Angel City Derby (#2) vs. Minnesota RollerGirls (#4)
The second game of the 2017 International WFTDA Championships Philadelphia put Angel City Derby of Los Angeles, California, U.S. (Seed #2, WFTDA #4) against the Minnesota RollerGirls of Saint Paul, Minnesota, U.S. (Seed #4, WFTDA #16) in a matchup with the biggest ranking difference of the tournament thus far. A strong surge early in the game for the Midwestern team showed strength in massive track coverage and sharp jamming. Unshaken by their rocky start, Angel City’s regrouping and smart time-management strategy proved they were no strangers to challenge, earning a solid win with a final score of 281–144.
Both teams skated with noteworthy roster changes. The L.A. roster missed veteran go-to charter players Lo Betancourt and Laci Knight. Minnesota rolled sans double threat Secondhand Smoke, but regained Brickyard, who is back from an injury that kept the jammer on the sidelines at the WFTDA Playoffs in Dallas.
The first jam caught both teams’ defenses off guard as jammers Satan’s Little Helper and Brickyard (the game’s highest-scoring jammers for their respective teams) matched each other point for point, putting a 20–20 score on the board.
Minnesota continued to take advantage of a looser Angel City defense, scoring 3–0, 4–0, and 10–0 jams, and leading the scoreboard with 57 points to the L.A. team’s 46 after 12 minutes of gameplay. But after a team timeout from the Hollywood Scarlets, Angel City’s Catch Mikachu cashed in on her team’s revitalized defense, grabbing 24 points while Minnesota fought tooth and nail to get the star out for just one point, putting the score at 70 for Angel City to 58 for Minnesota. Running longer jams when Minnesota’s jammers passed the star worked to Angel City’s advantage, nearly doubling their opponent’s scoring efforts every time.
With just over five minutes left in the first half, a high-block penalty by the Angel City jammer gave Minnesota the opportunity to bring in 12 unanswered points. It would be the last time for them to score double digits in one jam, however. Angel City bounced back by locking in lead jammer status and holding Minnesota scoreless for the last three jams, ending the half with a score of 148 to 82.
With few exceptions, Angel City maintained control in the second half, while Minnesota continued to lose the grip they had earlier in the game as they spiraled into penalty trouble — with Diamond Rough holding on to six penalties for the remainder of the game. A waterfall of red and gold delivered staggering blows from Soledad, Ima Blowbya, and Chinese Cheker, frustrating the Minnesota’s offensive measures. By the end of Jam 11, Angel City had reached 250 points to Minnesota’s 125.
With four minutes remaining in the game, Minnesota made steps to cut away at their deficit, with Polly Punchkin and Hurtrude Stein putting in serious work to slow the Angel jammers. But clock management calls by their opponents left the Minnesota jammer sitting in the penalty box for three jams and prevented them from putting up more than a few points to their side of the scoreboard. After a final official review to ensure another jam on the clock, Angel City’s Pearl Jam secured lead and after grabbing a couple points after the game clock had run to zero, called the jam to end the game. A final score of 281–144 advanced Angel City in the bracket to face Denver Roller Derby in Game 6 on Friday, November 3 at 8 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.
“I’m feeling really good. The team is ready,” said Catch Mikachu. As for what helped her stay sure-footed as Angel City’s second highest scorer in Game 2, “I’ve been firefighter training, for the most part training endurance and leg strength.”
Angel City Derby (Seed #2, WFTDA #4) 281
Minnesota RollerGirls (Seed #4, WFTDA #16) 144