2016 International Tournaments

Road to Playoffs: D1 Madison

September 22, 2016

via Derby Central

The final WFTDA Playoff tournament is taking place this weekend, September 23rd-25th in Madison, Wisconsin and is hosted by the Mad Rollin' Dolls. This bracket will decide the final three Division 1 teams that will join London, Texas, Montréal, Rose City, Denver, Jacksonville, Victoria, Angel City, and Rat City in Portland, Oregan this November for Championships. After the award ceremony on Sunday, WFTDA will also announce seeding for the Champs bracket.

Game 1: #8 Windy City Rollers vs #9 Ohio Roller Derby

In 2015 Windy City was recovering from massive turnover in their charter, and after entering Playoffs 5th and finishing in 9th place, it was the first year in WFTDA history that they didn't attend Champs. This season they have really bounced back and have risen back into D1 territory after falling to #62 in the rankings, and showed that they still have strength within their league. They stayed busy this season with trips across the States, from the Big O, to Midwest BrewHaHa, to ECDX and hold a 9-2 sanctioned record although most of their wins have been against Division 2 opponents. They only beat D2 2nd place finisher Charlottesville by 9 points at ECDX, and lost to Vancouver 8th placer Sacred City at the Big O, 218-157.

Both Windy City and Ohio have been long time WFTDA member leagues from the Midwest, and it wasn't until last season that Ohio beat Windy City 251-129. This season their schedule has similar results to WCR, while heading to Playoffs with a winning 8-4 record, most of their victories were also against D2 level competitors. A relatively short season for the hard-working Ohioans, the only big event they went to was Skate to Thrill, which yielded their closest win this year at 222-221 against Houston.

After a well-matched #8 and #9 seed battle, the winner will get to face #1 seed Gotham later the same day at 4pm CDT. The loser will enter the consolation bracket for another early 10am CDT game the next day.

Game 2: #7 No Coast Derby Girls vs #10 Mad Rollin' Dolls

Continuing the Midwest match ups, the No Coast Mad Maxines come into this tournament with the #7 seed after entering last year's Playoff at #10 and finishing 6th. Their clean sweep at Skate to Thrill pushed them as high as #21 in the WFTDA rankings, but losses to Sun State and Team United at the 80/35 Invitational, combined with a slim 23-point win against D2 8th place finisher Kansas City, dropped them down a few places by the June rankings release. In August, No Coast also took on this bracket's #3 seed Minnesota, and lost 219-134 - a closer win than Flat Track Stats predicted.

Hosting this tournament, the Mad Rollin' Dolls will have their home crowd and many cowbells cheering them on for this noon game. Playing a fairly short season, after beating Brewcity 234-91 in March, the Dairyland Dolls got the rest of their sanctioned games in June at Midwest BrewHaHa and ECDX. With four wins and two losses, all of their games were played against teams who went to D2 tournaments, or not at all. The one team on their schedule that they shared with No Coast was Houston, and while No Coast beat them by 29 points, Madison lost to them by four points. Coming in at the bottom of D1, they'll have a hard weekend ahead of them. The winner will advance to a quarter-final game against the #2 seed Arch Rival the same day, while the loser will fall into the consolation bracket the next day.

Game 3: #3 Minnesota RollerGirls vs #6 Helsinki Roller Derby

The Minnesota RollerGirls tipped back into the top ten by June after an early season win against Rocky Mountain by 292 points, one of the first games the 5280 Fight Club played this season after losing numerous skaters, and then MNRG finished their season with a 6-4 record after attending The Big O and Sibling Rivalry. They took on many teams who finished in the top three at their respective tournaments, beating Rat City and losing to Jacksonville (by 23 points) and Denver (by one point). A potential opponent for Minnesota this weekend is Arch Rival who beat them at the Big O by 3 points in the last few minutes.

Coming against the experienced Minnesota RollerGirls is Helsinki, who had their first trip to WFTDA Playoffs last seasons where they entered and finished in 7th place. Since then they have risen into the upper 20s in the WFTDA rankings and finished this season with six wins and four losses. At the Big O they also took on an over-ranked Rocky Mountain, and then beat Terminal City, ranked #23 at the time, by 19 points. It was a close game however, and Helsinki's momentum was dictated by jammer penalties. They also attended The European Smackdown and hosted Mayday in HEL, where they came within 15 points of Montréal.

The winner will advance to a semi-final spot against the winner of Game 6, Arch Rival versus No Coast or Mad Rollin' Dolls, the next day at 8pm CDT. The loser will fall into the consolation bracket, aiming towards the 5th place spot.

Game 4: #1 Gotham Girl Roller Derby vs Winner of Game 1

Despite Gotham's 67-game winning streak being interrupted by Rose City at the 2015 Championships last fall, they have maintained their #1 spot in the WFTDA rankings and have continued to pick up solid victories this season. With five sanctioned wins, they previously beat all three of the top finishers from the D1 Montréal tournament, including the New Skids by 381 points. The team to get closest to them this season was London during their European re-match, and Gotham beat them 149-118.

Gotham's first game will be against either Windy City or Ohio on Friday at 4pm CDT. Since GGRD is at the top of the rankings list, then next ranked team with the seeding s-curve has #8 Arch Rival taking the #2 seed this tournament. Gotham has already beaten two teams above them, so it's looking like a tough road for anyone to upset Gotham at Playoffs.

Game 5: #4 Tampa Roller Derby vs #5 Team United

The Tampa Tantrums started the season at Southern Discomfort, winning against Philly, who placed 4th in Vancouver, and Columbia but lost to Atlanta, who placed 4th in Columbia. Another couple conflicting results was came in June in August when they first took on this bracket's #3 seed Minnesota, and came within 20 points, but then lost to Montréal's 8th placer Detroit, by 59 points. After that last loss in August, their sanctioned record was five wins and six losses.

Team United just entered the WFTDA Playoff scene last season, and despite entering 6th and finishing 7th, they've risen to #17 in the rankings this season. At the Clover Cup Team United placed 2nd after Dallas took them out in the final game, 151-88. They also hosted an invitational this year called 80/35 where they notched three more wins, and then they went 1-1 at Midwest BrewHaHa. There they were only three points behind Arch Rival by halftime, but ended up losing that game by 119 points.

Tampa and Team United have never faced each other before, and it should be a good #4/#5 match up. Team United may be able to take Tampa by surprise, or Tampa's experience will back them up on the track. The winner will move onto a semi-final game on Gotham's side of the bracket at 2pm CDT then next day, while the loser will move to the consolation bracket at noon on Saturday.

Game 6: #2 Arch Rival Roller Derby vs Winner of Game 2

Arch Rival earned their first trip to WFTDA Championships last year when they knocked out Rocky Mountain to place third at Playoffs. This year they continued their upward momentum by defeating the only team that beat them last year, Jacksonville, as well as the #3 seed of this bracket, Minnesota. They finished 2016 with a perfect record of nine games with trips to The Big O, Midwest BrewHaHa and Sibling Rivarly.

Their solid, slow braced wall or triangle helped them keep a tight game with Minnesota at the Big O, and secured their win in the final minutes by getting lead status and controlling the game. Their first game will be against either No Coast or the Mad Rollin' Dolls, and moving on means a likely semi-final rematch against Minnesota.

Watch the tournament live at wftda.tv and check out Derby Central and wftda.com for recaps and updates all weekend.

Real. Strong. Athletic. Revolutionary.