(Story by Brian Ledford – Photos by Bob Dunnell)
(MONTREAL, QUEBEC, CANADA) Reaching uncharted territory, the Arch Rival Roller Derby All Stars entered Sunday’s bronze medal game of the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA) global finale with high hopes.
After a quarterfinal victory over stubborn Denver and a semifinal setback against inevitable Hydra Trophy winner Rose City, St. Louis’s match-up with prior champ Victorian provided plenty of optimism.
During numerous stretches, ARCH could do no wrong and promptly displayed the attributes that make them an upper-echelon franchise.
However, a second period surge by the Australians resulted in Arch Rival’s 119-107 setback and a fourth-place finish for the weekend. ARCH finishes their breakthrough season with a record of 6-4.
Tied 2-2- after two rotations, Victorian cobbled a 27-0 rally over the next five jams. Highlighted by Lauren Foote’s dozen-pointer in Jam 3 and followed by Spinach’s 8-point power jam on the next flight, VRDL pushed their lead to 29-2 ten minutes deep.
ARCH countered with a baker’s dozen as Annie Swanson posted 10 in Jam 8 and Bricktator added three at the 17:10 mark that shored the score to 29-15.
St. Louis then squeezed out a 6-1 collection over the next three jams as Jedi Knight-N-Gale’s four-pointer and Bricktator’s pair sliced VRDL’s lead to single digits, 30-21 with 12:55 left in the period.
Victorian (6-4) quashed any chances of an upheaval with a powerful 42-16 stretch run in the final ten minutes of the opening period. A pair of respective 8-4 jams from Curly Burly and Sarah Love pushed the score to 46-29 with 8:20 left in the frame.
Anna Pave U Ova added a dozen points two jams later to add to the frenzy and when dust had settled heading into the period’s penultimate jam, VRDL had amassed a 72-33 advantage.
ARCH’s Loki Doki helped soften the blow with a four-pointer to end the half but with the Australians’ late surge the squad found themselves licking their wounds at intermission, trailing 72-37.
Arch Rival sprinted out to a 21-0 roll to start the second period, thanks to the persistent wall work of blockers Kayla Woodward, Vicious Van GoGo, Shear-Ra Powers, Cloak N’ DragHer, Smarty McFly, Bolt Action, LuxFurious, Thestral, Splatter, Dad Bod and Ace.
This resulted in Bricktator’s four-point launch of the second, followed by Doki’s 11-pointer scored with a power jam assist at 26:50 that made the score 72-52. Capitalizing on a power start in Jam 3, Swanson scored six and ARCH whittled the deficit to 72-58 at the 24:05 mark.
Victorian went on another quickie spurt and widened the differential with a 26-4 run over the next three jams. Pave U Ova recorded 10 points in Jam 5, and back-to-back eights from Burly and Love expanded VRDL’s lead to 98-62 with 14:50.
ARCH turned the flow of the game back to their favor with a 23-4 rush over three jams. Utilizing a pair power jams, St. Louis narrowed the lead to 102-85 after Doki’s dozen with 9:40 left.
Pave U Ova recorded a clutch four points for Victorian with 8:50 left that made the score 106-85 but ARCH had another double-digit run in them as Doki notched three points in Jam 13 and Swanson followed with eight with 5:30 left as ARCH had now whittled the deficit to ten points, 106-96.
After a 2-2 push in Jam 15, VRDL seemed to have found the potential winning jam on the next rotation as Love grabbed lead, scored 11 points and helped chew nearly two minutes off the clock, resulting in a 119-98 advantage with 2:20 left.
Or so it seemed. Arch had one last rally to produce.
Swanson gain lead and posted three for ARCH in Jam 16 that made the score 119-101. Then in the game’s penultimate jam, Bricktator snared lead and posted a power-jam aided six, making the score 119-107. The co-captain wisely called off the jam with :32 left, which set up the opportunity for one final two minute rotation that could potentially give ARCH a come-from-behind victory and a coveted bronze medal.
With two seconds left, the game’s final jam commenced and as the period clock expired, VRDL’s Love gained lead and promptly called off the jam to clinch the 119-107 third place victory. Love topped VRDL scoring with 29 points.
ARCH INDIVIDUAL SCORING: Loki Doki 32, Annie Swanson 30, Bricktator 29, Jedi Knight-N-Gale 4, Bolt Action 4, Shear-Ra Powers 4.
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