We are just over three weeks out from the first D2 playoff and things are still a bit quiet, with one exception– an upset by Suburbia over DC. Sacred City also made a public announcement on Facebook as to why they declined their playoff invite citing high costs, but they will be the hosts for the first D1 playoff, September 5-7. Their response rounds out the three declining teams, including Sac City and the Oly Rollers.
Suburbia snuck into D2 playoffs last year at #65th and lost all three games in Kalamazoo, but steadily climbed in rankings this year. In May they attended Beach Brawl and after a four point loss and a two point win, they took a hard hit by DC with a 169 point loss. So it was to DC’s surprise when they found themselves on the losing end of a 205-193 score last Saturday night.
Little Loca, Captain of the Suburban Brawl, expressed their disappointment in their third game at Beach Brawl, and combined with a bunch of illnesses and injuries, they just hadn’t performed their best. “But we did learn a lot from it, especially that we need to start working well under pressure and fatigue.” So with a fire in their belly and Charlotte Bupowski and Ermahgerd! back in jammer rotation this time, they gave DC everything they had.
“Suburbia definitely came out strong, but we were also trying some new things as we did have some roster changes since last month,” DC Travel Team Captain, Stephanie “Frightmare” Griffith stated about their loss. They recently lost strong blocker Dual Hitizen to a move out West, and intentionally sat Jersey Jill to change up their jammer rotation. They have however added Bloody Elle, who transferred from Windy City, and Rocky Brawlboa.
DC will have a few games in August to prepare themselves for Kitchener-Waterloo, where they are #1 seed. Suburbia’s next game will be in Duluth as #9 seed against Treasure Valley. Both teams will be interesting to watch in their respective brackets after this upset.
Other Games Played
Cincinnati extended their losing streak to 17 games after losing to the Chicago Outfit, 211-121. This was 15 points better than the last time they played them at Spring Roll in May, and it did get them a few points on FTS. With no playoff to worry about this fall, Cincinnati will have time to find their place after a hard year of derby. Reaching out to their coach, Quad Almighty, he explained that they will have to change their whole culture for long-term success. “We’re changing the way we train, the way we play, the way we treat each other, and the way we respect our opponents.”
Rideau Valley hosted and beat Green Mountain over the weekend, 165 to 85. They have a couple more games next month before we see them in Kitchener-Waterloo. Big Easy had a big win against Tallahasse, 284-39, and they will be attending the Duluth playoff in a matter of weeks. Last weekend also saw a match up between WFTDA #50 Killamazoo and WFTDA #125 Lansing Derby Vixens. Killamazoo did as expected with their 243 point win.
This weekend we see WFTDA #44 Detroit taking on a few D1 teams at Rollercon. Friday they take on WFTDA #9 Denver, and on Saturday WFTDA #2 Bay Area. Last year this time, Detroit may have had a better chance when they sat at #15, but since then they have fallen into D2 territory. They will likely see some triple digit losses like they had at Anarchy in the UK.
Saturday we may get a better idea of how Demolition City is doing this year when they travel to play Nashville. They played and won an unsanctioned “pre-season” game earlier this year in February, but this weekend’s game will be sanctioned and Flat Track Stats predicts a solid Nashville win.
Killamazoo will be playing again, this time on the road to Indiana to take on WFTDA #178 South Bend. They played previously this year with Killamazoo beating them by 202 points. As previously stated, the Chicago Outfit are also playing again this weekend, hitting up Ohio for a game against Burning River Saturday night and a Sunday bout against NEO. Both teams dropped out of playoff contention this year, while the Outfit are working their way back up after a fall in the rankings.
Big Easy Rollergirls
The Big Easy Rollergirls are another example of a team playing the rankings game and crafting a schedule that put them in the top 60 just in time for playoffs. Starting in 2004 and surviving Hurricane Katrina, this New Orleans team is finally getting their spot in the national spotlight for the first time. “Through hell and high water” is an apt motto considering their 25 spot jump by the end of June to sit at WFTDA #48.
A game in August of last year inspired the playoff goal for Big Easy when they were WFTDA #98 at the time and only lost by 27 points to the Columbia QuadSquad, who were WFTDA #41 at the time. Playing competitively is the likely goal for most teams, but once that dream becomes realistic, and things like the rankings calculator and a second division make it more tangible, teams can outline a path to get there.
Co-captain of the Big Easy AllStars, Harmaknee, explained how they closely monitored the rankings, looked at point spreads and carefully made their 2014 schedule. Teams can change a lot in a year though, and with the calculator taking in 12 months of game information, it can be a slow process. “We had to wait a long time for older games to drop off and have the rankings reflect the ability and strength of our 2013 AllStars.” Because of those past matchups, they were stuck in the 90s in the rankings through the end of 2013 until they broke into the 80s in March.
When those old games hold a team back, they can take a higher ranked team by surprise. At Spring Roll, Big Easy lost all three games but had a close 12 point game with Twin City who was 12 spots higher, and 39 point deficit against Tri-City who was 42 spots above them. “A close loss to a high ranked team was no longer upsetting but instead seen as a win, what we needed to increase our rankings average.”
This methodical strategy paid off when the June rankings came out and they went from #73 to #48 and received a playoff invite to Duluth as a #3 seed. Harmaknee stressed that this progress did not happen overnight as they might have seemed, it was a yearlong battle. “ I remember getting frustrated in 2013 that our rankings weren’t increasing fast enough and complaining to my coach about how it wasn’t fair. He said something along the lines of: ok, maybe it isn’t, or maybe it is. Maybe it makes sense that you have to prove yourself.”