2015 WFTDA Champs Preview: Division 2

2015 WFTDA Champs Preview: Division 2 Photo by Danforth Johnson. facebook.com/danforth.johnson

Since it’s inception, Division 2 has proven to be full of close, exciting games during tournament season, and this final weekend looks to be no exception. With such closely ranked teams, it makes perfect sense that WFTDA made the change to include two extra D2 games at Championships this year in St. Paul, allowing the 4 qualifiers to play out a mini-bracket of their own.

Flat Track Stats has both the first round D2 games between Nashville and Demolition City as well as Kansas City and Sacred City at almost a dead even chance for either team to move on. If either one of the games result in a seeding upset, then we will see rematches between teams who battled it out already at Playoffs. These games will open the weekend on Friday, and then the teams will get a day off before they play again on placement Sunday.

D2G1: Nashville Rollergirls vs. Demolition City Roller Derby

The Nashville Rollergirls made it to WFTDA Championships in 2010 and 2011, but have since not made it past Playoffs. This year they return at the top of D2 and faceoff against first time Champs qualifiers, Demolition City. The Music City All-Stars fell into a lower division this year while the Dynamite Dolls seems to be surging, so much so, that since Playoffs they jumped 21 places in the WFTDA Rankings. Both teams have split records on the season, due to playing tougher talent ranked above them, and have similar results against the same foes. They will take each other on at 10am CST on the first day of Champs.

Nashville enters day 1 of Championships as the #1 seed from Detroit, and despite their 3 wins that got them this far, they dropped 3 spots in the recent rankings to #46. This may have been due to their Division 1 Playoff games dropping off from last year, or because even though they had a clean sweep of their games in Detroit, they were all close ones. Their ongoing rivalry with Naptown amplified their semi-final game with their first victory against their midwest foe by 24 points. Chelsea Dagger led their overall scoring with 208, but clutch jammer (and tournament MVP) Lady Fury was close behind her with 196 after 3 games.

Blocking for Nashville often starts in a flat wall until they need someone to turn and brace. With Maulin Monroe, Sugar, and Electra Cal in the pack, they often provide offense for their jammers as well. As a team, they proved through many challenges that they could hold on to until the end, as each game in Detroit had multiple lead changes.

Despite getting an invite to Champs as a #2 seed, Demolition City is now ranked 17 places above their opponent at #29. They went into D2 Playoffs in Cleveland with the #5 seed and pulled off two upsets before battling closely with Kansas City in the final. At Playoffs, jamming was led by the tenacious Bambi ThumpHer who scored a total of 161 points. Lickety Splint and Hurtz Donut filled out their 3-jammer rotation but both had some issues in the final game which led them to switch things up. Lickety Splint was removed from the rotation in the middle of the first half against Kansas with an apparent injury, only returning to block in the second half (seemingly fine). Donut accrued 6 penalties out of her 9 jams which kept her to fewer minutes on the track as well.

Demolition City vs Treasure Valley in Cleveland D2 Playoffs. Photo by Danforth Johnson.

Demolition City vs Treasure Valley in Cleveland D2 Playoffs. Photo by Danforth Johnson.

This adjustment in the jammer rotation took a slight toll on their offense, but Stepheree proved in previous games that she was a valuable double threat, and ended up as top scorer for Demo in the final with 73 points. Their blocking also made up for any slow down in their scoring because after they did hold the game lead twice early on, they didn’t let the Roller Warriors run off with the score. Shelby N. Pain, Flex A. Belle, Steel Stitches, and the rest of their blocking force proved their efficiency whether alone, in pairs, or in their recycling braced 4-wall.

Nashville and Demolition City played each other in an unsanctioned game before playoffs on August 1st, with Nashville taking the win 227 to 116 but Flat Track Stats puts this matchup at a split 50/50 chance for either team winning. Both teams ran into jammer penalty problems at playoffs, as each racked up a total of 29 for their respective weekend. Lady Fury became a risk on the track for Nashville, and in the future things may not always work out as well for her as they did in Detroit. The Dynamite Dolls struggled at keeping their blockers on the track at times, as 4 of them were 1 box trip away to fouling out in the final Cleveland game.

The loser of this game will play again at 12pm CST on Sunday, against the loser of the other Division 2 first round matchup, Kansas City and Sacred City. The victor will take on the other winner following that at 2pm CST.

D2G2: Kansas City Roller Warriors vs. Sacred City Derby Girls

Kansas City has a long history of tournament play, including their Champs title in 2007, and placing 4th overall in 2011. Like Nashville, both KC and Sacred City have fallen into Division 2 this year, but like Demolition City, Kansas City gained more substantially in the rankings since Playoffs. The Sacrificers had a busy year which resulted in their return to Playoffs after a year off, and a 9-3 sanctioned record. The Roller Warriors had the same number of games, but ended more split with a 7-5 record. They will faceoff at 12pm CST (10am PST) on Friday.

Kansas City was the very first team to secure their spot at Champs with their 1st place victory in Cleveland. Their 3 threee wins also got them to raise 11 spots in the WFTDA rankings to #34. They mostly stuck to a four jammer rotation with Reptar leading their point scoring at 203 for all 3 games, followed by Case Closed with 181. They averaged about 8 jammer peanalties per game at Playoffs, but no single jammer seemed to get into trouble with the penalty box.

Kansas City vs. Demolition City in Cleveland D2 Playoffs. Photo by Danforth Johnson.

Kansas City vs. Demolition City in Cleveland D2 Playoffs. Photo by Danforth Johnson.

It was Kansas City blockers that seemed to teeter into foul out territory the most, but that may be in part due to skaters like Enigma and Bruz-Her playing nearly every jam of their final two games. Their endurance could handle it otherwise, and with the help of blockers such as Rump Wrecker and Tuff Noogies, they easily fell into bracing pairs or triangles. None of their playoff games were blowouts however, and they even traded the lead 6 times with their first opponent, the #7 seed St. Chux.

Sacred City filled up their 2015 schedule with many West coast events this year, including Tinseltown Showdown and The Big O. Ariel-LA-Twister proved her worth against some of the best of the best as the Sacrificers also took on Bay Area’s Team Gold and Texas in unscanctioned matches. Ariel topped Sacred’s scoring in Detroit at 229 points with the next highest being Pink Freud with 197. Penalties plagued them however, as they averaged 12 jammer penalties a game at Playoffs, which is likely why two of their games came down to the last jam. Despite these numerous box trips, they were able to maintain their victory in their first game against Bear City by 11 points.

Sacred City vs. Bear City at Detroit D2 Playoffs. Photo by Danforth Johnson.

Sacred City vs. Bear City at Detroit D2 Playoffs. Photo by Danforth Johnson.

Sacred City is another team that often blocks in a flat wall, and moves quickly to brace as needed. Talls, Annie Anklebiter, Neill N Weep, and Gnar Gnar Jinx are often the ones holding things down in the pack, but the latter 3 began fouling out with a quarter of the final game left to play. They did do a good job in Detroit of charging the pack as their jammer came around to score and split up opposing blockers for points.

Sacred City and Kansas City haven’t played each other in recent years, and have not shared any opponents this season. The Roller Warriors seem to know what works well and stick to it- almost to a fault. Sacred City’s experience against Bay Area’s B Team and home teams may benefit them, but they will need to get their penalties under control if they want to move on to the D2 first place game Sunday.

Return to Champs Central all weekend long for scores, recaps, and more!

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