2016 WFTDA D1 Champs: #8 Arch Rival grounds #7 Denver, 177-165

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The first Division 1 contest of the 2016 International WFTDA Championships in Portland, OR brought together the Denver Roller Derby Mile High Club of Denver, CO (7th in WFTDA) and the Arch Rival Roller Derby All-Stars of St. Louis, MO. While Arch Rival came in one position below Denver, they won in a tight 3 point game at this year’s Sibling Rivalry. Arch Rival would go on to repeat the close win 177 to 165 sending Denver home.

Arch Rival grabbed a fast lead call in the first jam with Bricktator wearing the star, but her attempt at an apex jump in turn one was shut down at the last second.  Bricktator recovered fast but was forced to call it with only 4 points on the board to put Arch Rival on top.

The Mile High Club answered back with Klein sneaking out with the lead. Denver’s S.H. Long held back Swanson, wearing the star for Arch Rival, with great footwork up front as last line of defense. Klein got clipped out at the back of the pack to call the jam 6-0 to put Denver in the lead.

For the first two jams both teams appeared to be running the same playbook with strong braced walls of three and a floater working to fill the gaps.

In the third jam Denver settled into their defense and sent Akers out for offense to try and free Gypin. While it worked for almost a minute, Harmony Killerbruise was able to take advantage of the reduced pack size to grab lead. Gyplin chose a star stash before using the gaps created by her offense to get out and force the call with the jam 4-0 for Arch Rival to take back the lead 8-6.

Next Bricktator would grab an early lead to follow it up with an apex on turn three for her first scoring pass.  Despite the best efforts of the Denver defense, the Arch Rival jammer would make it look easy as she slalomed through the pack in the front straight essentially unchallenged on her second scoring pass. Not done impressing, Bricktator pirouetted on one foot out of a hit by the last Denver blocker for her third scoring pass and her last grand slam of the jam. After a last scoring pass, Bricktator would call it 19-0 for the jam to bring the score out to 27-6 in favor of St. Louis. Bricktator dominated the scoring with a 56 point period, more than double any other skater.

Harmony Killerbruise came out with lead as she fell around the last of Denver’s blockers at the apex of turn one. Killerbruise rose to her feet in time to knock out Denver’s Wilhelm and try for the run back only to get grabbed up by the Denver blockers.  Killerbruise used her lead status to burn time off the clock before calling it as the first 0-0 jam.

Photo Credit Ryan Quick: Quick N' Derby

Photo Credit Ryan Quick: Quick N’ Derby

Two jams later a second 0-0 would come up as Arch Rival’s Swanson was run back, but Swanson took advantage of the strung-back blockers to grab lead just a second before Gyplin would follow her out to force the call with another 0-0 jam leaving St. Louis up 27-14.

The 0-0 jam trend would continue as Harmony Killerbruise grabbed lead only to be reabsorbed by the pack.  Trying to capitalize, Denver’s Curtis would pass the star to Akers forcing Arch Rival to call it 0-0.

Denver’s Gypin would close out the period by grabbing lead and a fast 5-0 to close it out 83-64 at the half.

Denver’s Wilhelm would start the second half with the star and take lead and a 2-0 jam, but with Denver only scoring in two of the first six jams of the half, Arch put up 22 points to Denver’s 5 to keep their lead growing. Denver didn’t go down without a fight though as Goings would stop the Arch Rival jammer cold and lock her down for a great penalty kill in the third jam of the period.

Arch Rival’s Bricktator and Swanson continued running up big scoring jams for the first 20 minutes of the half before Denver’s Barrett would drive Bricktator to the inside multiple times allowing Gypin to put up a 10-0 jam.  This was part of a six jam scoring streak in which Denver lead the scoring 60-39, closing the gap to 144-129 for Arch Rival.

Denver’s Akers was a force to be reckoned with on both defense and offense but took the star near the end of the half to try and stop the bleeding.  She put up nine points to Bricktator’s 13, bringing the score to 161-138 for St. Louis.

Denver’s Wilhelm grabbed a fast lead call when Akers, fresh from taking the star, ran a solid offensive sweep to get her out.  Wilhelm held her own, displaying amazing line work, balance, and track awareness as she bent over the inside line of turn 3.

Photo Credit Ryan Quick: Quick N' Derby

Photo Credit Ryan Quick: Quick N’ Derby

Arch Rival remained on full lockdown mode holding Klein till less than 30 seconds were left on the clock when Klein finally got clear with lead and immediately called it to stop the bleeding.

The next to last jam was an absolute swirling mass of both teams with Bricktator coming out of the maelstrom first for lead jammer dodging a hit by Denver’s jammer on her first scoring pass and call it 5-0.

Bricktator returned to the track and grabbed the final lead status, but only one point, as she displayed amazing clock management while playing it slow and not engaging to close it out with a 177-165 repeat of Arch Rival’s  Sibling Rivalry win over Denver.

Arch Rival will move on to play London Rollergirls Saturday at 10:00 am PDT, while Denver heads home.

Be sure to return to 2016 WFTDA Champs Central for more recaps and score updates.

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