LOS ANGELES, CA — In a game that is perhaps an indicator of tournament play to come, two of the top 12 teams, Angel City Derby Girls at #8, and Minnesota RollerGirls at #12, faced off in Angel City’s home town. What ensued was both a total departure from the classic sunshine-filled welcome that Southern California gives its guests, and what may be a solid portend for the coming tournament season. Angel City took the game in the end, 195-109 after a tense first half of lead switches and neck and neck play.
This game might be a good foreshadowing of the games to come at Playoffs, and even in Championship tournament play, if you take the top twelve ranked teams as a solid prediction of that tournament qualification. If that’s the case, then Angel City versus Minnesota gave the world a taste of the headlining WFTDA games for the 2015 post season.
The day was plagued by issues that no one ever really expects for a mid-July game in dry SoCal – epic thunderstorms that shut down power across entire blocks of the city, and gave the game little chance to play out, with three separate power outages in the first fifteen minutes of action. The game was then delayed for almost a full hour after the final outage persisted, with event organizers exploring local generator options to run scoreboards and lights in the dim warehouse space.
The game play itself started out with a solid start from both teams, and an evenly matched score at 35-32 just prior to the final outage. It was then adjusted to 35-31 upon a review by officials, with the game sitting just quietly in the lead for Angel City’s charter team, the Hollywood Scarlets.
If this really was the game to watch for playoffs and champs ahead, this year promises to be a year filled with breathless well-matched plays and strong circulating defensive walls. Or at least for the first half. A second game quarter of almost jam by jam lead trades and point inching – never more than five at a time – sent the scores gently upwards, barely reflecting the tense and dense play between the two teams, and left Angel City with a tentatively slim lead of only 2 points by the shortened half time break, 60-58.
Whether the narrow time frame of the break was to blame, or perhaps the home team advantage gave Angel City the chance to take their learnings and run with them, the Scarlets took charge of the game. They shot their game lead up to 76-68 by only three minutes back into play, and while MNRG kept persisting with occasional star passes and bold jammer moves and engagement, the point spread kept spreading towards the home team. The game ultimately finished with the rankings upheld, as Angel City avenged themselves for the game that Minnesota took them by 4 points last year, 195-109.