Game 3 of the WFTDA Division 1 Playoffs Vancouver featured Seed 3, the Rat City Rollergirls from Seattle, Washington, against Seed 6, the Naptown Roller Girls from Indianapolis, Indiana. It was a game of inches; the amount of space it took the Rat City jammers to get by Naptown’s defense over and over again, or the amount between Rat City blockers as Naptown’s jammers tried to pry open a path through the pack.
Both teams cycled back and forth between offense and defense, rarely leaving a jammer to struggle alone for long, but Rat City was able to shift quicker and more smoothly. Naptown still had some hesitation and jerkiness that cost them points.
Both teams held tight walls that rotated through the pack, snaring a jammer in what seemed like an endless round of blockers. Rat City was able to lock down and exhaust Naptown’s jammers. Rat’s jammers, sometimes with offensive help and other times on their own, were able to find the weak link in Naptown’s walls and break them apart in pass after pass, often while Naptown’s blockers got caught up in ineffective offensive plays.
Rat City held Naptown at zero points for the first 5 minutes of the first period until Maiden America put the first Naptown points on the board and pulled her team into the lead. Unfortunately, that was the last time Naptown enjoyed lead because Rat City’s Renegade Ruthie pulled her team ahead by 3 and they never looked back. It wasn’t the last time Rat City held Naptown scoreless for long stretches of the game though; in 68% of the jams, Naptown was unable to score any points.
Rat City earned lead jam status 75% of the time and their blockers were able to hold Naptown jammers for pass after pass before they called it off. Both teams had 6 jammer penalties each, but Naptown just wasn’t able to capitalize on their power jams like Rat City.
Although the teams were closely seeded, this game highlighted the difference between the top 3 or 4 seeds in a bracket and the lower seeded teams. Coming into the Playoffs, Rat City was ranked 12 and Naptown 22. Rat City went to WFTDA Champs in 2015 and 2013 (placed 4th in D1 Playoffs in 2014). Naptown, on the other hand, placed 3rd at Division 2 Playoffs in Detroit in 2015, 6th at D1 Playoffs in Charleston in 2014, and 4th at D1 Playoffs in Richmond in 2013. The difference showed on the track in the teams’ ability to execute the skills and strategies.
At the half, Rat City led 122-32. Maiden America had scored 22 of those points for Naptown, the only jammer able to get some traction against Rat City’s defense. In the second period, other than a short run early on when Naptown scored 18 points (12 of them by Maiden America), Rat City denied hardworking Naptown again and again. They held Naptown to only 25 points in the second period.
Rat City moves on to play the winner of Angel City Derby Girls vs. Sacred City Derby Girls on Saturday at 6 p.m. PST and Naptown will play Queen City Roller Girls at 10 a.m. PST.
Rat City Rollergirls (#3) 285
Naptown Roller Girls (#6) 57