D1 Champs: Victoria Victorious Over Texas, 181-85.

D1 Champs: Victoria Victorious Over Texas, 181-85. Photo by Danforth Johnson

ST PAUL, MN – The last time these two teams met at the beginning of May, Victoria reversed the fortunes of their first meet with Texas, when they played the very first international game of roller derby that the Southern hemisphere had seen, winning by a solid 70 point spread.

This time the Victorians held the game solidly from start to finish, releasing their hold on Texas only momentarily before clamping down on their scoring ability, letting Texas through only with engaged battling for every inch.

In fact, both teams shut down on defense so thoroughly that jammers often took up to the first minute of each jam to exit the pack on their initial pass, with Victoria particularly excelling at this. This defensive heft finally told in Victoria’s favor – especially with Christy Demons personally seeing to points additions for Victoria, and the team finishing with the win at a broader differential, 181-85.

In the starter jam, Christy Demons was out of the pack first, and through again on a scoring pass before Texas’ Bloody Mary was able to make it out of the pack, adding 10 unreplied points from the very first play. Jam 2 didn’t add any points to the score. Then while Hauss inched in 4-0 on the third, with no reply from Christy Demons, Victoria replied in kind, with 4-0, moving the score to 14-4, to the Australians.

This was a really useful indicator of what was to come, as what ensued was a solid game for Victoria, typified by the kind of defensive lines we’ve come to know them for. Even with key blocker, Smashin’ Pop still in a cast that had sat her off-skates on the bench for the team’s playoffs, the team responded to Texas’ pushes with solid defensive lines that shut down even the usual powerjam point grabs.

Play saw VRDL holding heavy circulating (often front) walls, replicating what we have of late known as a Rose City-style tripod formation, and alternating into their classic diamond-shaped four walls. The game evolved into two almost separated packs between the teams as they each defensively contained opposing jammers, with frequent bridges between, as jammers took often the first 40-60 seconds of the jam to pull out and claim lead, pushing and trying every almost every gap. VRDL’s defense was able to hold strong even during power jams as Texas was unable to really make anything of them.

Photo by Keith Bielat/ Derby with Recess

Photo by Keith Bielat/ Derby with Recess

Christy Demons was stand-out jammer of the game, with 8 out of 11 of her jams played including a lead claim, and 69 points her personal responsibility. Her 14-0 addition at the 8 minute mark into the game marked a pivotal shift for the Victorians, elevating the Australians into double digits quickly, 28-4, and signaling a points addition trend that markedly favored the internationals. Although quiet achiever, Mary Fagdalene, also seriously showed up for Victoria, taking 60 points herself.

Final jam of the first period, after releasing Fifi Nomenon finally from their defensive grip, VRDL turned and busted apart the Texas wall, freeing Christy Demons up to leap through the inside of the corner apex, taking 8-0 into the half-time call-off, leaving Victoria in the game lead of the low-scoring game, 76-39.

Victoria came back from the break after a trackside huddle with a persuasive retort and continuing upward momentum. Although Freight Train pushed back against the team effectively, taking a run-up and crashing through the pack with her classic weight and momentum, taking 21-2, with a star pass punctuation from Christy Demons.

Photo by Ryan Quick

Photo by Ryan Quick

When Hauss grabbed lead jammer in the next jam, and 9-0, taking the score further towards Victoria and hovering at 106-69, Victoria responded with a team time-out. That time-out choice was opportune, and must have involved one hell of a reset talk, because the team went on immediately to all but shut Texas out of scoring – limiting additions to single scoring passes or a partial one, if they even made it out of their initial pass at all.

The final two mins of play saw a 174-80 points spread, as Victoria continued their closing down of Texas’ ability to score. In fact, the final 9 jams of the game added only 3, and then 2 points for Texas in the final two game jams. The game ended on the inevitable, as Victoria brought home a 181-85 final score, and now moves on to meet Gotham this evening at 8.30pm CST.

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