SEATTLE, WA – Home turf advantage seemed to rule the day, as the #6 seeded Rat City overcame a feisty #11 seed Mad Rollin’ Dolls in the second game of the first day of Division 1 WFTDA playoffs in the Emerald City. Rat City was fighting to carve out a shot at working their way up the bracket in search of a medal, while Madison seemed initially hell bent on furthering their reputation as bracket busters.
Consistent work by Rat City jammers Evergreen Jean, Renegade Ruthie, and Luna Negra, in particular, all helped put their team over the top. Alongside their skills, especially aggressive and quick offense often left the Madison squad in tatters. RCRG blocker CeeCee had a particularly great game, frequently being the cause of Madison’s woes while swooping in to assist her own jammers in need.
When Madison’s defense was slow and controlled, they were incredibly successful at holding even Rat’s best footwork, using smartly braced box formations and solid recycling to cause headaches. Both side’s jammers struggled with penalties, with Rat City’s Alyssa Pray ending up at a dangerous six and both Black Velvet and Ladie Who Ha from Madison sitting at four by game’s end.
Madison came out hot in the first several jams, with Black Velvet snatching the first lead status of the contest and putting up a quick single point before Luna Negra could score. In the second jam, Seattle jammer Alyssa Pray picked up her first and second penalties in a row (a track cut and a back block, respectively), giving Dark Horse time to tally up 14 unanswered points in her first ever playoffs appearance. Mack the Knife was out next for Madison, using a power start to gain lead and score points before a forearm call turned the tables. The jam was ultimately called due to potential injury when Alyssa Pray took a nasty fall. Thankfully, she was all right and the game proceeded, Madison holding a 19-3 lead.
The interruption seemed to spell a change in momentum overall, though, as Rat City began to wake up and put up an 18-0 jam after a power start for Evergreen Jean. They stuffed long-time jammer Mouse in the next jam, further opening their new lead, 21-19. Madison wouldn’t get out ahead again in the match.
Madison continued to struggle both with penalties and defensive cohesiveness in the first half, allowing Luna Negra and Evergreen Jean in particular to do significant damage in the form of 17-0 and 18-0 jams, respectively. There were moments of brilliance from the Dairyland Dolls, including a bruising one-two punch from One Hit Wanda and then Tipsy Velvet to knock the wind out of Alyssa Pray.
Rat City jammers had the most success finding a few open inches on the lines, exploiting Madison’s tendency to offer their sides inside of fully squaring up, with further assistance from excellent offensive clears by Rat blockers CeeCee and R. Rickel in particular. Despite some back and forth in fortunes, Seattle continued to open their lead and were up a solid 147-44 at the half.
Madison again came out strong in the second half, having adjusted their jammer rotation to reflect the success of Ladie Who Ha, Dark Horse, and Mack the Knife, with Who Ha carrying lead status in the first jam back and picking up an unanswered 8 points.
Rat City came roaring right back, however, again using well-timed and well-placed offensive meddling by the likes of Carmen Getsome to spring jammers and cause disarray in the Madison pack. Dairyland’s Lips Macker played quick offense off the line for Ladie Who Ha to get her lead, but it was one of the few times the strategy was employed throughout the game. Alyssa Pray picked up another track cut and a bonus insubordination for not leaving the track in time.
Madison seemed to be getting a handle on Rat’s offense while shoring up their own defensive work, but it was ultimately too little too late. Mack the Knife picked up the final lead of the game, dancing up the outside line before Luna Negra found her way through, but the bench had her call it off after just two scoring passes for a 7-3 jam. Rat City was solidly victorious, 225-83.
Rat City goes on to play #3 seed Jacksonville tonight at 8 p.m. PDT, and while their offense looks especially effective, they’ll need to reign in their jammer penalties a bit (especially the insubordination) if they hope to best the fast moving, hard hitting Florida team. Madison moves into the consolation bracket and will play Sunday at 12pm PDT against the loser of tomorrow’s game between Montréal and Bay Area (at 10am PDT), meaning they still have a chance to continue their playoffs upset streak even still.