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On August 9th, the (20) Ohio Roller Girls will once again hit the road to take on a familiar foe, the (27) Arch Rival Roller Girls in St. Louis, Missouri.  OHRG and Arch Rival have one of the fiercest rivalries in the WFTDA over the past few years, as they have consistently faced each other during the regular season as well as playoffs.  They first met back in St. Louis in 2011, when Arch Rival was victorious 147-69.  Arch Rival then visited Columbus for a closed hangover bout in 2012 when OHRG took the victory 168-115.  Later that year, Ohio upset Arch Rival at the North Central Playoffs 142-132.  Arch again found their winning ways during the 2013 regular season when they defeated Ohio in St. Louis 179-108… but it was the OHRG who got the last laugh at the Division One Playoffs where they again upset ARRG 218-166.

Both Ohio and Arch Rival have experienced roster changes during the off season and have dealt with different lineups throughout the season, but both essentially remain the same teams that the other knows extremely well.  Playing five bouts over three years has allowed these teams to become very familiar with the other’s style of play.  One factor that many of Arch Rival’s opponents have yet to figure out, however, is how to beat Arch at their home venue.  Currently undefeated at the Midwest Sports Complex in Queeny Park, Arch Rival has dispatched teams like Ohio (twice), Naptown, and Minnesota over the past few seasons.  There is nothing more the Ohio Roller Girls would like than to put the first check in that loss column.

Whereas the Ohio Roller Girls climbed two spots in the most recent WFTDA rankings to #20, Arch Rival fell six places to #27.  This isn’t necessarily because of anything Arch Rival did wrong since the last rankings release, but just the opposite.  Having a “play anyone” attitude of their own, Arch Rival has been on the road since early May, playing seven bouts–five of which were against teams ranked considerably ahead of them.  Their losses to Minnesota, Naptown, Atlanta, Rose City, and Oly were to be expected, but Arch’s strength of schedule in May and June is what caused their slip in the standings.  What they gained from these bouts was experience against high-caliber teams, and a good indication of which part of their game day strategies work and which ones still needed work.

For Arch Rival, this has been a somewhat of a roller coaster season.  After losing an unsanctioned bout to St. Chux to start their season, Arch Rival fell to Windy City before winning bouts against Madison, Cincinnati, No Coast, and Kansas City.  Although they started the season 4-1, many Arch skaters still believed they weren’t playing to their full potential.  Right around the Kansas City bout into Midwest BrewHaHa, something seemed to click with Arch and they started playing more confidently as a team.  They implemented new strategies midway through the season, and became very successful with their execution.  They exploit opposing jammer penalties and do well playing offense from the front of the pack, which is something not a lot of teams execute well.   Yes, Arch has lost five of their last seven, but in those bouts were moments where they controlled their opponents and they played better than they did earlier in the season.

Arch Rival features a three to four skater jamming rotation with Brickyard, Mighty Mighty Boston, and Annie Swanson taking turns toting the jammer star.  Downtown Dallis can also fill in when called upon for fresh legs or due to penalty trouble.  The tandem of Brickyard and Boston have resulted in several 100+ point bouts for each skater, and Ohio’s defense will have their hands full as both jammers are capable of putting up a large amount of points.  Leading the way for their jammers are Arch’s pack members Mayor Francis Slayer, Dallis, Eli Wallop, Shimmy Hoffa, Party Foul, Kayla Seiber, and Emily Rinehart.

The Ohio Roller Girls have not played a bout in nearly seven weeks, something they haven’t done all season.  After being on the road in Milwaukee and Boston for their previous five contests, OHRG dispatched Buffalo’s Queen City Roller Girls at home 239-109.  Although they haven’t bouted in the last month and a half, the Ohio squad has taken this time to perfect their game day strategies, heal up from previous injuries, and to recharge their batteries as they go into their final push before playoffs.  Coming off their last few bouts, Ohio has found some depth in their jammer rotation with the addition of Burnadeath taking turns with the star.  Since the Boston trip, Burnadeath has also found her way into the pack for a boost.  The addition of Burna defensively has really solidified Ohio’s pack when paired with regulars Lora “Outa My” Wayman, Zee “Loraine Acid” Gulertekin, Amy Spears, Ena Flash, or Jesse “Ava Tarr” Fox.

Before the Ohio and Arch Rival charter squads duke it out, Gang Green will face off against the Saint Lunachix.  With a 1-1 record against each other, both teams will look to claim victory in the coveted rubber match on August 9th.  Led by Sleezy E, Enya Nightmare, Molecular Mayhem, Warpath O. Jen, and Chokehold Chanel, the Saint Lunachix are 3-3 in 2014.  At 6-6, Gang Green continues to be led by Sarah Bruce, Blitz Lemon, and Nicold N. Deadly.  With Gang Green the remaining bout on their schedule, the Saint Lunachix will look to finish on the better half of .500 while Gang Green still has a few remaining bouts on their schedule.

Both the Ohio Roller Girls and Gang Green will be home again on August 16th as they take on their in-state rival, the Cincinnati Rollergirls.

Andrew Marron