KALAMAZOO, MI–The first game in the consolation bracket of the WFTDA Division 2 tournament brought together the Carolina Roller Girls with Suburbia Roller Derby of Yonkers, New York. Carolina lost to NEO of Akron, Ohio on Friday afternoon with a final score of 222-178. Suburbia played Paper Valley on Friday morning, losing 308 to 107.
While Carolina was able to obtain lead jammer frequently in the first several jams, Suburbia quickly established a large point spread over the WFTDA veteran team. Both teams got into a great deal of penalty trouble early on, with Carolina racking up 24 major penalties in the first half alone. As such, Carolina found themselves in 2-on-3 and 2-on-4 blocker situations frequently and had some trouble coping with this disadvantage. Suburbia’s jammers took advantage of their blocker differential and had the lead for the better part of the first fifteen minutes of game play.
In jam 12, Carolina broke their scoring drought when Suburbia found themselves in penalty trouble. CRG seemed to have warmed up a bit more by this point, and eventually took the lead with great defense. With Sheeza Freak jamming, the team was able to close the point gap to 46-41 in favor of Suburbia at the end of jam 12.
A few jams later, Carolina took the lead 69-60, as both teams struggled to hold solid defensive walls. Suburbia quickly regained the lead 80-69 as Carolina continued their trend of sending blockers and jammers to the box, followed by an immediate transfer of momentum as Carolina regained blocking strength. With more blocker power, Ava Gore had a 19 point jam, bringing Carolina the lead, 93-90. After several strong Carolina jams, Suburbia’s Lauren Forcer gained a few points to bring the score to 146-129 at the half.
While the second half saw an overall stronger and smarter Carolina, both team’s jammers spent the majority of the game recycling in and out of the box as they did in the first half. Both teams had more frequent jams with full blocker strength, and Carolina held the lead for the majority of the second half.
In jam 6 of the second half, 4-seeded Carolina was up 167-132, and Sheeza Freak continued scoring several points to hold the lead through jam 12. In jam 12, Suburbia had yet another power jam, and Lauren Forcer jammed well to close the 30-point gap, leaving Carolina in the lead with 189-156. Suburbia continued to fight hard to close the point gap, but more penalty trouble really impacted both team’s abilities to score significant points for several jams.
In jam 15, Suburbia closed the point gap even more, bringing the score to a slight Carolina lead, 203-196. Both teams were noticeably tense, and when Carolina jammer Katie Clysmic found herself stuck behind a strong Suburbia wall, the score was left 203 to 200 with Carolina still in the lead.
Two jams later, Suburbia’s Lauren Forcer regained the lead, starting another scoring drought for Carolina. By the end of jam 17, the lead had changed to 225-203 with Suburbia in the lead.
With only a few minutes left of game play, it appeared that 10-seeded Suburbia had the win in the bag, especially with the aid of smart game play during a power jam. Sheeza Freak was forced to call a jam without scoring to prevent Suburbia from increasing the point spread.
In the final minutes of this game, Carolina had a 3-2 blocker advantage, but Suburbia took lead jammer. Carolina’s jammer quickly got through as well, and Carolina began racing the pack speed to help their jammer catch up to the back of the pack. Lauren Forcer demonstrated incredible strategy by blocking the opposing jammer and ultimately drawing out the jam time to run the clock and trade time for points.
In a sudden change of events, Suburbia’s jammer obtained a last penalty, giving Carolina the final power jam. Carolina played smart, clean derby in this last jam, scoring 19 points to win the game 230 to 229. Notably, Sheeza Freak scored the majority of CRG’s points, taking 119 of the team’s 230 overall points.