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Furies Hammered by Gotham, Up Against Home Squad No Coast Next

Credit: Bill Ingraf (Regularman)

Credit: Bill Ingraf (Regularman)

Moral victories are usually scoffed at by fans. You win or you lose. The canyon that exists between Queen City Roller Girl’s “Lake Effect Furies” and the Gotham Roller Girls Derby is big enough that you can actually justify stuffing some moral victories into it though. Gotham has not lost since 2010. They have won 4 straight WFTDA Championships, they are a dynasty and the best roller derby team in the world. Seeing them play in person is a dream of all derby skaters, playing against them is an exclusive opportunity, and beating them is currently beyond comprehension. This was the backdrop to the Furies 590-29 loss on Friday night in Omaha. It sounds horrible, but let me provide even more perspective. 

In playoff tournament play no one has scored more than 25 points against Gotham in their initial tournament bout since Mad Rollin’ scored 70 against them in 2008. Providence 25 and 14 in 2009 and ’10, Dutchland 0 in 2011, Carolina 8 in ’12, Oklahoma 21 in ’13, Kansas 17 last year. THAT is a huge moral victory. 

There were more moral victories beyond that though; the Furies blockers and jammers had brief moments were they were able to hold Gotham blockers and break their packs, skaters and coaches got a huge dose of experience, Guy was successful with an official review against Gotham, and rookie jammer Murphy got lead and scored points on Bonnie Thunders. How good is Bonnie Thunders? She scored 297 points in this bout alone.

The Furies were not playing for the score board at all, running their rotation straight up and ensuring that their skaters would be rested for their next bout as they moved to the consolation bracket. No one got hurt, the skaters had fun, and they all got the chance to do what only a fraction of skaters worldwide get the chance to do by playing Gotham. 

Up next, the Furies will take on the home tournament team No Coast from Lincoln, Nebraska. No Coast lost 200-192 to 7th seed Helsinki in their initial bout in another tournament game that came down to the last jam. Moving to the consolation bracket, No Coast beat Chicago’s Windy City 300-88 this morning in order to advance to play the Furies. No Coast and the Furies have never played against each other and although the Furies are the higher seed, No Coast is a much more experienced league with a history that stretches back to 2006. No Coast finished 7th last year in their D1 bracket and 10th in their bracket in 2013. Last year they managed to sneak out two very close wins to grab that 7th seed after coming in at 9th – upsetting Oklahoma and Wasatch by 4 and 3 points respectively. They have experience and the home crowd on their side. 

These two teams share a lot of similarities – especially when it comes to the size of their blocking cores and their blocking styles. Beyond that, No Coast has an edge with a more rounded out jammer rotation and they also tend to play cleaner than the Furies do. That said, No Coast will also be playing their second bout of the day, will be going up against a refreshed Furies squad and the Furies have shaken out the nerves from their first game curse. Both teams jammers are going to have to be creative with this big blocking walls as pushing them will be extremely tough. No Coast gambled a lot in their first bout against Helsinki with star passes with mixed results. It will be interesting to see if they return to this strategy when they do not get lead jam status. 

No pressure on Furies jammer InSINerator, but how Sin plays for the rest of the tournament will largely decide how the Furies do. Top jammer Librawlian will be that consistent 1st option that makes the Furies a threat, but how Sin plays usually decides close bouts. Her 2nd half against Toronto was solid, and she managed 2 leads (most) and 12 points (tied with Brawl) against Gotham. If Sin and Brawl are on – they have a very good chance the rest of the way out. If they start to struggle with penalties and blockers panic in the chaos, they will be in tough. 3-4 jammers Low Hits Griffin and rookie Murphy can spell off Brawl and Sin and have had their moments so far in the tournament – but the Furies will depend on those two to take the lions share of jams. The Furies need to capitalize on their endurance, come out with a fast and strong start, and never let up. Play clean, play focused, and play for a full 60 minutes and the Furies will have a shot at moving on to fight for the 5th seed. 

You can watch the game live at wftda.tv at 8pm/EST