1. Gotham Girls Roller Derby
DNN Rank: 1st
Gotham is good. What else can be said? The New York team has faced the best and beaten the best. Gotham has won all nine contests this year and have strung together 23 straight wins since 2010 when it was defeated by the Rocky Mountain Roller Girls at Nationals. The only time Gotham has ever lost in a Regional bout was in 2009 when Philly defeated New York by one point. This season, Gotham’s closest scare was a 69-point win over Rose City at the East Coast Derby Extravaganza. They have not had any other victories by less than 100 points this year. Gotham has proved dominance in the Eastern bracket by defeating Philly and Steel City. They have also dominated the rest of the world by downing teams such as Texas, Bay Area, Windy City and Denver.
2. Philly Roller Girls
DNN Rank: 8th
Take away Gotham, and the Liberty Belles’ run in Eastern Regionals is pretty impressive by its own merits. Philly has never lost to any other team at Regionals and is the only team to have ever beaten Gotham during tournament play. There have been some classic bouts between the two giants, including a one-point Philly victory in 2009 and 15- and 30-point Gotham victories in 2008 and 2010. One can only guess the two teams will see each other again in Vermont. After a slow start to the season which included losses to Gotham, Texas and Denver, the Belles have responded with six straight wins. Those victories included Charm City, Rocky Mountain, Rose City, Minnesota, DC and Columbia. Philly has a home tune-up game scheduled against Germany’s Bear City on Sept. 16 before venturing up to Vermont.
3. Montreal Roller Derby
DNN Rank: 13th
The neighbors to the north are 9-5 and all five losses have come to teams ranked in the top-25 in the country. The New Skids on the Block have earned victories over Steel City, Charm City and Boston, which justifies their spot as the third seed in the bracket. Working against the Canadian squad will be a bit of rust as the team has not competed since July 21 aside from an unsanctioned bout on Sept. 15 against Rideau Valley. That’s 68 days if you’re counting at home. The Skids will be looking for revenge in their first round of competition against London, who beat Montreal by just two points in the 2011 regional tournament.
4. Charm City Roller Girls
DNN Rank: 12th
After a busy June that included a trip to the East Coast Derby Extravaganza, Charm City has taken the foot off the pedal and only played twice in the last three months. To add to their problems, the Baltimore team also hasn’t won since June. A 28-point loss to Philly and a 155-point defeat at the hands of Rat City has Charm City reeling a bit. The team has a 6-3 overall record but is 1-2 against teams qualifying for the Eastern Regionals, including a 98-point win over Boston and a 22-point loss to Montreal. A notable void will need to be filled as veteran Holly Go Hardly is reportedly out with a broken collarbone. On the bright side, Charm City has knocked off Steel City the last two regional tournaments. If they can get past Pittsburgh, a meeting with Gotham is likely waiting in the next round.
5. Steel City Derby Demons
DNN Rank: 15th
With an 8-6 record in sanctioned bouts, the Steel Hurtin has seen a wide variety of talent this season. They have played some of the best teams in the country in Gotham, Rose City and Rat City and lost respectably in those occasions. But the Pittsburgh squad has struggled to produce wins over quality opponents. An 80-point win in July over Detroit (ranked 18th by the Derby News Network) is Steel City’s biggest win of the season. They will need to show more to advance in the tournament as they compiled a 1-2 record against Eastern teams that qualified for Regionals. Steel City defeated Dutchland by only six points and recorded losses against Montreal and Gotham. They will also have to get past a mental block knowing that Charm City topped them in Regional play in 2010 and 2011.
6. London Rollergirls
DNN Rank: 14th
There’s no bigger question mark than the team hailing from the English capital. Since travel is much tougher for the teams on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, London Calling has played just two sanctioned bouts in 2012 and crushed both opponents. It will be their first trip across the big drink this year and the Brits have not seen any of the nine qualifiers in action since last year’s tournament. But don’t fall asleep on this team as they went an impressive 3-1 in Regionals a year ago with wins over Montreal, Boston and Carolina. London was eliminated by Philadelphia by 87 points during that tournament but finished in a very respectable fifth-place after entering as the 10-seed.
London’s two wins this season were over Bear City of Germany and Auld Reekie of Edinburgh, U.K. by a combined 897 points.
7. Boston Derby Dames
DNN Rank: 20th
If there’s one thing to be said about the Boston Derby Dames, it’s that they are well-schooled under pressure. No team seems to have played tighter matches than this Boston Squad and a 6-3 record proves they can handle the heat. A 16-point victory over Arizona and a nine-point victory over Carolina were Boston’s crowning achievements of the season. But a 98-point loss to Charm City and a 57-point loss to Montreal show the Dames have a long way to go. They’ll start off the tournament in a play-in game vs. the 10th-seeded D.C. Rollergirls. They will need to stockpile some momentum with Philly waiting in the second round.
8. Carolina Roller Girls
DNN Rank: 22nd
Records can be deceiving. Carolina boasts an 8-2 sanctioned record and an 8-3 overall record this season. We mention this other loss because it was to the Columbia QuadSquad in February, just a month before Columbia received its WFTDA membership. Other losses were handed out by Atlanta and Boston. Carolina does have the ability to brag about narrowly beating DC and Ohio in the first couple months of the season as it’s two quality wins, but it’s tough too many other challenges on the rest of their schedule. The team from Raleigh, N.C. will meet Dutchland in the first round of the tournament and the winner gets the honor of facing the No. 1 team in the world Gotham.
9. Dutchland Derby Rollers
DNN Rank: Unranked
Since May, Dutchland hasn’t messed around with scheduling quality opponents. Three of its last four opponents include Steel City, Boston and Detroit. True, it lost all three games, but only by a combined 108 points. A six-point thriller against Steel City on Cinco de Mayo proves this team is capable of competing with most of the teams in this bracket. The Lancaster, Pa. team enters the tournament with a 4-3 record. Last season, the Dutch entered the tournament as the 8-seed and finished exactly in that position, following an opening round victory over Maine.
10. DC Rollergirls
DNN Rank: Unranked
DC was cruising on an eight-game winning streak until it ran into a couple superpowers in Rat City and Philadelphia. Those two recent losses — both by more than 200 points — should actually help the team from the nation’s capital more than their 10 victories that were racked up throughout the season against unranked opponents.
After tournament appearances in 2009 and 2010, DC failed to qualify for the 2011 Regionals but finds itself on the guest list this season as it knocked 2011 participant Maine out with a 66-point victory in April. DC will face Boston in the first round and it will be the first time the two teams have never met. DC has one more bout before tournament time against Bear City on Sept. 22.