain, Dixie Kicks, and Vexing Violet was quick to pick up on the star passes, shutting them down in both instances. Carolina jammers Aurora Thunder and FannyPack-a-Punch went to the penalty box in both instances.
“We are trying some news strategy in practice,” blocker Ashevillain said. “We’re stacking our blockers, practicing strong, defensive blocking, and we’ve all stepped up at practice, both in defense and offense.”
The largest point gain in the first half for Carolina occurred in jam 11 when the team scored 9 points, bringing them to 19 points. The dent was a win for Carolina, as Blue Ridge jammers had already scored 98 points by the 14:00-minute mark of the period. At the half, Blue Ridge had 142 to Carolina’s 47.
The second half started with Carolina jammer Ginger Clobber grabbing lead jammer status, though Blue Ridge jammer Hurrycane Jackie won the jam, 9-8. After that, Carolina went scoreless for five jams as Ginger Clobber went to the box twice on two cut track penalties; these cuts forced by Blue Ridge defense as Pocahotmess and Vexing Violet again stuck to the opposing jammer. That’s not to say that Carolina blockers didn’t have their moments on the track: Jojo Gadget forced a track cut on Blue Ridge jammer Tractor Taylor that resulted in a power jam for Carolina’s Ava Gore. The largest jam of the second period happened prior to Taylor’s penalty, however, with Lady Rider giving the team 19 points and a handy lead of 228-66.
Lady Rider ended the game on a 19 point jam as well, scoring the most points for Blue Ridge at 129 points in 10 jams. The highest scoring jammer for Carolina was Ginger Clobbers; she scored 29 points in 11 jams, but left the game on injury in the second-to-last jam of the game. Blue Ridge defeated Carolina 309-94.
Blue Ridge Rollergirls move on to play Houston Roller Derby of Houston, TX, USA (seed #2, WFTDA #43) at 4 p.m. Friday. The Carolina Rollergirls move to the consolation bracket to play the loser of Game 6 at noon on Saturday.
Blue Ridge Rollergirls (#7) 309
Carolina Rollergirls (#10) 94