Preview: 2012 WFTDA West Region Playoffs
The Bay Area / Rat City first-round matchup will be a reprise of a late-June game that Bay Area barely won by 5 points, 152-147. Photo: Bekah Root.
On Da Sligh (jamming) and Psycho Babble are big parts of Oly's very different look in 2012. Photo: Axle Adams.
Denver and Rose City have met twice this year, splitting the series -- but Denver's 306-77 win on neutral ground in August was much bigger than Rose City's 151-115 victory at home in May. Photo: Masonite Burn.
Chicago Outfit transfer Sweet Mary Pain has quickly become a major part of the Rocky Mountain jammer rotation. Photo: Dave Wood.
7 seed Arizona returns to the WFTDA postseason for the first time since February 2007 - but without three key players who helped get them there. Photo: Dave Wood.
Krissy Krash (far right) is one of a number of new faces on Angel City who are trying out the flat track after years on LADD's banked-track team. Photo: Masonite Burn.
RICHMOND, CA -- This weekend the WFTDA roadshow moves on to California's Bay Area for Bay of Reckoning -- the 2012 West region playoffs. While it's almost possible to fill in two Championships teams in all the other regions before a whistle is blown, the West is wide open.
The West has never sent the same three teams to the Championships -- every year since the WFTDA split into 4 regions in 2009, it's been Oly, Rocky Mountain and a rotating third (thus far, Denver in 2009, Bay Area in 2010 and Rose City in 2011). It won't happen this year either, as either Oly or Rocky Mountain will be eliminated by the other in their opening game.
Going into the quarter, top seed Rose City looked to be overwhelming favorites for one of those three spots and are still favored to progress. However, their fate has been complicated by a set of poor results against regional rivals at RollerCon; while those results came from a severely depleted Rose roster and won't be directly reflected at Bay of Reckoning, they made a number of vulnerabilities in the Portland side clear for the world to see and will give their regional rivals hope.
Denver also look well set going into Bay of Reckoning, but have something of a checkered history when it comes to postseason play. Their last and only visit to Championships was in 2009; the Mile High Club fell to Bay Area and Rat City in 2011 and 2010 respectively, despite being widely expected to progress in both cases. Who stands between Denver and an automatic championships berth this year? The winner of Bay Area and Rat City.
Host team Bay Area take the number three seed – but open their tournament against a Rat City team they beat by just five points back in July, so their progress to the top half of the bracket is far from assured.
The close ranking of the Oly Rollers and Rocky Mountain at four and five gives this tournament perhaps the most anticipated quarter-final of any of the four regions – and certainly the most storied. The teams’ battles at regionals and Championships have been among the most exciting in living memory, with Rocky’s one-point, last-jam victory for the Hydra in 2010 arguably the most dramatic bout ever played on the flat track.
This bout will be loaded with even more drama, with "Transfergate" spiking interest in Oly, as well as two early-year additions to the Oly roster who will be all too familiar to Rocky Mountain. Oly may also have to deal with a somewhat hostile crowd – the issues around Transfergate sent shock waves through the whole West region. A match-up with hometown team Bay Area for third place and the final championships spot is possible, and could prove explosive.
Arizona (the other half of Transfergate), Angel City, Wasatch and Sacred City fill the rest of the bracket. Angel and Wasatch's rematch is likely to be the pick of the first-round games; Wasatch's four-point upset win over the Hollywood Scarlets in May is the main reason the team from Utah are at this tournament and the world will be watching to see if they can repeat that feat.