After a raucous ending to the previous game, the energy in the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center was electric at 2016 International WFTDA Division 1 Playoffs Columbia. Both Denver Roller Derby’s Mile High Club of Denver, CO, USA and Santa Cruz Derby Girls’ Boardwalk Bombshells of Santa Cruz, CA, USA were as amped up as the crowd was and ready to roll. The first jam was an expulsion of all the tension with TARAism of Santa Cruz gaining lead first, with Wilhelm on her heels causing a quick call off. From there, both teams settled into the game and their strategies.
Denver was able to keep a steady control on the game from Jam 2 on. Barrett and Anghel were a monster defensive team, regardless of who joined them on the track. The Mile High Club’s teamwork was strong, particularly their defensive ability to rotate to recapture jammers, balanced with strategic offensive play to separate Santa Cruz.
Santa Cruz’s TARAism and Queen Litigious had the most success for the Boardwalk Bombshells in the first half. TARAism scored 13 points, attaining lead jammer status four out of five times. Queen Litigious did not gain lead at all in the first half, but she did manage to contribute 16 points. Hell Louise had a head for offense and was able to disrupt the Denver tripods successfully more than a few times for her jammers. Shamrock N. Roller was the standout defensive threat on the track for Santa Cruz. Her line hygiene was on point, and her power to take the stable Denver skaters off their skates was remarkable. At halftime, Denver led 171-42. The second half was mostly the same story for Santa Cruz. They came into the half looking stronger; they only gained lead once in the first six jams, but they held Denver to 8 points during that time. Unfortunately, Denver’s Blackman left the track injured in the fourth jam of the second half and did not return to the game.
As the second half continued, the jams became longer, starting with a 17-11 jam for Santa Cruz’s Ace Wenchura against Denver’s Klein. In the last 15 jams, only two did not include multi-pass scores. Santa Cruz capitalized on opportunities for ranking points, while Denver was trying to run down the clock, even when Santa Cruz was out of the pack.
The Mile High Club dictated the speed of the pack in this game. If the Santa Cruz jammer was trapped, the pack was stopped. When the jammer escaped, the pack sped up in an attempt to reabsorb them. As the game end neared, Klein put 29 points on the scoreboard for Denver in the highest scoring jam of the game. Denver won an official review, resulting in removal of one of Gypin’s penalties — giving Santa Cruz a 30-second power jam, as opposed to a minute. TARAism took the track to start the power jam and was able to put up a 9-4 jam, contributing to the 30 points Santa Cruz added to the scoreboard in the final three jams of the game.
Denver emerges victorious with a final score of 314-127 and will move on to play either Jacksonville RollerGirls (#2) of Jacksonville, FL, USA or Rainy City Roller Derby (#7) of Manchester, England, UK at 8 p.m. EST on Saturday night. Santa Cruz will play Ann Arbor Derby Girls (#9) of Ann Arbor, MI, USA on Saturday morning at 10 a.m EST.
Denver Roller Derby (#3) 314
Santa Cruz Derby Girls (#6) 127