The official WFTDA June rankings and bracket announcements won’t be out until July 15th, and unless any teams decline invites to playoffs, we posted what the likely brackets will be for Division 2 last week. That puts a one month turnaround until the first D2 playoff in Duluth, which means there won’t be much action over the next few weeks. With a handful of teams new to the playoff scene, we will introduce them leading up to our full playoff preview coverage.
The Tiniest Weekend Recap
As the tiniest B-Roll indicated last weekend, there was only one sanctioned game to be had over the weekend of America’s birthday, and Jacksonville took a solid win over Gold Coast, 293-48. As a team ranked in the 50s going against a team in the teens, they did about as expected but Gold Coast did lose a few points on Flat Track Stats. Soon Gold Coast will lose Team USA skater, Baller Shot Caller as well as SoulJourner to Atlanta, so it will be interesting to see how that will affect them during playoffs. We will see them in the second bracket, most likely facing Treasure Valley as 8th seed.
Calm Before the Storm
This weekend has only a sprinkling of games from Division 2. Queen City, who we have slated to be a 3rd seed in the second D2 bracket, will be making a trip to play NEO this weekend. The Ohioans have experienced a series of losses recently that look to have pulled them out of playoff qualification this year, whereas Queen City is coming off a big win over Burning River last month.
Charlotte, of North Carolina and not to be confused with Charlottesville of Virginia, will be hosting the Carolina Rollergirls who were WFTDA #83 as of May. Carolina has been on a downward slide since early 2013 and won’t be seeing playoffs this season for the first time. Charlotte will probably get a boost from this game, as FTS has them slated to win.
Charlottesville (of Virginia) are also in action this weekend. They are ranked at #47 currently, after posting some big numbers over lesser ranked leagues this year. At the end of May, WFTDA has them at #90, and this weekend they host Hard Knox, who won’t do much for their ranking as a D3 team. If they can get some higher ranked teams on their schedule, they may be able to inch their way up next year.
Other games of interest for D2 teams and D2 watchers are Sin City’s visit to Wasatch, Ithaca’s trip to Hammer City, Queen City visiting with NEO, Emerald City and Bellingham facing off in Seattle, and Ithaca staying north of the border to play Tri City on Sunday.
St. Chux Derby Chix
Pack in Black, St. Chux’s All-Star team, set out with a plan for playoffs and this year they got exactly what they wanted. Ninja Sassem, interleague coordinator and calculator whiz, helped give some insight into how this small league broke onto the playoff scene, and nearly overshot their goal.
After St. Chux played Demolition City the last weekend in June, Ninja had posted on Facebook, “Welp, we may have accidentally fallen into the D1. Crap.” Obviously doing well is not a problem, but the dilemma faced by higher ranked D2 teams is working to be the best of of one division or earning a bottom seed in the other. “It would be amazing to play ‘with the big kids'”, she told DNN, “and it’s definitely going to happen next year… but being in those very bottom seeds in the D1 is extremely intimidating.”
The competition within 41-60 is much tighter, unlike the teams in the top 40, which means there is a lot of room for movement in D2 and for teams to improve and excel. St. Chux only graduated from the Apprentice Program in the fall of 2012 and two years later they are bracing for playoffs. Being new on the scene, it was hard for them to make themselves known in the voted ranking system of old, but playing to the math-based system was key to this season. “We had to refuse games with some of our friends that we had played in the past because their strength scores had dropped too much,” Ninja explained. With the new divisions, rankings calculator, and a little bit of networking, Ninja created a schedule that would take them to D2 playoffs.
They even hosted their own derby invitational, Skate to Thrill, which was put together to create highly competitive D2 games. Sweeping their games against Paper Valley, NEO, and Ft. Myers, they jumped 10 spots to WFTDA #44 by the end of April. (Read about how the teams did in this Skate to Thrill Recap.)
As a small league, they also have to compete with the bigger derby market of nearby St. Louis, but have ultimately benefited by being close to big leagues like Arch Rival and the Gatekeepers. Deft blocker, Stabby McCutcha transferred to St. Chux a year ago, and recently Sleazy E and Nikki Trixx have also been transferred to the Pack in Black charter.
On the track, their soul-crushing defense is what they are known for, as well as cohesive pack play. Whip L’ash and Stabby McCutcha will run you back all day, or sneak a track cut, as the rest of their pack instantaneously bridges. They have a solid three-skater jammer rotation in GI Jamie, Flash, and Jedi Knight-n-Gale, but defense is their best offense, as their pack play gives plenty of time for their jammers to score.
St. Chux ended June with a 9-1 record in sanctioned play, and will likely head to playoffs as a number two seed. They may see Demolition City again, or take on Boulder County for a spot in the semi-finals.