VANCOUVER, BC – Rematch time. Philly Roller Derby lost their Championship invite last year for the first time since the WFTDA existed to Rat City Rollergirls. #4 Philly has been working all season to combat the rumor that they were no longer relevant, just because they had more than 10 retirements and transfers at the beginning of 2016. #3 Rat City on the other hand has been working all year to solidify their potency. Both teams approached this game hungry for Bronze, but Rat City succeeded with victory again 134-114.
The tension ran high from the moment the teams stepped onto the track. The first three jams saw only 7 points up on the board between both squads. The Rat cranked up the defense, holding Philly scoreless from Jam 2 through 8, putting up 26 points of their own. CeeCee and H. Botts were heavy hitters for Rat, and key in directing the jukes of Philly out of bounds.
Cassie Beck, Enurgizer Bunny, and Carmen Getsome were also important pieces of the Rat City puzzle. These three had such on point edgework and positional blocking strength as the last lines of defense, catching Philly jammers and giving their own team the time to recycle up. Rat City had 10 jammer penalties in the first half, compared to Philly’s 4, but killed all of them. Philly’s offense looked disjointed and frantic compared to Rat’s calm, defensive roll-offs and control. Rat simply did not give Philly jammers any room to run.
Philly was held to only 11 points for about the first 20 minutes of the game, but then Philly subbed an injured Kilmartin with vet Teflon Donna on the jam line. It was the momentum shift needed by the Liberty Belles as they put up three consecutive lead statuses, and slowed Rat’s scoring run for the final five jams of the half. Philly ended up scoring 39 points to Rat’s 10 in the last five jams of the first half, bringing the score to 74-50.
Coming out of the halftime, Rat City suffered a huge blow: Pivot and alternate jammer Carmen Getsome was expelled for an egregious low block. Philly, with momentum on their side from the end of the first half continued to strike.
Wolf and Hermann Monster were the Philly go-to jammers, and they helped chip away at the Rat City lead. They each jammed 15 times while the other ten jams were split up among four jammers. They both gained lead status seven times with Wolf scoring 31 points and Monster putting up 48 points on the day.
Blockers Devoida Mercy, Kung Pow Kitten, and Russian Bayou were blockers to beat on the floor, rotating fluidly to close up lanes. In the first half Philly was quick to run and get too spread out, but their speed control increased tremendously in the second half while it was Rat City who seemed to lose their center of control.
Despite, Philly’s new vigor, Luna Negra and Eva Derci continued to drive forward with success. Luna achieved lead jammer status 50% of her 16 jams and was Rat’s high scorer with 55 points. Enurgizer Bunny and CeeCee did their part as pivots, stopping multi-pass scoring jams from Philly simply by taking star passes at four critical moments. If there was one thing that Philly could have improved on in this game, it was disrupting star passes.
To mix things up, after a 7-0 jam by Hermann Monster, Philly called the audible and played ZipBlock in the jamming rotation. Zip had been downright critical in Philly’s defensive strength, able to close the line to Luna Negra and pull penalties on Renegade Ruby. Zip put up the 3 points that brought Philly within 1 point of Rat City for the first time since Jam 3. Rat City immediately responded with a 9-point jam from Eva Derci.
The teams continued to fight and Philly remained within 20 points of Rat for the remainder of the game. Every time they would make some progress forward, Rat City would respond. Rat’s ability to deflect Philly’s offensive tactics, alongside of Cassie Beck’s domination and the Lunacorn’s toe stop magic, brought them to a final victory 134-114.
Rat City sealed the deal for Bronze, getting their invite to Champs two years in a row with an amazingly low score of 134-114. Philly will leave the tournament at the same spot they came in at, #4.