While multi-game tournament weekends already present a unique set of obstacles – increased fatigue, unfamiliar track surfaces, special attention to hydration and nutrition, playing earlier or later in the day than usual – adding international travel into the equation can create extra hurdles, particularly for U.S. teams that don’t necessarily do so often. Undaunted by any of the challenges presented, the Ohio Roller Derby All Stars crossed the northern border and skated their way to three decisive victories in less than 48 hours.
LAST JAM UPSET OF ORANGEVILLE, 191-183
Ohio opened the tournament with a back-and-forth battle against (69) Orangeville, swapping lead ten times and eking out a last-jam victory.
An initial power jam allowed Ohio to control momentum and gain small handfuls of points over the first five minutes of play before Orangeville forced the first lead change in jam 5, 12-16. BrussKnuckles fired back in jam 7, spinning through the pack to pick up 18 points and boost Ohio to a narrow 30-28 lead. A tug-of-war for lead ensued; Birch Slap quickly juked through the pack and avoided jammer defense for 7 uncontested points, but a 4-1 pack advantage for Orangeville in the following jam left little resistance against Gruesome Gracie on a 16-point run, and the Ontarians clung to a narrow lead for the remainder of the half while the Ohio defense defied any bold attempts to widen it. Running short on time in the first period, Bigg Rigg squeezed through the pack for lead jammer status with offensive assistance from Amy Spears and posted a 24-3 jam while Orangeville rotated blockers in and out of the penalty box, bringing the halftime score to 98-99.
The fight for lead began once more in the second period, with Catch Mikachu rubber banding through the defense for 20 clean points and the third lead change in under six minutes. Orangeville responded with four consecutive shutout jams of their own, landing on top once again after a 16-0 power jam and slowly widening the point spread. Bigg Rigg funnelled the opposing jammer into a volley of punishing hits from Vyles in jam 36 and sprinted away, breaking the scoreless streak, and multiple jammer penalties allowed Ohio to stall Orangeville scoring and chip away at their 39-point lead. Down by 3 points going into the final jam, the All Stars hopes were nearly dashed as the Orangeville jammer earned lead status, but an ill-timed penalty gave Betty T. KayO time to focus following a star pass and push through the final seconds for a 16-5 gain and 191-183 victory.
NEW YEAR, NEW OUTCOME AGAINST ROYAL CITY, 198-154
After a 5-point victory over Royal City in 2017, then being outscored 2-1 in their 2018 rematch, the All Stars brought an appetite to their noon game on Saturday, took an early lead, and never looked back.
(53) Royal City posted the first points of the day, holding Ohio at bay with speedy scoring laps, but BrussKnuckles exploited an abbreviated pack in jam 7 for a 15-2 gain. A two-minute jam helped Princess Punch narrow the point spread to 47-41 halfway through the period, and Royal City continued to nip at Ohio’s heels over the next seven jams. Hoping to make the most of a power jam opportunity, the Canadians attacked defensive formations in jam 19, but they were unable to spring their jammer; a jammer penalty and dual penalties to the pivot provided BrussKnuckles with time for a 12-0 gain on her return from the box. Unable to snag lead status but unfazed, Jane, Literally took advantage of the track time as Royal City opted to run jam 21 long, and earned 19 points as penalties piled up in the opposing pack. Bigg Rigg, not satisfied with the 27-point lead, charged through the pack untouched and leapt over defense on scoring passes for 26 points as the period closed.
Leading 127-78, Ohio continued their assault after halftime; Betty T. KayO, Kelsey Khaos, and Chainsaw held the Royal City jammer on an initial pass for a lap and a half, and a varied jammer rotation prevented their opponents from adjusting to any one style of play or creating advantageous matchups. By midway through the period, scoring efforts by Mikachu, Bigg Rigg, BrussKnuckles, Smash Panda, Birch Slap, and Belle A. Trix had extended Ohio’s lead to 156-106. Following an Ohio timeout, Royal City jammers seemed to find renewed energy and pushed themselves to a 35-12 gain over ten jams. With just over 3 minutes remaining in the game and their lead narrowed to 23 points, the All Stars pulled out all the stops; Bigg Rigg seized the moment as the Royal City jammer lost lead status on a back block call, ducking under solo hits on the outside line, and a track cut penalty drawn by Chainsaw provided an additional 30 seconds of power play for a 19-3 gain. Nabbing lead in the final jam, Mikachu spun her way through the pack on scoring laps while Lara Del Rage stymied the Royal City jammer, pushing Ohio to a 198-154 rankings upset.
INSURMOUNTABLE LEAD OVER OTTAWA VALLEY, 174-137
While Ohio had not previously faced their final contender of the weekend, they proved that they were neither unprepared nor fatigued as they jammed their way to a third straight win.
Early point swaps brought four lead changes over the first eight jams as Ohio and (74) Ottawa Valley struggled to create a divide in scoring without success. Shaking off offense and continually recycling on the jammer, Baby Kakes, Kelsey Khaos, and Amy Spears burned an Ottawa Valley power jam, allowing their own jammer to match points in jam 11. The Ottawans looked to expand their 36-42 lead with a pack advantage, but Bigg Rigg charged past defense on an 11-6 jam to nudge Ohio within one point of retaking the lead. Held scoreless over the next three jams, Ohio again fielded Bigg Rigg for heavy lifting, a move that paid off as she worked the defense line to line for 19 unanswered points and the fifth lead change of the game while Pain Train and Betty T. KayO closed the doors on the Ottawa Valley jammer. Running with the momentum, the All Stars defense held the competition to just 4 points earned in the remainder of the half while jammers racked up a combined 28 points, pushing Ohio to a 94-64 lead by halftime.
Turning up the heat, Ohio jammers made the most of uncontested track time early in the second half, with four Ottawa Valley jammer penalties in five jams providing plenty of time for Bigg Rigg, BrussKnuckles, and Jane, Literally to harvest 39 points while limiting their opponents to a pair of points. After earning lead and 8 points in jam 29, the northern contenders cleared their first double-digit scoring jam of the game in the following jam, capitalizing on a power jam and depleted Ohio defense for a 16-point boost. A team timeout allowed the All Stars to reset and forge ahead; Kelsey Khaos and Pain Train worked as a unit to thwart multiple attempts to pass the star while BrussKnuckles widened the lead to 147-98. Mikachu and Jane, Literally posted back-to-back shutout jams, gathering 8 and 11 points respectively with just over 10 minutes remaining on the clock. Calling for an official review, Ottawa Valley requested that a back block penalty be assessed to the Ohio jammer and were awarded a power start to jam 37 that shifted the action in their favor. Although limited to a 3-point gain in that jam, they held the All Stars scoreless for most of the remaining time, but their luck ran short as they sought a power start to the final jam and instead gave up a power jam to Ohio. Hopping laterally to return in bounds following a whirlwind of defensive hits, Mikachu surged into lead status and scooped up 8 more points, calling the jam as the period clock expired for a 174-137 Ohio triumph.
OHIO SKATER NAMED MVP BLOCKER
At the conclusion of the weekend, Tri-City announced their tournament MVPs, naming Ohio triple threat Pain Train as their pick for most valuable blocker. GO! of Roc City was awarded MVP jammer for the invitational.
Representing the All Stars at Put Up Your Toques were: Amy Spears, Baby Kakes, Belle A. Trix, Betty T. KayO, Bigg Rigg, Birch Slap, BrussKnuckles, Catch Mikachu, Chainsaw, Jane, Literally, Kegel Scout, Kelsey Khaos, Lara Del Rage, Pain Train, Smash Panda, and Vyles. The All Stars were coached and managed by Elektra Magneto, BerMurder Triangle, Amy Flowers, and Kegel Scout.
Photos courtesy of Jammer Line.