The Big O Preview: Part 2 WFTDA Continued

The Big O Preview: Part 2 WFTDA Continued Rocky Mountain vs Des Moines United, April 10th. Photo Credit: Danforth Johnson. facebook.com/danforth.johnson

In Part 1 of our Big O Preview, we highlighted the first 9 WFTDA teams attending this weekend, and in Part 2 we will talk about the next 8 WFTDA teams. With teams #2-#62 invited, this tournament will host a range of talent from both Division 1 and Division 2, giving us the first glimpse of many of these leagues and where they stand this season. We will also have a preview of the MRDA teams attending by Muckety Muck, so keep your eyes peeled for that.

This WFTDA Recognized Tournament will air on WFTDA.tv, with the exception of 2 games on Saturday night that will be broadcast on ESPN3, like the final day of WFTDA Championships was last fall. Check back to our Big O Central page (coming soon) for scores, recaps, and more. Follow us on Twitter (@CentralDerby) and Instagram (@DerbyCentral) for updates as the weekend progresses as well.

As we mentioned in our Part 1 WFTDA preview, the rankings we will be using all weekend long will be the March 31st WFTDA rankings despite April concluding in the middle of the tournament. We will also reference some Flat Track Stats (FTS) rankings which may give us a closer idea of where some teams are actually sitting in the rankings.

 #16 Rocky Mountain Rollergirls (FTS #21)

While Denver’s hard #werk is yet to be seen, Rocky Mountain 5280 Fight Club’s #work since Playoffs has already been proven on the track with 4 sanctioned games under their belt in 2016. Although not quite the same team they have been the past few years, they appear to of rebounded quite well, even though they have only retained 6 skaters from last year’s Playoff roster. Phantom Menace, Susy Pow, and Sharon Tacos all transferred to Denver Roller Derby, and with Sweet Mary Pain hanging up her jersey, that takes out their top 4 jammers from 2015. Gaygun, Triple Shot Misto, May Q Pay, Bob Loblaw, Tootsie Roller, and Uber Alice are all missing from this year’s line up as well, which removed a large chunk of their usual blocking force.

This year’s roster, headed up by coach Dave Wood, decided turnover wasn’t going to bring them down, and with plenty of skaters hungry to keep the fight going, they haven’t performed like a team that is starting over. Wild E Coyote and Havoc have both stepped up into the jammer star next to veteran She Who Cannot Be Named. Bone Eata joins Rocky from Tucson, and Honey Bunches of Chokes, Love Hertz, and Catcher in the Thigh are some of the skaters to join veteran blockers Fiona Grapple, Assaultin’ Pepa, and Winona Fighter.

Their last game was against Pikes Peak, who we mentioned in our Preview Part 1 had gained Dezellem from Denver, and Rocky won 270 to 76. Before that, RMRG hit the road to the Midwest where they first took on Minnesota, losing 334-42, and then took another loss to Des Moines United, 255-140. For comparison, in February of last year they had beat United by 62 points. Flat Track Stats has only dropped RMRG to #21 in WFTDA, and although they may not make it to 4th place at D1 Playoffs again this year, they likely won’t drop out of D1 contention. Their first game will actually be on Thursday against #29 Helsinki before you can watch them take on #26 Terminal City on Friday at 4pm PDT.

#26 Terminal City Rollergirls (#20)

Representing Canada this weekend, the Terminal City All-Stars seem to have a pretty similar roster to last year’s, with the addition of Mulan Bruise from Calgary. The only game they have played since they placed 5th in D1 Tucson was a few weeks ago against the Team Canadian men, losing 225-120.

Across their four games in Tucson, Terminal City averaged 9 jammer penalties, and 36 team penalties per game. Their biggest culprit while blocking were multi-player blocks and out of play calls, while their jammers struggled with back blocks, forearms and cuts. They mostly stick to a rotation of Madien Sane, Kim Jana, and Evada Peron for jammers, with Red Sonja added in as needed. They also utilized the star pass often, with many agile and quick blockers in the pack as well.

Terminal City will have 4 games this weekend, with two on Friday starting with #10 Arch Rival at 10am PDT. That same day they will face #16 Rocky Mountain who beat them 260-85 last year at Besterns, but will likely be a much closer match up this time.

#29 Helsinki Roller Derby (FTS #28)

Traveling all the way from Finland, Helsinki’s road to Division 1 Playoffs last season began at the Big O where they beat both Nashville and NW Arkansas, and kept it competitive with Boston and Montreal while ranked #63. In D1 Omaha they started Playoffs with a down-to-the-last-jam win over No Coast, which then put them against Angel City. By Sunday, they placed 7th after losing to Boston and then beating Queen City. They managed to exit in the placement they came in, despite losing some of their jammers to injury, moving, or retirement.

Helsinki vs Detroit at The European Smackdown. Photo credit: Marko Niemelä Photography

Helsinki vs Detroit at The European Smackdown. Photo credit: Marko Niemelä Photography.

This year they’ve already attended a tournament, The European Smackdown in early March, where they showed their strength and outperformed their ranking. With the addition of Dominå and Mad Malooney from Stockholm, their roster has stayed pretty consistent from last season, but they’ll have to keep an eye on their penalties if they want to keep up with higher ranked competition such as #13 Rat City.

Helsinki will play four games over four days, first facing #16 Rocky Mountain on Thrusday before meeting up with #37 Santa Cruz on Friday 8pm PDT. They have been documenting their “Sports Vacation” on their Facebook page, and also have posted a revised schedule in Finnish time.

#35 Sacred City Derby Girls (FTS #30)

Sacred City’s Sacrificers made it all the way to Champs in Division 2 last season, first placing 2nd in Detroit, and then taking 1st place overall in D2 after beating Kansas City and seeking revenge on Nashville. Averaging 12 jammer penalties and 50 team penalties per their 5 games over tournaments, fouls definitely made progress hard for them and held them back from 1st place in Detroit. Placing 3rd at Clover Cup however, Sacred City’s Ariel-LA-Twister’s quick feet and high-flying apex jumps helped them beat Santa Cruz (twice) and Tucson.

After playing through Division 2 last season, this year they have risen into the top 40, but they will need to play and beat more higher-ranked opponents to keep that up. This weekend they are only playing two games, and both are lower ranked teams. Their first game is against #48 Auld Reekie, who hasn’t played stateside since the Big O last year, so they could be a wild card as far as true rank. Then they will take on #62 Windy City who is also not as predictable since they had an upheaval of their roster last season.

Controlling their penalties and utilizing their effectiveness with jammer containment will be key in Sacred City’s success this weekend. You can watch their first game on Saturday at 8:30pm PDT when they face Auld Reekie.

#37 Santa Cruz Derby Girls (FTS #36)

Santa Cruz also attended the Clover Cup in March, and has also played many unsanctioned games against different versions of Bay Area, and one against Monterrey Bay in February. While keeping most of their chartered skaters from last season, they did lose a few to Portland however.

As the #1 seed in D2 Playoffs in Cleveland last fall, a stronger than anticipated Demolition City took them out in the semi-final round which left them placing 3rd with their 13-point win against Houston. Most of their competition this weekend is a bit unknown to them, having never played Helsinki, Auld Reekie or Rocky Mountain before. They have played Emerald City though, but lost to them 126-59 in 2012 at Wild West Showdown. While currently just above the D1 cut off, they will need to have a strong performance at the Big O to set the tone for the rest of the season.

Catch them on the track for the first time on Friday when they play #29 Helsinki at 8pm PDT.

#38 Emerald City Roller Derby (FTS #47)

Emerald City has a lot on their plate with hosting the event and playing three games this weekend. They had burst onto the scene last season when they won against DC and came within 43 points of Sacred City at the Big O last year. However, when they got to D2 Playoffs in Detroit as the #3 seed, they ended up finishing 8th with some very tough, but very close losses to Chicago Outfit, Bear City, and Sac City.

Emerald City vs Chicago Outfit at D2 Playoffs in Detroit. Photo credit: Derby With Recess.

Emerald City vs Chicago Outfit at D2 Playoffs in Detroit. Photo credit: Derby With Recess.

With some changes to their roster from Playoffs, they did just beat Rose City’s home team, the Break Neck Betties, in March. They will kick off the weekend and break in their newer chartered skaters on Thursday with a game against #48 Auld Reekie and then will take on Windy City at 2pm PDT on Saturday.

#48 Auld Reekie Roller Girls (FTS #95)

Auld Reekie was next in line for Playoffs last year, but just barely didn’t make the cut at #63 in June. Their attendance at the Big O in 2015 helped boost them into contention, but they needed some higher scoring games against lower ranked opponents back home in the UK. According to the Edinburgh Reporter, they have been working on a smarter and strategic game and hope to make the best of their weekend in Eugene.

Playing two games so far in 2016, they’ve beaten both Newcastle and Dublin by 41 and 133 points respectively. However, Newcastle was #138 at the time, and Dublin was #151, so that could explain why Flat Track Stats is showing ARRG at a lower rank. After taking on Emerald City on Thursday, the will take the track against #62 Windy City on Friday at 6pm PDT.

#62 Windy City Rollers (FTS #44)

Windy City’s mass roster exodus last season made them a much different team than the Midwest giant we had seen for years. They held on to a high enough ranking through the regular season to hit Playoffs with the #5 seed, but by the end of the D1 weekend in Omaha their one win against Toronto kept WCR from taking last place. This year they seem to have a few more roster changes, but have hopefully hit a groove since their dramatic drop from the top of D1 to the bottom of D2 in the matter of a year.

Veteran Windy skater, Killanois, is still racking up points for them, and helped lead them to a 275-32 win over Brewcity in their first game of the season. They also faced Toronto again this month, where WCR won by 255 points compared to their 77-point win against them at Playoffs. However, both those opponents had some turnover of their own since last season, so it’s hard to tell where that places them exactly. Also playing #24 Detroit this month, they took a loss by 193-points, which may be why FTS is showing them at a higher rank. You can catch Windy City’s first game on Friday against Auld Reekie at 6pm PDT.

We aren’t quite done previewing the Big O yet! Check back for a review of the MRDA teams in attendance this weekend, and be sure to bookmark our Big O Central page (coming soon) for scores and highlights all weekend long.

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