The final day of the 2016 International WFTDA Division 1 Playoffs Columbia started with an exciting game between the 9 and 10 seeds. The Ann Arbor Derby Dimes (Seed 9) from Ann Arbor, MI, USA started their first Playoff weekend with a final jam loss to the Columbia QuadSquad on Friday and ended up in the 9th place game after a second loss to Santa Cruz yesterday. This is the 8th Playoff appearance for Steel City Roller Derby (Seed 10) of Pittsburgh, PA, USA and they arrived at the 9th place game after tough losses to Rainy City and Crime City. Penalties plagued both teams, and jammers took advantage of the decreased pack sizes. Ann Arbor controlled the majority of the first half and Steel City committed significantly more penalties, but the second half was almost the opposite — Steel City remained on the track to earn and maintain the lead, while Ann Arbor spent more time in the penalty box.
Steel City led the penalty count of the first half with 33 penalties while Ann Arbor had 19. Jammer penalties allowed Ann Arbor to control most of the half, as Steel City’s jammers committed eight penalties while Ann Arbor’s jammers went to the box five times. Ann Arbor’s Lezzie Arnaz received a cutting penalty in the first jam, and Steel City’s blockers stopped the pack in turn one. Leanne Groll flew through the slow pack for 20 points. She called the jam off while Lezzie Arnaz was standing in the penalty box to give Snarkolepsy a chance to quickly earn lead status and add 13 points to their score.
In the third jam of the game, Ann Arbor’s Terror Misu sped through the pack to put her team on the board with a 20 point jam. In the following jams, Ann Arbor continued to close the gap and took the lead with 19 minutes left in the half. Most of Steel City’s blockers were sent to the box, and the small pack made it easy for Slamuel L. Jackson to score 28 points to make the score 72-60.
Ann Arbor maintained and grew a lead throughout the rest of the half. In the final jam of the half, Leanne Groll received a cutting penalty followed by an insubordination penalty for not leaving the track quickly enough. With only two Steel City blockers on the track, Terror Misu scored 15 points to give Ann Arbor a lead of 144-115 at halftime. Right as the final jam ended, Leanne Groll stood up and left the penalty box, earning an illegal procedure penalty for leaving the penalty box before she was released.
Steel City started the half at a disadvantage with their highest scoring jammer sitting in the box for her sixth penalty. For the first few minutes, Ann Arbor continued to maintain a lead of 20-30 points, but Steel City was able to adjust and take advantage of multiple Ann Arbor jammer penalties. Ten minutes into the half, Terror Misu started the jam in the penalty box and Hurricane Heather narrowed the differential to just one point. In the following jam, Jadzia Smax received a penalty for back blocking, then an insubordination penalty for not immediately exiting the track. Snarkolepsy followed offense from her blockers to score 19 points and take a lead of 181-168 for Steel City.
The lead changed twice and the score was tied once in the following four jams before Steel City began to distance themselves in the final eight minutes of the game. In that time, Ann Arbor’s jammers committed three penalties and there was a near constant rotation of blockers to visit them in the penalty box. Steel City’s jammers stayed on the track and earned lead every jam. Hurricane Heather, River Kyx, Geleskie, and Snarkolepsy earned a combined 51 points to bring Steel City’s final score to 258. Ann Arbor trailed by 53 — the largest differential of the game — to end with 205 points. In opposition to the penalties in the first half, Steel City only had one jammer penalty while Ann Arbor’s jammers went to the box 10 times.
Steel City improved on their seeding to finish in 9th place, while Ann Arbor will finish in 10th.
Ann Arbor Derby Dimes (#9) 205
Steel City Roller Derby (#10) 258