“Heavyweight Match” ends with Minnesota win over ASTby Jim Almy
Minnesota may have left the track with a 150-127 win over the Rat City Rollergirls All-Star Team (AST) last Saturday night at KeyArena, but it was hard to think of the locals as being the losers.
Points came hard. Blockers and pivots on each team made the ten foot wide track seem closer to six, recycling jammers with such regularity that it appeared there was always a jammer skating the wrong way to get back on the track.
AST shut out Minnesota for the first three jams with Carmen Getsome (#12), Belle Tolls (#4), Enurgizer Bunny (#0) and Raven Seaward (#53) alternating on lines that kept the track too narrow for opponent’s jammers.
Six minutes and six jams in it was AST ahead 15-7. Missile America (#321) had just recycled (again) Minnesota jammer Harmony Killerbruise (#75). Though she would finish the bout as the leading scorer on both sides with 52 points, Killerbruise at that point had just two to show for her first three jams.
Three AST skaters shared the penalty box for parts of jam seven. Fouls began to cut into scoring time for AST over the next six jams as they slowly fell behind, trailing 63-33 halfway through the first thirty minutes of play.
AST Head Coach Ho Chi Danh said that there were a couple of visiting officials joining the regular crew to call the bout and that different officials will sometimes call a game in a way that teams aren’t used to. “We have to learn to adapt to how things are being called,” he said. “The calls were legitimate.”
Most of the crowd might have differed with the coach when, in jam nine, AST jammer Luna Negra (#911) broke open at a quarter lap and appeared to be headed for some needed catch-up points. Instead she was whistled immediately to the penalty box for a forearm violation. The crowd loudly suggested to the officials that they didn’t see any forearm being thrown, but to no avail.
Missile America and Enurgizer Bunny went to jail near the end of jam ten and started the next jam in the same place. LeBrawn Maimes (#23) wove so quickly through the entire Minnesota defense that the sound of the starters whistle to start jam twelve was still in the air while they were watching her backside disappear around the bend. She earned four points before her scoring was cut short by a trip to the sin bin. Killerbruise, meanwhile, had the single highest scoring jam of the bout, adding 28 and producing that gaudy 30 point lead.
The scoring balance tipped in AST’s favor for the rest of the half, initiated by Luna Negra’s seven quick points and followed, in jam 14, by an explosive scoring display from Carmen Getsome (#12), whose 19 points moved the locals to within four, 63-59. The entire arena heard Missile America yelling “HERE!” as Getsome shot in the direction of the lane America had just muscled open for her. Next time around Raven Seaward grabbed her hands and slung her through again for five more points. That brought the arena crowd to their feet screaming crazily as the jam ended with Getsome skating off the track while waving both arms in the air. Sintripetal Force (#1618) found an opening on the outside, her four points creating a 63-all tie with 8:17 remaining in the opening stanza.
“This was a heavyweight match,” said AST Coach Danh. “It was two solid teams throwing punches all night long. They were evenly matched and both played just excellent for the entire sixty minutes. I’m really proud of the girls. There were no bad jams.”
Minnesota’s Head Coach, Betsy Wrecksie called the bout, “A fun bout. Really intense. It was a great game for us at this point in the season.”
The second half continued the singularity of the first. Minnesota maintained their lead, AST kept pushing back. Playing at their peak for sixty minutes began to show for both teams as the low scoring half progressed. “We did smart things at the end,” said Wrecksie. “We used the clock to our advantage and started playing some jammer defense just to limit AST’s opportunity to score points.”
She also said that the floor was her team’s other opponent, explaining that they play on a concrete track and the sports court at KeyArena was a surface they had to quickly learn.
Coach Danh said that it was great to watch how AST performed against a top ten team. “We know we can hang with Minnesota,” he said. “We learned a lot about each other.”
That same Minnesota team will be in the group with AST when they start playoffs in Sacramento September 5-7. AST opens against Terminal City of Vancouver, BC. Terminal City came down Sunday morning for a hangover bout against Minnesota. The Midwestern powerhouse handled their Canadian cousins 262-103.
Luna Negra led AST scorers with 45. Sintripetal Force had 37, Rawkhell SqWelch, 14, LeBrawn Maimes, 2 and Carmen Getsome, 21. Harmony Killerbruise led all scorers with 52. Other Minnesota points were collected by Slamda Phage (#22) with 49, Meg Gronau (#2), 31, and Crowella de Vil (#101), 13.
Tacoma’s roller derby lent Annie Sullivan (Harm a Knee) from the Dockyard Derby Dames to sing the National Anthem.