Salt Lake City, UT
September 28, 2014
By Danger (ismymiddlename)
Tri-City Roller Derby did what none of the other teams in the international 2014 WFDA Playoffs Salt Lake City had been able to - they slowed Oklahoma Victory Dolls’ play down somewhat. The notoriously speedy Oklahoma City, OK team kept tangling with Tri-City’s determined back-of-pack play, and even starts right on the jam line for Tri-City weren’t letting Oklahoma start racing. While the teams have never met before, they proved in breathtaking style just how closely matched they are, when a game that was tied after 60 minutes game was decided in overtime, finishing with a narrow win for Tri-City, 190-185.
The game’s first jam pitted Tri-City jammer Ova’Kill against Oklahoma’s Czech 1-2. The latter went on to take lead, handing first points to Oklahoma, 4-0. In the following jam, Dolly Dynamite was boxed on a back block, which gave Freudian Whip a power jam to add in 10 unreplied points for Tri-City, putting them abruptly into the lead, 10-4.
Initially, Tri-City continued their score additions steadily with chunky increments. In fact, it took Oklahoma till the 8th jam into the game when Jammin’ Jane took to the track as a jammer for a second time, for them to add in 15-8. This half, most of Oklahoma’s points took place in double digit clusters around lead jammer status awards for their team, while Tri-City’s additions were more persistent and lower.
A highlight moment in the first period was a power jam start for Tri-City’s Ova’Kill as Oklahoma failed to field a jammer in Jam 10 as the game rounded the first 15 minutes. Unfortunately, Ova’Kill was boxed on a penalty, leaving the track temporarily jammerless and handing Oklahoma’s Ka-Kaw! a power jam start in the following jam.
With high mounting penalties in this game (94 in total), Oklahoma used their official review for this half to request review of an insubordination penalty given to Mount Crushmore, as she hit 5 penalties with 10 minutes still remaining in the half, but the call stood.
The final minutes of the half were punctuated with a rapidly narrowing lead for Tri-City as they grabbed 5 lead jammer calls in as many jams, and used it to add points. By halftime there were only 7 points between the teams, at 90-83, with Tri-City in the lead.
The first jams back provided incremental score climbs in the initial part of the second half, as the teams matched one another almost directly. Tri-City displayed their renewed game strategy at this point, holding Oklahoma back from their favored fast play.
“It seemed like their strategy was to get us going fast, and to just kind of frazzle us and pull us apart, and once we figured that out we just said ‘We don’t need to play their game, we can play a slow back game,’ and so we just adjusted at half-time,” said Tri-City’s Fox Smoulder.
The rest of the game continued with clustered play and spread out and scrappy packs, fairly continuously engaging, but with a regular rear-wall presence from Tri-City. Lead jammer trading heading into the final 10 minutes meant the score lead switched accordingly. Play slowed again as Tri-City brought it back into their control, with only momentary lapses into speeding packs.
Although it looked like Oklahoma might hang on to a narrow lead long enough to win, the final game minutes saw a power jam for Tri-City’s Ova’Kill, when Ka-Kaw! is boxed, heads Tri-City back up to lead. Ka-Kaw! passed the sta, but it could not stop Ova’Kill’s momentum as she continues to push up into the lead. Now Tri-City was in lead with 165-154, 1:40 remaining.
Oklahoma took a team timeout with 31 seconds remaining, and 169-163 in Tri-City’s hands, creating another jam in the game. That final regualr time jam saw lead jammer status go to Dolly Dynamite and, while Fraxxure hit her out at the last yard (taking her final penalty to foul out), it didn’t stop Dolly from taking that lead. Oklahoma started racing as Ova’Kill started heading towards them for a scoring pass, but they needed to be caught by Dolly long enough to earn points. And then as Dolly adds those necessary points, Ova’Kill almost matches them, which meant that a Dolly jam call-off happened just as the teams equalized at 172-172 - a tied game-time end score.
An overtime jam call was received with high emotions on both sides, but most of all Tri-City for whom this scenario felt all too familiar.
“So last year at D2, we actually ended up in an overtime jam for one of our games also, and it was accidentally called short by the jam timer. It went for one minute, instead of two minutes, and we ended up losing that game,” Fox Smoulder said. “So, I don’t know if you noticed, but when the overtime got called, we almost all just fell to the ground and cried because it was kinda like the same thing happening over again, but I think the universe owed us an overtime win, and it paid off”.
When the jam got underway, Oklahoma’s Jammin’ Jane was soon caught at the back of the pack, while Freudian fought the front for her first scoring pass, while Jane is caught in the pack due to repeated hits and recycling from the Tri-City jammers. Blockers from both teams started leaving the track with heavy penalties mounting. Even a star pass from Jane to Impending Doom, who broke the pack, couldn’t gather them enough points to take the game. Final score 190-185, to Tri-City Roller Derby.
Tri-City Roller Derby, who entered seeded 10th for their first D1 Playoffs tournament, leaves the tournament at 9th place. While Oklahoma Victory Dolls, who entered as the 8 seed, will leave the tournament with the 10th placing.
(10) Tri-City Roller Derby 190
(8) Oklahoma Victory Dolls 185
Real. Strong. Athletic. Revolutionary.