Game 5 of the 2016 International WFTDA D1 Playoffs in Columbia saw the #4 seed, ranked #16 internationally, Atlanta Rollergirls Dirty South Derby Girls from Atlanta, Georgia, USA face off against the #5 seed, ranked #19 internationally, Crime City Rollers from Malmo, Sweden.
In roller derby, when two teams are evenly matched in strength and strategy, penalties will be the tie breaker. In a tight game of grinding defense, long jams, and multiple lead changes, it was a late in the game string of penalties that caused Crime City to crumble as “Hot-Lanta” burned the Swedes down to win 155-112 and advance in the tournament.
Atlanta jumped to a quick 23-0 lead in the first two jams to start the game before Hanna P of Crime City posted up the first 3 points for Crime City in jam 3.
Directly off the jam starts Atlanta ran a defensive braced four-wall, while Crime tended to put up a braced triangle with a dedicated offensive player ready to assist their jammer.
A solid defense from both teams ate 1:42 of the jam clock in jam 4 before Choke Cherry of Atlanta was finally able to jump out to lead, putting up 5 unanswered points.
Crime City then took a timeout to regroup with 20:59 remaining in the half, and a lopsided score of 37-3.
In the next jam, however, Atlanta’s Slams McKenzie was boxed on a blocking with the head penalty, giving Crime City a much-needed power jam for Prince Sofia. A 2nd penalty sent Slams immediately back to the box, allowing Sofia to put up 20 total points and bringing the score to 37-23 Atlanta.
The next jam brought redemption, though, as Slams McKenzie sprinted from the box to earn lead and a quick 5 points.
Crime City’s Hanna P got boxed on a forearm, creating a power jam for Choke Cherry. She grabbed another 5 points for Atlanta and froze the the Crime City jammer in the penalty box.
Atlanta added 4 more points via Afro Dykee. Then Trouble MakeHer was forced to call it off in the next jam, as Dykestalker of Crime City threatened to score after a smart starpass.
Crime City took advantage of a power jam as Slams McKenzie was boxed once again on a forearm call. Curly Håår grabbed lead, but the Dirty South blockers continued to reform and shake off the Swedish offense attempts. Only 1 more scoring pass was completed, bringing the score to 51-27, with Atlanta still in the lead.
Crime City’s Prince Sofia then earned lead and capitalized on Afro Dykee’s cut penalty. A 13 point jam brought Crime to within 9 points with 8:23 left in the first period.
Crime City quickly called for their first Official Review, requesting an additional cut penalty against Atlanta jammer Afro Dykee. Head Ref Eric Rawk announced that a 2nd penalty would be accessed for a track cut, and Crime City retained their Official Review.
Crime City fielded Hanna P on a power jam, and she gained lead and 5 points, before earning a forearm penalty herself, springing Afro from the box. It was a tie game, 56-56, with 6 minutes remaining in the first.
In the next 6 minutes, 7 straight lead jams were awarded to Crime City as they pushed their lead to end the half 57-71.
The second half opened with Crime City putting up 7 unanswered points, but an out of play block called on Prince Sofia at 22 minutes gave Atlanta’s Slams McKenzie an opportunity to chip away at the lead. She put up 15 points to bring the score back within 2.
Dykee, Choke, and Slams hit Crime with single digit point-punches, but Crime City’s Prince Sofia went to work scoring 16 points while Atlanta bled blockers to the penalty box. Crime regained the lead, 103-112.
Then there was a reversal of fortune, with Crime losing all but 1 blocker and Afro Dykee throwing up a huge 19-point jam to retake the lead for Atlanta with just 4:10 remaining in the game.
The Swedes suffered another huge blow, as jammer Curly Håår was ejected for an egregious high block against a backwards blocking Blaque Jac.
Trouble MakeHer started the penultimate jam unopposed, with only one Crime City blocker on the track and quickly earned lead. Prince Sofia (serving Håår’s penalty) star-passed to Frix Rode upon her release, who was then boxed on a penalty, extending the Atlanta power jam and earning Trouble 19 points.
Finally, Slams McKenzie brings it home for Atlanta with a final 9 points to end the game 155-112.
Atlanta Rollergirls go on to play the winner of Game 6 at 9 p.m. on Saturday, while the Crime City Rollers move into the consolation bracket, playing Steel City Roller Derby at 12 p.m. on Saturday.
Atlanta Rollergirls (#4) 155
Crime City Rollers (#5) 112