COLUMBIA, SC – #10 seed, Steel City Roller Derby is no stranger to the 10 am Saturday game at playoffs, and their opponents, the #5 seed Crime City Rollers is familiar as well. Last year at the D1 tournament in Dallas, Crime City met their neighbors, Stockholm, in this game slot, and Crime (then the #10 seed) defeated Stockholm (then the 5 seed).
Today, Crime found themselves in Stockholm’s shoes, but after a brutal game and narrow loss against Atlanta yesterday, they were certainly not looking to repeat Stockholm’s fate.
Steel City was firing on all cylinders from the first whistle, sending Snarkolepsy to the line first, who gained a quick lead and four points unreplied. Crime City did achieve lead next, but because of a penalty to Curly Haar (and a star pass to Steel City’s Hurricane Heather), the full two minute jam came out a narrow 21-17 in Crime City’s favor. An easy 9 points by Crime in the next jam was responded to with a quick 4 by River Kyx.
That was when Crime City seemed to decide they were done messing around, and really closed down on defensive play, shutting down Steel City’s jammers. Steel would only get lead jammer two more times in the half, and the score would reflect that.
Crime City’s two- and three-person defensive formations gave Steel a lot of trouble. The skaters played as though they were magnets to each other, always knowing where their team mates were, and how to support them. Below Me was especially a constant thorn in the side of Steel City – she was everywhere, switching rapidly and strategically between both offense and defense, and her body control and ability to overpower other skaters was absolutely a stand out. Her team work with Juicy Butther in a truck and trailer formation was also flawless, and adding in Trippi made their blocking team iron clad.
Steel City looked like a different team. While usually they play a fast game every jam, and are caught swinging at jammers, today they were far more patient and still with their wall work. Ally McKill, Ada Bloodlace, and Raven were exceptionally effective in the pack. Steel did a much better job of strategically playing the fast game only at particular moments. In Jam 14 and 17 of the first period of play, that speed was particularly effective in stopping multiple Crime City passes from occurring.
Crime was particularly successful against Steel when they were able to create the movement in the pack that Steel usually prefers. When a blocker would overcommit, Curly Haar, Prince Sofia, and Hanna P took full advantage of those moments to put Crime City up 140-34 at the half.
When the teams came back, Steel City looked like their old selves. But then an ejection leveled against Bonecrusher at the half may have affected the team’s outlook on the rest of the game.
Suddenly, Steel City was looser in their defensive forms, less organized in their offense, line resilience suffered, and they were in the box more often. Crime City saw the signs, hit the gas, and stayed the course of their strategy. It worked. Crime City put up points in 19 of the 22 jams of the second half.
River Kyx and Leanne Groll continued to look strong, jamming for Steel, as well as Hurricane Heather who jammed whenever there was a star pass. Kyx scored 21 points over the game, while Leanne put up 57. Both skaters were not afraid to take Crime City blockers head on and open up their own holes. Leanne especially gave the Steel City fans a great end to the game, taking advantage of a power jam to add 16 points to their total.
From Crime City, Curly Haar and Prince Sofia were jamming leaders of the pack. Curly Haar scored 88 points with a 100% lead percentage in her on-track time, while Hannah P put up 128 points and 53.8% lead percentage.
Trippi from Crime City degeared a few jams into the second half after aggravation from their ACL injury. But instead of visibly missing this player loss, Crime responded well, with Frix Rode and Sexual Her Ass-Meant stepping up on the other line and crushing jammer dreams.
Crime City Rollers strode away with the game win, 241-100. They move on to play Columbia QuadSquad Saturday at 4pm EST/10pm CEST. Steel City gets to wake up early again for the 10am EST game on Sunday against Ann Arbor Derby Dimes.