LOCAL SEASON PROVIDED FLAT-TRACK DERBY FRENZY
by the Grand Poobah, ARRG Bout Co-announcer – Photos by Bob Dunnell
When the 2011-12 interleague season began for the Arch Rival Roller Girls last November, one expected that any one of the four local squads were capable of reaching the marquee event at Chaifetz Arena on Saturday, April 28.
Before the first whistle blew on November 5, 2011, league parity created no true frontrunner. Veteran skaters returned, a new crop of rookies showed plenty of promise and bench depth was deep.
In fact, the teams were so evenly matched that it was not out of the realm that each squad could have finished the three-game regular season set with identical 1-2 records, resulting in a four-way tie.
It was just too tough to pick favorites.
But as one expects from roller derby, the unexpected occurred. Teams surged and teams struggled. Playmakers returned and, conversely, playmakers sat out with injury. Bouts were won and lost off of key decisive jams.
It resulted in a four-team quest that was anything but easy, but was well-deserved for the victors when the dust had settled.
As we approach championship night at Chaifetz, let’s review the ARRG local regular season and playoff round.
NOVEMBER 5, 2011 – EVENT ONE
STUNT DEVILS 122 REBEL SKATE ALLIANCE 77
The season opener featuring last season’s title bout squads had plenty of intrigue on paper in the days prior, but last minute scratches to the defending league champions kept the Rebel Skate Alliance shorthanded. Meanwhile, the Stunts were fully stocked.
After RSA jumped ahead 11-3 after the first four jams, the Stunt Devils tied the score 11-11 at the 20:00 mark. The deadlock was short-lived as the Stunt Devils launched a 68-7 run in the final two-thirds of the period. Punctuated by a South City Shiner 20-pointer in the streak, Stunt Devils entered intermission up 79-18.
The Stunt Devils posted points when necessary to keep RSA at bay in the second half, leading 100-44 midway through the frame. Debuting RSA jammer Pink Diamond netted a 26-point power jam as the half progressed to pull RSA to 112-70 late, but the insurmountable lead was too much for the defending champions to take. The Stunts would skate away with the 35-point win to grab a 1-0 record in the league standings.
“A lot of teams think that the second period is their strongest,” said Stunts’ co-captain Deathica Steele after the bout. “But we wanted to start strong from the beginning and let them know that we’re not gonna take it. We’re the evil team. No one is going to beat us.”
Artemischief paced the Stunts with 47 points while Diamond topped RSA scoring with 31 points.
M-80s 159 SMASHINISTAS 133
Lead changes – fourteen overall – earmarked the season opener for two teams looking to rebound from consolation seasons.
Trailing 7-1 early, the M-80s grabbed the lead at 24:54 with 17 non-lead points scored by Black Market Baby to give the firecrackers an 18-7 edge. The Educator retaliated on the next jam for the Smashies – posting 19 to give the camo-clad troops a 26-20 advantage.
The M-80s countered with a 17-0 run off the next three jams to build a 37-26 advantage. A 20-9 Smashies’ run tied the score 46-46 with 10:00 left in the period. The momentum swing continued with a 23-7 run to stretch the Smashies’ lead to 69-53 with 2:00 left in the first period.
M-80s’ jammer EnYa Nightmare punched out a 30-point monster jam as time wound down, resulting in another lead change and giving the ladies in red an 83-69 edge. The Smashies countered with four to draw the gap to a ten-point bout at intermission, 83-73.
Down 90-73 early in the second half, the Smashinistas’ Downtown Dallis capitalized on a power jam, hit a 29-point strike and helped her squad regain the lead, 102-90 at the 26:00 mark. One jam later, Black Market Baby countered for the M-80s and posted 14 points, resulting in another lead change as the red rollers now sported a 104-102 edge.
Three more lead changes ensued as the half progressed and following Boom Boom Pow’s nine-point jam with 18:00 left, the Smashies cautiously held onto a 113-112 lead. The M-80s tightened up the laces midway through the period, posting a 28-5 run off of the next four jams. Paced by Nightmare’s 11-point jam with 14:00 remaining, the M-80s built up a 140-118 lead.
The M-80s utilized effective clock management in the final ten minutes to finish with a 26-point win and nab its first victory of the season.
“I think what helped us was utilizing our size and just beating the snot out of people.” said M-80s’ co-captain Black Market Baby after the bout. ”We’re going to regroup and focus on our strengths and weaknesses and find out what worked and what didn’t.”
Nightmare finished with 76 points to lead the M-80s while Dallis paced the Smashinistas with 69.
DECEMBER 3, 2011 – EVENT TWO
SMASHINISTAS 123 REBEL SKATE ALLIANCE 102
Once again, RSA was without team workhorse Smarty McFly and the Smashies utilized their advantages in depth and experience to post the victory – albeit worrisome for a good portion of the bout.
The Smashinistas grabbed a quick 8-0 lead two jams in. Up 10-2 two jams later, the Educator grabbed lead jammer for the Smashies and scored nine points before being sent off for a track cut. This enabled RSA’s Chewblocka to score 13 non-lead power jam points that whittled the Smashie lead to 19-15 at the 23:20 mark.
Down 21-18 with 20:00 left in the period, RSA’s Diamond posted a four-pointer to give the defending champs its first lead of the night, 22-21.
Ties of 26-26 at the 16:00 mark and 35-35 four minutes later kept the contest anyone’s for the taking. Pow notched five points with 9:00 left for the Smashinistas, who grabbed a 40-35 lead.
RSA tightened the laces and put up a defensive wall that kept the opposition scoreless for the remainder of the period. By capitalizing on a pair of power jams, RSA went on a 32-0 run. Propelled by Stabby McCutcha’s eight-point power jam at the 8:00 mark and Diamond’s 14-point tally two jams later, RSA methodically built a 61-40 lead, which was extended to 67-40 at intermission.
A 29-0 run for the Smashies started the second half. Pow connected with a 15-point power jam punch at 24:15 to give her troops a 69-67 lead. Later, Dallis collected 18 power jam points to extend the lead to 90-68 with 18:50 left.
Then following an exchange of points that made the game a 95-75 teaser, RSA would again hand the Smashies a power jam situation. The Educator posted 19 to stretch the lead to 114-75 with 13:15 left.
The Smashinistas outscored RSA 83-25 in the second half to grab the 21-point win and even its record to 1-1.
“We did not want to go 0-2,” said jammer Downtown Dallis following the bout. “We prepared for this. We wanted this.”
The Educator paced the victors with 48 points while McCutcha topped RSA scoring with 36.
STUNTS DEVILS 136 M-80s 132
If there wasn’t enough drama in the first bout, then this battle of unbeatens pushed the evening into overdrive. This one went the entire sixty minutes and beyond.
Up 14-10 in the first third of the period, the M-80s capitalized on a power jam at 20:30. Co-captain Science Friction powered out a 20-point tally and extended the M-80s’ lead to 34-10 with 19:00 remaining.
The Stunts retaliated with a power jam of their own. Artemischief’s 12-point counterstrike at 16:30 whittled the lead to a dozen points, 34-22. The M-80s methodically built a comfortable lead as the half progressed. A 36-18 run resulted in a 70-40 M-80s’ advantage with under 2:00 left in the half.
Or at least it was a comfortable lead, until the final jam of the first half.
In a rare moment of miscommunication, the M-80s failed to send a jammer out onto the track. Once the whistle blew to start the jam, the M-80s were forced to skate the entire jam jammerless. The omission gave a free jam to the Stunts which resulted in an 18-point mosh by Mighty Mighty Boston, which narrowed to the M-80s’ lead to 70-58 at intermission.
Five minutes into the second period, the Stunts had narrowed the margin to 74-69. The M-80s proceeded to barrel out a 15-0 run over the next two jams, extending the M-80s’ lead to 89-69 with 20:00 left.
Shiner countered for the Stunts and posted eight on the next jam to whittle the lead to a dozen points, 89-77 with 18:40 remaining. The M-80s used a 19-7 run to stretch the lead to 108-84 midway through the period.
Then with 11:00 remaining, the seeds were planted for a sprint to the finish, paced by the Stunts’ Artemischief. Utilizing the open holes created by her blockers, the ARRG veteran scored 23 unanswered points off the next two jams to make the bout a one-point affair, 108-107 with 7:15 remaining.
Black Market Baby’s 14-point power jam four minutes later finished a 22-4 run for the M-80s, who possessed a 130-111 lead at the two-minute warning.
After a 0-0 stalemate on the next jam, Artemischief gained lead jammer for the Stunts with under :30 remaining on the official period clock. Then a pair of M-80 skaters – including its jammer – was sent to the penalty box as the official period clock reached gooseeggs.
With 1:25 left on the jam clock, Artemischief proceeded to post five full grand slam laps. The end result was 25-point counter-clockwise clobber on the bout’s final jam. What was once a 19-point Stunt deficit transformed into a four-point Stunt victory that gave them sole possession of the standing’s lead.
“That was fun….I miss jamming!” beamed Artemischief, who paced the Stunts with 65 points. ”Everything fell into place. This helps gives us the confidence that we need and it gives us a good idea of what we need to do going into training. We’re going to come out fighting.”
Munchausen by Foxy paced the M-80s – who dropped to 1-1 – with 45 points.
JANUARY 14, 2012 – EVENT THREE
M-80s 153 REBEL SKATE ALLIANCE 94
Both teams would have to adjust rosters to start the new calendar year. The M-80s fielded a roster of ten while RSA lost stealth jammer Pink Diamond to injury.
Even with the adjustments, RSA gained the early advantage posted a 24-9 lead ten minutes in. The M-80s retaliated with a 24-0 rally during the next two jams to gain their first lead of the bout. The M-80s’ Black Market Baby capitalized on a power jam, scored 19 points ensued and helped the M-80s pull ahead to a 33-24 lead with 14:00 left in the first period.
The ladies in red extended the lead as the half progressed and pounced on back-to-back power jams down the first half’s final minutes. BMB followed a 10-point power jam with a baker’s dozen two minutes later to give the M-80s a 67-43 lead with 4:30 left in the period.
Given the scrappy nature of RSA, a 72-51 M-80s’ lead at halftime was anything but safe. A second-half opening power jam by RSA’s Party Foul netted 14 points to cut the gap to 72-65.
Two jams later, Foul posted nine as lead jammer before being called off for a track cut. The M-80s’ May Require Stitches netted 13 non-lead power jam points as a result. When the dust had settled, the M-80s held onto a 10-point lead, 85-75 with 25:40 left.
After RSA’s Beaster Bunny posted seven with 23:00 left to whittle the M-80s’ lead to 85-82, the firecrackers rolled out a 27-0 rally off the next three jams.
The Siege collected eight off of a power jam to extend the lead to 93-82, BMB followed with nine to make the margin twenty and Rhino Might posted 10 power jam points to expand the margin to 30 points midway through the final frame. With 15:40 left in the bout, the M-80s had built a 112-82 lead.
The M-80s outscored RSA 81-43 in the second half to pick up the 59-point win and finish the regular season 2-1.
“Tonight, we came out guns a blazin’ and played our hardest,” said M-80s co-captain Science Friction of the win. “We really want to play for the championship at Chaifetz.”
Black Market Baby topped M-80s’ scoring with 78 points. Party Foul scored 42 for RSA, who finished the regular season with a 0-3 mark.
STUNT DEVILS 147 SMASHINISTAS 80
Feeling good about their come-from-behind win the month prior, the Stunts were in prime position to grab the top seed in the playoff round, but the stingy Smashies had other thoughts in mind.
After the Stunts raced out to a 14-3 lead five minutes in, the Smashinistas’ Boom Boom Pow and Downtown Dallis added four and five, respectively, whittling the lead down to 14-12 at the 22:16 mark.
Back-to-back five pointers from Shiner and Boston extended the Stunts’ lead to 24-12 two jams later. An 8-4 Smashies run off the next three jams reduced the gap to 28-20 Stunt Devils midway through the half.
The Stunt Devils proceeded to go on a 16-0 rally as the first period progressed. Highlighted by a nine-point jam by Shiner midway, the Stunts pulled out to a 44-20 lead with under ten left in the half. The Smashinistas went on a 10-4 run – propelled by Dallis’ non-lead eight-pointer – to draw the gap to twenty, 50-30, with 5:24 left in the half.
The Stunts countered the camo mini-surge with a 19-0 run down the stretch. Boston’s nine point strike was followed by Artemischief’s 10-point power jam, extending the Stunts’ lead to 69-30 and inevitably 76-35 at halftime.
A 12-3 Stunts’ run to start the frame extended the lead to fifty, 88-38. Dallis grabbed lead on the next jam and scored three for the Smashinistas at 24:35 to stop the surge.
Or at least for the moment. The Stunt Devils utilized another streak – a 19-3 run off the next three jams – to keep a Smashie comeback at bay. Propelled by Boston’s nine-pointer from a power jam, the Stunts found themselves in control with a 107-41 lead with 20:00 remaining.
The Stunts Devils outscored the Smashinistas 71-45 in the second half to pick up the 67-point victory and charge into the playoff round as the top seed with its 3-0 regular season finish.
“We focused on our walls, stayed together as a pack and kept our cool,”said the Stunts’ Steele after the bout. “We’re really grounded people. We’re not arrogant at all. We just really love what we love to do and that can go a long way.”
Boston finished with 57 for the Stunts while the Smashinistas ( 1-2) were paced by Dallis’ 48 points.
FEBRUARY 4, 2012 – PLAYOFF ROUND
#1 STUNT DEVILS 210 #4 REBEL SKATE ALLIANCE 60
The opening bout of the playoff round saw two teams experiencing polar opposites. The top seed had plenty of confidence and a full roster. Plagued by injuries, the fourth seed valiantly fielded a line-up utilizing draftees and unrostered one-time recruits. The result was not kind to the defending champs.
The Stunt Devils raced out to a 23-0 lead off the bout’s first five jams. RSA would get into the scoring column with eight points off the next three jams and keep the deficit within reach – 31-8 with 19:30 left in the first period.
The Stunts posted another scoring streak – a 29-0 rally paced by Morgan LeFaetal 19-pointer -extending the lead to 60-8 with 12:00 left. Mighty Mighty Boston’s 37-point non-lead power jam – a flat-track rarity -pushed the Stunts’ lead to 108-24 with 2:45 left.
Shiner added nine to finish the half, which saw the Stunt Devils up 117-31 at intermission. The veteran posted 20 early in the second period to extend the Stunts’ advantage to triple digits, 137-35 at the 27:00 mark. This launched a 32-0 rally for the ladies in purple, which extended their lead 149-35 with 20:00 left.
The Stunt Devils outscored RSA 103-29 in the second period to coast to the 150-point win and a trip to the title bout at Chaifetz. The top seed’s total points scored marked the first time that a squad had broken the 200-point barrier in local play.
“We wanted to let the other teams know that we were serious,” said Stunt Devil pivot Mayor Francis Slayer of her squad’s dominance. “We have amazing jammers, we have amazing blockers and our new skaters are working really hard and contributing to them team. Top to bottom, our roster is really great.”
Boston unofficially paced the Stunt Devils with 69 points while McFly topped RSA scoring with 26 points.
#2 M-80s 182 #3 SMASHINISTAS 127
The topsy-turvy bout experienced earlier in the season contained similar dramatics in the first half, yet the second seed utilized its depth to grab the other title tilt slot.
Tied 7-7 three jams in, the M-80s capitalized on a power jam at 24:15, enabling Black Market Baby to score 15 points and give the ladies in red a 22-7 advantage. The co-captain scored 14 points seven minutes later, extending the M-80s’ lead, 46-20.
The Smashinistas countered with the debuting Brickyard, who rolled out a 14-point power jam, cutting the deficit to 47-34 at 14:20. An 8-4 Smashies’ run on the next jam narrowed the gap to 51-42. The Educator netted eight at 10:44 to narrow the bout to a one-point affair, 51-50.
Up 55-52 with 3:18 left in the period, M-80s’ jammer May Require Stitches posted a 19-point punch, extending the firecrackers lead to 76-52.
Downtown Dallis collected a pair of four-pointers for the Smashinistas to finish the first half and cut the gap to 76-60 at intermission. Dallis scored nine to begin play to help the Smashies cut the deficit to 76-69. Stitches tacked on four for the M-80s on the next jam to push the lead back to double digits.
An 11-8 Smashie run off the next jam – paced by Brickyard – narrowed the gap to 88-80 with 25:15 left.
Unfortunately for the third seed, that would be closest they would come as the M-80s went on a 59-10 run during the next ten minutes. Stitches netted scoring strikes of 12 and 17 while BMB hit a 15 and 10-pointer to help the M-80s pull ahead 147-90 with 14:00 remaining.
Capitalizing on their fourth power jam of the half, the M-80s’ Black Market Baby scored 23 with 3:15 remaining to give the firecrackers a 178-117 cushion.
The second-seed outscored the Smashies 106-59 to earn their placement in the championship bout at Chaifetz.
“We are a team that gets more cohesive when we play together continuously,” said Black Market Baby, who finished with 96 points. “I think tonight helped us push that point higher and higher.”
The Smashinistas were paced by Dallis’ 47 points followed by Brickyard’s 43 in her ARRG debut.
When all was said and done after the February playoff round, the match-ups for the April doubleheader was set. The journey was anything but easy for the four squads.
And one can expect that at Chaifetz Arena in a few weeks, the competitive drive displayed during the local season will be raised to a whole level. This will be ARRG’s most viewed event in its six-plus year history. Every team wants to make an impressive showing.
And don’t be surprised that there are a few more surprises waiting in the wings.
ARRG INDIVIDUAL SCORING (THROUGH LOCAL SEASON)
RANK – SKATER – TEAM – POINTS (FROM FOUR BOUTS)
1. Black Market Baby (M-80s) 231
2. Downtown Dallis (Smashinistas) 210
3. Mighty Mighty Boston (Stunt Devils) 187
4. EnYa Nightmare (M-80s) 169
5. Artemischief (Stunt Devils) 164
6. The Educator (Smashinistas) 156
7. South City Shiner (Stunt Devils) 153
8. May Require Stitches (M-80s) 105
9. Morgan LeFaetal (Stunt Devils) 101
10. Stabby McCutcha (Rebel Skate Alliance) 88
Poobah’s take: The re-emergence of Black Market Baby as a prolific scorer was one of ARRG’s feel-good stories of the season. The 96 points collected in the playoff round – which leapfrogged her into the top slot -didn’t hurt, but overall this was a very solid rebound for ARRG’s 2010 Rookie of the Year after a season hampered by injuries.
Dallis once again played bridesmaid (at least in ARRG scoring) and finished second, but was the league’s most consistent scorer. Netting fifty points per bout has become a constant for the All-Star.
A healthy percentage of Boston’s points were accumulated as a non-lead. Her 37-point non-lead jam in the playoff round boosted her numbers down the stretch, yet ARRG’s quietest skater made a hard charge towards a league scoring title. Nightmare posted 76 in the season opener. The average dipped as the M-80s developed a five-skater jamming rotation, yet still managed to average 30 points per bout.
Artemischief showed again why, pound-for-pound, she might be the league’s best skater. Her 40-point average was reached while playing heavy percentages as blocker. The same can be said of The Educator, who complimented Dallis in the Smashies’ line-up. She hit a season high of 55 in event two.
Shiner became a workhorse of the Stunts’ rotation. Her 72 points in the playoff round once again showed her impact to the legacy squad. Stitches was held to two points in event two, yet posted strong numbers in the playoff to push her into the triple digits.
LeFaetal’s output added to a very dangerous Stunt jammer rotation this season and netted 48 in the playoff round. She gets better with every bout. By necessity, McCutcha was inserted into the RSA jamming rotation and exceeded expectations. She scored a personal best of 40 at event three and gives the Rebs a solid contributor to the scoring column.
Of course, the aforementioned ten will immediately give credit where it is due for their season point accumulations. If not for the blockers and pivots that opened the holes that provided the lead and controlled the lanes that resulted in scoring passes, then points like these would never be achieved.
Any derby fan and jammer knows that the talented athletes in the blocking schematic are the workhorses (or should it be workphillies?) of the offensive output a squad achieves.
In a season that contained a high average of scoring, numerous blockers and pivots netted benchmarks in percentages of jams played. Numerous veterans averaged over 70% of the jams played this season.
And in one instance this season, one skater – the Stunt Devils’ Mayor Francis Slayer – played in every jam. When one considers that a normal bout averages forty jams in the span of sixty minutes, and the period of reset between each jam equals :30 seconds, then the total flat-track time accumulated by Slayer would be near forty minutes.
Think about it. Go out, compete full tilt and hit for forty minutes within the span of a bout. ‘Nuff said!
If anything, this shows the competitive drive that all the skaters have on a daily basis.
Expect the same thing around the corner. You can bet that that intensity will continue on April 28 at Chaifetz Arena.
We’ll have an individual look at each of the four squads with separate columns beginning Monday, April 23!
COMING UP TOMORROW AT 8 AM FOR ARRG’s “30n30″: Skaters not only compete against each other in the league’s four local squads. Three distinct ARRG travel squads also compete against other Midwestern leagues. The separate seasons for these interleague travel teams are already well underway. Its “A” squad has made significant jumps in the regional rankings in the past twelve months due to its increased play. Wednesday, we’ll look at ARRG’s primary travel squad, the ARRG All-Stars.
ARRG’s “30n30″ is a daily feature that examines different aspects of the Arch Rival Roller Girls – St. Louis’ first female flat-track roller derby franchise. In this section every morning at 8 AM for the entire month of April, a new feature will be presented.