2017 WFTDA D1 Champs: #7 Arch Rival stymies #8 London, 225-82

2017 WFTDA D1 Champs: #7 Arch Rival stymies #8 London, 225-82 Photo credit: Derby With Recess. facebook.com/DerbyWithRecess

PHILADELPHIA, PA – Game 3 ended up a bit more lopsided than the rankings would have anticipated as #7 Arch Rival sought to avenge last year’s 197-94 Championship loss to now #8 London Brawling. ARCH’s 72.2 lead jammer percentage gave them a strong head start to lead 110-38 going into halftime. Both teams used up to five jammers but had to shorten their rotations due to different reasons.

Arch Rival got fewer penalties in the whole game than London did in the first half, which helped them maintain control of the game from start to finish. They did a good job taming Rogue Runner’s footwork, keeping her to just 14 points overall, eventually leading to a St. Louis victory, 225-82.

While Delta Strike picked up the first lead status of the game, Bricktator was able to sneak in the first point in Arch Rival’s favor. London lined up in pairs around the Arch Rival braced tripod at the jam start and AnDracula earned another lead status for London and got them on the board with three points. Brawling started the third jam with two blockers in the box and Bolt Action fought through the remaining two for 20 seconds before escaping with lead status. Rogue Runner got held up in the ARCH defense which focused on a rotating triangle while whoever was available as the fourth blocker could break off and help play offense. Bolt Action hardly needed it, however, as she jumped the apex, shrugged off a hit, and powered through for a 20-point jam.

After the second lead change to 21-3 in Arch Rival’s favor, they picked up all but one of the next 11 lead statuses and built up a comfortable point spread. London’s defense was holding just as strongly as Arch Rival’s and jams would go through periods of long stalls punctuated with explosive knockouts by either side. Arch Rival had excellent offense but fancy footwork by the likes of Harmony Killerbruise made it easier while London seemed to require offense to get out of the pack.

Photo credit: Derby With Recess.

Photo credit: Derby With Recess.

Jack Attack gave Arch Rival the first power jam of the game, but Reptar ultimately sat in the box twice in the same jam, leaving London with a power start to follow. It was this advantage that finally got them another lead status by Rogue Runner, normally a situation that she would run up the score for London, but she was held to only four points with a great catch at the front of the pack by Salty.

Brawling wasn’t getting out first but they weren’t letting Arch Rival run away with anything yet either. For a moment the whole pack skated the wrong direction as both teams recycled jammers back, and Bricktator could only add five points. However, it was Arch Rival’s lateral coverage and quick recycling around London’s offense that helped them cling so tightly to jammers, and after forcing Andracula into a track cut, Swanson added another five points.

Using their first timeout, London stopped the clock at 16:43 with their jammer still in the box. The power start was given up however when Bolt Action lost her lead status with a backblock. In a full two-minute jam, Onyeka Igwe and Arocha performed as well as four blockers, giving Bolt Action a rough time when she returned. By the end, Arch Rival won the jam 9-5 and maintained their lead 55-20.

Rogue Runner faked out the back of the Arch Rival tripod at the start of the next jam, but again they rotated quick to cover the gap and recycled her back. Harmony Killerbruise took lead status instead and twirled around the pack for two points. Pivot Vicious Van GoGo assisted Reptar through the pack to add nine, Igwe halted Bricktator at two points, and then Swanson capped off Arch Rival’s scoring run with a 14-point power jam. With 8 minutes left in the half, ARCH led 82-20.

Arch Rival seemed comfortable in the front of the pack at the jam start so London tried to take it away, resulting in a pivot line start at times. This space allowed for Delta Strike to pick up some speed on the approach and got out first while Bolt Action was pinned against the boundary line by Kid Block and Kristen Lee. Brawling hadn’t scored in four jams so this was much-needed momentum for London. The Arch Rival star finally got out of the pack with a pass, and as Shear-Ra Powers came around to score, Delta debated calling off the jam but kept going. The choice proved deadly though, and a track cut on Delta gave Arch a power jam. Arocha took Shear-Ra all the way back through the apex helping London win the jam 13-9. Another star pass by ARCH and a grand slam by London later, the score was 91-38.

The last four minutes of the half were controlled by Arch Rival, and they went into the break 110-38. The jams were a long, slow slog for the jammers, only reaching 18 jams in the first half. At this point, Bolt Action held the most points for Arch Rival at 32 with Swanson close behind at 29. Delta Strike and Andracula had 13 apiece for Brawling, with usual top scorer Rogue Runner at just four points. Only four blocker penalties in the first half for ARCH meant that the skater with the most penalties was actually Reptar with two jammer penalties.

Photo credit: Derby With Recess.

Photo credit: Derby With Recess.

The second half started and stopped quickly for an injury on Rogue Runner, but she returned to play later in the game. Trisha Smackanawa hadn’t gotten on the board yet and her presence on the track stayed limited as well, meaning that the London rotation relied more on Delta Strike, Jack Attack, and Andracula for awhile. Eventually, Arch Rival’s rotation was taken down to four as Harmony took a hard hit in turn 4 and wasn’t able to return to the game.

For the first quarter of the second period, London could only score 23 points while Arch Rival continued to push their lead. Bolt Action proved again and again that she could power through hits and Bricktator defied gravity multiple times in one pass bringing the score to 158-61.

Their scoring was finally interrupted when Rogue Runner returned to the track and lapped Swanson twice before she could earn lead status and call it off. After that, Arch Rival’s bench coach Code Adam encouraged a penalty on London when the jam was halted while their own coach was on the track at the jam start. That put a second blocker in the box and gave pack advantage to ARCH. Bolt Action got held up briefly by Gaz but then rushed out of the pack with lead status. After two grand slams, London forced the call off with a star pass and then Brawling used their Official Review.

London won the review and got a power start opportunity after getting a backblock issued on Bolt Action. They weren’t able to take full advantage of it, even with Rogue Runner on the track, and Arch Rival pressed on. By the game’s end, Arch Rival won 225-82 and will advance to a quarterfinal matchup against #2 Rose City Saturday at Noon EDT. London will play a consolation game against the loser of game 5 the same day at 2pm EDT (6 PM GMT).

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