The first game of the 2016 International WFTDA Division 1 Playoffs Madison started with two leagues that have a long history in WFTDA and a lot of experience in D1 tournaments and championships. The Windy City Rollers from Chicago, IL, USA battled Ohio Roller Derby from Columbus, OH, USA to determine who would face off against the number one seeded Gotham Girls Roller Derby later today. Windy City would continue their quest to Championships by taking the win, 210-159.
“The last season was really rough for us. We tumbled in the rankings,” said Windy City Co-Captain, Legal Tenderizer, “And this season we started with a goal of winning D2s. We had no clue we could even come this far. I’m so proud of this team.”
Both teams relied heavily on veteran jammers—Killanois earned seven out of eight lead jammer statuses and 42 points in the first half for Windy City, while The Smacktivist earned seven out of 12 lead jammer statuses and 54 points in the first half for Ohio. While Ohio ran The Smacktivist almost every other jam with Gorges Curves, Lora “Outta My” Wayman and Blitz Lemon taking intermittent turns with the star, Windy employed a larger jammer rotation that leaned on Killjoy and Mia Go Hamm.
Windy City had an early 7-0 advantage before The Smacktivist gained Ohio’s first lead jammer status with a 1-0 jam. The next time they took the track, The Smacktivist put up multiple scoring passes with a 9-0 jam that moved their team ahead 10-9 after five minutes. The lead was short-lived, as Windy City quickly snatched it back with a 4-0 jam from Mia Go Hamm. The Chicagoans would maintain the lead until the final whistle, although the score would remain close throughout the game.
“We did not have a regular practice space all season, and then August 1 we signed a lease for a warehouse,” explained Chainsaw of Ohio. “We increased our practices. So we all dedicated ourselves to high attendance and working together and really locking down skills.”
Ohio’s Bigg Rigg and Burnadeath were able to get a touch on the Windy jammers, but they struggled to knock them out of bounds or keep them from breaking through walls. Windy blockers, Entropy and Legal Tenderizer, expertly evaded attempts at offense from Ohio’s blockers and managed to control the back of the pack as well as the Ohio jammers. At halftime, Windy City was in the lead 91-71.
Between the end of the first half and the start of the second, The Smacktivist jammed three times in a row and put up 20 unanswered points for Ohio. The Chicagoans didn’t start to pull away until five minutes into the second period when Blitz Lemon went to the box, giving a power jam to Mia Go Hamm who put up 13 points—bringing the score to 116-78 in favor of Windy City.
Ohio would regain control in spurts, with a 12-0 run and a 19-0 run in the second half. The addition of Kitty Liquorbottom to Ohio’s jammer rotation increased the team’s success, but Blitz Lemon had some trouble with Windy blockers Phoebie Fi Fo Fum and Tay Q. Down. Chicago was able to grow their lead to 60 points—the largest of the game, with a score of 196-136 with only with 3:30 remaining in the game. After a successful 7-0 jam by The Smacktivist while Stevie Brown and Kloverkill held back Windy jammer Molly Mollenkamp, Ohio took their last timeout with 2:20 left on the clock. Killanois lined up against Lora “Outta My” Wayman and grabbed lead jammer status. She let the period clock run out and called the jam, 14-9, to finish with a 210-159 victory for Windy City.
The Windy City Rollers advance in the bracket and face Gotham Girls Roller Derby at 4 p.m. CT today. Ohio Roller Derby moves to the consolation bracket and will play again Saturday at 10 a.m. CT.
“I’m really excited to face Gotham,” beamed Legal Tenderizer. “We’re really excited to face them and see what we can do. I think we’ve already blown away our own expectations.”
Windy City Rollers (#8) 210
Ohio Roller Derby (#9) 152