by Jim Almy
The opening round of Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA) Championship playoffs, which begin the weekend of September 5-7 in Sacramento, pits the Rat City Rollergirls’ All-Star Team (AST) against a Canadian team that is full of excitement for their chance to take them on.
Rat City’s Sintripetal Force sneaks by Minnesota blockers earlier this season. Photo by David Jaewon Oh
A look at their comparative records suggests they might want to dial back that enthusiasm.
Not that this team representing the Terminal City Rollergirls League from Vancouver, BC, doesn’t bear the all-too-dangerous underdog label that often leads to upsets. TCRG has hovered around the 37th ranking among roller derby teams worldwide since June of last year. In May their play pushed them up to 25 as rated by WFTDA. When the June standings were announced TCRG were at a shiny 18th. AST rested two spots above them at 16th.
But Rat City’s AST has been warming up for playoffs by taking on some of the best in the country. They skated 8th ranked Minnesota in a KeyArena bout early in August, losing a close 145-127. Last weekend AST bopped down I-5 to Portland, daring to enter the den of the 4th ranked Rose City Rollers’ Wheels of Justice. They survived a 318-103 drubbing against that powerhouse.
But they left the rose city with a great attitude. Head AST Coach Ho Chi Danh pointed out that his team would be working on getting more primary success, getting their jammers out first. “We learned a lot skating against a great team,” he added.
AST jammer Sintripetal Force called that bout a hard game and said it gave AST great experience in taking the track against a deep line up.
“We can come back from this,” she said.
That comeback will begin against a team that is fired up for the bout.
The Rat City All-Stars prepare to take the track. Photo by David Jaewon Oh.
Terminal City skater and writer Jenna (H-Bomb) Hauck quoted Head TCRG Coach Mack the Mouth on the Terminal City web site. “We are all very excited about playing Rat City as it brings this team’s transformation full circle,” says Mack. “We played them on June 9, 2012 and exceeded the outcome as well as put a scare into Rat City with our star passes and different schemes we ran on starts. It was less than 10 points at halftime and although they ran away with it in the last 15 minutes, the score was not indicative of the game we played. So now we get to play them again.”
After their Saturday night, August 9, bout against AST, Minnesota stuck around for a Sunday match up in the Rat’s Nest against TCRG, a 262-103 romp over their somewhat undermanned opponents.
Coach Mack the Mouth explained that he brought only 11 skaters down for the bout and, by the final eight minutes, had lost two to penalties. (Players can be whistled for up to seven penalties during a bout. After the seventh they must leave the game.) “But no excuses,” he added. “That was all self-inflicted.”
“The good news for us is we get a chance to regroup and use this as a reminder as we prepare for Sacramento in what will surely be an epic game against Rat City!”
That comparative record I mentioned earlier shows AST with two wins and two losses against common opponents while TCRG was one and three. It looks like this:
AST v. Minnesota 145-127 (L)
TCRG v. Minnesota 262-103 (L)
AST v. Sacred City 444-58 (W)
TCRG v. Sacred City 342-75 (W)
AST v. Montreal 202-124 (W)
TCRG v. Montreal 199-177 (L)
AST v. Angel City 250-79 (L)
TCRG v. Angel City 271-97 (L)