FOUR EVENLY-MATCHED TEAMS BEGIN QUEST FOR TITLE!
by the Grand Poobah, ARRG Bout Co-Announcer
The long wait is over! St. Louis’ best on the flat-track returns this weekend!
The 2011-12 intraleague season for the Arch Rival Roller Girls begins this Saturday night at Midwest Sport Hockey at Queeny Park (57o Weidman Road, Ballwin, MO). Doors open at 6:30 pm and the two-bout tilt starts promptly at 7 pm.
Tickets for the doubleheader are $15 cash only at the door. Children 10 and under are free. Go to THIS LINK RIGHT HERE to save $3 per paid admission by purchasing in advance online at Brown Paper Tickets.
(Note from the Poobah: Go to last week’s column RIGHT HERE to see the complete 2011-2012 local season for ARRG and find out you can purchase a SEASON PASS (10 individual events) for a savings of $50 versus the cost of purchasing individual tickets at the door. SALES FOR SEASON PASSES ENDS THIS FRIDAY!)
In Saturday’s doubleheader, ARRG features rematches from last season’s title bouts as 2011 defending champions Rebel Skate Alliance looks for its seventh straight win against last year’s runner-up the Stunt Devils in our opening bout. The second bout tonight pits 2011 third place finisher the M-80s against the Smashinistas to see who posts their first “W” of the season.
The mission of the Arch Rival Roller Girls this season is to continuously raise the bar with the quality caliber of competition that you’ve come to expect. A lot of roster shifting during the off-season has resulted in parity amongst the four squads, which will no doubt result in hotly contested bouts as the season progresses.
The internal goal for all four ARRG teams will be to jockey into primary position for the 2012 championship bouts, held next April at the Chaifetz Arena in St. Louis.
They all bring plenty to the table. With victories this weekend, two teams make an initial hard charge in the standings.
Here’s look at the four teams competing this Saturday night who look to hoist the trophy at Chaifetz Arena in April 2012:
REBEL SKATE ALLIANCE – 2011 CHAMPIONS – LAST SEASON’S RECORD: 6-0
For an expansion team, RSA obliterated the stereotypes associated with a newbie franchise, going undefeated last season. The counter-clockwise skating coalition used a lethal combination of veteran leadership and derby smarts to run through the pack from the onset. A team that had so many questions prior to the season responded to the critics outright and inevitably silenced them in the process. If the RSA goal was to make a splash in 2011, then consider it mission accomplished.
Winning a title is hard enough, but anyone associated with this sport will be quick to point out that the challenge of defending it is even more difficult. And considering that this team lost some depth in key areas during the off-season, a repeat is not a given. If the “cerebral assassins” wish to successfully defend the title in 2012, then it must collectively perform with the same consistency as it did in its inaugural campaign.
They have a pair of ARRG All-Star vets in the co-captain slots for 2012. Both Party Foul and Smarty McFly return for dual roles at jammer and blocker. McFly – last season’s scoring champion – returned to the flat-track after an injury-riddle 2010 with a vengeance. Her closest competitor in league scoring was over 50 points behind. No doubt, she’ll be looking to match high numbers in 2011-12. Foul – entering her third season with ARRG – has shown that she possesses great awareness of the flat track. Consistently in the top ten in league scoring last season, she can make huge scoring strikes without creating much of a ruckus.
They’ll have plenty of veteran experience up front to help open up the holes for scoring. ARRG 2010-11 League MVP Chewblocka returns to lead the charge in the blocking schematic. After three seasons in Ohio, she returned to ARRG last season as a skater who blossomed while in the Buckeye State. Don’t be surprised to see the wookie also “don the star” in a jam or two Saturday.
Blocker Stabby McCutcha returns for RSA as well in 2011-12. A finalist for “Rookie of the Year” last season, McCutcha’s gameplay progressed as her debut season progressed. Down went the penalties and up went the intensity. Expect her to be a main cog of offensive blocking. ARRG veteran blocker SueShe found newfound life with a new squad in 2011. Her play was raised to another level and the long minutes spent on the flat-track paid huge dividends. Both Ginny Beastly and Bertha Venus also found newfound responsibilities last season and answered the call. Expect both to continue to get more flat track time this Saturday night.
New faces to the RSA this season include blockers The Oregon Betrayal, Eaux Baby, Beaster Bunny and Deuce Bomber. The talented quartet has impressed the co-captains with their play in the off-season and all are looking to make a significant impact in their Midwest Sport Hockey debuts Saturday. Also scheduled to make a start for RSA will be jammer P. Diamond – formerly of the St. Chux Derby Chix who just finished a season with the CoMo Derby Dames.
Last season, Rebel Skate Alliance prided themselves on keeping their opposition to low point totals. That looks to be the same philosophy heading into the new season with its focus on blocking. Remember, no jammer’s going to score a point if the blockers/pivots don’t lay down the foundation.
Their inaugural season was intriguing – expect the same this time around. And a return of a trophy lift in April is well within sight with a victory Saturday.
STUNT DEVILS – 2011 SECOND PLACE – LAST SEASON’S RECORD: 2-4
A team that found out firsthand the pressure of defending a championship was last year’s runner-up. A squad that had been unstoppable since 2009 was saddled with injuries last season, hence the below-average record. In the face of conflict, new faces were able to step into newfound roles and veterans were repositioned into newfound responsibilities for the Stunts. Expect the learning curves experienced last season to propel the Stunts into future title contention.
Key veterans return to the jamming schematic, including All-Star scorers Mighty Mighty Boston and South City Shiner. Boston – entering her third season with the Stunts – was a top-ten scorer for the league last season. The co-captain’s explosiveness from the line resulted in numerous scoring situations for the Stunts. She’ll be paired alongside veteran Shiner, who rebounded from a mid-season injury to post impressive numbers. Morgan LeFaetal returns as a solid compliment to the jamming rotation. Expect her to post some career-setting benchmarks as the competition heats up.
A quartet of derby vets will provide the blocking upfront for the Stunts Saturday night. All-Star Mayor Francis Slayer returns for her fifth season of derby. Her long minutes logged last season made her the workhorse of the group. Grave Danger returns to the fold after missing most of last season with injury. Expect the All-Star vet to crush some souls now that she’s back at 100%. Stunt co-captain Deathica Steele will bring her consistent play to the flat track. Another year under the belt has made Steele a real driving force of the blocking wall. All-Star Artemischief – pound for pound one of ARRG’s best skaters – will bring derby smarts while containing the other team’s top jammers. Don’t be surprised if you don’t see the spark plug also jam a few times as well.
A year of seasoning benefited a pair of Stunt blockers. Both Biohazard Betty and Hydrogen Bombshell will find increased responsibilities in their sophomore campaigns. Expect the two Stunts to deliver. A bumper crop of rookies will make their flat-track debuts Saturday as Toe Stop Believing, Feer-ocious and Angles Shacgyver will look to impress.
The other teams of ARRG should take note: the pitchfork has been sharpened. There’s good chance that this squad could make its fifth consecutive championship title bout this season.
M-80s – 2011 THIRD PLACE – LAST SEASON’S RECORD: 1-5
The legacy team of ARRG only had one win in 2011, but anyone who witnessed their late-season progression could easily see why the firecrackers could make a strong run for a title bout in April 2012.
On paper, the pieces are in place…and they’re very solid. Co-captain Black Market Baby returns to the jamming stripe. A strong post-season scoring run with the ARRG All-Stars helped BMB regain the momentum needed to propel this squad. A run for the league scoring title is well within possibility – she’s that darn good. Co-captain Science Friction returns to a dual role of jammer/blocker. She excels at both and one can expect that the ARRG vet will log plenty of minutes on the flat-track in both capacities.
EnYa Nightmare has proven that she can post impressive numbers while donning the star. There is no reason to believe that she can’t do it consistently this season. 2010-11 ARRG Rookie of the Year May Require Stitches possesses the talent that belies her derby years. She’ll be called upon to be both a scorer and blocker for the M-80s. Serving dual roles as well will be Munchausen by Foxy, who posted personal bests in scoring last season.
There’s plenty of experience to be found up front as well. Bareknuckle Smack returns after another year of seasoning to provide the blocking. She’ll be joined by veteran The Siege, who consistently maintains her high caliber of play. Veteran Vendetta VanGo makes a transfer to the M-80s this season – she’ll be a primary fixture of the blocking plan. Returning blockers Sue Render and D’Wicked Pirate return for their sophomore campaigns this weekend.
A pair of rookies – hard-charging jammer/blocker Rhino Might and blocker The Sound of Violence – compliments the M-80s line-up. Expect both to make an immediate impact Saturday.
If there’s a word that would define the ladies in red this season, it would be depth. There are six effective jammers in the line-up for the M-80s this season and those who don’t jam bring plenty of blocking to the table. This very well could be the team to beat this season!
SMASHINISTAS – 2011 FOURTH PLACE – LAST SEASON’S RECORD: 3-3
Last season saw the best of times and the worst of times for the camo-clad troops. A three-bout winning streak in 2010-11 saw the Smashies in prime position to win it all down the stretch. Alas, two post-season setbacks resulted in the final standings placement.
Frustration in 2011? You bet! Redemption in 2012? You bet!
The key cogs offensively for the Smashinistas are found with jammers Downtown Dallis and The Educator. Co-captain Dallis – the WFTDA Skater of the Month for August – lifted her game to new levels last season, finishing runner-up in league scoring. A sprint for the top spot is well within her reach. The Educator – another All-Star veteran – can post high numbers when called upon. Look for a scoring rebound this season.
Look for scoring to be supplemented by a pair of top-notch skaters. ARRG veteran Punches Pileup returns to the fold to provide an extra wave of offense. Sophomore Boom Boom Pow posted career numbers for ARRG’s developmental franchise the Saint Lunachix in 2011. Expect the momentum to be carried over into the local season.
The blocking up front will once again be paced by All-Star veteran Eli Wallop. The six-year derby vet can shut down the competition with her smart play. Sophomore Shimmy Hoffa – a finalist for ARRG Rookie of the Year – will bring solid dual responsibilities as blocker/jammer. She has been known to be a “bout changer.”
The Forecloser brings another wave of defensive/offensive blocking up front, as well as derby vet Jezebelle, who logged long minutes for the Smashies last season. Polkadot Yr’Eyeout and Megalodominator raised their level of game play last season. Added responsibilities in key situations are expected.
New to the roster for the Smashies are “camo-chipper” Shell Shoxx – a St. Chux Derby Chix transfer who logged numerous minutes for the Saint Lunachix and the Rookie Rivals in 2011 – as well as Harsha Punishment and Sly Davinita, who have impressed many in the pre-season.
In the end, a talented squad that experienced misfires late last season will reload and fire upon heavy competition. Nothing less than victory in 2012 will suffice.
Saturday night at Midwest Sport Hockey, you’ll see four high-caliber squads, each containing the balance of speed, power, agility, smarts and newfound enthusiasm that is essential to success. So you might ask yourself, “Who’s the favorite to win it all this year?”
Arguably, the answer would be “All of them.” It’s just too tough to call. And you’ll find out firsthand Saturday how badly each of these squads wants to win.
While you’re at Midwest Sport Hockey for the ARRG season opener, be sure you visit the ARRG merchandise table for the newest in ARRG schwag. It’s never too early to pick up that XMAS gift for the derby fan in your family!
Also visit the charity raffle table, where tickets can be purchased for $1 apiece or six for $5. Last season, ARRG raised nearly $3,000 for Girls, Inc. of St. Louis. This season, ARRG will raise money for Safe Connections. Saturday’s charity raffle prizes include ARRG bout tickets, gift certificates from area businesses and other collectibles. Remember, you can’t win if you don’t participate!
And following the doubleheader action, continue the fun at ARRG’s post-bout after-party, held at Iggy’s Mexican Cantina (13645 Big Bend Road, Valley Park, MO). Relive your favorite moments of the night with the athletes of ARRG while enjoying late night food and drink specials. And as always, there’s no cover charge at the ARRG pos-bout after party at Iggy’s!
If you’re a returning fan of ARRG, we know you’ll love the action this Saturday night. And if you’re new to the sport, we’ll give you plenty of reasons why you’ll want to return.
We look forward to seeing you throughout the season for Arch Rival Roller Girls’ roller derby action!
NEXT MONDAY IN THE ARRG NEWSLETTER: We’ll see how the season opener turned out. Which two squads took big strides in the title quest and which two have to tighten up the laces to keep pace. We’ll have a full recap of both bouts!
The Grand Poobah is bout co-announcer for the Arch Rival Roller Girls. Check back in this section every Monday for the latest in ARRG news and information.