Thursday, November 4, 2010

Uproar on the Lakeshore: Post-region power rankings

The Nashille Rollergirls, who went 8-5 in 2009 and is 11-4 in 2010 through October, first made their debut on Derby News Network's power rankings at No. 18 in April 2010 after beating Atlanta. 

Nashville managed to rise from the South Central Region's mid-ranks at Amber Waves of Pain, vaulting from fifth place in the region to playing and beating Atlanta for third place Oct. 10, 2010, at the tournament in Lincoln, Nebraska.

"Our frame of mind was to capitalize on how we seemed to be perceived -- as faltering and failing," Nashville co-captain Jennifer Smith said. "We focused on learning our strategies better and tried to cut down our penalties as much as possible. We wanted to surprise people."

The Music City Allstars again cracked the Top 25 in October 2010 when DNN released its post-regional rankings after beating Atlanta in WFTDA's 2010 South Central Region tornament, this time earning a spot in the championship tournament in Chicago, and becoming No. 18 according to DNN. 

"I think (the No. 18 ranking) it's justified and I think it was justified that we spent several months off the Top 25," said Smith, No. 11, who skates under her real name. "Next move is to crack to Top 10!"  

Minnesota, too, was an underdog heading into their regional tournament, the WFTDA North Central region, at Thunda on the Tundra in Green Bay, Wisconsin. 

The Minnesota Roller Girls All Stars improved upon their 2009 record of 7-3, by going 9-2 in 2010 and jumping from No. 7 in the North Central region to No. 2 when Chicago ended their Cinderella-like run in the final game of the 2010 regional tournament.

Minnesota upset Detroit and Madison to play Chicago's Windy City Rollers for a chance at first-place in the region and a first-round bye in the championship tournament.

"We played very well and surprised a few people, even ourselves a little," said Dantigravity, coach of the Minnesota Rollergirls All Stars. "We just wanted to come into Regionals and have a great showing, win or lose."

After clawing their way past ranked rivals, Minnesota earned a spot to play the No. 1 team, the Windy City Rollers, in the North Central region final.

"We have a lot of respect for Windy," Dantigravity said. "Our previous games against them weren't all that great, compared to those games we improved a lot. We knew it would be a tough game. I think we were just happy to have made it as far as we did and anything beyond that was icing on the cake."

Playing against the North Central region's No. 1 team gave MNRG a chance to work on things for the championship tournament, having earned at a second-place finish and an automatic bid for Chicago.

"Playing Windy this time gave us a chance to really see what we need to work on. What to improve upon and what we can do well.

Minnesota's efforts earned them a spot on DNN's post-region power rankings at No. 14, knocking Madison out of their spot and down the rankings.

"It feels great to have been able to show what our potential is and to have played to that level," Dantigravity said.