Sweet mercy, we sold out! Thank you to all of the fans who joined us for Saturday's bout; we scanned 4723 tickets...but considering all of the children that come to our bouts that go unticketed, Roy staff, and MNRG volunteers, it's very likely that the Legendary Roy Wilkins Auditorium played host to 5,000 women, men, and children!
The Atomic Bombshells entered this match with a 1-0 record; having narrowly defeated the Rockits in January, the Bombshells were looking for another win to firm up their championship berth in April. The Dolls were a game behind after a nine-point defeat by the Garda Belts and needed this win to reasonably seek the berth. With a three-game season before the finals, every point in every game counted...particularly in a season as close as this one.
The Dagger Dolls' second-year jammer Psycho Novia took her place at the jammer line against Bombshell Venus Thightrap. Both shot into the pack, but Venus was able to wind her way through just a hair more quickly, scored two, and called off the jam just as Psycho was set to re-engage. Venus' teammate L'exi Cuter jumped through a hipcheck from Dagger Doll blocker Sinaminn and grabbed the next lead. Her opponent Sparkle Ninja attempted to slide through the inside to pass the final Bombshell blocker, Jocelyn D'Jewels, but Jewels shaved Sparkle just over the line. Sparkle kept going, and the refs sent her to the box for major track-cutting. L'exi laid on the speed and scored fifteen. The Bombshell defensive line placed themselves forward in the next jam as Mae Gusta went unopposed. In the following jam, after getting past a tough one-on-one with Shiver Me Kimbers, Venus again took the lead as the Bombshell defense slowed, trapping the majority of the Dollys outside of the pack engagement zone. Continuing the unanswered streak, Mae scored another five; L'exi, four. Over seven minutes, the Bombshells established a 26-0 lead with four straight lead jams. The Dolls called a timeout.
Dagger Doll Scootaloo broke through the pack in the next jam, but Venus - just behind her - threaded through the Dolls cleanly, got the lead, and called it off. L'exi fought against Doll blocker Wonderbroad for over half a lap of juking and weaving, but finally took the next lead. Just as L'exi Cuter re-engaged the pack on the lapping run; however, she hit the braking Doll sweeper Buffy the Vampire Skater with a back block and got sent to the penalty box. Meanwhile, L'exi's jamming opponent Psycho was just breaking through the pack with the aid of Wonderbroad and scored the Dolls' first eight points on the power jam. Sparkle Ninja took to the line unopposed, but the Dolls' defensive work to bring her through backfired as a returning L'exi-cuter flashed out of the box to take the lead while her opponents tried to send Sparkle forward. L'exi scored one. 27-8 Bombshells with seven to go.
Mae Gusta scored the eighth consecutive lead jam and four points despite hits from both Shiver Me Kimbers and Wonderbroad that forced her to re-engage the pack each time. Skullateral Damage and Tara Skatesov held back her opponent while elsewhere in the pack, the referees expelled Misfit Maiden on a gross misconduct violation for shoving Dagger Doll Rollercat. The expulsion may have knocked the Bombshells off their pace; though they earned the next two leads, neither Jocelyn D'Jewels nor L'exi Cuter could score against their opponents. In fact, the Dollys grabbed six points in the chaos. Killamon Jaro returned to the jammer line against Mae Gusta, and Killamon picked up the first lead for the Dollys with Buffy holding off Mae's advance and Shiv and Let Die providing interference for her jammer. Psycho Novia finished out the half as lead for four points while her teammates fell upon L'exi Cuter amidst a depleted Bombshell pack. L'exi went to the box twice in that jam, and finished out the half sitting down.
As time ran out in the first half, the Dolls had pulled within thirteen, 33-20 Bombshells. Despite ten consecutive lead jams, the Bombshells had not yet been able to put up a large lead on their opponents. However, they controlled the clock and held every jammer except one (Psycho Novia) to two points or less.
Psycho Novia wasted no time in taking the lead with L'exi-Cuter in the box, scooting past an illegal block from Mitzi Massacre outside the pack engagement zone. Psycho chalked up seven unanswered points for the Dollys on the short pack. Mae Gusta then beat an attempted escort out of play by Sinaminn for the lead while her Bombshell defenders mobbed Scootaloo; Mae scored a slam. Psycho Novia responded by claiming another lead jam and scoring three before stopping short behind Diamond Rough and calling off the jam.
Seven minutes into the second half, it felt like the Dolls had fallen into a good rhythm, outscoring the Bombshells 22-7 over the last eight jams. The Bombshells still had the lead (38-30), but the game seemed to be falling to the Dagger Dolls. L'exi Cuter found her center on the next jam against Killamon Jaro and broke past the Dolly front line for the lead, visibly yelling, "FINALLY!" and scored four points in a very fast jam. Bombshell Mae Gusta matched her teammate for the next jam, breaking past Doll Buffy the Vampire Skater in the back while opposing jammer Psycho got peeled off the track on a block from Tara Skatesov. L'exi returned for another two as she circumnavigated the outside of the Dolly pack with enough speed to take the lead. In three jams, the Bombshell lead more than doubled. 48-30 with nine to go.
Norah Torious stomped on Bombshell Venus Thightrap's attempt to take the fourth consecutive lead, with Psycho grabbing three points to Venus' two. L'exi took the outside of the track a second time, leaving the Dolls no choice but to attempt to arrest her progress by divebombing her. They missed, and L'exi picked up nine off of a power jam. Wonderbroad and Candi Pain made walls to stop Killamon Jaro and Psycho Novia's opponents in the following two jams, but the two Dolly jammers could not score with their leads. With three minutes left, Venus Thightrap scored one before being taken down by Shiver Me Kimbers, and Psycho Novia scored a final five for her team as the clock ran down. However, track-cutting would send Psycho to the box one final time, and L'exi scored three as Diamond Rough--protecting her jammer from the best Doll sweeper of the game--launched Buffy the Vampire Skater into the air. Final score: 63-38.
Psycho Novia was the sole scorer for the Dagger Dolls in the second half; the Dolls have a month to find more jammers to duel against five double-digit-scoring Rockits. Meanwhile, the Bombshell triad appears to continue to thrive with a mixture of staying away from the pack (in L'exi's case, speeding around it) and using their pack's defensive screens. The Bombshells continue to place a higher regard on sending their player through first, which may help explain their lower winning margins; if all you're looking to do is control the clock and score a little, the opposing team will get chances to take the lead...it simply appears that the Bombshells make sure that doesn't happen.
The importance of the back blocker--that woman who awaits the jammer as they engage the pack--played a heavy role in this bout. Whether it was Buffy the Vampire Skater's stuffing the Bombshell Three (Venus, L'exi, and Mae) in the first half, or the palpable wariness of Dolly scorers for Diamond Rough's strong hits throughout, a strong 'sweeper' position continues to be one of the most powerful players on the Roy track. It is also worth noting that the Bombshells played a sparser lineup this month, yet still kept their streak alive; they are at four consecutive wins.
The Bombshells are now in first place, but have not yet guaranteed a spot in the championship bout; a win by the Rockits AND the Bombshells losing by over 47 to the Garda Belts would send them to the third-place bout in April. Any other scenario sends them forward to play for the Golden Skate.
187 L'exi-Cuter (8-13) 38 pts
456 Mae Gusta (4-6) 20 pts
55 Venus Thightrap (3-5) 5 pts
88 Jocelyn D'Jewels (1-1) 0 pts
109 Psycho Novia (6-11) 34 pts
FU Scootaloo (0-5) 2 pts
9 Killaman Jaro (2-4) 2 pts
1111 Sparkle Ninja (1-5) 0 pts