Detroit's win kept their world ranking just barely above Steel City's.
Captain Ally McKill of Steel City, and Co-captain Hard Times:
Detroit Area Dork: What are your initial thoughts on that bout?
Ally McKill: It was crazy. We always hate to lose, but if you're going to lose a game, I guess by one point is...you know...In a game like this, it feels like a win, honestly.
Hard Times: I'm so proud of this team that we've put together.
A: It's only been a couple months.
H: We have a lot of new skaters. A lot of our players didn't get a whole lot of playing time last season, so we have a lot players that have really been stepping up their game this season. It's so incredible that we did so well.
A: To come into Detroit, this place is crazy tough to play in, and to play this well, we're just incredibly proud.
D: What surface are you used to playing on at home?
A: We play on a wood floor. It's considerably grippier than this floor. This floor, for being wood, is pretty slippery. I know a lot of us changed wheels, are on maybe grippier wheels than we would be at home. We're used to wood, so it's not too different. We could have used some more practice time to get used to the differences in the floor.
D: In the first half you only scored 51 points, and then you scored over 100 in the second half. What changed in the gameplay?
A: At halftime we got back to playing our game. Detroit kind of had us on the run in the first period. They're a really good fast team, and we're used to playing a slower game, and containing jammers, and containing other blockers. When we slow it down we can score a lot more points. When we're on the run, it keeps us running. They were getting a lot of lead jammer calls too, so that kept us from scoring points. We really went in and thought, "Okay, we need to slow it down some. We also need to play a bit more offense for our jammers, so that they can get those lead jammer calls." I think that made us successful in the second period.
H: I'd also say that starting at the jammer line and being able to grab that quick back wall really changed the game for us. Being able to play a quick offense from behind and not if front was a lot easier.
D: Having all the blockers start in front of the jammer line, is that customary in your league too?
H: Yeah, definitely.
D: What demands does it put on you to be on the travel team and go out of state so often?
A: For us, we've had a really action packed first half of the season. We went to California in February. This is our second trip for the year, but we have a couple more coming up in quick succession. We don't really get a chance to stop and breathe, but in a sense, that's kind of good because we roll from one game to the next. We keep using that experience. I think the more time you're getting, the more your refining your game. I think that it's going to make us stronger.
H: In California we were playing bank-track, which was an incredible experience for our first game as a team this season. Learning a whole new rule set, and having to play a different positional game. I think that learning curve set us up together to learn really well.
D: What was the point of contention after the last play?
A: Our coach was challenging a cut-track on a Detroit jammer. She had seen that from her vantage point it looked like when one of our blockers knocked the jammer out of play, and then another one of our blockers had moved backwards. The jammer came in behind the girl who knocked her out, but she came in front of a girl who had moved backwards. It's a little bit of a confusing explantion, but basically they were challenging a cut-track. The refs ended up saying that they didn't see it that way, and we had to go with what they said. If they saw it differently than we did, than that's the game. We'll get video, we'll see if we were right or not.
H: We've been very avid this season about viewing a lot of footage, watching our own games and how we play. We're examining what we need to work on as a team, and as individual skaters. Hopefully we'll get the footage from this bout, because it's been a really big learning experience.
D: From one rustbelt city to another, which city has more rust?
A: I think Detroit might have that one on us. You have bright shiny new cars, so maybe you don't have a lot of rust.
Captain Spanish Ass'assin, and Co-captain Boo D. Livers of the Detroit Derby Girls Travel Team:
Detroit Area Dork: What are you thinking right now about this bout?
Spanish Ass'assin: Wow, it was great. We were hoping to keep the momentum from half time, but sometimes things don't go your way the whole time. We kept our cool, stayed together, and pulled it out. I couldn't be happier about that.
Boo D. Livers: Fast. I thought it was a very fast, high speed game. Jammers on both team were having a hard time catching the pack. Fast game.
D: In the first half, you kept them down to just 51 points, and then they had over 100 points in the second half, what changed?
S: It seems like when we came out from half time, I don't know, the momentum changed. Our girls were going to the box a lot, and we didn't have that in the first half. We're going to have to watch bout footage, and see what we were doing wrong, and what caused the sudden surge of penalty minutes. When we don't have four people on the floor it's hard to have that four person wall and keep that jammer back.
B: We were doing really well when we had our four blackers on the track. We were winning almost every jam when it was four on four. Penalty trouble is what happened.
D: On the other team, their jammer hardly ever went to the box. How did they play differently?
S: I don't know. Honestly, I'm not really sure.
B: You just got to roll with the punches, just like any other game. The refs are going to call it as they call it, and we've got to take our minutes, skate cleaner, and stay composed. We got a lot of extra work on penalty kills, which is a good thing for going forwards toward regionals.
D: In the second play of the game, the other team scored 20 points on you. What did you have to change after that game to get your defense back together?
S: We had to keep our jammers on the floor, and we had to help them more by securing the jammers down, and making it easy for them to actually get through. We can't expect our jammers to do everything on their own all the time. We've got to do our part and keep their jammer back so they have a chance to get the front and push and get through. If we're not doing that, they're taking on five players basically by themselves, and we can't put that on our jammers.
B: Penalties are going to happen. Knowing how to stop the bleeding when our jammer or our blocker is in the box is key. Right off the bat our jammer went, and from there we said, "okay, we've go to lock it down".
D: How do you prepare for a team from another state?
S: Bout footage, and past bouts against them. We've got a lot of girls on the team that have played these teams over and over in the last 5, 6, 7 years. You go by what you know about them personally, and you do a lot of footage of their most recent bouts against other cities. You look for their habits, for their tendencies, and you just figure out what kind of game they're playing, prepare as best as you can, and hope they don't have any tricks up their sleeve.
D: What was the contention at the end of game?
S: The very last one they were contending that our jammer had cut one of their blockers. I think they were hoping for an overturn, and to send her to the box. I don't know, because the time had run out, so you can't put time back on the clock, so I'm not really sure if they were hoping she would lose points or what they were looking for. They basically said that she had cut someone. They went back. Four referees said that she did not cut the person that they said she did, and so it was wiped clean, and there was no time left.
D: What's next for the travel team?
S: Naptown (Indianapolis). We play Naptown in two weeks. They do a lot of the stuff that we saw tonight, but they're a very fast, and a very smart team. They're tough, so we're going to do some footage review, and we're going to work really hard at practice for the next two weeks, and go as hard as we possibly can.
B: Hopefully work on penalty trouble.
D: I'm glad this bout was open to the public, because the other travel team bout earlier this year was closed.
B: It's very rare that happens.
S: That last one we had was kind of a last minute one. We threw it in, and it was low production. We don't have too many of those.
B: We don't.
D: You have another closed bout coming up, don't you? (against Tallahassee on May 10th)
S: A closed one? Maybe a hangover bout. When we have a full-on production like this, it costs us so much more money. You have to have your EMT's here, you have to have your ambulance here. The Masonic has got to have all of their security here. It's a big production. Sometimes if we look at our budgeting, and it doesn't really work out to where we want to put that kind of effort in to it, it's easier to get a sanctioned bout in and get the rankings. Our fans love the bouts, so we try not to do it too often, but as a league, we have a bank account too that we have to respect.
B: In the past our travel team bouts weren't selling out as much, and we weren't sure if we weren't promoting them enough, or if the fans weren't understanding the collaboration of the teams against out-of-state teams. This is a step in the right direction. If we're always selling them out, then we can have more bouts. If we're not selling any tickets, then we can't do it.
S: When we're playing as one team, as opposed to two home teams, now you're only pulling local fans from one side. When it's local and a doubleheader you've got four teams playing pulling fans. Everybody's got their moms, dads, uncles, brothers, sisters, husband, wife coming, whereas now you're only pulling people through one team. It's harder to fill the seats with local people.
All photos by Dan Bachorik
This post written by:
I'm a dork, I live in the Detroit area, and sometimes I take blurry photos on an outdated camera