D1 Review: The Race Nears Its End

FOLLOW:

What is for all real purposes the 2013-14 WFTDA regular season is days away from ending, and the playoff picture is almost clear. The race is over 95% run–fewer than 5% of the year’s rating points are on offer in the next few days, and the amount of movement possible is very limited. So let’s look at how the land lies after last weekend.

VRDL

VRDL were the obvious big winners of the weekend (and before) with three big wins, and still have a shot at a #1 seed for playoffs. They beat Brandywine 380-47 the day before ECDX and then put up a 290-99 win over Boston and a 240-66 win over Montreal. Their play was aggressive and disruptive at ECDX, and neither team they played had an answer for it.

To nab that #1 seed they will need to continue to outperform their FTS expectations on the West Coast, and doing that against the likes of Rat City and Angel City is an entirely different kettle of fish to doing it against Boston and Montreal. VRDL have undoubtedly impressed and look to be nailed on for a top eight ranking next month–how they perform against a real top 20 team is still, however, a question mark.

Their numbers from ECDX outside of the scoreboard do give pause for thought.

As well as seeing one of their best blockers expelled against Boston for an egregious high block, their regular penalty numbers in their big wins were very high for games with such a lopsided scoreline. Compared to Minnesota against Madison and Naptown (teams at a similar sort of level this year, with wins being put up that were similarly convincing) total penalty numbers were roughly double across the two games, with jammer box trips three times as high for VRDL.

Rose playing Montreal (and winning by a similar margin) presented a similar story; VRDL’s total penalties were approximately 50% higher on average, with jammer penalties coming at twice the rate. This leaves us pondering how they will fare when coming up against more skilled teams who could take advantage of those sorts of numbers. It’s not conclusive evidence by any means–some teams deal with penalty problems better than others, but it’s something to bear in mind!

By our reckoning they could be a top seed for playoffs, but the odds don’t favour them even without taking the above into account. Are they good enough to upset those odds? Only time will tell.

Philly & Atlanta

The Philly Rollergirls also did better than expected and may well have secured themselves the final #3 seeding for playoffs with a 194-142 win over Atlanta and their best performance against Gotham (in terms of score ratio) since Derby in the Burbs in 2010. Whether they actually have managed that or not will depend on Rat City this weekend (more on them later), but the odds are certainly in their favour at the moment.

V-Diva goes from strength to strength–a hit from her that lifted Sexy Slaydie off the floor in the Gotham game will live long in memory, and the addition of Brazilian Nut to their rotation looks to have strengthened their side further. That Philly managed two great results without a number of key players from last year’s playoff squad makes the growth all the more impressive.

Atlanta struggled against Philly. As they did against Minnesota recently, they found themselves in a big hole early on and spent the rest of the game trying to make it up. The lack of The Merchant of Menace and Hollicidal may have something to do with this–and the fact that this weekend’s games were Alassin Sane’s last for the DSDG seem unlikely to help their cause for this year.

Their two losses mean they slipped behind Philly in the race for a #3 playoff seeding but, as with Philly, their final placement will depend on Rat’s performance.

Boston, Terminal, Montreal

These three were in a three-way fight for #5 seed spots at the start of the weekend. Boston came off the worst of the three in their bouts from a rankings perspective with an average of under 250, while Terminal came out the best averaging over 400; this means Boston are likely to fail to hit that #5 mark and will need to face a #3 seed for a second ranking-boosting progression game at playoffs.

Montreal were between the two–though closer to Boston–and look to have kept themselves ahead of Ohio despite a below-par performance.

Terminal’s performance against Boston was on a par with VRDL’s against the Massacre for the first half. Boston trailed 136-38 at the half against the Canadians and 147-48 against the Australians. The final score might have been comparable too had it not been for a disastrous six-jam period towards then end with Evada Peron, luludemon and Simonius Smaximus picked up five penalties between them at let Boston in for 69 points in the last five jams and more than doubling their total across nine of the last ten jams.

Montreal did maintain their position as Queens of Canada against Terminal, but lost out in the rankings thanks to their hammering by VRDL. That looks to have maintained them in a #5 seed thanks to Ohio’s under-performance against Queen City this weekend.

Blue Ridge

While the main look at teams in D2 will come in the B Roll later in the week, WFTDA #41 Blue Ridge deserve a mention. Their 214-147 win over the under-ranked Helsinki and 193-112 win over Brandywine look to have maintained their top seeding in D2, although slightly higher scores would have put them in at the bottom of D1.

Related: Houston now has a game scheduled this coming weekend with Big Easy, which will fulfil their gameplay obligations and secure their qualification for playoffs and ensure the entire top 40 gets invites this year.

Elsewhere

Two of the most significant bouts of the weekend for playoffs happened a long way from Feasterville: they were between SoCal, Sin City and Sacred City in San Diego this past Saturday. SoCal’s two wins in late-scheduled games look to have made up the ground they lost at Golden Bowl and secured a #10 seeding for D1 playoffs. They also sealed Sacred’s fate; they’ll be competing in D2 playoffs this year should they accept the invitation.

Queen City visited Ohio and lost by a creditable 239-111 scoreline. That was closer than had been expected–but didn’t have much impact on the ranking picture thanks to the fact that Ohio have played more sanctioned games than anyone else in the last 12 months.

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