(PORTLAND, OR) St. Louis-based Arch Rival Roller Derby concluded its breakthrough 2016 campaign Saturday afternoon following an 197-94 setback to the London Rollergirls in quarterfinal play at the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA) Division 1 International Championships at Portland’s Veterans Memorial Coliseum.
Even in defeat, St. Louis (12-2) set a new benchmark this weekend by reaching the global tourney’s “Elite Eight,” a historical first for the ten-year-old league.
Arch Rival, currently ranked eighth internationally, played mighty against the Brits, who automatically reached the bracket’s quarterfinals via September’s gold medal finish at the WFTDA’s playoff round in Montreal.
In the inaugural meeting between the pair, St. Louis capitalized on a power jam in the game’s second rotation and Bricktator collected four to give the squad a 4-0 edge. ARCH jammer Annie Swanson added a grand slam three minutes deep that pushed the lead to 9-0.
London, currently ranked fifth internationally, broke the goose egg with Master Blaster’s 9-4 strike in jam 4 but Arch Rival retained a 13-9 edge with 25:35 left in the period. Then on the next rotation, LRG’s AnDracula tied the game 13-13 with a four-point pass at the 24:00 mark.
Arch Rival blocking, paced by Chewblocka, Kayla Woodward, Shear-Ra Powers, Shimmy Hoffa, Smarty McFly, Party Foul, Salty, Krista Grant, Bolt Action, Jamheiser Bush and Molotov, helped the squad net an 8-3 run over the next two jams.
In the process, Swanson claimed three points in jam 6 and Harmony Killerbruise notched a 5-3 jam with 21:10 left in the first that maintained St. Louis’ lead at 21-16.
London then went on the attack, scoring 19 points uncontested over the next six jams. When the dust settled after Blaster’s four-pointer collected midway through the period, the Brits held a 35-21 advantage.
However, this was just the beginning of anarchy by the U.K.
On the next rotation, an Arch Rival jammer miscue resulted in a power jam for London. With precision walls built by Stefanie Mainey, Shoalynn Scarlett, Kid Block and Helvetica Black, AnDracula produced an 18-3 jam with 13:20 left in the period that pushed London’s lead to 53-24. Rogue Runner added a grand slam on the next flight that pushed the score to 58-24.
However, St. Louis rebounded and, with Bricktator’s 13-point power jam with 10:00 left in the half, shored the score to 58-37.
That, unfortunately, would be the final points scored by ARCH in the half. London’s period-ending 48-0 run, punctuated by AnDracula’s 20-pointer collected prior to intermission, resulted in the Brits holding a 106-37 lead at halftime.
In the second half, Arch Rival saw a slight resurgence in scoring overall, but London continued to widen the differential. The powerful Brits pushed their lead to triple-digits following AnDracula’s 20-pointer at the 16:00 mark that made the score 159-49.
St. Louis managed to keep the final margin respectable with a pair of nine-pointers, from Swanson and Bricktator, deep in the game.
London outscored Arch Rival in the second half, 91-57, en route to the 197-94 quarterfinal win and advancement to the Hydra Cup semifinals.
For St. Louis, Swanson finished the game with 36 points while Bricktator added 35.
Although the loss might have stung at the moment, it didn’t diminish the overall fact that Arch Rival had concluded its most successful travel team campaign in league history and now has firmly established itself as one of the premiere franchises on the planet.
ARCH RIVAL ROLLER DERBY (96): Annie Swanson 36, Bricktator 35, Kayla Woodward 11, Harmony Killerbruise 9, Shear-Ra Powers 3.
Arch Rival’s three-team local season at Ballwin’s Midwest Sport Hockey launches Saturday, December10. For more information, go to archrivalrollerderby.com.