When DNN’s bout and scores page both start to swell with game information, it can only mean one thing – the 2014 season is well underway. There were more than 100 games played this weekend – ten of those were shown live here on DNN, and 50 of them were WFTDA-sanctioned. After a few weekends of solid division 2 play, this weekend also saw a fair amount of moment from division 1 teams, who are into the swing of things for 2014.
Quad City Chaos
WFTDA #17 Montreal kept up their unbeaten streak in Toronto with an impressive 3-0 performance across the weekend. They posted big wins over both WFTDA #22 Ohio and WFTDA #42 Bleeding Heartland (385-158 and 469-168) and just squeaked out 233-216 win over the hosts. All the games this weekend were played under the old rules rather than the current ones as teams don’t have to play under the current ruleset until April 1, with sanctioning available for those wishing to use last year’s rules until then. The results will likely help Montreal’s ranking a little bit, but not much — they will come in just as some big wins from last year age out.
Ohio went 2-1; as well as the thumping by Montreal that featured foul-outs, minor injuries and more penalties than anyone will care to remember, they eked out a narrow win over the hosts 185-172 and put up a big win over tournament rankings-fodder Bleeding Heartland 291-93. Despite the hammering by Montreal, the weekend looks likely to see them only slip very slightly in the rankings come the May release–as would be expected for the traditionally short-rostered team that lost a couple of key players to retirement in the off season.
Plastik Patrik summed up reaction to the event quite well, saying: “Thanks to everyone involved with Toronto Roller Derby for a fantastic job at Quad City Chaos this year. I urge all WFTDA teams to look into this for upcoming seasons. Great organization, good broadcast, friendly hosts, and CN Power can give anyone a run for their money. Bravo ladies. It was a pleasure.”
Windy vs Arch Rival
WFTDA #20 Arch Rival travelled to #8 Windy City to take on an invigorated team that appeared undeterred by the on-track absence of powerhouse Jackie Daniels, speedy transfer Sandrine Rangeon, and pack dominator Sargentina. Arch Rival, meanwhile, has been bleeding out veterans–with skaters moving, retiring and transferring, including Smarty McFly who was wearing the black and silver and playing against her old team on Saturday. Chewblocka and South City Shiner have both retired, and perhaps even more significantly both May Require Stitches and Science Friction are missing from their 2014 roster.
Despite the raft of changes from both sides since 2013, the bout ended up pretty much in line with expectation: Windy took the win 171-98.
Kansas City in Denver
WFTDA #16 Kansas City traveled to Denver this weekend to take on both Rocky Mountain and Denver. In the first match up, against #9 Rocky Mountain on Saturday, Rocky topped the visitors 297-125. The bout was notable for Heather Juska making her sanctioned debut for the 5280 Fight Club–though it started in the worst possible fashion as she racked up four penalties in very quick succession early on, including a couple for insubordination. On Sunday, in a closed bout against #4 Denver, the home side took the win 407-64. This score will likely have to be chalked up as a learning experience for the Kansas City side, as both results will cut severely into their current WFTDA rating average.
Tampa plays Grand Raggidy, Detroit, Chicago Outfit
WFTDA #26 Tampa Roller Derby went on tour this weekend, playing WFTDA #53 Grand Raggidy, #47 Killamazoo, #30 Detroit and #50 Chicago Outfit. The visitors won four from four – 322-78 against Grand Raggidy, 261-117 against Killamazoo, 186-125 against Detroit and 436-42 against the Outfit.
The Chicago Outfit stayed local, playing Grand Raggidy in an open bout on Saturday. What could have been a close game against the #50 ranked Outfit against the #57 home side turned out to be a lopsided upset. This is perhaps because The Outfit has lost key players since 2013–both Bloody Elle and Queefer Sutherland now ply their trade with Windy City.
The Clover Cup, hosted by the Dallas Derby Devils, featured eight teams that are mostly ranked in division 2. WFTDA #48 Gold Coast Derby Grrls took the tournament with a 158-152 upset of #34 Oklahoma Victory Dolls. In the playoffs, #69 Omaha took on #67 Brewcity, but it was Brewcity’s turn to come away with the win, taking third 206-129. Both results will boost those team’s playoff hopes with scores over their current averages and so (hopefully) moving them in the right direction.
The Wild West
WFTDA #32 Santa Cruz finished off 2013 by losing the division 2 championship, and played their first sanctioned game of the year on Saturday at home against #46 Treasure Valley. Santa Cruz performed to expectation coming away with a 57-point win, 183-126 to advance their D1 playoff hopes marginally.
Treasure Valley also visited WFTDA #2 Bay Area and were duly hammered in what will likely be written off as a learning experience; they lost 635-12. That result will drag Treasure Valley’s average down as they look to step up after impressing at D2 playoffs last year, while it will do Bay Area’s chances of hanging onto the #2 spot into playoff season some good as this result was significantly over their current average even with the number of playoff and champs weighted games–this is precisely the sort of blowout the ranking calculator likes and that teams looking to juice their rankings will look to schedule.
Dust Bowl also happened; Silicon Valley were the big winners, going 3-0. The lowly status of all their opponents, however, mean that even this tournament win will drag their ranking down.
Rose City vs LA Derby Dolls
While not of ranking or playoff interest, the LA Derby Dolls Ri-Ettes visit to Portland over the weekend for a re-match against Rose City’s Wheels of Justice would have been of interest to many. The last time these two teams met up, LA beat Rose on the banked track, before Rose went on the next day to lose to Angel City in an upset that would set the tone for Rose’s 2013 season. On the flat track, Rose City came away with a convincing 349-40 win–this pales in comparison to the 507-67 points spread when Angel City last played the Ri-Ettes, but this blowout score was under the old WFTDA ruleset, complete with one-minute penalties–though Rose were taking the non-sanctioned opportunity to blood some new skaters to the Wheels line-up.
While the last weekend in March features plenty of bouts, it doesn’t feature anything like the number with playoff interest. Cincinnati continue their rebuilding against a New Hampshire team that surged into last year’s D1 playoffs taking many rankings-watchers by surprise thanks to their late surge. Hammer City travel to Paper Valley as they look to continue their surge up the rankings going and make a bid for a D2 playoff place that seemed all-but impossible not that long ago before The Eh! Team broke their WFTDA-sanctioned record losing streak.
There is also a four-way round robin tournament between teams all fighting for spots in the lower end of D1 for next year–Sacred City, Sac City, Santa Cruz and Wasatch, in Sacramento.
Additional reporting for this article came from Alex Sassoon Coby.
CORRECTION: This article originally transposed the Grand Raggidy / Chicago Outfit score, and had some typographical errors which have been subsequently corrected. DNN regrets the errors.