Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The South Central Three Stars

Five Point Grand Slam will name three players from each bout we cover, or in the event of a tournament three players per day/tournament. Here are Five Point Grand Slam's three stars from each day of Amber Waves of Pain,  the Women's Flat Track Derby Association's South Central Region tournament.

1st Star
Lucille Brawl, No. 56, blocker, Texacutioners
Lucille Brawl, lead Texas' defensive contingent holding No Coast to a cringe-inducing lead jammer ration of 3/19 and 11 points in the first half, and just 50 points for the entire game. Brawl dominated the top of the pack throwing big hits with solid timing, several times springing her jammer -- and managing a jammer takeout just when her unsuspecting opponent thought she was free and clear.

2nd Star
Beverly Kills, No. 9021, blocker/jammer, Houston

Kills, Houston's utility player put up decent numbers as a jammer, but it was her play as an all-around player that benefited her team. Proficient in the defensive and offensive aspects of the game, Kills could switch from one aspect to the other instantly. She earned lead five out of nine times, going four-for-four on LJs in the second half. The three jams she did not earn lead, she hurried to re-engage the pack on her scoring pass -- forcing the  opposing jammer to call it and only going minus 9 in those three turns, minimizing the point damage of her jamming counterpart. 

3rd Star 
Wild Cherri, No. 6, blocker, Tampa Tantrums
Cherri's unconventional blocking tactics and front walls held Kansas City's offense to a dismall few points, got  Tampa's jammer through and created a decisive point swing in the first four jams before Kansas City could mount its comeback. Constantly seen at the front of the pack, Cherri could switch from forward to backward skating, giving the track general great perspective to position her charges to best block the oncoming jammer. Cherri, often the last line of defense, would continue blocking the opposing jammer while skating backward, frustrating many a point scorer and imposing the Tampa blocker's intimidation in the minds of Kansas City's seasoned vets.

1st Star
Kansas City's pack, Kansas City Roller Warriors
The KC's pack work rattled the Atlanta defense that had looked phenomenal on the first day with its 2-, 3- and 4-walls at the top of the pack. Returning to game play after serving a penalty, Eclipse, No. 0, dropped a big hit on an ATL blocker, rattling her pretty good. Bruz-Her, No. 244, and Kansas City's alternate captain, executed a nice hit/whip combo at the top of the pack to give KC jammer Track Rat, No. 69, lead jammer. Eclipse again made her presence felt in Jam 15 of the second half, when she opened up a huge hole with a hit during Track Rat's second scoring pass during a power jam as Demi Gore, Atlanta's No. 1428, had picked up her fourth minor for a track cut. KC went 4-5-2 in scoring passes that jam, and blanked Atlanta. The Roller Warriors held Atlanta to 36 points in the first half and 39 in the second. Atlanta earned lead jammer only 12 times on 25 attempts, and were blanked 16 times, including during the first four jams, and later 10 times consecutively from Jam 11-20. The Kansas City defense only allowed Atlanta one multiple scoring pass in the 24th jam of the second half, when Wheelin' Jennings went on a 5-5 run during two scoring passes and a power jam when KC's Jade Lightning, No. 816, was boxed on a major back block.

2nd Day
Hot For Teacher, No. 100, jammer, Dallas Derby Devils
While she started out a little slow, started getting the ball rolling when she scored 2 points against Memphis captain Rolls Royce, No. 314, who had earned lead jammer but was unable to capitalize and had to call the jam to stem a negative point differential. With the score 70-53 in favor of Dallas, Teacher would help her team pull away by earning lead jammer and scoring four consecutive grand slams against Rolls Royce, who never made it out of the pack. Memphis would call a timeout to try to regroup before the half, but in the next jam only managed to score 7 points with lead jammer, but Dallas' Miley Virus, No. 28, would answer with 4 points of her own to end the first half with 94 points for Dallas to Memphis' 60 points. In the fifth jam of the second half, Teacher would again earn lead and go on a 5-5-5-5-0 run with Memphis jammer Lil' Cinner, No. 24 boxed for a major cut, extending the Dallas lead to 136-64. Teacher would go on to earn lead jammer in four out of five jams including one in the ninth jam of the second half in which she was able to pick up lead coming out of the box against Lil' Cinner who had lost LJ eligibility because of a no pass/no penalty call. Teacher would call it before either jammer was able to complete a scoring pass. Teacher earned lead in her last three jams, picking up 14 points and two grand slams for Dallas who eventually won 205-95.

3rd Star
Goblynn, No. 39, jammer/sometimes blocker, Hard Knox Rollergirls
This star was the hardest star to give because arriving late, I didn't keep my own notes. I really do feel that if anyone deserved some honorable mention it was Hard Knox's Goblynn. Goblynn didn't have a spectacular bout, but neither did her team, as the Tampa Tantrums elevated their defensive game, played a heavy jammer rotation of Little A, Ram 'em Noodle and Sixgun Suzie, and shut down most Knoxville scoring opportunities. Tampa had a 128-28 lead at the half and poured on the pressure. Goblynn never gave up, jamming heavy rotations for Knoxville, and getting a few turns in as blocker after coming out of the box from intentionally acquiring her fourth minor, freeing her to jam more. When she did earn lead, she was forced to call it with the Tampa jammer right behind her to maximize the point differential in Knoxville's favor, showing her constant awareness of jammer positions. Tampa would go on to win 232 to 53, but the heart and tenacity of Goblynn was gleaming as she earned lead in the last jam, refusing to call it after picking up four points and subsequently got called on a penalty and sent to the box. Goblynn didn't put up spectacular numbers or was super effective against Tampa, but her "never say die" attitude helped keep the spirits of her teammates up, and in a 100-point-plus blowout that's incredibly hard to do.

1st Star
Flash Gloria, jammer, No. 32, No Coast Derby Girls' Mad Maxines
Flash Gloria overcame a slow start, dropping the first jam 0-3 against Tampa's Little A. Gloria would start the momentum swinging in No Coast's favor, putting up a 4-0 jam near the end of the first half to put No Coast within 4 of Tampa at 22-18. Gloria would put up a 15-0 jam against Bash 'em Up Barbie, after the Tampa jammer failed to realize she had earned lead jammer status and later was boxed for a penalty and giving No Coast a power jam, and a 97-71 lead. No Coast's pack work smothered the opposing Tampa jammer and Gloria put up a 14-0 point jam. Gloria jammed a good majority of her team's turns and was able to capitalize even without the aid of lead jammer.

2nd Star
Belle Star, No. 1889, blocker, Texas Rollergirls' Texecutioners
Jammer killer (as proclaimed by Chip Queso) Belle Star decimated opponents at the back and front of the pack, easily blocking and slowing down opposing jammers. If roller derby had a libero, a defensive specialist in volleyball, Star would indeed be it, with her imposing stature and blocking experience. Belle easily made a difference in the strength of her packs, as Texas' overall defensiveness stuttered when the jammer killer picked up time in the penalty box. She'll be one of the players to watch as Texas enters first round play during WFTDA's championship tournament in Chicago.

3rd Star
Knox Villain, No. 865, blocker, Knoxville's Hard Knox Roller Girls
Another standout during the tournament was Knoxville's No. 865 Knox Villain, who on several instances throughout the three-day weekend served her team well at the top of the pack. Wearing the pivot cover, Knox Villain often pulled back-to-back rotations in the pack. Though she's small in stature in comparison to most of the other players at South Central regionals, she played smart often trapping the jammer at the top and holding her long enough for her jammer to get by or sucking the opposing jammer back into the pack. During her team's last bout against Memphis, Knox Villian held back Memphis' captain and No. 314, Rolls Royce easily 1 to 2 full laps, long enough to get lead jammer for her recycled skater and make a scoring pass. Later Knox Villain paired up with one of Knoxville's heavy hitters, Sushi Roll, No. 2, at the top of the pack, holding excellent defensive positioning, and controlling the pack tempo. Knox Villain's game play earned her a bout MVP at the end of the night.