2017 B-Team Champs Preview

2017 B-Team Champs Preview Photo Credit: Keith Ridge. facebook.com/Keith-Ridge-Derby-Photos

While both the WFTDA and the MRDA are set to present their respective International Championships over the next couple of weeks, ten North American-based developmental teams aim to claim their own national title this weekend.

Hostile TACOver,” the 2017 B-Team Championships, begins Friday at The Wrecking Hall in Temple Terrace, Florida. Hosted by Tampa Roller Derby, the three-day interleague event contains a bracket that features a pair of Friday play-in games that feed the quarterfinal match-ups held that same day. Saturday’s docket highlights the tourney’s semifinals as well as consolation action while Sunday’s agenda showcases the placement games, culminating with the Championship battle set for 6 p.m. Eastern.

Stay tuned to the Facebook Event for a live stream link to watch the games over the weekend.

With perpetual changes that occur within a B-team’s charter, which at times includes skaters being called up to their league’s A-team charter for WFTDA post-season play, predicting who will appear on a team’s line-up can be a bit of a challenge.

One can’t assume that those that started for their B-team earlier this season are making the trip to Florida. The ensuing team complexions, combined with across-the-board comparable play, can potentially lead to some seeded upsets as the weekend progresses and a bracket finish that doesn’t replicate the seeds.

The competing teams include nine returnees from last year’s “Sting of the Hill” b-team championship tournament. Here is a capsule summary of the teams appearing at “Hostile TACOver” (in order of seed):

1) Rose City Rollers Axles of Annihilation (5-0): The defending Champions have displayed the characteristics that could lead to back-to-back titles this weekend if they perform at their trophy-lifting level. Crushing Big O Invitational wins over Angel City (233-127) and Arch Rival (345-91) were certainly impressive. Tough competition by sixth-seeded Denver (187-158) at June’s Royal Broil event showed that this team can be challenged when put into tight situations. Keep in mind that the Axles only won last year’s title by 28 points, which is pretty tight given today’s scoring complexion. That being said, based on their earlier performances, Rose City is an early favorite to retain possession of the title.

2) Gotham Girls Roller Derby Wall Street Traitors (2-0): Last year’s silver medalist claims the second seed due to the close differential at the 2016 finale. However, one has to critically look at the minimal games played this year prior to the weekend. Early victories over the Boston Massacre (177-145) and Quebec Les Duchesses (252-104) kept the record spotless but this squad has been inactive in interleague play since May. As the second seed, placement to the semifinals seems like a given but it cannot be guaranteed due to the weakness of schedule compared to other squads. The Stockbrokers plan to put their respective derby portfolios on the table and successfully silence the naysayers.

Photo credit: Sean Hale Photography.

Photo credit: Sean Hale Photography.

3) Tampa Roller Derby Bruise Crew (7-1): Activity, and subsequent winning outcomes, helps the flat-track faction that finished fifth last season snare the third seed. A 3-0 sweep at June’s Golden Bowl, which included a 39-point triumph over current WFTDA #66 Sacred City, provided the springboard for post-season placement. August tune-up against the A-team of Dub City, currently ranked #61 globally by the WFTDA, resulted in a 170-103 eye-opening win. They face a competitive challenge in Friday’s match-up against feisty, sixth-seeded Denver. A trip to the trophy game for the weekend hostesses would be the bee’s….um….flamingo’s knees.

4) Texas Rollergirls Firing Squad (3-1): Last year’s sixth-place finishers come into the weekend following their 289-96 August win over in-state rival Houston Roller Derby Knockouts. They also netted a triple-digit triumph over Dallas (222-102) that solidified their status in the Lone Star State. A side-by-side match-up against Atlanta will be the marquee match-up for Day One. If they get the duke, a semifinal meeting against top-seeded Rose City might stave title placement. A third-place game victory is not out of the question and that would contribute to the upward trajectory for the team.

5) Atlanta Rollergirls Rumble Bs (5-2): The fifth seed had an extremely competitive regular season. One highlight was an impressive victory over the A-team of the Nashville Rollergirls (301-75) as well as a 215-169 win over this weekend’s third seed, Tampa Bruise Crew, in May. A loss to eighth-seeded Arch Rival in August (185-174) stung a bit but a return to the hive prior to post-season play has mentally rejuvenated the squad. Due to bracketology, Hotlanta is a potential sleeper pick to make it to the weekend’s third-place game.

6) Denver Roller Derby Bruising Altitude (2-2): Last year’s fourth-place finisher aims for greater heights than their seed has them pegged at. Optimism is high as they only fell by 29 points to top-seeded Axles of Annihilation (187-158) at June’s Royal Broil. Conversely, Denver fell to lower-seeded Angel City by a wider differential (-79) at the same event. A quarterfinal game against host Tampa immediately paints them as the villain for the local fan base. The Altitude could easily play spoiler with a smart game Friday, which might propel them to Sunday’s title game.

Photo credit: Regularman Photography.

Photo credit: Regularman Photography.

7) Angel City Derby Girls Rocket Queens (2-3): A newcomer to B-Champs, the Rocket Queens gained placement due to their impressive 195-115 triumph over higher-seeded Denver at the aforementioned Royal Broil as well as competitive losses against Rose City (233-127) and Victorian (260-152) at the Big O. Those differentials are pretty respectable considering the overall skill set of the opposition and that makes Angel City an extremely dangerous second seed. Play-in victory against tenth-seeded Dallas is projected. Friday’s eye-opener would be the projected quarterfinal against second-seeded Gotham Wall Street Traitors and there is a slight chance they could break the bracket with a victory.

8) Arch Rival Roller Derby Saint Lunachix (4-2): The Scrappy St. Louis squad finished seventh last season and aims for placement in the fifth-place game this year. The Lunachix possess a four-game winning streak heading into the weekend. They notched an 11-point road win over fifth-seeded Atlanta in an August hangover game. This weekend they face ninth-seeded Minnesota in a Friday play-in game, a team they toppled by triple-digits in July. On paper, they should win that one but the quarterfinal meeting against top-seeded Axles of Annihilation later that day should realistically drop them to the consolation bracket.

9) Minnesota Rollergirls Minnesota Nice (8-3): With a very active and successful regular season, Nice had respective three-game sweeps at both May’s B-Cup Challenge and June’s Midwest Brewhaha. A pair of late-August tune-ups resulted in a split: a 228-101 setback to WFTDA #74 Winnipeg and a 249-132 win over unranked Saskatoon. Having fallen to the aforementioned Arch Rival Saint Lunachix (238-124) on the latter’s home track so Nice will be seeking revenge on Friday on neutral ground. Minnesota finished tenth last year at B-Champs, so retaining their seed positioning Sunday night would be a moral victory, but the goal is higher.

10) Dallas Derby Devils Battalion of Doom (2-1): Last year’s eighth-place finisher gets in via its tussle against fourth-seeded Texas and a solid 285-58 win over the A-team of Pikes Peak at March’s Clover Cup. However, there’s been a long period of inactivity as the team has not competed against another interleague squad since April. Their quarterfinal play-in against Angel City is a really tough assignment, so a strong consolation finish is the missive. As the lowest seed of a tournament, there is nowhere else to go but up.

Daily admission is $30 and a three-day pass is $55. All tickets are will call only and are available for purchase online. Children 10 and under get in free.

Photo credit: Mr. McWheely.

Photo credit: Mr. McWheely.

SCHEDULE (All times Eastern)

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 6

QUARTERFINAL PLAY-INS

Game 1- 10 AM: (9) MNRG Minnesota Nice vs. (8) ARCH Saint Lunachix
Game 2- 12 PM: (7) ACDG Rocket Queens vs. (10) DDD Battalion of Doom

QUARTERFINALS

Game 3- 2 PM (3) TRD Bruise Crew vs. (6) DRD Bruising Altitude
Game 4- 4 PM (1) RCRD Axles of Annihilation vs. Minnesota Nice/Saint Lunachix Winner
Game 5- 6 PM (4) TXRG Firing Squad vs. (5) ATLRG Rumble B’s
Game 6- 8 PM (2) GGRD Wall Street Traitors vs. Rocket Queens/Battalion of Doom Winner

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 7
Game 7- 10 AM Loser of Game 1 vs. Loser of Game 3
Game 8- 12 PM Loser of Game 2 vs. Loser of Game 5
Game 9- 2 PM (SEMIFINAL) Winner of Game 4 vs. Winner of Game 5
Game 10- 4 PM Loser of Game 6 vs. Winner of Game 7
Game 11- 6 PM Loser of Game 4 vs. Winner of Game 8
Game 12- 8 PM (SEMIFINAL) Winner of Game 3 vs. Winner of Game 6

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 8
Game 13- 10 AM (9th Place Game) Loser of Game 7 vs. Loser of Game 8
Game 14- 12 PM (7th Place Game) Loser of Game 10 vs. Loser of Game 11
Game 15- 2 PM (5th Place Game) Winner of Game 10 vs. Winner of Game 11
Game 16- 4 PM (3rd Place Game) Loser of Game 9 vs. Loser of Game 12
Game 17- 6 PM (CHAMPIONSHIP GAME) Winner of Game 9 vs. Winner of Game 12

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