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On August 10th, the #24 Ohio Roller Girls will travel to Pittsburgh for the second half of a home-and-home series against perennial powerhouse #18 Steel City.  The road bout is Ohio’s final road trip this season before they travel to Ft. Wayne (IN) where they will compete against Arch Rival at the first WFTDA Division I tournament.  Ranked 18th in the most recent WFTDA rankings, the Steel Hurtin will compete as the 5th seed during the third Division I tournament in Asheville (NC) two weeks later against the Minnesota RollerGirls.  While Ohio’s contest against Steel City will not go toward any more rankings for the 2012 season, the results will carry over into 2013 rankings as teams are ranked based on bouts from the previous twelve months.

Although both squads have a long history of flat track action, Ohio and Steel City have only laced their skates against each other three times.  Ohio won a close one in 2007 at home (134-131) before the series was tied in Pittsburgh in 2009 (98-125).  Most recently, Steel City came to Columbus in April when Ohio upset the higher ranked Steel Hurtin crew 246-162.  Don’t expect the same Steel City squad to take the track against Ohio this time, as superstars ‘Snot Rocket Science and Hurricane Heather were not rostered for Steel Hurtin during the April bout.  Both Rocket Science and Heather are expected to play against Ohio for Steel City’s final regular season bout of 2012.  In April, Ohio was able to shock everyone in attendance, including some of the skaters themselves, as they quickly shot out to a 109-2 lead only ten minutes into the bout.  Pittsburgh was able to close the gap but still trailed 129-74 at the half.  Staunch defense by Steel City’s Athena, Ally McKill, Bonecrusher, and REO Meanwagon got Steel Hurtin back into the bout and trailed by as little as 23 points.  However, jammer penalties to the visitors secured the victory for Ohio.

At 13-5, the Ohio Roller Girls will lean heavily on their veterans for this highly-anticipated rematch of Division I contenders.  Carrying the load and playing double-duty for Ohio will be captain Phoenix Bunz.  Bunz played in nearly every jam against Steel City in April.  A valuable asset, Bunz locked down Steel Hurtin jammers inside the pack, and scored 73 points on the jammer line.  Also jamming for Ohio will be The Smacktivist and Kitty Liquorbottom, both of whom recently came off fantastic bouts against the Chicago Outfit two weeks ago where they combined for 182 points.  As it has been all season, OHRG’s pack will feature a short rotation with Ava Tarr, Bratislava Bruiser, Pippi RipYourStockings, Outa My Wayman, Amy Spears, Loraine Acid, and Phoenix Bunz carrying the workload.  Look for skaters Kill Basa, Paige Bleed, Pearl Rogi, and Texas Chainsaw Sasskicker to fill in when needed.

At 7-4, the Steel City squad will be much stronger this bout with the aforementioned returns of ‘Snot Rocket Science and Hurricane Heather.  With them back in the jammer rotation, along with Hard Times, Leannibal Lector, and Dakota Slamming, the Steel Hurtin have one of the most fearsome jammer rotations Ohio will see all season.  Athena, Bonecrusher, Stark Raven, Ada Bloodlace, Lady Vengeance, and Ally McKill will be in front of Steel City’s jammers as they look to counter the experience within Ohio’s pack.  Since they last played the OHRG, Steel City has amassed a 6-1 record with victories over D.C. (287-84), Brewcity (347-73), Bleeding Heartland (202-149), Ft. Wayne (418-40), Tallahassee (307-76), and the Chicago Outfit (319-88).  Their only loss was a 19 point defeat to Philly (176-195) in July.  Looking at their common opponents, both Ohio and Steel lost to Philly (OHRG by 25).  Steel City defeated the Outfit by 231, whereas Ohio was also victorious, but by 166.  Ohio defeated Bleeding Heartland by 154 points, nearly three times as much as the margin of Steel City’s victory.  On paper, the rematch between these two squads appears to make for a great bout.  This will be Steel City’s final bout before their first round game at playoffs.  Ohio will also look to use this bout to propel them into playoffs after their final home bout of the season against the Carolina Rollergirls on August 17th.

In the undercard bout, Ohio’s Gang Green will look to avenge their April loss (189-156) to Steel City’s Steel Beamers.  In a bout where Gang Green jumped ahead quickly (59-11), they then went on a point scoring drought and fell behind by 48 points with under five minutes remaining.  A late comeback for Gang Green was not in the cards as they now look to even the series in Pittsburgh on August 10th.  Much like the Steel Hurtin crew in the charter team bout, Gang Green’s roster will look somewhat different than the one that took the track back in April, with several vets unable to make the trip.  After she made her Ohio debut two weeks ago in Chicago, Lil Spitfire has made her second roster in a row for Gang Green and will primarily play in the pack, alongside fellow rookies Pi-Thon and Quiet Storm.  Ohio will also get their first glimpse at Pistol Whippin Wendy as she wears the white and kelly green jersey for the first time in her Ohio career.  Wendy is a recent transfer skater from the Cincinnati Rollergirls and will add depth to Gang Green’s jammer rotation.

Andrew Marron