SEATTLE, WA – The quarter finals started off with #2 Angel City facing #7 Tampa Roller Derby. The new playoff structure makes it very easy for the 1-4 seeds to get into championships, having to now only win one game to a significantly lower see to earn a berth. Though Tampa-sized, the flamingos of Florida were not going to let the Sequoias win without a valiant fight.
The odds were high in Angel’s favor. Their season has been stacked with difficult opponents and they’ve only fallen to Rose City and Victoria. Tampa has been finding their groove this season. A 3-point loss to Rat City at Tiny Tourney was followed by larger losses to Philly and Montreal. Since last playoffs, eight players have been moved up from the Tampa Bruise Crew, their B-team. Angel is known for their brutalizing defense, and Tampa is known for controlled gameplay; the divergent approaches to the game made it an interesting match-up to watch.
Tampa’s organized five jammer rotation at the top of the game was countered with an Angel City jammer rotation that felt a little “Hey, why don’t you go now? You did well against this wall last time!” Whatever strategy they were employing worked because Angel City was able to put up 59 quick points in the first five jams. Meanwhile, more than half of Tampa’s points of the first half were put up in the first four jams, with all four jammers putting points on the board but unfortunately, it only totaled 16 points.
#94 Octane Jane and #3 Soledad were the unsurprising bullies of the packs, being able to muscle Tampa’s defense apart and put the Tampa jammers out of bounds (or on their backs). Powerhouse Tampa jammers #7 Taz and #357 Phelony Phatbottom were mostly shut down, with Angel City packs being led by pivots #33 Laci Knight and #88 Tui Lyon. They cleared spots for #22 Catch Mikachu to sweep through packs with little contention.
Despite punishment, Tampa never quit on their patient shape-based offense. The first half saw the Tantrums panic a little bit and pull apart from each other, but they definitely had some jams where they settled into their game. Blocking partners #138 Lauren Smith and #9 Wasylkiw were persistent in their plow stops and relentless in their recycling. In the other pod of blockers, it was #417 AmTastic and #90 Littlefield that made Angel blockers think twice at the top of the pack.
At halftime, both teams were seeing a bit of penalty trouble, 20 for Angel City, 24 for Tampa, but only 2 jammer penalties per team. The game went into the half 152-30.
The second period was more bountiful for Tampa in the way of jammer points and penalties. Able to take advantage of the four Angel City power jams they gave up this half, Tampa put up 57 points. 17 of those belonged to PhDiesel, a Tantrums regular who may not be flashy, but who has always been steadfast, and fiercely consistent is what Tampa needed most in this contest.
#5150 Darby Dagger and #666 Satan’s Little Helper continued in the second half to have standout performances for Angel City. Their agility at speed through a pack is unnerving, and their ability to read offense on the fly is incredible. Angel’s power has melded with high-level strategy, and it’s interlaced with extreme trust between teammates. For as much as the fast, smart, fearless game play of Tampa tried to make a dent, Angel City was too big of a monster for David to topple this time
In the end, Angel City took the decisive win: 287-87. They move onto the semifinals to play #6 Rat City at 6pm PDT on Saturday. Tampa falls to the consolation bracket and will meet #9 Windy City on Saturday at 2pm PDT.