When Angel City and Victoria met Sunday afternoon at the Big O, the #2-ranked Australians already had three wins behind them, including one against the 2015 Champions Rose City. There was a lot of uncertainty prior to the weekend as it was the first time playing sanctioned games this season for most of the teams attending the invitational, but it came as a surprise to most to see #7 (March Rankings) Angel City hold Victoria scoreless for the first five minutes.
With their recent transfer from VRDL, Tui Lyon, Angel City seemed to have gotten all of her insider knowledge to take control of the game from the start. Victoria is used to playing patiently however, and with just 11 skaters seeing track time, they turned things around and took a solid win, 183-94.
Last time these two teams met, the Hollywood Scarlets won by 47 points. At the Big O Angel had already put in hard work against Texas and Denver, both of which were victories, so they were seeking out another win.
To start the game, ACDG’s Satan’s Little Helper lined up against Giles, and Tui immediately made her presence known by attacking an opposing blocker and isolating them from the VRDL quad. That enabled Satan to put up 13 points while the rest of Angel City’s blocking force locked into defense.
When Giles first snuck 5 points onto the board due to a power jam, it did not at all become the kind of points-gathering slide that viewers might have expected. In fact Angel then held Victoria to those 5 points for three more jams before any sort of scoring run could happen. The first quarter of tense play seemed to offer the potential for a dramatic mix-up of rankings since no one had really seen ACDG’s game play since their single example of WFTDA action in a 600+ point close-out game against Cherry City.
Angel City wasn’t the only one to have gained a top-level skater from international movement however; the Aussie’s had gained Rose City stalwart Serelson as well as Gotham powerhouse Mick Swagger. Their jammer rotation was limited though, as Christy Demons was seen bench coaching instead of jamming all weekend.
Angel City maintained a narrow lead all the while, until the final four minutes before half-time, when Victoria pushed first into a narrow lead, and then climbed their way up steadily with a big points push in the final minutes. They entered the half-time break at 78-53. With that 30 minutes spent, the two teams were both holding a 44.4 lead jammer percentage, and had 2 jammer penalties apiece.
Angel City was sitting with just 3 more blocker penalties, possibly revealing the hole in their game that Victoria would ultimately prey upon. Both sides utilized quick, responsive play combined with densely braced three-walls that provided unrelenting defense. After 11 minutes into the first half, Victoria was able to claim their first lead jammer status, and gained momentum in their favor with a 28-point run. Victoria slowly continued to add points with more offensive power punches by Tui Lyon, but Angel City pushed back against them, and the score remained close throughout the rest of the first half.
While it was clear that Victoria was keenly feeling the absence of the possibly magical jamming creature that is Christy Demons, Ivy K’nivey set up a scoring run in the second half that Angel City wasn’t able to hold back. Massive point additions sent Victoria’s lead to 105-56 at only 5 minutes into the period. The rest of the game unfolded with incremental conservative point inching from Angel City, while Victoria added with more strong bursts or scoring, and jammers entered packs with careful consideration rather than coming in hot.
Ending the game with a score of 183-94, Victoria took their 4th win of the tournament with points spread fairly even across their 3 jammers. Giles led scoring with 69 points while Ivy K’nivey totaled 58, with her second half 19-point jam, and Mary Fagdalene added 56. With a slightly broader rotation, Satan’s Little Helper topped ACDG scoring with 35, while Micki Krimmel and Ghetto Fabu-lez added 24 each, Darby Dagger put up 11 points.
Angel also utilized all 14 skaters on their bench, although at varying degrees, while Victoria’s roster seemed to have a bit more consistency throughout. As mentioned in our recent Off-Track Banter, VRDL notoriously trains hard and prepares intensely for these big expensive trips to take on top level teams. That work has shown over the years as they have nearly ticked off wins against everyone at the top of the WFTDA rankings.
With a 2-1 weekend at the Big O, Angel City has indicated not only on WFTDA.tv, but on ESPN3 as well, that they aren’t a team to be underestimated. If they continue with their hard-hitting defense by the likes of Hunnie Brasco and Soledad, as well as explosive offense administrated by Tui Lyon, but are able to reign in their penalties, Angel City could be fighting for a top seed spot by June 30th. The Big O set them ahead two spots to #5, but have four great forces above them yet.
Check out other scores from the Big O and stay tuned for more team analysis from the big weekend coming soon.