COLUMBIA, SC – Reigning champs and #1 seed Rose City Wheels of Justice took on the host team, #8 Columbia QuadSquad in the final match up of Day 1 at the second of the 2016 International WFTDA D1 Playoffs, in Columbia, SC.
Rose City had gone 6-1 in the regular season; their only loss was against Victoria. Rose City’s roster looked slightly different this season, playing without Griffin, Serelson, and Jamie True. The Wheels of Justice took control early, made Columbia pay for every mistake, and came away with a huge win, 439-67.
Loren Mutch started the game off with the star for the Wheels of Justice against Poison Violet, jamming for Columbia. Rose City claimed the back line and set up a tripod plus one while Columbia had a similar braced tripod with the pivot swinging behind to steer the jammer into the wall. Poison Violet sprinted up the outside lane earning the first lead call of the game, while Mutch was detained by the QuadSquad. Loren Mutch escaped quickly as Columbia’s wall deteriorated when challenged with offense. And so, by jam end, Columbia kicked things off with a 2-0 lead over WOJ.
That lead did not last past the first jam. In the next, Scald Eagle tore apart Columbia’s wall and shrugged off hits from the last blocker to beat out of the pack. Columbia was quick to switch to offense at this point, and opened up the inside lane for their jammer. While Scald Eagle rounded the turn for a scoring pass, Rose City picked off a blocker and held them at the back of the pack, giving an easy first point to Rose, and stopping Columbia from speeding away from them. Columbia was able to force out Scald Eagle, but not before a lead change took place, 3-2 after the second jam.
The QuadSquad had a chance to take back the lead in the next jam, with a powerjam as Licker *N* Split incurred a forearm penalty while escaping the pack, but Carrino cut the track instead. The jam ran the full 2 minutes with Rose City ahead by the end of it, at 13-10.
In the following jam, the Wheels of Justice were able to open up the score in part thanks to a misconduct call against Columbia’s Poison Violet, followed by an apex jump that resulted in a cut call. With under 7 minutes of gameplay expired, Rose City led 33-10.
Unfortunately for Columbia, another jammer penalty left Scald Eagle on a power jam. Despite a returning star-pass to pivot Rox Ann Stones, who was quickly shut down by Rose blockers, Scald Eagle put up a huge 40 point jam, taking the score to 77-10.
From that point onwards, Rose City continued to build the score in huge numbers. The QuadSquad’s penalties added up quickly, frequently leaving the pack short staffed with jammers in the box, and Rose City was primed to capitalize on this shortfall. By the half Rose City’s dominance was on display, 242- 17, and the game was to continue to show this.
On the return from break, Rose City controlled pack speed well, able to speed up and bring the pack to a halt whenever it suited them. And while Columbia was able to get out of the pack most jams, it was always behind Rose, meaning they never had lead jammer status.
Rose City’s blockers reformed almost immediately upon releasing jammers and put on what was essentially a bridging master class throughout the game. Tarantula and Nesbit-Smith especially pounced on Columbia’s jammers, and alongside a relentless Rose City defense succeeded in smothering the QuadSquad and forcing penalties. Offensively speaking, Rose’s jammers used speed and agility to fly through the pack and rarely wasted their efforts, driving the wall in one direction to juke back and cut through the newly opened territory.
The QuadSquad were never able to take advantage of the few power jam opportunities from Rose City: Columbia twice followed WOJ’s jammer penalty with one of their own. During power jams in their favor, Columbia chose to play a passive offense which penalized them by forcing their jammer to fight through Rose’s strong wall, ate time off their power jam and frequently caused a failure to reform penalty to be called against their blocker line.
Chuck-Town Bruiser provided multiple well-executed draw backs for Columbia, but at times chose to go behind Rose City’s wall which, while extending the recycling, often provided Rose’s jammers with a great approach aided by their own blockers who they smartly used as a screen.
Columbia turned to the star pass in an attempt to stymy the bleeding but the QuadSquad often only added to their growing penalty count from miscues and illegal passes. The successes seemed to come when Columbia fielded Poison Violet as the pivot. Columbia also was able to score points when powerful pivot-turned-jammers like Rox Anne Stones and Chuck-Town Bruiser received the pass. Rose City took the final win: a decisive 439-67.
Rose City advances to play #4 Atlanta tomorrow at 2pm EDT. While Columbia was knocked into the consolation bracket, and will face the winner of #10 Steel City Roller Derby versus #5 Crime City tomorrow at 6pm EDT.