Division I Playoffs!!

What. A. Weekend.

The Tampa Tantrums put on for their city in Sacramento, CA September 5th-7th in the first Division I (D1) playoff tournament weekend to qualify for WFTDA's Championship trophy, the Hydra. While the Tantrums did not make the top three spots in order to compete in November, they did make upsets. The women entered the tournament #7 seed and WFTDA ranked #27 and left with a 3-1 playoff record.

Friday early afternoon the Tantrums took on the lovely ladies from the Blue Ridge Roller Girls. The women from Asheville, NC were previously top Division II competitors, however they found themselves in this year's D1 playoffs. They put up a good fight, but the outcome was not in their favor. Tampa was able to execute perhaps the best offensive strategies of the year. You can get a taste here (thanks to Roller Derby Junkies).  Tampa took the win 337-74. Tampa jammer stats: PhDiesel 83 points, 60% lead jammer, 2 penalties. Apolo Ana 80 points, 60% lead jammer, 2 penalties. Little A 70 points, 82% lead jammer, 0 penalties. Panty Bandit 64 points, 43% lead jammer, 3 penalties.

Friday evening the Tantrums advanced to play the #2 seed and WFTDA ranked #8, the Minnesota Roller Girls (MNRG). The first quarter of the game was close with jams #5 33-36 (MNRG) and jam #10 56-52 (MNRG). The Tantrums stayed within striking range until jam #14 when Apolo Ana went to the box for a track cut allowing Harmony Killerbruise to earn 17 points while two Tantrum blockers were in the box. Winter was coming and the Floridians were unable to adjust. Penalties plagued both teams, but Tampa's 11 jammer penalties compared to MNRG's 4 helped Minnesota take the win 261-107. Tampa jammer stats: PhDiesel 27 points, 50% lead jammer, 3 penalties. Panty Bandit 27 points, 50% lead jammer, 1 penalty. Taz Maniac 22 points, 38% lead jammer, 4 penalties. Little A 21 points, 38% lead jammer, 2 penalties.

With the loss to Minnesota the Tantrums would go on to play for the top spot in the consolation brackets. Saturday, Tampa took on #6 seed and WFTDA ranked #25 the Santa Cruz Derby Girls (SCDC). The first quarter of the game was also a very close one with a one point differential in jam #5 35-34 (Tampa). The score remained tight until jam #10 when SCDC's TARAism took a trip to the penatly box for a track cut allowing Little A to put 27 points on the board. From there on the Tantrums earned their points bit by bit. Santa Cruz's fans were there to cheer on their team, but their chants and home court advantage were not enough to make up for the 12 jammer penalties and the 3 blockers who foulded out. With Little A on her A-game, scoring over 100 points, Tampa won decidedly 278-101. Tampa jammer stats: Little A 113 points, 75% lead jammer, 0 penalties. PhDiesel 59 points, 73% lead jammer, 1 penalty. Panty Bandit 38 points, 50% lead jammer, 2 penalties. Laryn Kill 35 points, 89% lead jammer, 0 penalties.

With the win over Santa Cruz, Tampa guaranteed they would leave the playoffs in a better rank than what they entered. Tampa would play for 5th and 6th place against Terminal City (#5 seed, WFTDA #18), hailing from Vancouver, Canada. These two faced each other at last year's D1 Playoffs in Richmond, VA in which Terminal City (TCRD) took the win by 26 points. In the closest game of the weekend, and perhaps the best to watch, this game had all the ingredients for a great, close match. Both teams did not fail to deliver.

With four lead changes in the first quarter of the game, jam #9 had a tied score of 47-47. Jam #11 saw TCRD continue with the lead when Laryn Kill received a track cut, allowing Maiden Sane to put up an additional 10 points. Jam #14 PhDiesel went to box for a forearm penalty, giving Evada Peron 24 points against 2 on-the-track Tantrum blockers. In the last 5 jams of the first half Tampa held TCRD scoreless, ending the half 120-82.

Playoff ticketsTampa defense continued to hold TCRD scoreless in the first 5 jams of the second half. With Blue Ridge and the Denver Roller Dolls cheering on the Tantrums in the stands, Tampa slowly tacked on the points. Jam #10 in the second half saw Evada Peron enter the penalty box for a track cut, allowing Little A to reign the track where she earned 15 points against 2 on-the-track TCRD blockers; bringing the score 130-144 TCRD. In jam #17 Tampa defense never let Evada Peron out of the pack after she served 30 seconds in the box for a low block on the Tampa jammer, allowing Laryn Kill to take the lead 136-135. Second to last jam, Maiden Sane (TCRD) scored 10 points bringing the score 162-152. She then jammed again in the last jam only to earn a track cut penalty, permitting Little A to hammer in the last nail with a 20-point jam; ending the game 182-156. Terminal City suffered 57 penalties to Tampa's 30. Tampa jammer stats: Little A 110 points, 76% lead jammer, 0 penalties. Smooth Operator 35 points, 50% lead jammer, 2 penalties. Laryn Kill 19 points, 50% lead jammer, 2 penalties. Apolo Ana 11 points, 63% lead jammer, 0 penalites. 

The Tampa Tantrums would like to thank Tampa Roller Derby referees, officials, volunteers, skaters, and fans for all of their support this season. The Tantrums could not do it without YOU.


Photos: David Costa