Saturday, June 18, 2011

Philly cracks Madison, 213-53


When the first four jams of a bout go 34-0, there’s a strong suspicion that the bout may end up a little one-sided.  Such was the case of Philly’s Liberty Belles match against the Dairyland Dolls of Madison, WI.  Philly shut down the flexible pack of Madison, and began to asserted themselves on the track.
Madison got a five-point reprieve as Jewels of Denile took a lead and a grand slam against Elle Viento’s rapid pace, but Philly simply had the goods.  Where Charm City made small corrections to the MNRG pack that sent players to the box, the Belles simply planted and hit…sending Madison sprawling.
Philly played an extremely clean jamming game in the first half and did not get slapped with a single jammer trip to the penalty box.  Madison was not so lucky as rebounded through a rapidly-recycling Philly pack.  The Belles didn’t need the extra points from their numerous power jams, but they nonetheless piled on the pain.  At fifteen minutes, Philly was up 62-9; by the end of the half, the lead had been extended to 118-13.
The key to this half was clearly the dominant Philly defense.  Whether Heavy Flo creating space in the front or one of the Belles’ numerous jammers playing rapid-play blockers, Madison simply could not cope with the threat from Philadelphia as halftime was reached.
Philadelphia’s deep roster of jammers took center stage in the second half, breaking through Madison packs with little to no impediment.  Lead jams fell into their laps as the Belles’ Castro, Flo, and Teflon Donna tore the pack apart front and back for their scoring arsenal.
As in the first half, power jams didn’t hurt; six minutes into the second half, Madison’s Vicious Van-Go-Go went to the box for a track cut, giving Mo Pain a chance to drop twenty points as she darted through Madison’s defense. Philly 157 – Madison 16.
Ginger Vitis took another twenty-four on another power jam as Vicious returned to the box ten minutes later.  Madison had found moments to score, but only single runs. With eight minutes remaining, Philly was ahead 206-24.
A late run by Jewels of Denile in a power jam off of Ginger Vitis gave the retiring Madison jammer a last, phenomenal seventeen-point jam. However, Philly handily took the game as the final whistle blew. 213-53.
Philly now will play the Kansas City Roller Warriors Saturday afternoon at 1pm CDT.


(For archival purposes: original article first appeared on Uproar on the Lakeshore website.)

Charm City conquers MNRG the slow way, 249-119


Charm City took an early lead in a no-lead jam as long-time veteran Joy Collision scored sixteen points for Charm against the opposing jammer, MNRG’s Suzie Smashbox.
Unlike the previous bout between Texas and Bay Area – filled with close play and rapid packs – this game was played on the chessboard as packs would screech to a halt and find ways to advance their positions by inches rather by yards.  Charm held their lead for ten minutes until Scarmen Hellectra grabbed the lead jam for a grand slam (five points) for the Minnesota girls. MNRG  31-27.
Amidst slow starts and slow slow packs, the MNRG kept their lead for three jams until a back block penalty sent Scarmen to the box as a jammer for the first of four power jams for Charm.  Baltimore’s veteran Just Carol grabbed twenty-four points as Minnesota’s pack spilled into the penalty box one after the other.
Charm City’s packs utilized their numbers advantage to the fullest over their next three power jams, scoring sixty-six point.  Just Carol’s own trip to the penalty box as jammer two jams before the end of the half netted Minnesota only ten points from Scarmen’s jamming…and a final trip to the penalty box by Suzie Smashbox for track-cutting bled a further thirteen points.  Minnesota was rapidly falling to its own nerves and sloppy play as the second half began.
With Charm up 109-58, the second half began with another power jam as Minnesota’s Suzie Smashbox took another track cut, giving Charm the opportunity to score another twenty. 129-58.
Minnesota seemed as if they had a chance still – a small chance, albeit, as Smashbox, L’exi-Cuter, and Juke Boxx took opportunities to score in the midst of a penalty cascade by Charm City, scoring 20 to Charm’s eight.  However, the door slammed shut as the Minnesota pack continued to fall prey to Charm City’s small hits to the outside…followed by backward runs that ensured Minnesota’s players re-entered the track just ahead of the person that knocked them out.
Time and again, Holly Go Hardly and Dolly Rocket took care of Minnesota jammers while the depleted Minnesota pack lack the stopping power to hold back Charm’s I. M. Pain and Just Carol.  As the clock ran out, Charm had opened a gap of 130 points – 249-119.  Minnesota’s run as WFTDA’s Big 5 Cinderella ran out here as their first attempt at playing serious slow-pack derby failed at the feet of Baltimore’s finest.
Charm City advances and will play Rocky Mountain at 11:15am in the quarter-finals.

(For archival purposes: original article first appeared on Uproar on the Lakeshore website.)

Uproar re-recap: Texas retires Bay Area, 72-59


No one said Texas’s trip into the quarterfinals would be easy.
WFTDA’s Uproar on the Lakeshore – the international championship of modern roller derby – began with a tactical clinic.  The surprise darlings of the West – Bay Area Derby Girls – took on the Texecutioners of Austin, TX.
The first half was marked by low scores and very close play.  A single trip to the penalty box by a jammer from either side – Chantilly Mace of Bay Area – only grossed six points by Texas’ Bloody Mary.  The power jam nonetheless resulted in bringing the score to Texas 13 – Bay Area 7 with twenty to go in the half.
Bay Area’s Ivy Prophane scored a thirteen-point jam only minutes later unassisted by a power jam, returning the lead to Bay Area as her blockers swarmed Texas’ jammer.  Bay Area held that lead until five minutes remained on the clock, when Texas blocker Belle Starr spent two minutes keeping Chantilly Mace in the pack as Bloody Mary grabbed ten points.  At the half, Ivy Prophane grabbed another five points to bring the game within one point, 38-37.
Ivy, who had scored twenty-five in the first half, nabbed the lead from Texas five minutes into the second half with a three-point jam.  With the score 43-41 for the BAD Girls, that would be the last time that Bay Area would be on top.
Despite a tiring Bloody Mary and some valiant scoring jams from Bay Area’s Burlybot, Nock Nock, and Ivy Prophane, the Texecutioners pack descended on their opponents like velociraptors. Bay Area could only drop single lap point scores when they took the lead, and often the Texas pack could keep up with the opposing jammer long enough for their own scorer to break the pack.  The jammer-killer Belle Starr kept recycling the Bay Area to the back, and Bay Area had no way to keep up.
The deciding jam came from Texas’ Olivia Shootin’ John who paced the lanky Ivy Prophane for a grand-slam-plus unassisted by a power jam in the 24th minute of the second half.  Bringing Texas up to 68-53, the Bay Area could not find a way to score enough to make up the gap.  Final score: Texas 72 – Bay Area 59.
Texas now advances to play Gotham at 9:30am CDT on Saturday.

(For archival purposes: original article first appeared on Uproar on the Lakeshore website.)

Friday, April 22, 2011

MNRG silences NRG Tornado Sirens in final jam, 111-95

Naptown (#6 NC) - Indianapolis, Indiana - sent fourteen of their finest on a twelve-hour bus ride to Saint Paul and nearly went home with an upset victory against the Minnesota RollerGirls All-Stars. After a slow start, Naptown adapted to Minnesota's diverse jamming lineup and came within one jam of upending Minnesota's standing as #2 in the North Central region.

Minnesota took a knee just before regulation play began, creating a "broken pack" opportunity that sent the jammers hurtling off the line immediately. Scarmen Hellectra took the first lead jam and scored 3-0. Minnesota tried again with a broken pack in the following jam, but came up empty against Naptown's Willa Hoeflinch. Willa cracked through the pack with ease, but fast-moving MNRG blocker Juke Boxx came from behind to pace Willa and suck her back into the pack; Willa called the jam. Minnesota then landed three more straight lead jams for fifteen more points. 18-0 after eight minutes.

Naptown's Willa Hoeflinch got the team's second lead jam as Ima Hurchu held up Minnesota's Harmony Killerbruise long enough for her jammer to score four. Blue Messiah then stole one point from MNRG's lead-jamming L'exi-Cuter, but got nailed with a back-block penalty as L'exi called the jam. MEDUSA converted the power jam for ten.

Naptown then went on a streak of four lead jams as their blockers began to form up just in front of Minnesota jammers with broken-pack formations as each jam started. Though the formation worked to keep back MNRG jammers for precious seconds, Naptown jammers had limited success in getting far enough ahead of Minnesota to score. In fact, Minnesota stole points from those Naptown leads, outscoring them 14-6 as MNRG began to adapt and score lead jams again. 44-11 Minnesota up, with eight minutes to play in the half.

Blue Messiah took to the jammer line against Scarmen Hellectra. Naptown set a phalanx just ahead of the pivot line, giving space for their own jammer to fly through...and Scar's attempt to crack the wall resulted in a major back block. Blue flashed past the remaining pack for the lead as her blockers sliced apart the Minnesota defense. Naptown forced the pack to a stop; Blue scored 14. That jam effectively doubled Naptown's score as Minnesota panicked and sent several players to the box in their attempt to down opponents. Naptown's Willa scored four more points the following jam.

Minnesota called a timeout to regroup, but Naptown took advantage of their opponent's depleted packs and Shadi Layne's precision blocking to bring the game to within ten at the half. HALFTIME 46-36, Minnesota ahead...but Naptown had outscored the MNRG 25-2 in the final minutes of the half.

Play restarted with MNRG's L'exi-Cuter jamming against Amooze-Booche. Booche took advantage of a pack destruction call on Minnesota's Vuedoo Prodigy to take the half's first lead, but blew it after scoring three by ramming into Jax Kvaas from behind. L'exi and MEDUSA took five points each on the resulting power jam opportunity. Willa responded with her fifth straight lead jam as her team escorted opposing jammer Juke Boxx off the track, but Willa could only muster a single point against Minnesota. MNRG 56 - NRG 40.

Minnesota grabbed the next two jams for five points, but Naptown's Asian Sinsation dropped L'exi-Cuter to the inside just as Sin's jammer began her lapping pass. Naptown scored three in the confusion. However, Minnesota then began to inch ahead over the next eight minutes by catching five more straight lead jams and outscoring Naptown 19-2.

Minnesota and Naptown matched one another in speed, making it difficult for Minnesota's jammers to find an opportunity to shut down Naptown. Still, Minnesota had command of the track, whether through Juke Boxx's inspired apex jump of all four Naptown defenders, or Vuedoo and Tiki Torture's pounding of Amooze Booche while MEDUSA scored nine. With fifteen minutes left on the clock, the MNRG were up 80-45.

Suddenly, Minnesota fell prey to Naptown's blockers. Over the next two jams, both Scarmen Hellectra and Harmony Killerbruise slammed into well-positioned NRG defensive formations from behind. With two drawn power jams early on each jam clock, Maiden America and Willa Hoeflinch scored an aggregate 23 unanswered points--bringing Naptown within twelve.

MNRG's MEDUSA responded by landing a 3-0 jam, but then Minnesota lost its head. Maiden America scored nine on a Naptown Minivan (5-on-2 power jam against a back-blocking Scarmen Hellectra), then Maiden went to the box at the end of the jam. L'exi scored only two against a sprint-quick Naptown pack before a misjudged double track cut sent her out for a minute. Maiden scored another ten. Amooze Booche scored the tying jam with three minutes left to play, 92-92. Minnesota's loss of focus almost cost them the game.

With two minutes to go, Minnesota sent MEDUSA to the jam line against Maiden America. MEDUSA picked her way through a light Naptown pack for the lead while the MNRG's Tiki Torture and Diamond Rough monstered Maiden into a track cut. Naptown tried to dump MEDUSA, but were only sent to the penalty box for their trouble. MEDUSA scored ten, but a late back-block call by the refs as the end-of-jam whistle blew sent her to the penalty box. Minnesota called a timeout, up 102-92 with 22 seconds remaining.

With MEDUSA in the box for a minute and Maiden America ready to run wild, Minnesota put Killaman Jaro, Harmony, and L'exi-Cuter in the pack to keep pace with Maiden (and Naptown blockers Cereal Killer and Asian Sinsation--the short NRG pack for the final jam). Naptown started in a blaze with a broken pack, firing Maiden off the line as the jam began. However, Minnesota's cadre of jammer/blockers waterfalled expertly, re-engaging with the Naptown jammer as she attempted to blow by. L'exi-Cuter held the last line of defense, and kept Maiden in the pack for almost the full minute of power jam.

Maiden at last emerged past L'exi and took the lead just as MEDUSA slithered from the box. Ima Hurchu almost forced a track cut on MEDUSA as the Minnesota jammer made her initial pass, but 'DUSA dropped to her knees and re-engaged the pack safely. L'exi sealed the game for Minnesota as she forced an inside major track cut on Maiden in the final seconds of the ja
m.

FINAL: MNRG 111 - NRG 95


MEDUSA led in scoring overall, going 8-11 for 53 Minnesota points. Both L'exi-Cuter and Scarmen Hellectra scored more than twenty each for the MNRG. For Naptown, Maiden America went 6-11 for 40 points. Willa Hoeflinch had 21 points in 6 jams of 7. 


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Princes reign over Har-Mar Megastars, 69-37

With the curtain on the Minnesota RollerGirls' seventh season, our league decided to put together a special final mixer for the year. We separated our league by experience, placing those who had skated four or more years as a derby player on the Princes (named after the Twin Cities' own Purple One), and then pit them against those who had joined a roller league for the first time in the past three years. The "young'uns" played as the Har-Mar Megastars. Here's how it went.

Introduction of the Princes: The Princes rush the track in a sea of lace, purple, and silver (strangely, no players from the Orange Period) Relatively few mustaches as well. Disappointing. However, both Seamonster (bench-coaching for the Princes) and the TC Terrors' Drewraffe (as a ridiculously tall version of Paisley Park's chief resident) come out in wigs and suits that were pretty much tailored from Purple Awesome.

Introduction of the Har-Mar Megastars: If you've ever seen Har-Mar, you can guess the style. More than one player are wearing briefs in their hometeam colors over tights and t-shirt. Ova Achieva has achieved her name's potential with a full cloak made from the American flag, suspenders, and gold trimmings...but really, no one's exactly being subtle in their choice of boutfits. Har-Mar, we learn, sends his regards for his namesake team...sadly, he has a previous engagement.

20 minutes (first half): MEGASTAR POWER JAM. The Princes' Lizzy the Axe goes to the box within seconds for a track cut, but the H-M's Hurtrude Stein can't find her way past Barbie Brawl and the purple defense! Trudy calls the jam with Lizzy still in the box.

18 minutes: Moto Fluzzi finds a path around the opposition for the Megastars with a whip by Skullateral Damage and grabs the first point as Lizzy emerges out of the box.

Princes 0 - Megastars 1

17 minutes: Sintripetal Force - fellow Megastar and Garda Belt with Moto - takes two unanswered points as well. Very low-scoring game thus far.

16 minutes: Suzie Smashbox wears the jammer star for the Princes and grabs their first lead...and the Megastar defense heads to the front of the pack. Suzie can only score one point before opposing jammer Patently Offensive can start lapping. Suzie calls it.

Princes 1 - Megastars 3

14 minutes: Nothing like a nine-point jam unassisted by a penalty box visit. Lizzy chops through the pack as Prince defenders Barbie Brawl and Pain Gretzky hole up Hurtrude Stein. Lizzy laps once before Trudy can break out; Lizzy goes for the second lap, but misjudges the call of the jam. Trudy sneaks into the pack just before the call and steals three.

Princes 10 - Megastars 6

9 minutes: The play's been very clean up to this point. Mixers can get very chaotic due to the lack of team cohesion, but the merging of players by rookie classes seems to be counteracting the big mistakes. The Princes score two more four-point jams. Lizzy's having another of her great games; she dumps Sintripetal Force to give her jammer a chance to take the lead and score one of those 4-point go-aheads.

Princes 18 - Megastars 6

7 minutes: Patently Offensive gets the Megastars back on the board. "Leo" gets the lead against Suzie Smashbox. Both jammers bust out of the pack, but the pack speeds up with Leo's team just ahead of the Princes. Leo sneaks inside a corner to score one and calls it. Trudy catches the Prince defense off-guard on a 20-foot violation to score a 2-0 in the next jam.

Princes 18 - Megastars 9

6 minutes: Lizzy's everywhere tonight. Back to the jammer line, she outskates Moto Fluzzi and drops another nine-point jam on the Har-Mar Megastars. 

Princes 27 - Megastars 9

4 minutes: Hey, is that #1111? Sparkle Ninja puts on the jammer star and takes the outside path on turn four to take the lead and gets her first point for the season. For the most part, the Megastars have been just a step or two behind the Prince jammers...but that step has meant that the Megastars are not yet out of single digits.

Princes 28 - Megastars 9

2 minutes: Scootaloo gets her second lead jam of the night, whisking past the pathon the outside lane. Her stride forces the Megastars to come after her outside of the engagement zone as she laps. The Megastar defense turns back, and Scoots calls the jam for four.

Princes 32 - Megastars 9

Last jam (first half): Princes blocker Olga Ogilthorpe pistons Trudy to the outside of turn 3 as opposing jammer Suzie Smashbox flies through the inside. Trudy recovers quickly, but Suzie still scores two. That's halftime, folks. The Megastars cannot gain enough traction to take the lead jam. A lot of that is due to a terrifying lineup of veteran blockers that are allowing the Megastar jammers to ride the outside line of the turns...and then re-engaging them as the jammer hits the straightaway.

HALFTIME: 34 - 9

20 minutes (second half): It's Lizzy right back to the front for the lead, despite an awesome shopping-cart shove by Skullateral Damage of Megastar teammate Madame de Stompadour into Lizzy the Axe. Stompy barely misses, and Lizzy scores 2 to Megastar jammer Ova Achieva's one.

Princes 36 - Megastars 10

16 minutes: Megastar blockers Skullateral Damage, Shiva Shank'n, and Shiver Me Kimbers are all pitching in to hold back the Prince jammers, but their efforts continue to come up a little short. The Megastars need just a bit longer to get through the pack, and they're having problems scoring more than a point or two. Glam Slam gets another four points for the Princes, but her pack is starting to look a little light in terms of players to the box. Could be trouble.

Princes 40 - Megastars 11

15 minutes: MEGASTAR POWER JAM. Yup. That's trouble. Lydia Punch goes to the box for a back block, and opposing jammer Moto Fluzzi tries to make up for lost time. The Princes start going for the big hits and get called out on penalties. In fact, the Princes lose enough to get the derby fans raising their fists and peace signs...it's a 5-on-2 Minivan! However, the Megastars can't stop the pack quickly enough to give a Moto a chance to lap a standstill pack. Nonetheless, Moto scores nine points to two for Lydia.

Princes 42 - Megastars 20

12 minutes: After another 3-1 Lizzy the Axe jam, Ova Achieva slaloms through the pack, only to run into Scootaloo - the tiniest oak in the forest. Bee comes skidding in behind and gets the lead for another four points. 

Princes 49 - Megastars 21

10 minutes: DIRTY POOL, KIMBERS. Shiver Me Kimbers is providing some massive hits tonight, but it would appear that the mighty Megastar has just pulled Norah Torious to the ground by her belt while the refs weren't looking. She's getting the Derby 4 All Big Hitter award for the Megastars, but she could have just as easily gotten the Seventh Sojourn Dirty Player award.

8 minutes: STAR PASS! Holy crap.  Glam Slam ably gets the lead jam, laps in, then passes the star to pivot Suzie Smashbox. Suzie spins up and goes to take another lap. However...the rules of the star pass negate the lead jam, so Suzie can't stop Moto Fluzzi from scoring seven points of her own.

Princes 61 - Megastars 29

6 minutes: As this game winds to an inevitable close, you have to look at the MNRG rookie jammers for a second. We saw rookie Commander Nix bring back the Golden Skate to her Rockits before she headed to Africa for a few months. However, the other five rookies that have been principally jamming in the past couple of months (Kit Shinkicker, Moto Fluzzi, Sintripetal Force,  Hurtrude Stein, and Freeze Baby) have really come into their own during the mixers. I'm looking forward to seeing what these six are going to bring to their teams next year.

4 minutes: Lizzy. Again with the lead jam. Again with the point score. Again with the...did she just leapfrog Suzie Smashbox on the straightaway? The vets are really pulling out the crowd-pleasers tonight.

2 minutes: Hold it. Ova's down; our EMT staff have rushed to her side, and it appears she's fine. GAME ON.

Last jam of the game: Sparkle Ninja v Moto Fluzzi. Moto gets the lead, but it's Ninja that gets the cheers as she takes a leg whip to propel her out of the pack. Nice final touch from the winning team.

FINAL: Princes 69 - Har-Mar Megastars37

Youth and speed mean a lot in this sport...but so does the experience to sit on opponents, find the right line, and whip the audience into a frenzy. Congratulations to the Princes!

Princes
16 Lead jams
69 Points

41 Lizzy the Axe (5-7) 30 pts
91 Suzie Smashbox (3-5) 15 pts
FU Scootaloo (2-4) 9 pts
00 Glam Slam (2-2) 8 pts
4x4 Rumblebee (2-3) 4 pts
789 Lydia Punch (0-1) 2 pts
1111 Sparkle Ninja (2-4) 1 pt
6 Trixie Whipsum (0-1) 0 pts

Har-Mar Megastars
10 Lead jams
37 Points

850cc Moto Fluzzi (3-6) 17 pts
727 Hurtrude Stein (3-7) 9 pts
1.618 Sintripetal Force (2-5) 4 pts
14 GoGo Galore (0-1) 3 pts
281 Patently Offensive (1-3) 1 pt
0054 Freeze Baby (1-1) 1 pt
711 Ova Achieva (0-2) 1 pt
10-72 ShivaShankin (0-1) 1 pt

MNRG silences NRG Tornado Sirens in final jam, 111-95

Naptown - Indianapolis, Indiana - sent fourteen of their finest players on a twelve-hour bus ride to Saint Paul and nearly went home with an upset victory against the Minnesota RollerGirls All-Stars. Naptown came to the Legendary Roy Wilkins Auditorium on a seven-game winning streak following their excellent showing at the 2010 North Central regional tournament in Green Bay. After a slow start, Naptown adapted to Minnesota's diverse jamming lineup and came within one jam of upending Minnesota's standing as #2 in the region.

Minnesota took a knee just before regulation play began, creating a "broken pack" opportunity that sent the jammers hurtling off the line immediately. Scarmen Hellectra took the first lead jam and scored three unanswered points. Minnesota tried again with a broken pack in the following jam, but Naptown's Willa Hoeflinch flew through their defense for the lead. However, the fast-moving Juke Boxx came from behind to pace Willa and suck her back into the pack; Willa called the jam. Minnesota then landed three more straight lead jams for fifteen more points, but the pace of Naptown kept Minnesota from pulling ahead too quickly. Nonetheless, Minnesota shut out Naptown for the opening minutes, 18-0.

Naptown's Willa Hoeflinch got the team's second lead jam as Ima Hurchu held up Minnesota's Harmony Killerbruise long enough for her jammer to score four. Blue Messiah then stole one point from MNRG's lead-jamming L'exi-Cuter, but got nailed with a back-block penalty as L'exi called the jam. MEDUSA converted the power jam for ten.

Naptown then went on a streak of four lead jams as their blockers began to form up just in front of Minnesota jammers with no-pack formations as each jam started. Though the formation worked to keep back MNRG jammers for precious seconds, Naptown jammers had limited success in getting far enough ahead of Minnesota to score. In fact, Minnesota stole points from those Naptown leads, outscoring them 14-6 as MNRG began to adapt and score lead jams again. 44-11 Minnesota up, with eight minutes to play in the half.

Blue Messiah took to the jammer line against Scarmen Hellectra. Naptown set a phalanx just ahead of the pivot line, giving space for their own jammer to fly through...and Scar's attempt to crack the wall resulted in a major back block. Blue flashed past the remaining pack for the lead as her blockers sliced apart the Minnesota defense. Naptown forced the pack to a stop; Blue scored 14. That jam effectively doubled Naptown's score as Minnesota panicked and sent several players to the box in their attempt to down opponents. Naptown's Willa scored four more points the following jam.

Minnesota called a timeout to regroup, but Naptown took advantage of their opponent's small packs and Shadi Layne's precision blocking to bring the game to within ten at the half. HALFTIME 46-36, Minnesota ahead...but Naptown had outscored the MNRG 25-2 in the final minutes of the half.

Play restarted with MNRG's L'exi-Cuter jamming against Amooze-Booche. Booche took advantage of a pack destruction call on Minnesota's Vuedoo Prodigy to take the half's first lead, but blew it after scoring three by ramming into Jax Kvaas from behind. L'exi and MEDUSA took five points each on the resulting power jam opportunity. Willa responded with her fifth straight lead jam as her team escorted opposing jammer Juke Boxx off the track, but Willa could only muster a single point against Minnesota. MNRG 56 - NRG 40.

Minnesota grabbed the next two jams for five points, but Naptown's Asian Sinsation dropped L'exi-Cuter to the inside just as Sin's jammer began her lapping pass. Naptown scored three in the confusion. However, Minnesota then began to inch ahead over the next eight minutes by catching five more straight lead jams and outscoring Naptown 19-2.

Minnesota and Naptown matched one another in speed, making it difficult for Minnesota's jammers to find an opportunity to shut down Naptown. Still, Minnesota had command of the track, whether through Juke Boxx's inspired apex jump of all four Naptown defenders, or Vuedoo and Tiki Torture's pounding of Amooze Booche while MEDUSA scored nine. With fifteen minutes left on the clock, the MNRG were up 80-45.

Suddenly, Minnesota fell prey to Naptown's blockers. Over the next two jams, both Scarmen Hellectra and Harmony Killerbruise slammed into well-positioned NRG defensive formations from behind. With two drawn power jams early on each jam clock, Maiden America and Willa Hoeflinch scored an aggregate 23 unanswered points--bringing Naptown within twelve.

MNRG's MEDUSA responded by landing a 3-0 jam, but then Minnesota lost its head. Maiden America scored nine on a Naptown Minivan (5-on-2 power jam against a back-blocking Scarmen Hellectra), then Maiden went to the box at the end of the jam. L'exi scored only two against a sprint-quick Naptown pack before a misjudged double track cut sent her out for a minute. Maiden scored another ten. Amooze Booche scored the tying jam with three minutes left to play, 92-92. Minnesota's loss of focus almost cost them the game.

With two minutes to go, Minnesota sent MEDUSA to the jam line against Maiden America. MEDUSA picked her way through a light Naptown pack for the lead while the MNRG's Tiki Torture and Diamond Rough monstered Maiden into a track cut. Naptown tried to dump MEDUSA, but were only sent to the penalty box for their trouble. MEDUSA scored ten, but a late back-block call by the refs as the end-of-jam whistle blew sent her to the penalty box. Minnesota called a timeout, up 102-92 with 22 seconds remaining.

With MEDUSA in the box for a minute and Maiden America ready to run wild, Minnesota put Killaman Jaro, Harmony, and L'exi-Cuter in the pack to keep pace with Maiden (and Naptown blockers Cereal Killer and Asian Sinsation--the short NRG pack for the final jam). Naptown started in a blaze with a broken pack, firing Maiden off the line as the jam began. However, Minnesota's cadre of jammer/blockers waterfalled expertly, re-engaging with the Naptown jammer as she attempted to blow by. L'exi-Cuter held the last line of defense, and kept Maiden in the pack for almost the full minute of power jam.

Maiden at last emerged past L'exi and took the lead just as MEDUSA slithered from the box. Ima Hurchu almost forced a track cut on MEDUSA as the Minnesota jammer made her initial pass, but 'DUSA dropped to her knees and re-engaged the pack safely. L'exi sealed the game for Minnesota as she forced an inside major track cut on Maiden in the final seconds of the jam.

We asked Cooch about her decision to put speedsters in for the final jam. She told us, "I wanted 3 jammers out there. At that point I wanted people for their straight-up speed and ability to get through the pack if they needed to. All of them are very consistent blockers and I was confident that they could get to the front and maintain that position while keeping the jammer behind them. And luckily, they executed it very well,"

FINAL: MNRG 111 - NRG 95

Minnesota RollerGirls All-Stars
20 Lead Jams
111 points

13 MEDUSA (8-11) 53 pts
187 L'exi-Cuter (6-11) 24 pts
28 Scarmen Hellectra (3-7) 21 pts
75 Harmony Killerbruise (2-8) 10 pts
A18 Juke Boxx (1-3) 3 pts

Naptown Tornado Sirens
20 Lead Jams
95 points

76 Maiden America (6-11) 40 pts
318 Willa Hoeflinch (6-7) 21 pts
N3 Blue Messiah (2-5) 18 pts
7 Dora the Destroyer (3-6) 8 pts
208 Amooze Booche (3-11) 8 pts

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Minnesota All-Stars v Naptown Tornado Sirens preview (DNN version)

The Minnesota RollerGirls end their home season this Saturday as they host Indianapolis' Naptown Tornado Sirens on the polished concrete of the Legendary Roy Wilkins Auditorium.

The stage for this bout was set in September when both Minnesota (#2 in the NC, ranked #14 by DNN) and Naptown (#6 in the NC, ranked #24 by DNN) shattered expectations at the 2010 NC Regional tournament. The MNRG jumped from 7th-seed to 2nd place by upsetting Detroit and Madison, while Naptown's finest battled past Arch Rival and Brewcity to earn 6th place. North Central's two surprises had already planned a bout for April - the first between the two in their history - but the upsets have added spice to the anticipation of their players and fans.

Both teams are running winning streaks that will be defended on Saturday. Minnesota is 7-0 when defending on Saint Paul soil (dating back to their Brawl of America victory against Grand Raggidy), while Naptown is 7-0 since 2010's NC Regionals.

Naptown's been playing mostly against mid-ranked North Central teams since the tournament. They most recently defeated the Brewcity Bruisers (#8 in the NC) by seventeen points. Meanwhile, Minnesota's three home stands since the new year have been against Madison (#3 NC, #18 DNN), Tucson (#9 W), and DC (#9 E), defeating each team by over a hundred points.

The rankings favor Minnesota, but there's good reason to cheer on Naptown. Maiden America, Willa Hoeflinch, and Dora the Destroyer came out of the North Central tournament with a lot of new fans for their unflinching jamming abilities. Amooze Booche is back from injury and putting up some pretty fine jams as well. Minnesota's path out of the pack will be guarded by veteran Naptown blockers, including founding member Sweet C and Ima Hurchu...with Cereal Killer up front.

As for Minnesota, we'll see L'exi-Cuter (7-7, 57 points v DC), Harmony Killerbruise (8-10, 42 points v Madison), and recent transfer MEDUSA (4-5, 72 points v Madison) all lacing up. However, Minnesota uses about eight jammer/blockers in a single bout as they look for the right match against the opposing team. Therefore, you'll just as likely see those three playing fast-paced defense as you will see them on the jammer line. The defense specialists also look good; Tiki Torture, Vuedoo Prodigy, and co-captain Coochie Coup will all be hunting down Tornado Siren jammers.

This bout will give us a snapshot of two strong North Central teams as we head towards the Midwest Brewhaha and the second quarter of WFTDA rankings. Minnesota will want a convincing win as they defend their #2 spot against a touring Detroit, while a Naptown victory would upend the state of Midwestern derby yet again.

For those a mountain range away, the bout's free-per-view can be seen (and commented about) at http://tv.mnrollergirls.com/ beginning at 7pm CDT. Naptown will hit the track at or shortly after 8:15 CDT.