Carolina returns; Angels and Devils to Dance
The doors will reopen at the Legendary Roy Wilkins Auditorium for season 6 of Saint Paul's own Minnesota RollerGirls. If you've been following us over the summer, you'll know that the MNRG all-stars have been upping their game, travelling all over this nation to take on and take out our sister leagues. On the way, we've visited Michigan, Philadelphia, and even returned to Austin, where our dreams of our league began over five years ago. And to start this season off, we're bringing to you the first team that ever played the MNRG at the Roy Wilkins Auditorium...the fearsome, fantastic, phenomenal Carolina All-Stars.
Carolina came to the Roy four seasons ago in November of 2005 to throw down against a very young MNRG squad - and we made history by scoring the highest cumulative number of points ever in a full bout of roller derby. That record - a combined score of 410 points - was finally broken only five months ago when Texas demolished Oklahoma 451 to 8. Our bout against Carolina was much closer; when the dust settled, we had beaten Carolina's All-Stars 237-173. Two months later, we would travel to Carolina and be beaten in a much closer rematch - we fell to them 136-126. So to say there's a history between our two teams...well, that's sort of understating it.
With that history in mind, consider how our teams now stand. Minnesota just put on an amazing tournament - the Brawl of America was remarkable and we thank all of you that came out to see us and the nine teams that also competed. Put simply, our All-Stars did not have a great weekend. We fell to the North Central champion Windy City Rollers; we also lost a close one to our sister league across the river, the North Star Roller Girls, but we did defeat Michigan's Grand Raggidy Roller Girls. We placed ninth at the Brawl, and according to WFTDA's Q2 rankings, we are sixth in our region. That puts us in about the center of the pack in the North Central.
Carolina, on the other hand, is currently ranked fourth and came in fifth at their own tournament in the East Region. Right now, the East is arguably the strongest of the four regions; Gotham, Philly, Boston, and Charm City (remember them?) all play there - and Carolina plays them regularly and has won some of those matches. With the exception of our bout against Windy City at the Brawl, Carolina represents the biggest team that we have ever faced on Roy concrete. We will have our hands full.
Jax Kvaas (Frau Scientits of the Rockits)
Mitzi Massacre (co-captain)
Suzie Smashbox (co-captain)
Holly Wanna Crackya
You'll notice a couple of very fresh faces; Psycho Novia and L'Exi-cuter were rookies last year, but we'll likely be seeing them putting on the jammer star and taking on Carolina's staff next to Suzie Smashbox, Mitzi Massacre, and Harmony Killerbruise. If the rosters for the Brawl and our Houston match are to be understood as the new norm, we may also be seeing Sweet Justice (co-captain for the Dagger Dolls) Misfit Maiden (Bombshell co-captain), and even back blocker extraordinaire Honeydew Felon take a turn at the jammer line.
In the pack, there's the usual wall of Rockit defense (Scarmen, Coochie Coup, Vuedoo, Honeydew, and Jax), but Carolina will see our players that wear orange, green, and pink as well. Tiki Torture is being called on to bring her fast, precise sweeping, while Venus Thightrap gets her first call in the home season to represent MNRG as an all-star. Watch for her near the front of the pack. Meantime, watch for her Bombshell teammates Mitzi, Misfit, and L'exi as front blockers. The MNRG has a habit of creating three-deep phalanxes that work in formation to entrap their prey, and the players will need to make those formations as sturdy as they can.
The Carolina defense also plays the wall game; their pack likes playing with a buddy (two walls, front and back) and when a defender is lost, they can be slow to sew up that hole. On the other hand, they're calm under pressure and don't often lose track of the location of the pack when a front blocker heads out to cut off the jammer before they start sprinting. As to that jamming, Carolina is bringing two of their best to Saturday's match - Holly Wanna Crackya and Princess America. Now, the Princess is a very skilled jammer who consistently puts great numbers up; Holly has a remarkable facility to accelerate through half the pack, pop her head up, work out a brand new line, and shoot through the remainder of the defenders. It's going to a lot of fun to see our tremendous blocking line take on such talented players.
If you want to watch for signs that Minnesota is doing well against Carolina, here are a few things to watch for (other than the score, of course):
1) Minnesota staying out of the penalty box. We've had many problems this summer with our players heading to the box at exactly the wrong time. There are a number of ways that our team can work through foul trouble as long as the overall number is low. If two or three of our players head to the box every jam, we're going to have difficulty putting up enough defense to stop Carolina's best.
2) Communication. Watch for our women in blue pointing, yelling, and using anything this side of semaphore flags to let each other know what's going on around them.
3) A few stuffs by our blockers in the first few jams. If we can find ways early to stop their jammers' movement through the pack (even if they don't have to pick themselves off the ground), it's a good indication that we've got their number.
We would love to see every face out there painted in MNRG blue, every torso beclad in All-star colors, all holding signs and cheering like the force of nature that you MNRG fans are during the home season. These players are some of the very best we've seen at the Roy, and we want every edge we can get to take on this team...including the homecourt advantage that you bring us every month.
One last note: this may very well be the last bout for All-Star Harmony Killerbruise; Harmony is heading west to Washington this fall. If you have an opportunity, stop her and thank her for her years at the pivot and jammer line for the Rockits and the All-Stars.
Angels v Devils:
It's our second year of experimenting with theme bouts. We enjoyed putting on last year's 'Disco v Punk' and 'Pirates v Zombies' bouts so much that we decided to do it again this year. This first bout will bring out the best and the worst of our skaters as the Angelic Hosts take on the Denizens from the Depths of the Grave.
AliSin Chains (rookie)
Cassie Rolle (rookie)
Killaman Jaro (rookie)
Little Tornado (rookie)
Ova Achieva (rookie)
Rollercat (rookie - reserves last year)
Stacy Wreckt (rookie)
Hell N Ready
Tara Skatesov (captain)
Bonnie Rotten (inactive)
Eve L Hazard (inactive)
Rolls Wilder (inactive)
BOOMbay Safire (rookie)
Cookies 'n Scream (rookie)
Double D.Fense (rookie)
IcePack (rookie - reserves last year)
Konceal N' Kari (rookie)
Madame de Stompadour (rookie)
Norwegian Mafia (rookie)
Patently Offensive (rookie)
Wanda Wreckonwith (rookie - reserves last year)
Mae Gusta (co-captain)
Norah Torious (co-captain)
Shiv & Let Die
Shiver Me Kimbers
Betty Bruiser (inactive)
Lydia Punch (inactive)
Velvet Hammer (inactive)
It's very difficult to handicap these matches. Many players from the past, present, and future of MNRG get involved - for now, notice the new set of rookies that we've brought on this year (and check out the updates to the MNRG website to find out a bit more about them).
Enough has been written, folks. We'll have recaps a couple of days after, but they're nothing like that feeling of opening day, screaming your lungs out with mini donuts and PBR in hand. See you this weekend!
THE SEASON IS ON.
Writing for the MNRG,