SEATTLE, WA – 2×4 Roller Derby played a strong game against Windy City the day before and won their first game at their WFTDA Playoff debut, an exciting goal to achieve. However, they were rewarded with a game against Rose City, the current two-time Champions and #1 seed in this bracket. 2×4 Team Osom found themselves on the flip side of the coin today, forced to pass the star and run long jams in order to cut into the strong grasp of the game Rose City held.
2×4’s strategies made some impact as the game went on and they reduced the Wheels of Justice’s 82% lead status to under 70% in the second half. They also not only got fewer penalties than Rose City, they have continued to clean up their game, getting just 23 total compared to 30 yesterday against Windy City. They weren’t going to keep up with Rose City’s strong game, but every victory and success on the track was a win for them and got full support from the crowd. After the Wheels of Justice racked up a 79-0 lead in the first 15 minutes, Team Osom was able to get on the board but lost 360-80.
2×4 Roller Derby’s key to success in the past has been a dedicated offensive blocker, something not always consistently played against them, but that would change against Rose City. A combination of effective offense and powerful jamming got the first nine lead statuses for the Wheels of Justice, forcing 2×4 to pass the star every jam in order to end their scoring. Rose was very cognisant of what they were doing and was able to pin the jammer and keep a blocker on their pivot. 2×4 moved the star eventually, but Rose City was able to get multiple scoring passes in all but three of those first jams.
2×4 maintained their three-jammer rotation for most of the game of Tropical Mecanica, Lula Zan, and Rayo, utilizing Loba for a couple one off jams. Rose City jammed Bonnie Thunders and Loren Mutch, both of which averaged 75 points per game during the regular season. Frisky Biscuits and Brute completed their rotation with no appearance by LickerNSplit or Curtis who also jammed for them earlier in the year.
After falling into a 79-point hole, Team Osom finally got their first lead status while Rose City only had Elicia Nisbet-Smith on the track to block. A quick no pack let Lula Zan speed by for lead, and then matched Mutch for the first pass before 2×4 could latch on and hold her allowing Zan to make a couple grand slam passes. The crowd’s excitement seemed to energize 2×4, and their decisive offense was able to shine. While their blockers ran back the long way around the apex, Papap quickly ran up to peel off some WOJ blockers. Then as the pack tried to race away, Carla was sure to knock one out to secure points for her approaching jammer.
2×4’s first 18 points were offset by 8 for Rose City, but it still got them on the board and cut into Rose’s differential. Team Osom proved that while they may be outmatched by the #2 team in the world, they still knew how to take advantage of every opportunity that Rose City gave them. Things returned to the usual pattern in the next jam, Rose City scored 15 points while 2×4 passed the star, and at 11:40 Rose hit the century mark and 2×4 called a timeout, score 102-18.
The break gave 2×4 momentum again, and after Rayo found lead status on the outside line, she earned lead status over Bonnie and ran the jam. Bonnie was able to overtake her though and outscored them 18-12. Team Osom was able to score in two more jams before halftime, and even score four points after a star pass, and at the break Rose City led 168-47.
The first two lead statuses were by 2×4 in the second half, and nearly every lead of the game for them came when the jammer found a sliver of daylight on the outside line. They added 13 points in these two jams, but unfortunately, Rose City scored 33 as well. Rose City was good at speeding up the pack and slowing it down to avoid or contain the opposing jammer and 2×4 was forced to follow along. They did successfully slow down jammers at times, even forcing Mutch on a cut.
2×4 continually set up their tripod at the front, but they allowed space between them and Rose City’s defense, which let the powerful jammers of WOJ push them out of play either by themselves, or by the help of their offense buddy. Someone from Rose City was always poised and ready to take on this role, usually Hannah Jennings, but most of their blockers rotated into that position with ease. As the clock hit the 15-minute mark, Rose City led 260-75.
When 2×4’s jammers got stymied and forced to pass the star, they got so focused on the hand off that they often slid back slightly as they moved laterally and Rose City was sure to take away that space each time. It was incredibly hard for 2×4 to move forward at times, but they still continued to find small victories with quick, controlled hits on the opposing jammer.
Rayo got the final lead status of the game, and after adding 4 points to Rose City’s 14 by Loren Mutch, she called it off and Rose City won 360-80. Bonnie Thunders ended up with 130 points while Mutch was close behind with 124, a strong 1-2 punch moving forward. Lula Zan took lead scorer for 2×4 with 41 points.
After only skating 10 people in their first game, 2×4 used all 14 for this game but still favored a core set of blockers. Many were talking about how Papap played the entire game against Windy City yesterday, and while she didn’t do that again today, she still played 81% of the game. A further indication of how quickly 2×4 can learn and make adjustments, they had two players foul out yesterday and kept everyone on the bench today. Direction of play penalties went from 15 in their game against Windy City at the Big O, to 8 yesterday, to just 2 today.
Rose City will take on Montreal later today at 8pm PDT to decide who moves on to the final game this weekend while 2×4 plays tomorrow at 2pm PDT against #10 seed Ann Arbor.