October 31, 2014
By The Oxford Commakaze
The Windy City Rollers put the first points on the board with a 4-0 jam in the second game of the international 2014 WFTDA Championships, but that didn’t mean an easy win for the team. Ultimately, despite losing the lead three jams in and regaining it halfway through the second period, Windy prevailed over the Rocky Mountain Rollergirls, 214-192.
“We’ve been practicing mental strength for years, and I think that’s what happened,” said Sargentina of the Windy City Rollers. “We went into the game just feeling confident that we could win it, so when we were down, it wasn’t a matter of us thinking we couldn’t win – we just needed to turn it around and play our game, and we did that.” Although Windy City got off to a quick start, Rocky Mountain started sneaking points in by the second jam with a 2-2 steal by jammer Sweet Mary Pain, and stole the lead completely by the third jam. Rocky continued to slowly build its lead, solidifying it with a big 19-point jam in the fifth jam that capitalized on both a power jam and a glut of penalties to Windy, leaving just one blocker on the track for Sweet Mary Pain to contend with for one pass.
Windy was rarely completely kept off the board, never going more than three scoreless jams in the first half, until a 15-point jam for Juniper Simonis amid a chaotic jam with revolving jammer penalties brought the game back within 20 points, 36-56. Unfortunately for Windy, another two-minute jam just a few minutes later left Rocky with 23 points to Windy’s 4, leaving a 42-point gap with less than ten minutes in the first half. Both teams relied on heavy defense with the occasional quick offensive play for the remainder of the half, leading to a 79-102 score in Rocky Mountain’s favor at halftime with no clear dominant team as both teams tried to reset from messy penalties and point shifts.
It looked like the second half would start with more of the same after a fast 0-0 first jam left the score the same, but a last-second back block call to Rocky jammer Sweet Mary Pain set Windy up to start the second jam with a blocker advantage and a power jam. Windy quickly snatched the momentum back after smart offense from captain KonichiWOW helped jammer Sandrine Rangeon grab 12 points before Sweet Mary Pain completed her initial pass and approached the pack hoping to score.
Both teams were still very much still in the game, relying on speed-stealing defensive walls and more and more frequent star passes for Rocky when Windy started getting lead more often. Windy had pulled the game within six points after a pivot line start favored fast-footed jammer Jan Trainor, and took the lead completely in the next jam with a 15-point power jam for Rangeon after a failed star pass left Rocky’s jammer and pivot trapped in the penalty box. Rocky very nearly stole the lead back, bringing the score within two points after a power jam for Sweet Mary Pain gave Rocky its first points in four jams, despite careful bridging and recycling by Windy blockers that would often knock Sweet Mary Pain out – but not down. A 24-point jam for Windy jammer Varla Vendetta sealed the lead as her blockers recycled incessantly on Rocky jammer Alpha, who tried to stash the jammer panty to hand to a pivot or escape unnoticed but was instead recycled on endlessly as all but one Rocky blocker ended up in the box. “I think we played great in the first half, and they played a better second half,” said Triple Shot Misto of the Rocky Mountain Rollergirls. “We gave up some power jams and got into some penalty trouble, and that really ended up determining the game.”
Rocky was held to just seven points over the next five jams as Windy built its lead, landing a 186-141 lead with less than ten minutes left in the game. A comeback was never out of the realm of possibility for Rocky as the team slowly chipped away at Windy’s lead in the last few minutes of game play, jumping on every Windy penalty and running jams as long as possible to eke out points.
“I think that it’s easy to get distracted when you start seeing the game slip away from you,” said Triple Shot Misto. “I think we held it together, but we didn’t come together enough. We needed to unify a little bit more and trust each other a little bit more.”
Despite a 15-point power jam for Rocky in what would turn out to be the last jam, it was not enough to overtake the lead Windy had established a few points at a time, closing the game out 214-192.
“Windy played a great game,” Triple Shot Misto said, “They’re an awesome roller derby league, and they came out on top, and go DRD [Denver Roller Dolls] – we gotta root for Colorado now!”
Windy has just 18 hours until it takes on the Rose City Rollers, who will be playing their first game of the tournament against Windy tomorrow, but Sargentina says Windy is ready.
“As long as we can keep our heads, we have an advantage tomorrow,” she said. “We’re never tired. We also have a lot of experience with tournament play, so we’re not new to having to play two games in two days – hopefully four!” The Windy City Rollers move on to play the Rose City Rollers tomorrow at 12 p.m. central time.
Windy City Rollers (Evansville #2) 214
Rocky Mountain Rollergirls (Salt Lake City #3) 192
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