Not showing a hint of jet lag were the two Europeans, in the game between Paris Rollergirls (#3) and Bear City Roller Derby (#14). Bear City was hoping to pull a Dublin and up-end their significantly higher-ranked opponent.
This was the first time Paris took the track at a WFTDA International Playoff, but Bear City has been known as the Comeback Champions in past years. If there is anything the world has learned about Bear City, it’s not to count them out.
The Parisians never gave Berlin a chance to get a foothold, with Kurdy Malloy putting up a solid 15 points in the third jam, followed up by 8 points by Bully Bunker, getting their lead in early and large. Kurdy struck another blow in Jam 11, putting up 24 points – the largest jam of the entire game.
Bear City, meanwhile, only scored on three jams during that time, and never more than 5 points. Their first multi-pass jam came in Jam 16 when #25 Mia Missile tied up with Miss Gadin, 8-8.
Positional blocking was the name of Paris’s defensive game. Triangles of Paris blockers were iron, and when Bear City tried to upset the balance by taking out the opposing team’s brace, the strong plows of Paris held the wall regardless. #72 Sally Broyeur and #17 Lux both frustrated the Berlin blockers who tried to disrupt their tracking.
While Bear City’s #666 Hannah Santana was relentless in her offense against Paris; she was one of the most successful on that team, with her offense, timing her picks and blocks perfectly for her jammers.
The score sat at 121-46 with Paris Rollergirls on top, at the half.
Bear City came into period 2 with fire in their eyes, clearly setting out to rewrite the first half’s turn of events. The first jam, however, indicated that Paris would continue to dominate, when #931 General Moulinator came out with a quick but strong 10-0 jam.
However, Bear City made the adjustments they needed after that rapid scoring first jam, and fired back with an unanswered 19 points from Mia Missile. Bear City then ended up outscoring Paris in the second half by more than twenty points, pulling them back from an earlier ever-widening score gap.
Two key power jams for Mia Missile (who ended up being Bear’s top point scorer) helped with the point spread. Berlin found success in the main through power jams – with their blockers drawing penalties on the opposing jammers. Jammer #030 Jane Von Pain found a scoring groove, thanks to more aggressive, coordinated blocking unit behind her.
Play saw triangle defenses rotating more effectively, and speed control becoming tighter along with faster switches from defense to offense throughout this second half.
The packs became more grinding as the game went on, and the lead jammer status took longer and longer to obtain. In fact 11 out of 21 jams of the second half had no one scoring more than 5 points.
Bear City was able to achieve lead 12 times in the second half (up, compared to only 9 of 24 jams in the first half), and Paris accrued enough penalties to foul out one skater and have four blockers on four or five. Berlin’s penalty board was much cleaner in comparison, only having on skater on six by the end, one on five, and only 6 others with any penalties at all. These changes in play didn’t alter enough for Berlin in the end, though, as they were unable to push far enough up to make it past Paris’s early lead.
Paris was ultimately able to defend their point spread, though Bear City chipped away at it in their normal come-from-behind fashion. With a winning score of 205-152, Paris moves on to play Columbia QuadSquad (#11) at 630pm EST. Bear City will take what they learned to the 1230pm EST Saturday game against the loser of the Pirate City vs Boston Roller Derby game.