WFTDA D1 Preview: Dallas

WFTDA D1 Preview: Dallas Photo by Regularman Photography. regularmanphotography.com

The Division 1 WFTDA Playoffs continue with a tournament in Dallas this weekend, and this will be the most diverse bracket of them all. Of the 13 teams from outside the United States that are participating in 2015 playoffs, 4 are in this bracket with 3 teams making their first appearance at WFTDA tournaments. The host league, Dallas, is also making a return after not making the top 60 last year, and participating in Division 2 the year before. The uncertainty of these teams gives this weekend the makings of a bracket buster.

The top 3 teams of this weekend will join Victoria, Bay Area, and Arch Rival in St. Paul this November. Catch all the action live on WFTDA.tv, or catch up on games with our recaps and scores at Dallas Central. Hear more about this bracket with Brooklyn’s article on WFTDA’s playoff blog.

Game 1: #8 Crime City Rollers vs. #9 Ohio Roller Girls

Crime City won all 3 of their games at Beach Brawl. Photo by Phantom Photographics.

Crime City won all 3 of their games at Beach Brawl. Photo by Phantom Photographics.

Becoming a WFTDA member league 3 years ago, Crime City of Malmö, Sweden has been making their charge towards Playoffs with a trip to Philly last year for ECDX, and to Fort Lauderdale for Beach Brawl. Their efforts have paid off, more than expected by jumping 48 spots in the WFTDA rankings at the last minute to qualifty for Division 1 this year. In a post on their website, they revealed their surprise at just how far they had made it. “Honestly our goal was to be in division 2, but when all games were played and our master minds in the league had had their predictions we couldn’t quite get it. Could it be that we were in division 1?!”

The WFTDA European Tournament was an important event for many teams in Europe last November, and Crime City was one of those teams that benefited with a sanctioned win against Gent Go Go. They also took all three games in Florida against Charlotte, North Star, and Charlottesville– a #10 seed in Jacksonville. In 2015 they have only played 4 sanctioned games, but have also logged some unsanctioned games in their schedule, including 2 against Stockholm, the #5 seed in this bracket, who they lost to most recently by 77 points.

Ohio vs. Arch Rival at Midwest BrewHaHa. Photo by Derby With Recess.

Ohio vs. Arch Rival at Midwest BrewHaHa. Photo by Derby With Recess.

Ohio on the other hand, has played 19 sanctioned games this year, playing 16 out of 25 weekends since March 14th. Last year they went to D1 in Evansville and despite entering as the #5 seed, they finished 9th, the seed they are arriving with this year. A small league, this original member league notoriously plays lots of games, and their hard work had its highs and lows this season. In March, they lost to rising Detroit by 143 points, and beat Charm City (who just placed 8th in Tucson) the following weekend by 20 points. Some of the harder losses they had this year were a 426-41 loss to current WFTDA ranked #9 Jacksonville, and a 326-point and 204-points loss to Arch Rival and Minnesota at Midwest BrewHaHa. Most recently though, they scored a win over Windy City by 122 points.

Crime City’s last boost in the rankings put them above Ohio at #30 overall, while the midwest team sits at #34. Flat Track Stats has them closely ranked, and are expecting it to be a pretty close game, falling slightly in the Swede’s favor. The winner of this game will go on to play #1 seed Rose City later on Friday at 4pm CDT.

Game 2: #7 Sun State Roller Girls vs. #10 Rideau Valley Roller Girls

The Sun State Roller Girls are traveling 8,318 miles to Dallas, Texas from Brisbane, Australia. With their sanctioned games only dating back to December of last year, their travel team the “Swarm” entered the WFTDA rankings at the end of 2014 with the highest entrance placement to date, at #20. They utilized the Strength Factor Challenge program to help them get there, playing Houston, Assassination City, and Alamo to get their first ranking. They were in Texas while 7 of their skaters were chartered with Team Australia for the World Cup. The five years of their existence has been filled with numerous wins, with only two losses in the past two years.

One of those losses was an unsanctioned game against Victoria in June of last year, and without knowing the rosters for each, Victoria only took the win by 29 points at the Great Southern Slam. Sun State also took on the New York Shock Exchange when they were down under, and the MRDA ranked #3 team beat them, 241-85. With so few sanctioned games on their record, it’s hard to say how things will play out, and with their U.S. games happening almost a year ago their ranking might be slightly inflated.

Rideau Valley finished 2nd overall in Division 2 last year. Photo by Danforth Johnson.

Rideau Valley finished 2nd overall in Division 2 last year. Photo by Danforth Johnson.

Rideau Valley is another D1 qualifying team that played the top of D2 last year and is now on the same level as the top 40. After placing 2nd at D2 Championships last year, they played at Quad City Chaos and Beaver Fever, with a few other games in between. They did well in both invitationals, beating Steel City early in the season, and losing to Toronto and Boston with close spreads. At Beaver Fever they took on Tri-City, who just placed 10th in Tucson, and was kept to a close 30-point win. In July Charm City (Tucson 8th placer) beat them by 62 points.

Flat Track Stats currently ranks Sun State at #12 while WFTDA now has them at #28, which makes this game look heavily in favor of the Swarm taking the win. The two will meet up Friday at 12pm CDT, with the winner playing again at 6pm CDT against #2 seed, Texas Rollergirls.

Game 3: #4 Rat City Rollergirls vs. #5 Stockholm Roller Derby

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Rat City has taken on Terminal City 3 times this year. Photo by Diz Ruptive Photography.

Rat City had kind of a slow start to the year, and seems to have been working hard to bring a solid, well rounded team to playoffs, possibly motivated by not qualifying for Champs last year with their 55-point loss to Minnesota. That make or break game was after they had already taken on Gotham, and overall they did keep their seeding by placing 4th. They return with the same seed, and a 5-4 sanctioned record, with one of those losses being against Rose, their likely competitor if they make it past the quarter finals.

One of their most recent games was an unsactioned game at a one-day event they hosted called Border Patrol. They took on Terminal City for the 3rd time this year, reportedly beating them 253-72, a much bigger spread than their previous 1-point loss to them at Derby Night in Canada. It’s hard to say is the teams were at full strength however, but by their performance at Besterns, they are holding strong with the top teams.

Stockholm got a huge rankings boost from ECDX. Photo by Joe Mac.

Stockholm got a huge rankings boost from ECDX. Photo by Joe Mac.

Stockholm has also proven themselves a solid competitor in the upper half of Division 1, and they come to playoffs as the highest seed of teams who are new to tournaments this year. They were another team who participated at WET, walking away with three wins, one of which was a sanctioned one against Bear City. Their last big rankings boost came after ECDX, where they brought Detroit’s 16-game winning streak to an end by 97 points. They also took on Montreal, who only beat them by 32 points.

Rankings put this game in Rat City’s favor, but it will likely be an exciting afternoon matchup. The winner will advance to the semi-finals on Saturday at 2pm CDT against the winner of Game 4.

Game 4: #1 Rose City Rollers vs. Winner of Game 1

Rose City had another near perfect season by winning 8 games straight but then losing to WFTDA ranked #4 London Rollergirls by 64 points in August. They went to the Big O in May, and played a close game with Texas, the #2 seed in this bracket, winning 237-191 after the Texecutioners held the lead for most of the first half. If the two meet again in the final game this weekend, it could keep things interesting, although the Texans have fallen to #7 overall by the end of June.

At Hometown Throwdown Rose added 3 more wins to their record with two strong wins against Terminal City and Bay Area, but then battled with Denver’s defense. Their last game before London was a 179-96 win against Rat City, their potential opponent for their second game.

Having nearly beat Gotham at last year’s champs, their recent loss to Brawling is likely extra motivation to make it through this weekend on top. They also gained Ms. Dr. Joseph L. Simonis to their jammer arsenal, and have their Captain Hannah Jennings back on skates after an injury earlier this year. Their first game will be against either Crime City or Ohio, and barring any surprises, Rose City will likely move onto the semi-final round Saturday at 2pm CDT.

Game 5: #2 Texas Rollergirls vs. Winner of Game 2

The Texecutioners had a slow start to the season, with 3 losses at the Big O to Denver, Victoria, and Rose City. The games were close however, with back and forth momentum shifts, but Texas seemed to be still getting in the groove of their newer lineups and transfer skaters. They needed more consistency and may have found it later in the season when they went 2-1 at Pac Destruction, losing only to London by 32 points.

Texas took on Angel City at the Golden Bowl. Photo by Donalee Eiri - Photography by D.E.sign.

Texas took on Angel City at the Golden Bowl. Photo by Donalee Eiri – Photography by D.E.sign.

Texas was last year’s Hydra Hopeful, but Bloody Mary had been out with an injury. This year Olivia Shootin’ John had an injury of her own, but Bloody Mary seems to be back in full force. They also have Freight Train and Jackie Daniels who can take the star as needed, so playoffs will show if they can stick to their own game and provide offense for their jammers. Their first game is on Friday at 6pm CDT against either Sun State or Rideau Valley, and unless there are any upsets, Texas should move onto the semi-finals to face the winner of Game 6.

Game 6: #3 Philly Roller Derby vs. #6 Dallas Derby Devils

Philly traveled to the West Coast for the Big O. Photo by Donalee Eiri - Photography by D.E.sign.

Philly traveled to the West Coast for the Big O. Photo by Donalee Eiri – Photography by D.E.sign.

Last year Philly went to playoffs in Charleston seeded 3rd and finishing 3rd and return again this year in the same spot. Their season started with 3 losses at The Big O against teams all ranked above them, but also in May they pulled an upset against Minnesota who was ranked #6 at the time. They faced Denver again in August, but only lost to them by 28 points after they fell by 134 in Eugene.

The host league Dallas looks like a completely different team this year after not qualifying for playoffs last year. The change seemed to come when they played Victoria, who was passing through for playoffs, and seemingly picking up on their defensive formations. As a D2 playoff team in 2013, they started 2015 by firmly beating Kansas City, Houston, and Blue Ridge at their own Clover Cup. At Spring Roll they had their first loss of the year against the also rising Arch Rival, but then took wins over Calgary and Toronto. They took on Calgary again in June, beating them by a larger spread, and then beat Arizona at Rollercon, 243-99.

Dallas is participating and hosting this weekend's D1 playoff tournament. Photo by Danforth Johnson.

Dallas is participating and hosting this weekend’s D1 playoff tournament. Photo by Danforth Johnson.

Their impressive defense will be put to the test by the likes of V-Diva when they take on Philly in the last game of the evening on Friday. The winner will also play the last game on Saturday against the winner of Game 5.

Stay with Derby Central all weekend long as we will be reporting on site and from home to get you all the game recaps and scores. Follow the action and antics on our Twitter @CentralDerby, our Instagram @DerbyCentral and on Facebook.

You can also listen to Nox and Deadwards make bracket predictions with Derbyface on episode 7 of their podcast!

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