The 2016 International WFTDA Division 1 Playoffs Vancouver third place game was a game of high stakes. For the second year in a row, Rat City Rollergirls ( #3) of Seattle, WA, USA, bested Philly Roller Derby (#4) of Philadelphia, PA, USA, in the third place game at playoffs, earning bronze medals and punching their ticket to the 2016 International WFTDA Championships in Portland, OR, USA.
When Philly and Rat City last played each other in 2015 at the WFTDA Division 1 Playoffs Dallas, Rat City edged Philly out of qualification for the WFTDA Championship Tournament for the first time in WFTDA history. This time, Philly nearly came close to the upset, chipping away Rat’s lead to where it was even a single-point game. However, Rat City’s stalwart defense, even when Philly retained lead jammer, limited Philly’s ability to put up points needed for the win.
The first few minutes of the game saw both team’s defenses hard at work, limiting jammers to single scoring passes and in some cases 0-0. In the first jam, Philly’s Wolf escaped the pack immediately to earn lead jammer but with Luna Negra out right behind, Philly could only put up 3 points on the scoreboard. Rat City held Philly scoreless for 7 jams, making the score 31-3 with less than 20 minutes left in the half.
The momentum looked as if it was about to change when Rat City’s jammer, Scratcher in the Eye, cut the track, leaving lead jammer open for Philly’s Wolf. Philly’s pivot, Meryl Stripher, played some strategic and well-timed offense, allowing Wolf to not only get lead but also put up 8 points in Philly’s favor, bringing the score 35-11 in Rat City’s favor. But Rat City’s defense answered by holding Philly scoreless for another string of jams. Philly utilized multiple star passes to cut jams short, but that didn’t stop the jammers from Seattle, Scratcher in the Eye, Eva Derci, and Luna Negra, from adding points to their score, totaling 64 to Philly’s 11 with 9:55 left in the first period.
A flurry of jammer penalties on Rat City’s side ended Philly’s scoring drought when Teflon Donna, no stranger to jamming, donned the star. Sweeping team offense allowed Philly to capitalize on two power jam opportunities within the same jam as Renegade Ruthie sat in the penalty box as a jammer for Rat City to serve time for consecutive cut track penalties. The score stood 64-25 after Teflon Donna racked up 14 points.
Rat City found themselves in a bit of trouble over multiple jams when their jammers earned 5 penalties to Philly’s 3 in the last few minutes of the half, resulting in a 20-10 scoring run in Philly’s favor. Rat City still maintained a 24-point lead with the score standing 74-50 at the end of the first period. Unfortunately, both teams also ended the period with their jammers in the penalty box, Herrmann Monster (Philly) for a cut track and Carmen Getsome (Rat City) sitting for a low block and insubordination, respectively. Getsome’s low block was then deemed egregious and warranted an expulsion from the game.
The second half started with both jammers in the penalty box, Luna Negra sitting the penalty for Carmen Getsome, and Herrmann Monster serving her own. Luna Negra was released first and quickly earned lead jammer; however, a cut track penalty sent her back to the box. The power jam opportunity allowed Herrmann Monster to put up 8 points for Philly, bringing the score to 74-58.
Philly secured lead for three jams in a row with jammers Wolf, Teflon Donna, and Herrmann Monster putting up 4, 4, and 7 points, respectively. The 15 unanswered points for Philly brought the score to 88-75, a 12-point game still in Rat City’s favor with 21:46 left on the game clock. Philly continued to chip away at the lead and decided to mix up their jammer rotation by putting the formidable blocker ZipBlok in as a jammer. ZipBlok earned lead over Luna Negra and put up 3 quick points, bringing Philly to within one point of Rat City, 91-90.
The following jam was two minutes without lead — Rat City’s Eva Derci and Philly’s Wolf both cut the track as jammers. The jam ended in Rat City’s favor, 9-2, bringing the score 100-92. The remaining 13 minutes was a show of defensive domination from both teams, which resulted in mostly single-pass jams. Philly earned lead in several jams, but the Rat City blockers were able to reabsorb the opposing jammers, forcing jam call-offs where neither team claimed points. Philly jammers ZipBlok and Herrmann Monster earned lead for the final two jams of the game, but Rat City’s grinding defense powered by blockers CeeCee, Cassie Beck, Enurgizer Bunny, and H. Botts, limited their scoring.
“Today we came out and were able to do what we spent the whole season training to do,” Rat City’s captain, Cassie Beck, summed up the win. The victory earns Rat City bronze medals and a 3rd place final standing this weekend along with qualification to Champs. Philly finishes the weekend placed 4th, both teams maintaining their playoff seeds.
Rat City Rollergirls (#3) 134 (3rd place)
Philly Roller Derby (#4) 114