Saturday, March 28, 2009

Bombshells bruise Dolls as Rockits extend streak

Until the wonderful folks at mnrollergirls.com are able to post it, here is the recap for the game, as requested by a couple of fans who know where I live.

(note to self: get shotgun)

Bombshells bruise Dolls as Rockits extend streak

The teams and fans gathered at the Legendary Roy Wilkins Auditorium on March 21st with a lightness of spirit uncommon with matches of the Minnesota RollerGirls. With the season championships bouts already set in stone, fans were ready to see a fun-filled evening of derby as the four teams gave us a preview of what's to come in April. From the return of derby legends Rebel Stella and Lizzy the Axe to the brutal hits of Wonderbroad, Vuedoo Prodigy, Tiki Torture, and Diamond Rough, this bout showed off some of the best of what the MNRG in 2009 has become.

Rockits v Garda Belts

Favored teams can quickly become underdogs. The Garda Belts entered into this match on a tear; four consecutive games won with the league's highest-scoring jammer (Suzie Smashbox) and a team of blockers ready to protect and defeat. But the GBs now played against the Rockits...a team with a longer streak, a more veteran lineup, and the number two and three jammers - league breakout Jawbreaker and the supremely competent Harmony Killerbruise.

And so the Garda Belts and the 2008 champion Rockits took to the track...but with one major surprise. With the odds slightly against the women in green, the GBs called upon the semi-retired Lizzy the Axe to supplement their jammer and blocker line. For those new to the league this season, Lizzy was a pillar of the Atomic Bombshell staff in seasons past and has continued as their bench coach. Probably one of the hardest hitters in the MNRG, Lizzy regularly wore the jammer star and could thread a pack just as well as lay a shoulder.

Harmony slingshotted through the inside to lead the first jam. With Suzie Smashbox hot on her heels, Harmony found herself behind overlapping GBs on the scoring pass, and called off the jam before Suzie could score. In fresh Garda greens, Lizzy took on Dudezilla and buzzed through the pack for the lead like no time had passed since 2008. However, even with Ann E Briated grounding Honeydew Felon for at least one easy point, Lizzy struggled with her first jam. Instead of taking one or two points and calling the jam before Dudezilla could re-engage, Lizzy tried for four and got two, while Dude took four.
Suzie won the next lead against Rockit jammer Jawbreaker and took points back as Hanna Belle Lector, Tiki Torture, and Savage Animal took turns delaying 'Breaker. Garda Belt rookie Rita Rawkus took on Harmony next, and the young GB missed taking the lead by a hair; Harmony came out ahead and bit off a quick couple. Although the Red Wall was showing cracks, the pace of play favored the Rockits as they quickly rotated in and out, waiting for an opportunity to score big. Rockits 14, GBs 6.
Lizzy next went up against Dudezilla and took the lead for the second time against the Rockit co-captain. Once again risking the Rockits stealing points, Lizzy took four...as did Dudezilla. However, a fall by GB blocker Ann E. Briated in front of Dudezilla in the middle of the jam tripped Dude, aggravating a knee injury and sending her to the back to receive treatment. With their third anchor jammer unable to play, Harmony and Jawbreaker began switching off jamming duties every other jam.
Harmony leapt through the pack for four points that took less than thirty seconds to acquire. Jawbreaker then rolled over Rita Rawkus. Following a fast flurry of Jawbreaker-on-jammer violence, 'Breaker took the lead and shot through the pack once, twice, thrice for a triple slam. Meanwhile, Rita could not bypass Scarmen Hellectra and the Rockits' sweeper, Honeydew Felon. Rockits up, 37-10 with ten minutes remaining.
Amazingly, the next jams were almost identical to the previous two. Harmony pinged one against Suzie Smashbox, while Jawbreaker once again poured on the speed while matching up against Rita Rawkus - scoring her second triple slam. Rockits 53-10.
With just a few minutes left until half-time, the Rockits attempted to simply control the clock. Harmony scored one point in a minute and a half; Lizzy took two against Jawbreaker, even as 'Breaker sped her blockers up in front of her to keep Lizzy from scoring. At half-time, the Garda Belts trailed forty-two points. With Dudezilla gone, Jawbreaker and Harmony had reverted to a deadly rotation kept together by their adept blocking staff. However, the Garda Belts were working the angles; the team was opening narrow passages through the walls and attacking the partnering that the Rockits do so well. Rockits 54, Garda Belts 12.

The GBs did not score for the first ten minutes of the second half as Jawbreaker and Harmony attacked the GB pack. Suzie and Harmony paired off to start the second half. As before, Harmony scored just a few points and called off the jam before Suzie could make points of her own. Jawbreaker caught the entire Garda Belt pack sleeping and took the lead before she completed her second turn. Shortly after being lapped, her opponent - Lizzy the Axe - took a monster hit from Rockit Scarmen Hellectra and got sent to the penalty box. This opened the field once again for Jawbreaker, who scored her third triple slam of the night. Rockits up, 71-12.

Against Rita Rawkus, Harmony scored fourteen points of her own as Rita, finding no path through the Rockits' defense, finally got jostled into a penalty. Rita, caught in the box, returned in the next jam and finally put points up for the Garda Belts in the sixth jam of the second half.

Suzie grabbed her first lead jam of the half as a Garda Belt sent Rockit blocker Meshugenough into Vuedoo Prodigy, stopping her attack on the Gardas just long enough for Suzie to burst by. Taking a whip from Rumblebee on the scoring pass, Suzie got five and called the jam before Jawbreaker could bust the pack herself. Lizzy the Axe took the next lead and grabbed four as Garda Belt Ann E. Briated distracted back blocker Honeydew Felon. She did call off the jam earlier than in previous attempts, giving opposing jammer Harmony the opportunity to score one. Rockits 95-GBs 25.

As the game wound down, the Gardas tried to find more ways to score. GB Rumblebee raced to the front of the pack in the next jam to find Jawbreaker just ahead shortly before getting sideswiped by Vuedoo Prodigy. Suzie took four points against a depleted Rockit field and scored four...and finally, Lizzy scored first double slam of the season as she dueled to the end of the bout against Abbie Mischief. But after all that, the Gardas still fell to the Rockits, 104-43.

The Rockits played their textbook match, taking every opportunity to score off of power jams and hold back jammers who could not breach the Red Wall. We did not see much of the Suzie Smashbox/Jawbreaker matchup, but we saw Harmony's short, sweet jams and the Rockits blocker staff contain Suzie to only thirteen points over forty minutes. Lizzy the Axe scored twice as many against the Rockits with only seven jams. Meanwhile, Harmony and Jawbreaker had a brilliant night, scoring ninety-six points between them.

The jammers were not the only ones dueling; Ann E Briated and Tiki Torture fought Vuedoo Prodigy and Honeydew Felon all night. Both teams' back-blocking suffered from the attacks; Honeydew was not her usual stifling self, and Tiki Torture did not move back and forth with the ease that she had all this season.

The season championship is still anyone's game; the GBs did not appear to enter this match with a tight roster and a ferocious eye to the position of their opponents. It felt like a hard-fought scrimmage, warming up for the Golden Skate; the Garda Belts have their work cut out for them. As for the Rockits, it's clear from the game that Jawbreaker and Harmony have every ability to go full-out for forty minutes. Depending on the state of Dudezilla's knee in the coming weeks, we may see these two take on all those fast women in green.

Atomic Bombshells v Dagger Dolls

The past season has been fraught with difficulty for the Dagger Dolls and Atomic Bombshells. Both knocked out of finals contention in the third bout, these teams took on one another with an eye towards the April bout and a ferocity born of frustration. The Dolls also had one trick up their sleeve...the return of Rebel Stella. Unbeknownst to fans, Stella had been training for over a month to make her return. At her peak in previous seasons, Stella was another of those singular derby talents - able to jam and block alike. She helped start this league; it'll be interesting to see what she'll bring to the table in the remainder of this season.

The game began with a short matchup between Rebel Stella - freshly part of the Doll roster once again - and Bombshell up-and-comer L'Exi-Cuter. Both players exploded from their marks, and Stella began her fifth season with her first lead jam with L'Exi only a stride away. Stella gained a bit of distance and scored three before calling the jam, keeping the Bombshell rookie to only one point. The ABS tied it up as CleoSPLATra scored four during a power jam while Scootaloo cooled her heels in the box (having already taken two points) following her attempts to muscle past ABSes Venus Thightrap and Misfit Maiden. ABS rookie Jocelyn D'Jewels took advantage of Scoot's position to score a few points with blocking assistance from Shady O'Dread and Diamond Rough to send the Bombshells into the lead (8-5).

CleoSPLATra returned to the line, this time against Sparkle Ninja. Cleo came up short as one Doll blocker after another repeatedly sent her to the back of the pack. Meanwhile, Sparkle scored six. In the fourth reversal in ten minutes, L'Exi-Cuter took advantage of a power jam started by Roxanne Rolls heading to the box to score five points, using her teammate Diamond Rough as a battering ram on the Dolly pack.

With ten minutes to play in the half, ABS Venus Thightrap took on Rebel Stella. Venus took the lead and Rebel, who had not yet played with the newer WFTDA regulations, tried the old trick of cutting the inside track to get past a couple blockers. No such luck; with a major penalty sending Stella to the box, Venus Thightrap focused every ounce of speed she had and scored fourteen points unopposed. With the score suddenly ABS 27-DD 11, the Dolls wisely took a timeout.

Dagger Doll blocker Sweet Justice took the unusual step of taking the jammer star next against Bombshell co-captain Mitzi Massacre. Neither took the lead, but Justice scored three points before both she and Mitzi were sent to the box for a jammerless jam. L'Exi-Cuter and Sparkle Ninja grabbed jammer stars from the women in the penalty and dueled. No lead for either, but both ably worked through packs depleted in the jammerless jam to score big (L'Exi for 9, Sparkle for 8). Diamond continued to work as a shepherd for L'Exi-Cuter, tossing her teammate Eve L Hazard into Doll Sinnamin to interfere with some clever blocking. The next two jams extended the Bombshells' lead by four and at the half, the Bombshells were up 18 points. ABS 40-DD 22.

Penalty problems clearly plagued the Dagger Dolls' jammers. Because of small mistakes, the DD scorers were in the box at some point for eight of the ten jams. Counting end-of-jam staff rotations, that meant Dolls could not score for ten minutes of the first period. The only reason that they were still in the game was that their defense played as well as they did. Meanwhile, the Bombshells took every advantage they could and took themselves into halftime with a healthy - but not unsurmountable - lead.

ABS Jocelyn D'Jewels began the second half against fellow rookie Psycho Novia. Psycho took the lead, pinballing past Bombshell threats Calamity Crush and Misfit Maiden. However, Jocelyn scored a full four points before the Doll jammer could call off the jam. Doll veteran Scootaloo took on the young L'Exi-Cuter; now, neither could break the pack, but as time ran out on the jam, L'Exi got called on a track-cutting penalty. In frustration, the Bombshell spiked her helmet, and although Mitzi Massacre flew to the box to caution L'Exi, head ref Spike skated over and ejected L'Exi-Cuter from the game. ABS was still ahead by 19, but now they were down a player.

Play continued with Venus Thightrap replacing L'Exi in the box and Psycho Novia returning to the line unopposed. Psycho scored a full grand slam off of the Bombshells before Venus could make a scoring pass. Jocelyn D'Jewels responded with a three point jam before getting snared by Norah Torious and Sweet Justice while her opponent - Sparkle Ninja - snuck in a point. ABS 47 - DD 31.

Roxanne steamrolled the ABS pack and became lead jammer whilst Venus Thightrap found herself about half a pack behind. Roxanne scored eight, but doing so allowed Venus to score four herself. Mitzi Massacre slammed the next jam against Psycho Novia, who nonetheless decided to take on the veteran by getting in front of her and matching Mitzi stride for stride. Mitzi finally passed her, called off the jam, and signalled vehemently to the refs that she had gotten the lapping point for Psycho. The refs concurred. Scootaloo came right back for the Dolls, scoring five while CleoSPLATra was sent to the box as she fought past Sparkle Ninja and Sweet Justice. The Bombshells called a timeout; nine minutes remained and their lead had shrunk to eleven.

Psycho Novia took control of the next jam to make the Bombshells even more nervous, but it was Venus Thightrap in the following jam who brought the ABS up by three to fifty-nine that sealed the game for the ABS. Roxanne Rolls took on Mitzi Massacre to gain four points before the end of the game, but at the final whistle, the Atomic Bombshells broke their four-game losing streak by defeating the Dagger Dolls, 59-50.

It's worth noting; although the Bombshells won, the Dagger Dolls started to work their old, hard-hitting magic in the second half. The Doll defense over halftime somehow came together; the Bombshell jammers started hitting walls where in the first half, they were only striding past individuals. Fixie Chic, Norah Torious, Sparkle Ninja, Sinaminn, Wonderbroad...even the rookies were starting to make hits that counted and stop the Bombshells in their tracks.

Also, the loss of L'Exi-Cuter may have had a significant effect on the score; L'Exi scored half of the Bombshells' points in the first period and hit big in two other jams as a blocker. That said, it's clear that the Bombshells are more than just one or two good players. Scoring threats come from everywhere, whether new or old...and the number continues to increase. Venus Thightrap showed that, almost a year to the day that she first jammed at the Roy under the name Sugar Cain, enemies of the Bombshells had yet another new target to beware. Both teams still have reserves we haven't seen; this match will only get better in April.

Fans, we are fast approaching the final bout of the season. Get your tickets early; we've got two tremendous rematches to enjoy before the end. For a preview of the final bout, keep your eye on www.mnrollergirls.com.

If you need some derby action before then, we have something new for you; check out the new (and free!) broadcast site of our PPV partner, B2tv.com. www.b2cabletv.com is playing every match that has been recorded over the past two years. Want to see the Garda Belt/Dagger Doll overtime bout? It's there. 2008 Championship bout? It's there. Madison v MNRG at the Roy? Yup. It's all there, all free, and all for you, our tremendous fans.

See you soon.

Reporting for the MNRG,
-Garrison Killer

1 comment:

mark jarvis said...

It was great to see Lizzie back, on my favorite team no less. Also great to see Rebel Stella return. They needed her back. Roxanne Rolls did excellent as well. Things sadly got a bit violent in the 3rd period.