TUCSON, AZ — As expected, top seed Rocky Mountain won the 2012 Dust Devil invitational, handily defeating second seed Angel City 251-109 in the final, but there were some surprises in the early rounds of the ten-team tournament. A new-look Arizona team very nearly handed Rocky Mountain a gigantic upset in the semifinals and immediately put themselves right in the middle of the West playoff hunt with a 3rd place finish, while bottom seed Victorian Roller Derby League, hailing from Australia and playing their first-ever WFTDA sanctioned games, also made a very strong case for playoff inclusion by finishing 5th.
Most matchups on the weekend were quite lopsided. Of the 17 bouts of the weekend, 13 were decided by more than 100 points; of those, 5 were decided by more than 200 points. Rocky Mountain put up the biggest rout in a Friday quarterfinal match with Rage City, winning 455-31.
In the Sunday placement games, Arizona buried Tucson 293-44 in the 3rd place bout, VRDL claimed 5th place by thumping Silicon Valley 239-104, Pikes Peak finished 7th by defeating Rage City 286-91, and Assassination City took 9th place by beating Pacific 252-132.
Because the WFTDA rankings are quarterly but usually delayed by about three weeks, the next official WFTDA rankings will not reflect Arizona or VRDL’s movement — it won’t be until the July release that results from this weekend affect the rankings.
The big story and best game from the weekend was unquestionably the semifinal between top-seeded Rocky Mountain and 4 seed Arizona. RMRG came in officially ranked second in the West region and unofficially 3rd in the world, with their only losses in the last two years coming at the hands of 2009 WFTDA champs Oly or 2011 WFTDA champs Gotham. Arizona entered at #13 in the region and hadn’t seen the playoffs since 2007. But with RMRG losing key trio DeRanged, Psycho Babble and Ecko since last year and Arizona firming up their core and adding Atomatrix and Hockey Honey (ex-Oly) along with Team USA captain Joy Collision (ex-Charm City), Arizona gave RMRG a fight all the way through. AZRD led 82-77 at the break, but Rocky Mountain rallied in the second half to barely avoid a huge rankings upset, winning 153-142 and securing a spot in the Sunday final.
Angel City had considerably less trouble advancing to the final, bashing Tucson 220-87 in the other semifinal.
In Saturday consolation rounds, Pikes Peak dealt Pacific another huge loss, 419-162, while Silicon Valley rolled Assassination City 181-118 and Rage City 215-70. VRDL romped over Pikes Peak 270-109 to qualify for the 5th place game against Silicon Valley.
In the opening rounds, 9 seed Rage City (Anchorage, AK) smashed 8 seed Pacific 340-55 and bottom seed Victoria, hailing all the way from Australia, made a big impression by burying 7 seed Assassination City 356-27 in Victoria’s first WFTDA-sanctioned bout ever. Neither winner was able to keep the momentum in the quarterfinals, though, as top seed Rocky Mountain brutalized Rage City 455-31 and 2 seed Angel City was dominant for most of their bout with Victoria before VDRL had a good run in the end to make it a respectable final of 149 Angel City, 105 Victoria.
In the first of the other two quarterfinal matches, new-look 4 seed Arizona trampled 5 seed Silicon Valley 258-93 — and that even without the services of one of their key new additions, Atomatrix, who was serving a one-game suspension following the Gotham / Oly WFTDA championship in November 2011.
The sole close bout of Day 1 was between 3 seed Tucson and 6 seed Pikes Peak; PPDD gave the hosts a good run but Tucson proved too much in the end, winning 175-162.
Friday’s results set up semifinal matches on Saturday between Rocky Mountain and Arizona (1pm) and Angel City and Tucson (7pm.)