By Nick BeJeaux
Last week, the Red Stick Roller Derby All Stars and Capital Defenders ran two bouts against visiting Texas league teams, the Houston Knockouts and Brazos Valley Steel-Toe Stilettos, with wildly mixed results.
The All Stars managed to outpace Knockouts, 202-150, while the Defenders suffered an impressive, reason-defying, loss to the Stilettos, 43-483.
It was evident from the beginning that the All Stars and the Knockouts were closely matched. Constantly throughout the bout the teams were slamming defense against defense, but the All Stars managed to force openings for their jammers. At halftime, the score was 123-64, and when play resumed the AS defense tightened even more to hold the advantage.
While the Knockouts’ jammers managed to slip through the pack a few times, it wouldn’t be enough. In the final 30 seconds of the bout Glock Strap took control of the jam and ran for five points, bringing the match to its final score.
The All Stars knew who they were going up against and prepared for a hard bout.
“Houston is a team that we are always evenly matched with. You never know who is going to come out on top,” said Co-Captain Little Miss Maggot. “We prepared for them to have an extremely heavy defensive formation, and we played a lot of offense in addition to throwing up our defense to fight that. We knew we had to bring everything we had against this team.”
Maggot says that both teams are friendly off the rink, but on they are fiercely competitive. The All Stars managed to keep their head cool, which allowed them to find the gaps in the Knockouts’ formations.
“We stayed calm and focused and did a lot of training specifically to go against this team,” said Maggot. “We’re a very strategic team; sometimes we’ll come out on top against a team that has more skill than we do.”
However, the Defenders’ match against the Stilettos was completely lopsided. Aside from a savvy defense, the Stilettos’ go-to jammers Maza Rottti and Jammit Janet managed to thread the needle through the pack on nearly every pass. The fact that this team is nearly nationally ranked didn’t help the Defenders’ chances either.
“They are just way-better and awesome; they’re going to be ranked probably and we’re a B Team,” said Co-Captain The Schexorcist. “But we practice every week against our All Stars and they’re ranked – that prepares us to take on teams like this. But not one of them looked weak.”
In addition to being ridiculously quick and resilient the Stilettos jammers managed to hold the lead jammer position throughout the bout, giving them total control over who scores and who doesn’t.
Exhaustion could also have been a factor.
“We just came down from a really big win last week and we’ve played three bouts in one month; usually you only play one or two,” said The Schexorcist.
Despite the crushing loss, The Schexorcist managed to find a silver lining.
“I’m really proud of my girls,” she said. “For many of them, this is their first or second bout. They’re learning really quickly and recognizing what to do when – in this sport everything changes every five seconds.”
The Defenders will head to New Orleans for their next bout on June 28 against the Big Easy Rollergirls’ Crescent City Wenches, who have their eyes set on dominating the regional competition.
RSRD will return home to the River Center on July 19 for bouts with the Alamo City league’s Las Tejanas and Las Pistoleras. Both teams have their reasons to be excited and bust their asses to prepare for the contest. For the Defenders, the excitement is rooted in facing a new team.
“We’ve never ever played them so we’re kind of going in blind,” said The Schexorcist. “Still, we have a lot of things to work on, like recognizing when the jammer needs help and quickly adjusting to changes.”
But for the All Stars, it’s personal.
“This is our white whale,” said Maggot. “This is the team to beat this season and we’ve never beaten them before. Right now they’re ranked slightly below us, but they may actually be ranked above us by the time we get to them. We are practicing hard for that team; they have great blockers and great jammers. I’m excited, really excited.”