VANCOUVER, BC- The first place game between #2 tournament seed Angel City and #1 Victoria, determining who will get a bye in Portland, OR at WFTDA Champs in November, was a rollercoaster of lead changes and penalties that came down to the very last jam.
Both teams had played impressively well throughout the weekend, to that point – including Angel City’s record setting high score against Sacred in the first day of play – which gave few indicators as to how this particular game might go down. The result was a game riddled with jammer penalties for Victoria, and showcasing the strong offense-defense switches of Angel City who held game lead for much of play, that ultimately came down to the final game minutes, when Victoria claimed victory.
Earlier in the season at the Big O, ACDG lost to VRDL 183-94, and though Victoria came out on top in this contest as well, it proved to be a very different game. Victoria pulled out this win in the final jam, to take 1st place at the 2016 D1 International WFTDA Vancouver Playoffs, ultimately defeating Angel City, 143-140.
Angel City got off to a quick 9 point lead after earning the first 2 lead calls, while shutting out Victoria from scoring. Satan’s Little Helper put up those first 5 points, picking up the first of 11 lead calls out of the 12 jams Satan skated for the Hollywood Scarlets – she maintained a 100% lead claim for most of the game. Ghetto Fabu-lez followed up in the second jam with another 4 points and a timely call off.
Lady Trample earned VRDL’s first jammer lead of the game in the third, which resulted in hefty points additions and the first lead change, ending the jam 24-9 in Victoria’s favor. This was also the first jam where ACDG had to come to grips with Victoria’s offense. Angel City was slow to reform after being broken apart by Victoria, and Lady Trample expertly took full advantage as she juked and rolled off of ACDG’s defensive tripod to take points.
Angel City regrouped over the next few jams. ACDG’s Lo dropped back to draw a cut on Giles (the first of her 6 penalties throughout the game, as a jammer) and immediately switched to offense to get Satan’s Little Helper through on a scoring pass. Despite some miscues between jammers and their offensive help that saw ACDG’s jammers not take advantage of the screens being set for them, Angel City steadily closed the gap.
The Hollywood Scarlett’s blockers did an excellent job throughout the game drawing penalties on Victoria’s jammers – adding up to 16 jammer penalties for them in total (compared to ACDG’s 3), or 8 game minutes without a Victorian jammer on the track. And so, after 3 power jams in their favor, ACDG retook the lead, 43-40, with 16 minutes remaining to play in the first half.
Victoria’s defensive prowess was on full display throughout this game. Their power quads held Angel City back but the most impressive aspect was their relentless and almost impossibly quick recycling. Though this was an uncharacteristically high penalty game for Victoria – more than likely due to the studied efforts of Angel City’s blockers – it provided an opportunity to show their strength blocking 1 on 1.
During multiple power jams for Angel City, Victoria’s defense managed to effectively kill the penalty while holding ACDG’s jammers at the top of the bridge with just one blocker, usually Biceptual. Angel City opted for a passive offense approach on those power jams, often simply waiting while their jammers struggled to fight the last remaining blockers, or else chose a passive-aggressive approach, attempting to goat a player.
In the next jam, a 5 point addition put Victoria back in the lead, 45-43.
Another lead call and lead change later, this time, putting the score back in Angel City’s favor. Krimmel continued Angel City’s mini streak but Giles picked up the 5th jammer penalty for Victoria in the half to that point, with still 12 minutes to play to the break. ACDG then added a further 14 points during that power jam, to bring the score to 61-45, with ACDG still holding game lead.
Lady Trample was once again the one to break Angel City’s streak, earning lead and adding 5 points for Victoria after VRDL was held scoreless for 4 jams.
VRDL responded to being held off the scoreboard by altering their start formation slightly, but crucially. Victoria sent in Mick Swagger or Serelson to mix in with Angel City’s wall – a tactic that ACDG would soon employ themselves with Tournament MVP Laci Knight. The extra distraction enabled Victoria to once again find the outside lane for quick lead calls and points.
At the half, Angel City lead 81-72, with 9 jammer penalties incurred against Victoria and only 1 against ACDG.
Penalty trouble continued in the second half for Victoria’s jammers, while ACDG’s penalties mainly came from blockers. Despite the 7 power jam opportunities granted to Angel City in the second half alone, ACDG rarely sent offense to break their jammers out. That reluctance to play active offense was a surprising tactic – especially considering how active and effective Angel City’s offense was when both jammers were on the track.
Satan’s Little Helper picked up the first lead of the half, as Mary Fagdalene picked up VRDL’s first jammer penalty for the second period. In that opening power jam, Laci Knight did provide a quick burst of offense that freed Satan’s Little Helper to collect a grand slam. A second penalty against Mary Fagdalene was issued for an illegal procedure as Fagdalene re-entered the track. But then a late call-off by Satan impeded a power start for ACDG. The score was 90-72 after that first jam.
Soon after those double jammer penalties, Laci Knight drew a cut on Lady Trample, sending Victoria’s jammer back to the box. But Angel City wasn’t able to take full advantage of the power jam due in the most part to impressive backwards blocking by Victoria that resulted in a full 30 second penalty kill.
Late in the second half, Victoria put together a run on points, steadily closing the gap. The momentum was halted by Satan’s Little Helper, who up to that point had maintained a full 100% lead status average. A delayed call off allowed Super Maria to win the jam, 9-8, for Victoria.
Over the next 4 jams, Victoria held ACDG scoreless, relying on their strong power quads, maintained by Dani Darko and Mick Swagger especially, to lock Angel City’s jammers down.
As the game wound down, a track cut on Satan’s Little Helper helped create a Victorian scoring run, and a 2 point game differential, at 133-135, with just over 2 minutes left on the game clock. Giles got a cut – her 6th penalty while wearing the star, making it the 16th jammer penalty – just as Satan’s Little Helper flew out of the box for lead, ending the jam with the score at 140-133.
Angel City called a team time out with just 1 minute of the game left to play. But then in the last jam, Angel City fell into deep penalty trouble: Ghetto Fabu-lez was called out on a penalty, along with 3 of ACDG’s blockers, leaving only Hobbs on the track against a full VRDL pack. That power jam and pack advantage which resulted cleared the way for Victoria to add a final, devastating 10 points, beating Angel City by just 3 points in the last seconds of play.
Both teams will advance to Champs in November. Victoria wins the coveted first round bye into the tournament with this game, giving them less games to potentially play to the final Championship game, and the Hydra.