Jet City Rollergirls of Everett, WA, USA (seed #1, WFTDA #42) narrowly escaped with a 15-point win against Boulder County Bombers on Friday while Brandywine Roller Derby of Downingtown, PA, USA (seed #4, WFTDA #47) doubled up against Kansas City in their initial game. The double-up theme for Brandywine stayed true during Game 9 on Saturday afternoon, as Brandywine skated away with the win, upsetting the top seed in a 198-170 win at the 2016 International WFTDA Division 2 Playoffs Wichita and earning a trip to November’s 2016 International WFTDA Championships in Portland.
The game opened with evenly matched defense, as both teams jockeyed for position on the track; Jet City took lead jammer status first, followed by Brandywine’s Belligerents with the lead jammer status in the second jam. The Belligerents quenched their thirst for dominance, however, as they grabbed the successive six lead jammers as Jet City’s defense failed to catch the jammers in white. During the sixth jam, in fact, blocker Beethoven’s Fist took the star pass and played blocker to hold back jammer Buenos D. A$$, to no avail. Buenos picked up 20 points.
“We’ve worked really hard on providing offensive blocking,” said Brandywine captain and pivot Rapid ArrythMIA. “But we’ve also increased our ability to stop play with blocking defensively, something that we continue to work on.”
Jammer Lurz Lemon executed apex jump after apex jump on a power jam for the Belligerents, scoring 11 points during a 45-2 run for jammers from Brandywine during jams six through eight of the first period. An unfortunate star pass from jammer Buenos to pivot ArrhythMIA resulted in two back-to-back power jams for Jet City. The Bombers took the opportunity to score 25 unanswered points. The point gain was assisted by Jet City blockers Cia WoodNwanna-Bia, Sin Gria, and The Mexorcist holding Belligerents blocker Thresher and disallowing Brandywine’s tight defense to stop jammer Brut Champain and Whoa Nellie!.
While Jet City worked to gain momentum with the 25 points in jams 10 and 11, Brandywine jammers were sneaky targets, diverting the Bombers and blanking them in six of the following seven jams. By that time, with just seven minutes left in the first half, Brandywine had nearly tripled-up on Jet City, the score at 88-32. In the final five minutes of play during the first, however, Jet City retaliated, locked their sights on successful power jams, and grabbed 34 to Brandywine’s 18. The half closed with Brandywine at 106 points and Jet City at 66.
“We pay attention to us, not what’s going on with other teams,” ArrythMIA said. “We know what we’re capable of, and we use that focus to play our best game.”
The pause at halftime gave Brandywine the wind it needed to continue its run to double the score over Jet City, a task they completed by the sixth jam of the second period, up 148 to Jet City’s 78 points. The seventh jam was a mess of jammers and blockers going to the box, as Ivana Hercha for Jet City started the jammer back-and-forth with a back block, followed by a forearm from Lurz Lemon. Blockers ArrhythMIA and ThumpHER held Hercha to 13 points on the power jam, and Lemon scored 19.
As Brandywine tried to recover from losing blockers KickAsh and ThumpHER to the penalty box, Jet City went on a 35-23 run over six jams, and it looked like the Bombers would put together a turn-around of their fortunes. They trailed by 58 with 12 minutes remaining. And they did piece together a plan to take back the game, but it was too little, too late, despite an unanswered 24-point jam from Hercha. After Jet City’s attack, Brandywine called an official review, asking for a mutli-player block from Jet City’s jammer. The official review was denied, as was the Jet City review that followed; in total, the official reviews took six minutes, giving each team time to regroup.
In the end, it was Brandywine who upset Jet City and secured their space at Championships with a win over the #1-seeded team. Brandywine didn’t get their full double-up, with a 198-170 win, but they won the game and felt the surge of victory swell.
“[Going to Championships] feels great,” ArrythMIA said. “We’ve come into these tournaments a little higher ranked in the past, but we’ve used each tournament as a learning experience. We’re excited to head to Portland.”
Brandywine moves on to play the winner of Game 12 at 6 p.m. Sunday in the 1st Place game at Wichita D2 Playoffs. Jet City plays the loser of Game 12 in the 3rd Place match at 4 p.m. Sunday.
Jet City Rollergirls (seed #1, WFTDA #42) 170
Brandywine Roller Derby (seed #4, WFTDA #47) 198