Arizona Roller Derby Tent City Terrors from Phoenix, AZ, USA barely made the cut off to eke their way into the WFTDA Division 1 Playoffs Vancouver. Ranked #40 internationally, they faced the Sacred City Derby Girls Sacrificers from Sacramento, CA, USA, who sit significantly higher in the rankings at #28 in the opening game of the weekend. The blocking battalions were very evenly matched, and both teams’ highest scoring jammers had key roles in this game and were often matched against each other, showcasing their very different jamming styles. Luz Chaos, a juking, spinning tumbleweed from AZRD was juxtaposed with The 4closer from Sacramento, who prefers to go right into a wall and bulldoze her way through. This game came down to the very last jam with these very same jammers and Sacramento winning by only two points to advance.
Both teams’ defense put on a full display right from the first whistle, as Chaos forced Pink Freud to call off the jam without a point. The jammers felt the game’s grind begin in the third jam as Arizona jammer Erica d’Entremont took lead but went straight to the penalty box on a back block, forcing a two-minute jam. Although a star pass to Jess West after d’Entremont was released from the box successfully put Arizona on the board, Lil Beez Neez of Sacred buzzed through the pack with a 10-point jam to give her team an early lead, bringing the score to 19-2.
AZRD and Sacred traded lead jammer status and points in the next few jams, but the Terrors took the lead for the first time in the seventh jam of the game with a 20-point power jam from Luz Chaos, as Shock-N-Auburn sat in the penalty box on a forearm penalty.
The game continued with points alternating, and Pink Freud eventually snuck by on the inside line to take back the lead for Sacred, 38-37. The 4closer and Luz Chaos traded jammer penalties to create a two-minute jam in the following jam. Sacred came out on top with a 10-4 jam, widening their slight lead to 48-41.
Both teams preferred to grab quick points and call it off, keeping the game very close, the score going back and forth. Consecutive power jams in favor of Arizona changed the momentum, with d’Entremont scoring 14 points assisted by coordinated offense, followed by 13 more from Luz Chaos. At halftime, Arizona held the lead with a score of 67-95.
The Tent City Terrors scored 13 unanswered points in the first five minutes of the second half, until 4closer fired back with a huge 19-point power jam. Lil Beez Neez added 5 of her own, bringing the score within 17 points for Sacred City.
The 4closer took control of a jam against R2Death2, and it paid off to the tune of 26 points and a lead change (117-116), as R2Death2 was penalized for a back block. More back and forth play prompted AZRD to request a timeout with 6:47 remaining in the game, as they led by only 9 points.
In a strange pattern of events, Sacred lead jammer Pink Freud was penalized on a star pass violation when she picked up the helmet cover on the ground in an attempt to put it on — unfortunately, it was the helmet cover of opposing jammer, Luz Chaos. Chaos was then penalized for a back block, resulting in a two-minute jam, with Arizona still leading 163-168.
Arizona extended their lead, picking up 13 more points courtesy of Jess West and R2Death2. Exceedingly smart clock management by Sacred City turned the tides at a critical point, as they utilized two time outs and a five-point strike by Lil Beez to force one final jam with only seconds left on the clock and a 13-point deficit to overcome. Once again,The 4closer vs. Luz Chaos met on the jammer line, and the AZRD jammer was boxed on a track cut penalty just as 4closer was declared lead. The 4closer earned 15 points and called off the jam to win by just 2 points in the end, the scoreboard reading 183-181. The Sacrificers will advance to play Angel City Derby Girls at 4 p.m. PST today.
Sacred City Derby Girls (#7) 183
Arizona Roller Derby (#10) 181