Friday’s 4 p.m. game gave us our first glimpse at the #1 seed for the 2016 International WFTDA Division 2 Playoffs Lansing: the Charm City Roller Girls from Baltimore, MD, USA. Charm City is no stranger to Division 1 Playoffs—and they’ve even taken a couple trips to Championships in the past—but with over half the charter comprised of new skaters, Charm City needed to prove that they still have the institutional knowledge and experience to succeed on the WFTDA stage. Their opponents, the 8th seed Bear City Berlin Bombshells from Berlin, Germany, had already shown their strength with a solid 235-140 win over Tri City Roller Derby just a couple hours earlier in the day. Ultimately, Charm City would show why they came into Lansing as number 1 by dismantling Bear City’s defense and recovering from their own hiccups to take the game, 260-148.
The game started out slow with low-scoring jams. Bear City scored first and put a quick 2 points on the board, but they were held to that as Charm inched away with 2 and 3-point jams, leading to an 11-2 score in favor of the Americans with five minutes gone. After that slow opening, things shifted rapidly and both teams began putting up huge points-per-jam. A 19-0 jam by I.M. Pain while Peanut Butter Panic sat in the penalty box for Bear City would see Charm back in the lead 54-48 with just over 15 minutes gone. They would maintain control over the Germans with I.M. Pain jamming every other for Charm, and Baltimore’s formidable blockers such as Raven Darkhold and Holly GoHardly providing masterful defensive and offensive hits. Charm grew the lead to 95-59 until LeBrawn Maimes found herself in penalty trouble; she picked up two penalties in the same jam and gave Bear City 60 seconds to climb back. In following jam, Donner Doro, a longtime Bear City jammer, picked up her first lead and first points of the game, thus rallying her team to close the gap to 105-80 with just two minutes left in the half. But multiple scoring passes by Dottie Deathwish and I.M. Pain in the final two jams of the half left the scoreboard reading 137-83 at halftime.
While Charm’s jammers got into trouble in the first half with three penalties on both Dottie Deathwish and LeBrawn Maimes, the opening of the second half saw trouble for Bear City’s jammers with four penalties in the first four jams—two of which went to Peanut Butter Panic. Charm used their experience and their offense to capitalize, reaching a score of 191-86 before Bear City could re-stabilize by putting the consistently successful Jane van Pain on the jam line. Jane van Pain earned lead and gave Bear City their first jam win of the half with a 2-0 score.
Bear City looked strong in their established box formation, but it cost them a lot of forearms and multiplayer blocks. Several blockers ended up in penalty trouble and Charm capitalized on the light packs, increasing their score to 228-96 before Bear City could recover. Both teams started to look fatigued as the game neared its end. I.M.Pain jammed less in the second half, but came in as a relief jammer for Charm City to kill some time and slow the jammer penalties that Baltimore was once again accruing.
In the end, Charm City would prove that they deserve their high seed, winning 260-148. They’ll go on to play the winner of Game 6 on Saturday at 2 p.m. Bear City will play in the consolation bracket on Saturday at 6 p.m.
Charm City Roller Girls (#1) 260
Bear City Roller Derby (#8) 148