After more than a year of not playing at home, the Detroit Derby Girls' traveling A-team played at the Masonic Temple against the best of the Ohio Roller Girls (from Columbus). The last time I saw them play Ohio there was a fight (kind of). I don't know how the tension started, but Black Eyed Skeez tackled an Ohio girl, both of them landing on a crowd of fans that were sitting track-side. I couldn't see if any punches were thrown, but I saw them get pulled apart and ejected.
The best part of seeing a team from out of town, is evaluating their derby names. Kaslammity James, Pearl Rogi, Texas Chainsaw Sasskicker, and Dixie Heartless are all great names, but if I have to give an award for best name to someone from the Ohio league, it would have to Blitz Lemon.
Motorcity Disassembly Line vs. Ohio's Gang Green
The B-teams' bout was a good preview of the prevailing tactics in the Ohio League. Every jam started with the blockers lining up right on top of the jammer line, instead of just behind the pivot line, roughly 10-15 feet ahead. As each team's next rotation of players came out, they jockeyed to get the spots closest to that line. Often a girl would dive right on top of that spot and and lie horizontally across the track in front of the jammer line until her other teammates could arrive and line up with her. It was more comical to watch then they realized. This wan't unheard of in Detroit, so I'd have to say the biggest difference in game tactics was the handoff of the jammer's starred helmet cover. The jammer is designated with a starred cover that's stretched over the helmet, and I often forget that she's allowed to take it off and hand it to the pivot, the sole player on the team with a helmet cover containing one wide solid stripe, whose role is to be at the head of the pack and shepherd her team's blockers. Once the pivot puts the starred cover over her helmet, she's now the jammer for the remainder of the jam. This sort of thing forces the other team to have to change whatever defensive strategy they're using to shut down the first jammer, because it typically isn't done if the first jammer is succeeding.
The first jam of the game, and Swift Justice scored 1 point to Ohio's 0. Detroit kept a small lead until the 5 jam, when it became a 9-9 tie. Ohio was scoreless over the next 3 jams as Detroit doubled their points. Another shut-out against Ohio from jams 10 through 13. In that streak, Meryl Slaughterburgh scored 9 points in jam 12, and Swift Justice scored 24 in the 13th. Detroit's defense even succeeded in shutting down Ohio's Burnadeath while having two of their blockers in the penalty box. The first half ended with Detroit ahead 89-35.
In jams 2 and 3 of the second half, Meryl Slaughterburgh and Ohio's Blitz Lemon were playing musical chairs in the penalty box as they jammed against each other. In all the switching around, Meryl was still able to score 17 points, while Blitz scored none.
Detroit's defensive abilities was on full display, holding Ohio down to only 10 points in the first 9 jams of the second half (score, 122-45). Ohio didn't give up, and in the 10th jam Paige Bleed scored 25 points, making it 126-70, while jammer Pish Posh spent most of her time in the penalty box. Another big play for Ohio in the 14th, when Burnadeath scored 20 while Meryl was in the box, putting the score at 133-90. The third big play for Ohio came in the 19th, when Paige Bleed made a 15 play after Meryl was again sent to the penalty box. They really showed an ability to capitalize on penalized jammers.
While Ohio had a few really explosive plays, their performance just wasn't consistent enough, they never held the lead, and the Dissassembly Line came out ahead, 155-118.
The A-teams Face Off
The main event starts off and Ohio's Kitty Liquorbottom scored 7 unanswered points while Detroit's Roxanna Hardplace sat in the penalty box. The 2nd jam had Phoenix Bunz adding another 9 unanswered points. This bout was starting off very differently than the opener. Detroit finally got some points on the board in the 3rd jam, when Cookie Rumble scored 11. After being tied at the end of the 5th jam, Racer McChaseHer put Detroit ahead by scoring 10.
Detroit was scoreless again from jams 10 through 12, while Ohio was scoreless from jams 13 through 18. Jammers with lead-jammer status were using their perogative to end the jam early before points could be scored by the other team, or just after losing any advantage they might have had on the track.. It wasn't until the 20 jam that the scoreboard started shooting up again. Ohio's Hellion BOI scored 14, while Roxanna netted 7, making the score 57-46 Detroit. With a 13 point play by Racer in the 22nd and final jam of the first, Detroit was up, 70-55.
Roxanna Hardplace jammed for Detroit in the 1st jam of the second half, just like she did in the first, but with a totally different result, scoring 9 unanswered points. Ohio would 16 over the 3rd and 4th jams, making it 87-76.
For the first big play of the second half, Hellion BOI scored 20 points for Ohio in the 11th, while Roxanna, stymied in the penalty box (a big problem for her all through the bout), could only score 4. Detroit's lead was narrowing, at 111-102. Kitty Liquorbottom followed that up with a 14 point play, while Racer, showing signs of exhaustion, score none. Ohio was now ahead for the second time this bout, 116-111.
Cookie Rumble help Detroit take back the lead with a 9 point jam in 13th jam. The score remained close until the 16th jam, when a reinvigorated Racer scored 9 unanswered points, increasing the lead to 141-127. Detroit put Feta Sleaze in the jammer position for the 17th and final jam. This was her first and only time jamming this bout, and she exploded on the track. She scored 18 points, helping Detroit hold onto its lead, and win the bout with, 159-129.
Travel team captain Racer McChaseHer:
Detroit Area Dork: What are your initial thoughts on the bout?
Racer McChaserHer: It was a tough game. We knew it was going to be a tough game, but I'm glad we pulled it out. We're not going to Nationals this year, but this game was still important to us because it can affect our ranking going into the next quarter. It was an important game, even though we're kind of done for the season.
D: How do you think the team was able to pull ahead in the end?
R: I think we played with heart. We were able to pull out what we needed to pull out, and we had people playing positions that don't normally do that were put in a spotlight.
D: Who were some of the Ohio players that you thought you had to neutralize?
R: Phoenix Bunz, who is their MVP, she is a threat as a blocker, and a jammer (#23). Their captain, she was problematic of course. Loraine Acid, she's #59. They have a good core of girls that they've been playing with for a long time, and they definitely made it tough to pull through.
D: Were you able to watch them in previous regionals, or online?
R: We watched them about a month ago, when we were both at North-Central regionals at Niagara Falls. They were seeded 4, and we were seeded 6. We ended up coming out 5, and they ended up coming out 4. We actually didn't match up against them because of how the bracketing works. We had them scheduled on the books already, so if we played them at regionals, we still would have played this game anyway. We have been watching them because they're a great team, and we're impressed with how far they've come this year. They played 14 games this year, before we played 1 this season. So they were way ahead of us getting started this season. We watched them, but not super close, because there were other opponents we were going to play at the tournament that we needed to pay close attention to.
D: Since Ohio had some players in both bouts, did they seem tired by the end?
R: I don't think so. I think most of the girls that played in the A-team game with us probably didn't play a whole lot in the first game, and the girls that played a lot in the first game probably didn't play a lot in the second game. We had two girls from our A-team play for our B-team, but not in both games. That's pretty common in other leagues as well.
D: Which players?
R: Yo-yo, #17 is on the A-team, she played with the B-team today, and Meryl Slaughterburgh.
D: Based on what you saw today, what does the travel team have to work on?
R: Playing more together. Unfortunately we get more separated when we start our home league season, which is in about another month on November 17th. We'll kick off our home season here in Detroit, and we'll play from November until May as separate home teams. When we're playing separately we don't have a whole lot of time to practice together. We've talked about trying to start our travel team season a little bit earlier. We have a travel team game in March, March 23rd this season.
All photos by Dan Bachorik
This post by:
I'm a dork, I live in the Detroit area, and sometimes I take blurry photos on an outdated camera