Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Sioux Falls falls to Minnesota 180-44

The Sioux Falls Rollerdollz tell us that co-founders Queen Elizabitch and Pain Maker first saw roller derby live when they traveled to the Roy in October 2006. They've come back time and again, they've watched our bouts on the Internet, and our players have gone west to run one of their boot camps in South Dakota. Their geared-up arrival to the Legendary Roy Wilkins Auditorium felt something like a reunion...maybe like one where a fight breaks out. And so, at the conclusion of the league mixer, the Rollerdollz hit the track and made ready to take on the Minnesota RollerGirl All-Stars for a match three years in the waiting.

Suzie Smashbox took to the line against Sioux Falls heavy Queen Elizabitch for the bout's first jam. Elizabitch attempted to take a whip from her pivot but slammed into a Minnesota player for her troubles; Suzie stole the lead out from under her and began accelerating. Elizabitch went to the penalty box, presumably for the back block on the MNRG blocker. Suzie made short work of the pack three times for an early triple slam. MNRG jammer Lexi cracked the pack next for thirteen on another power jam versus Applicious as the Sioux Falls scorer smacked straight into Venus Thightrap. Harmony Killerbruise took Minnesota's third lead jam as she passed a pack unable to touch her as Applicious' penalty expired; Harmony scored seven, but Applicious snuck up and got two before the Minnesotan could call the jam. Minnesota 35-2 with seven minutes past.

Sioux Falls scored again two jams later as Suzie Smashbox took her first trip to the penalty box. Julia Wild scrambled through the pack without taking the lead and scored four more. Unfortunately, Julia also called off the jam; an illegal procedure for a jammer who did not 'take the lead'. This ended the jam and sent Julia to the box; L'exi Cuter took full advantage of Julia's visit and started tearing apart the pack again. Julia had no luck breaking that pack once she left the penalty box; Tara Skatesov and Venus Thightrap ably controlled her in the front while L'exi scored fourteen.

With seventeen left to go, Sioux Falls called a timeout with Minnesota ahead by forty-three (49-6). In the following jams, Sioux Falls began to move their jammers through the pack more briskly, but both Harmony and Psycho Novia of Minnesota still grabbed leads again for three each. Hollicidal Maniac did particularly fine work dropping jammers to the outside, but Minnesota continued to widen the scoring gap. The 'Dollz kept going for the big hit, but could not keep a jammer down long enough to get their first lead jam. Suzie continued the string of leads as she jammed against Hollicidal, orbiting the pack on the outside for four unanswered points. L'exi grabbed another six as Julia Wild again went to the box for track cutting. Harmony took the lead late in the next jam while Queen Elizabitch got held back by Vuedoo Prodigy and Diamond Rough. On her lapping pass, Dusty Bibles of Sioux Falls shut down Harmony's progress. As Diamond Rough fell back to assist her jammer, Harmony passed her the star, and the amazonian Ms Rough ran out the remainder of the jam. 65-8 Minnesota.

Sioux Falls continued to have penalty woes as the refs sent their jammers to the box three times. Minnesota steadily distanced themselves from their opponents, but they had not broken Sioux Falls' nerve. In the penultimate jam of the half, Applicious charged from the box and caught the MNRG blockers napping, scoring five before the opposing jammer - Harmony Killerbruise - could call off the jam. Minnesota's Vuedoo Prodigy quickly answered that scoring run by scoring fourteen as time expired on the first half. 95-15 Minnesota.

Minnesota dominated the first half on scoring, on lead jams, and on penalties. The MNRG's pack continued to hold back their opponents and to peel errant blockers into the penalty box as they would get caught on track-cutting or back-blocking penalties. Meanwhile, four of Minnesota's jamming staff had already posted more than ten points.

The MNRG poured on the points in the second half as the Rollerdollz continued to take on water. Harmony started the half off with a nine-point jam as the refs sent Fully OZmatic to the box. Dollz blocker Red Thunder finally bottled up Harmony's advance, and Harmony called it off. Psycho took the remainder of OZ's penalty out and skated a thirteen-point jam as Venus Thightrap cleared the road for the young jammer. L'exi Cuter followed up for five on another power jam due to opposing jammer Queen Elizabitch's track-cut.

In the following jam, Harmony got out in front of Applicious and started putting on the brakes immediately. Skating stride for stride at a trickle of a pace, Harmony dominated the Sioux Falls jammer long enough that the pack actually caught up with the jammers and sucked Applicious into MNRG blocker Diamond Rough's not-so-gentle embrace. This "negative pass" meant that Applicious would have to pass the pack twice before she could score. Harmony sprinted ahead and appeared to break through the pack for four...although it took a few minutes of referee consternation before play could advance again. Applicious made up for the negative pass in the following jam as she scored five against Tara Skatesov, taking the team's first lead of the night. Julia Wild followed up with another lead and another four points. Minnesota ahead 126-27 with seventeen left to go.

Queen Elizabitch and Harmony went to the line. Amidst her stride, Elizabitch's skates locked up and QE jumped over to her bench for an unscheduled pitstop while Harmony scored fourteen before being sent out on minors. The next jam? Filled with penalties; neither Harmony nor her opponent could stay on the track long enough to break through the pack. Mitzi Massacre smoothed out Minnesota's nerves as she calmly picked her way through the chaotic pack for eight points. Killahertz lost out in the next jam as she cut the track on the initial pass; Elizabitch grabbed four while fending off strong shoulders from Suzie Smashbox. Venus Thightrap took another nine to Julia Wild's three as Diamond Rough blindsided Sioux Falls captain Pain Maker from out of the penalty box to make way for her jammer. Julia got sent to the box on a double penalty, which gave MNRG's next jammer L'exi Cuter the opportunity to score a double slam. 167-34 with 3 minutes left.

MNRG jammer Diamond Rough busted through the pack like a running back on fire, but it wasn't quite enough to beat out Applicious' speed. The Sioux Falls vet grabbed the lead jam and scored three. Elizabitch led the next jam, but could only call it off to shut down Abbie Mischief ahead of her on the track. And as time expired, MNRG all-star rookie Tara Skatesov took one last double slam for thirteen points to Applicious' seven. That jam was the second in five periods of MNRG all-star play (going back to MNRG v Carolina's second half) that the MNRG allowed their opponents more than five points in a single jam. Final score: 180-44.

The second half gave Sioux Falls some ability to show off their hits; Red Thunder, Dusty Bibles, and Hollicidal Maniac all were dropping our players into the crowd. The tactic is great; it's hard to make it work consistently when the jammer won't stay down...and Minnesota's players kept getting up. Minnesota played a dominant game, and their partner system that shifts from active hits to pushing players into walls continues to gather traction. It will be of great interest to see what aspects of the all-star strategies we will see in the home season coming up in two weeks. In the meantime, congratulations to the MNRG for a 4-2 record at home in 2009, including a loss to Windy City...and a win against Carolina. 2010 Regionals are less than ten months away.

75 Harmony Killerbruise: 5-8, 42 pts
187 L'exi Cuter: 6-6, 52 pts
91 Suzie Smashbox: 3-4, 22 pts
109 Psycho Novia: 4-4, 20 pts
21 Tara Skatesov: 1-2, 13 pts
69 Vuedoo Prodigy: 0-1, 14 pts
55 Venus Thightrap: 0-1, 9 pts
3 Mitzi Massacre: 1-1, 8 pts
25 Honeydew Felon: 0-1, 0 pts
808 Killahertz: 0-1, 0 pts
1837 Diamond Rough: 0-1, 0 pts
318 Abbie Mischief: 0-1, 0 pts

3.14 Applicious: 3-9, 20 pts
375 Julia Wild: 1-10, 15 pts
40oz Fully OZmatic: 0-3, 5 pts
1.75L Queen Elizabitch: 1-8, 4 pts
AK47 Hollicidal Manic: 0-1, 0 pts

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