CHARLESTON, WV – Victoria’s heavy and engaged defense was the star of the game – so strong that even Philly’s steep learning curve and renewed tactics coming back from the half-time break weren’t enough to slow VRDL’s steady and relentless points climb. The Victorians controlled the game from start to finish, handing out the win over Philly, 185-119. Photo by Tyler Shaw.
First jam saw Victoria’s Swish Cariboom line up next to Philly’s Vanessa “V-Diva” Sites on the jam line. Right out of the gate, Philly sped the front of the pack up and held it, disintegrating Victoria’s usually solid defensive lines, and buying V-Diva a quick lead. But her scoring pass was stymied by a quick knock to the outside, recycle and re-engagement, holding her to only two points.
The next jam matched Brazilian Nut against Victoria’s Giles as jammers. Giles headed first to the outside and then cleared the opposition through the inside on the turn. An offensive assist in the rear couldn’t push Brazilian Nut through to catch her, and Giles grabbed lead. By the time Brazilian Nut cleared the pack, Giles was already on a scoring pass, but after popping off the back of Philly’s Heavy Flo, she called the jam from the floor. Victoria was able to continue building its lead through the first half by holding the Philly jammers on their initial passes and drawing multiple jammer penalties.
By 5 minutes into the first half, Victoria had established their lead at 20-2, having given Philly no room to score since the first jam. Not until the first quarter elapsed was Philly able to add another 5 points, and halfway through the first period, Victoria had moved further into the lead, 56-7. Tarantula tacked on multiple scoring passes for the Liberty Belles, as they were forced to pass the star on more than one occasion. Throughout the first half, Victoria’s ever heavy and engaged defense stayed solid, simply shrugging off Philly’s offensive strikes, and holding the Liberty Belle jammers persistently scoreless for long sections of the game. The first period drew to a close with Victora in the lead at 83-51.
Going back to play after the half, Victoria maintained their focused control of the game. Clearly VRDL was determined to punch their tickets to champs. The second jam of the second half rewarded viewers with a rare sight, as Tui Lyon received a star pass from Anna Conned Her. In perhaps the first time anyone had seen Tui jam in sanctioned play, she wound up on a powerjam and cleared 9 points to 13 points for Philly’s Brazilian Nut.
The second half displayed some significant offensive play from Philly, as they clearly decided at the half that their jammers would need assists if they were to overcome VRDL’s staunch defense. Philly’s jammers responded to the slowing and cycling diamond-formation defensive tactics of Victoria by keeping their feet moving at all times, and staying agile, instead of the relentless pushing they’d been doing in the first period.
These tactics certainly resulted in far fewer lead jammer claims for Victoria in the second half. However, Giles (the top scorer in the game) wasn’t to be dissuaded from large jams, inevitably bringing in 89 points for Victoria. And when V-Diva, usually the high-scorer for Philly, wound up sitting out the final jams as her penalties sat at 6, Philly’s fate seemed to have been confirmed.
By the penultimate jam Victoria had put up a 76 point lead at 181-105. The cushion for the Australians allowed them to withstand a final push from Philly’s Herrmann Monster who put up 14 points in the final jam. Victoria leapt into the win with a final score of 185-119, confirming them as the first team from south of the equator to head to WFTDA Championships in roller derby history.
This game means that Victoria has punched their ticket to Champs, going on to play Rose City tomorrow, at 6pm EDT, to decide who gets the 1st tournament placing buy into Champs. Philly will have to fight for their right to make it to Nashville tomorrow at what may be the most thrilling game of the tournament, at 4pm EDT, when they take on Atlanta for 3rd tournament placing.
LINK TO ORIGINAL ARTICLE