4/16/2011 Bout Re-Cap with DrAwkward


Be honest with me, derby fans—has this season not cranked the awesome to new levels of, well, awesome? We had a nailbiting final-jam finish in January between the Shevils and Rollettes; a pulse-pounding come from behind Shevil win against the Crazy 8s last month; we’ve even had bouts paused for baby ninjas running onto the track! But shelve all that for now, because as I said on April 16th at the US Cellular Arena, springtime in Milwaukee means two things: 1) snow, and 2) PLAYOFF ROLLER DERBY. The April bouts would determine who faced whom in the 2011 home season championship bout on May 14th. TENSE! Let’s get to it:

Bout 1: Rushin’ Rollettes 70, Shevil Knevils 69

These two teams met in last year’s championship and in a rematch in the January opener, both bouts ending with a last-second Rollette victory. It was obvious from the outset that this bout was going to be more of the same. The first half was a mostly low-scoring affair with so many lead changes, that most of the drinkers in the audience were probably half in the bag by halftime (if they follow their trusty announcers’ instructions to drink at every lead change). The first major scoring runs happened in the 8th jam, and even then, neither team grabbed lead jammer status, resulting in both teams piling on points. It was 21-19 Rollettes going into jam #10 when we finally saw our first power jam (POWERJAM!) of the evening. After scoring one point, Sister Warrior was sent to the box for illegal procedure, allowing Bloody Cupcake (who paced her team with 23 total points) to rack up 9 points on two passes to give the Shevils the largest lead from either team to that point, 28-22. Before you could say “Rushin’ Rollettes KILL KILL KILL!” or “Shevil Knevils never say die!,” it was already halftime (no timeouts were called in the first half), and the Shevils clung to a slim 33-31 lead.

The second half seemed to start with a classic Rollette halftime adjustment, as the Soviets’ blockers stifled Grace Killy, allowing T-Lo to outscore her with a commanding 12-0 jam and a 47-33 Rollettes lead. However, the girls in the stars & stripes bounced right back, taking lead jammer status in the next three jams and shutting out the Rollettes as they retook the lead, 52-47. Rollettes jammer Carrie A Hacksaw was so stymied during the sixth jam of the half that she passed the star to pivot Beat Around the Bush, who was also shut out (“passing the star” happens when the jammer passes her helmet covering to her tam’s pivot, who is then the jammer for the remainder of the jam. A jammer can only pass the star to a pivot, and the new jammer is never eligible to become lead. The more you know!).

Eventually, the two teams deadlocked at 62-all after HighD Voltage outdueled Skittle 4-0 late in the second half (HighD led all Rollettes with 29 points). Bloody Cupcake lined up against T-Lo, and the Shevil blockers proceeded to knock T-Lo silly to the point where she had to attempt her own star pass, making Hacksaw the jammer. It did not look good though, as Cupcake rolled up 7 points with just under two minutes remaining to give the Shevils a 69-62 advantage. HighD Voltage was able to outskate Spazzle Dazzle for three before the Shevil defense forced her to call off the jam in the hopes of getting one more jam off before the end of the bout. Her clock awareness paid off; had she kept fighting to get past a vicious Shevil line, she would have given Spazzle time to score and nullify the three-point dent she put in the Shevil lead. Instead, Rollettes captain Rhoda Ruin lined up for the final jam against Bloody Cupcake, needing only one scoring pass through the pack to force overtime at 69-all.

Unfortunately for the Shevils, who were looking to get the ultimate revenge for last season’s championship loss to the Rollettes, Bloody Cupcake made a critical mistake at the worst possible time—she was called for a major track cut that sent her to the penalty box just as Rhoda took lead status. With the Rollette fans in the stands roaring their approval, Rhoda fought though the pack and earned a grand slam—the four points she needed plus the bonus lap point for the opposing jammer in the box. 70-69 Rollettes. Realizing she just put her team back in the finals, Rhoda called off the jam and slid to her knees, instantly mobbed by her ecstatic teammates and leaving America’s Team to ask “what if?” for yet another offseason.

(FUN FACT: Head ref Machete Holiday informed me that the 70-69 result was the fourth time in the storied history of the Shevils/Rollettes history that a bout was decided by one point, with both teams winning two and losing two. The more you know!)

Bout 2: Crazy 8s 86, Maiden Milwaukee 78

Based on the Maidens’ 0-3 record heading into the semifinal, as well as the 8s impressive record in 2011 (needing a superheroic come-from-behind effort from the Shevils to keep the 8s from a 3-0 record), most fans in the US Cellular Arena probably predicted a ninja blowout. But as BCB history buffs know, the Shevil Knevils were 0-3 when they stunned the defending champion Rollettes in the ’07-’08 season semifinals. In roller derby, anything can happen. So it appeared in the first half of the Maidens/8s tilt, as the ladies in the pink and black came out swinging to the tune of their entrance music, Twisted Sister’s “We’re Not Gonna Take It” (hilariously appropriate, as the guest whistle blower of the evening was That Guy From The Twisted Sister Videos himself, Mark Metcalf!).

The Maidens took lead jammer status in all but one of the first nine jams in a stunning run that saw the working class heroines rocket to a 33-5 lead. The story for the Crazy 8s in the first half could be summed up in two words: jammer penalties. Scooter and EmFatale were sent to the box during a pair of early jams, and while the 8s were able to speed up the pack and keep the penalty damage to a minimum, making the opposing jammer use more clock to catch up to them, the bottom line is that when your jammer’s in the sin bin, your team can’t score. A track cut by 8s jammer Latina Heat in the half’s final jam resulted in 10 more points for Frank Hurt’r (who led the Maidens with 27) and a stunning 47-16 Maiden Milwaukee halftime lead. Could the Crazy 8s generate the second half comeback magic that they fell victim to last month? (SPOILER ALERT: yes they could.)

The two teams’ fortunes went into complete reversal in the second half as the 8s got their penalty issues under control and the Maidens unraveled. Super Hera and Beelzebelle both spent time on the thinking chair thinking about what they did while ninja jammers Zo-Tay and EmFatale coasted to 15 and 19-point jams, respectively, effectively wiping out the Maidens’ lead in the space of two jams. Still, the pink and black weren’t done fighting, and after another lead change, the teams found themselves knotted at 65-all as the clock ticked away. Unfortunately, Frank Hurt’r was called for cutting the track in the next jam, allowing EmFatale to rack up another 18 points to make it 83-65 ninjas.

Feeling the urgency, the Maidens put in their star jammer, Rejected Seoul, who had only jammed once thus far (she was skating on a knee that was injured during the All-Star team’s Nebraska road trip two weeks prior, and stuck with blocking during the majority of the bout). She lined up against Latina Heat, who got positively schooled by the Maidens en route to a 9-0 Seoul jam (Heat eventually went down with a leg injury during the jam, but was walking on her own after the bout). The lead cut in half, Super Hera was able to add another four points to Scooter’s three for the 8s, but got busted cutting the track (sense a theme?) and was sent to the box. As both teams lined up again, the clock hit zero and it suddenly dawned on the Crazy 8s that they had just won 86-78 and would be playing in the championship in May!

And so, to May 14 we go. The Crazy 8s vs. the Rushin’ Rollettes in the 2011 championship. These teams have met in the final bout once before, in the Brewcity Bruisers’ inaugural season. That contest was won by the Rollettes; will history repeat itself as the Soviets threepeat and win their fourth title in five years? Or will the 8s cap off a worst-to-first season with the second championship in their squad’s history? Meanwhile, will Maiden Milwaukee be able to close out 2011 with a win, or will the Shevil Knevils send them into the winless wilderness? Holy crap, people—if you’re not at the Cell next month, there’s no hope for you!

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