D1S: #8 2×4 takes revenge on #9 Windy City, 178-135

D1S: #8 2×4 takes revenge on #9 Windy City, 178-135 Photo credit: Hellslinger. capobianco-photography.squarespace.com/

SEATTLE, WA – Meeting up for the second time in the Pacific Northwest, #24-ranked 2×4 Roller Derby got a rematch against #28 Windy City after a five-point loss to WCR in May at the Big O. Both squads came with a different roster, but adjustments on each side kept it an interesting game and the closest of the weekend so far.

Despite only skating with nine, 2×4 started with a much cleaner game, just ten penalties this time compared to the 29 first half penalties they earned last time, and only gave up three power jams in total. Windy City was cleaner overall but had nine jammer penalties and although struggled to earn lead status, made the most of it when they did. 2×4’s lateral coverage and consistent offense carried them through to the end this time, taking the win 178-135.

Without Killanois, Ying O’fire, or Pheobe Fi Fo Fum, Windy City had to bulk up their jammer rotation with other options. Mia Go Hamm returned as the most productive jammer and this time Rita Hateworthy traded her pivot cap for the star. Bambi Bloodlust returned as jammer and they included Zoe Trocious at the start but whittled it down to the other three as the game went on. Mia’s first three points got them on the board first, but that would be the only lead they saw for the rest of the game.

2×4 stayed steady with a rotation of Tropical Mecanica, Lula Zan, and Rayo, picking up the next six lead statuses and with the help of a few power jams, they launched into a 62-8 lead. Whether they lined up in the front or back, 2×4 focused on a defensive tripod, linking at the hands instead of shoulders, while one blocker tried to open up a path for their jammer. Their defense was good at covering all the way to the line, dropping to two blockers effectively, and having their offensive blocker, usually the pivot, ping back and forth between tasks.

That’s not to say it was easy breezy for 2×4 jammers. Windy City focused on four blocker defense but was solid with three if they stayed slow and controlled. If they locked on, it was a hard path for jammers to get out and they often stashed the star or called for offense as needed. Kris Rago and Legal Tenderizer were tough to move, while Tay Q. Down or Bork Bork Bork pulled off for surprise mid-jam offense. However, without a dedicated offense from the jam start, Windy City struggled to get their jammers out first.

Photo credit: Hellslinger.

Photo credit: Hellslinger.

When Mia Go Hamm got Windy City’s next lead she started to employ long-jam strategy to try and chip away the gap in the score and was able to get 12 points to just four by Topical Mecanica. Mia’s footwork was on point this jam, spinning around the wall to get lead and then had big, leggy apex jumps over each of the apexes for quick points. With 10 minutes left in the half, 2×4 led 75-24.

Windy City’s blockers thinned out at times while hanging back to let their jammer push out, or not reforming quick enough when the opposing jammer returned to score. With that, Cruella’s focus and timing to go from bridge to heat seeking offense broke up the WCR defense and continued to get points on the board for 2×4. Taking full advantage of lead status opportunities Windy City closed the gap bit by bit, but at the half were down by 45 points, 106-61.

Windy City scored exactly the same amount of points they had by halftime of their first game at the Big O, while 2×4 had a little bit more. Their strong hold of the game was supported by a much cleaner game, just 10 penalties in the first half, a third of what they accrued last time. They were still struggling with direction of play penalties, however, a product of their slow, rotating formations and constant runbacks.

Mia Go Hamm was a clear leader for Windy City with four out of five lead statuses and 33 points in the first half, followed by Rita Hateworthy with 19. Bambi struggled with a few penalties and was only able to score four by the break. 2×4’s Rayo had a 100% lead status and had 35 points followed by Tropical with 24 points.

Windy City had a slow start to the second half, with a couple penalties tripping them up, but managed to keep 2×4 from running away with it. The score got to 127-63 before WCR found some momentum and five lead statuses in a row. This forced 2×4 to pass the star, and Windy City proved the effectiveness of the long game with a 38-16 run, bringing 2×4 within 32 points with about ten minutes left in the game.

With only nine skaters on the track, 2×4 was playing Papap every jam with Chinaski and Maki Lombera playing heavily as well. They were a bit more penalty prone in the second half, but still knew exactly where they needed to be on the track. In on instance, Paoli returned to their tripod to take the place of their pivot so she could be available for their jammer. Neither team was willing to lay off though, and there were times when it took a minute or minute and a half before lead status was awarded.

2×4 took a timeout with 15 minutes left in the game, but that gave Windy City an opportunity to come back and put up 15 points, including another impressive apex jump by Mia. Going for another jump, Tropical Mecanica blocked her, but ended up in the box with a low block to start the next jam. Things seem to be swinging back to Windy City, but then the power jam ended with a cut on Rita, followed by a multi-player block. With just under seven minutes on the clock, 2×4 was still leadng 152-101.

Photo credit: Hellslinger.

Photo credit: Hellslinger.

A power jam let Mia open it up again and she added 12 points, followed up by Bambi with 14. If they played their cards just right and were able to take a firm grasp of the game, Windy City had a fighting chance to take over 2×4 with a couple more big scoring jams. However, as the clock ticked down, 2×4 got the last two lead statuses and closed out the game with a 178-135 win.

Windy City actually outscored 2×4 in the second half by two points while going long, but 2×4 still earned 50% lead status. Mia Go Hamm scored the most of any jammers this game with 79, and Rita Hateworthy added 26 for Windy City. Things were spread more evenly for 2×4 with Lula Zan topping their points at 57, Rayo 49, and Tropical Mecanica with 48.

Maki Lombera and Cruella ended up fouling out of the game, but that was an improvement on their five foul outs during this match up at the Big O. 2×4 doubled their penalties in the second half, but again did much better with just 30 penalties to their 59 in May. Windy City played a much cleaner game but gave up too many power jams.

2×4 will now get to test themselves against the keepers of the Hydra, #1 seed Rose City Rollers tomorrow at 12pm PDT. Windy City will play after that at 2pm PDT against the loser of Game 5.

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