OHIO ALL STARS GO 2-1 AT SKATE TO THRILL
For their first road games of the 2016 season, (41) Ohio Roller Derby packed in 3 tough games in just under 30 hours at the second annual Skate to Thrill tournament. The weekend kicked off with a tough loss to (25) No Coast Derby Girls on Saturday morning, followed by a single-point, last-second win over (44) Houston Roller Derby that afternoon and a landslide victory against (42) Chicago Outfit Roller Derby on Sunday. While missing a few skaters from their usual roster, Ohio was certainly not lacking in tenacity in any of the three games.
SWAMPED BY NO COAST, 125-261
Despite the point disparity by the end of the contest, Ohio did not allow No Coast to take the win with any ease. After the first four jams, No Coast held a 20-9 lead, but The Smacktivist put up 27 points in jam 5 for the first lead change of the game; the second came halfway through the first period, as No Coast carved out a narrow 3-point edge, 55-52. The Nebraska squad halted Ohio’s scoring momentum for several jams before a penalty to jammer Anna Cassube gave The Smacktivist time to play a bit of catch up; No Coast still held a 79-65 lead, though, and locked down defense to only allow 7 points by Ohio over the next 7 jams. A 5-0 jam for Ohio narrowed the point spread to 73-127 at halftime.
The second half saw OHRD outscored nearly 2.5 to 1, as No Coast methodically widened their advantage with quick lead jammers and well-timed call offs, but Ohio never lost focus. The Smacktivist snuck a 1-0 gain in the second jam of the half, and Zee “Loraine Acid” Gulertekin answered 19 No Coast points with 7 of her own in the third. In jam 7, both jammers received penalties a mere 8 seconds apart, but a second track cut call on Anna Cassube allowed Kitty Liquorbottom to post 10 points and gave Chainsaw a power start for jam 8. Blockers Bigg Rigg, Jesse “Ava Tarr” Fox, Burnadeath, and Betty T. KayO stymied No Coast jammer Beth Kempf for a full minute in jam 10, and two jams later Stevie Brown fought hard for 9 points while enjoying a power jam. Trailing 105-196 with under 13 minutes in the game, Ohio’s defense became more physical; The Smacktivist laid out Megan Harrington on the inside line and sprinted away to let Blitz Lemon & Bigg Rigg exhaust her. Fighting to make her initial pass, Chainsaw knocked down the No Coast jammer to hold them to a 4-0 gain in jam 18. No Coast posted 35 points to Ohio’s 10 in the final four minutes of the game, for a final score of 261-125.
LAST JAM OVERHAUL OF HOUSTON, 222-221
In their most closely contested game in nearly 8 years–since an 86-85 win over Burning River at the 2008 East Coast Derby Extravaganza–Ohio eked out a win despite being behind for most of the second half.
A 28-0 jam for Houston with just over 2 minutes in the first half put them just 5 points behind, though Ohio scooped up a few more points for a halftime score of 100-91. As gameplay resumed for the second period, Houston rocketed past Ohio; they stalled briefly as their jammer sat with back-to-back penalties in jam 7, but tough defense held Chainsaw to only 3 points during the full minute power jam. By the end of jam 9, with just under half the period remaining, Houston had gained a 181-159 lead. An extended official timeout following jam 13 slowed their roll, however, and Ohio showed renewed ferocity: in jam 14, The Smacktivist snagged a quick lead, and racked up 28 uncontested points to make it a 5-point contest, while first the Houston jammer, and then pivot, failed to complete an initial pass. A few jams later, back to holding a double-digit lead, Houston nearly failed to field a jammer, then went 0-4 against The Smacktivist. With Houston leading 221-207, and only 50 seconds remaining on the game clock, Ohio used their last timeout and put everything on the line with The Smacktivist again jamming for the green and black. A quick lead jammer status and an illegal star pass attempt by Houston gave Smacktivist exactly enough time for an explosive 15-0 jam, boosting Ohio ahead by a single point for the 222-221 victory.
BEAT DOWN OF CHICAGO OUTFIT SYNDICATE, 287-105
With plenty of time to rest before playing the final game of the tournament on Sunday, the Ohio All Stars had little trouble dispatching the Chicago Outfit Syndicate, as Gulertekin gathered 13 unanswered points in jam 4 and The Smacktivist snuck 4 more in the following jam for an early 26-5 lead. Chicago managed to hold Ohio to 9 points over the next three jams, while putting up 21 of their own to steal the lead. Down 44-48 going into jam 11, Blitz Lemon blazed through the pack to flip the lead back in Ohio’s favor with a 5-0 scoring pass. Kitty Liquorbottom followed up with a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it jam and 4 points, and The Smacktivist put up 24 points as Chicago gave them a power jam, widening the lead to 83-51. With additional scoring by Bigg Rigg, Ohio boasted a solid 121-62 advantage at the half.
Ohio rustled up 16 points over the first five jams in the second period, while holding Chicago to just 5. Just as No Coast had done to them the day before, Ohio utilized quick lead jammers, a handful of points each jam, and expertly timed call offs to expand their hold over Chicago. Blitz Lemon and Paige Bleed posted an impressive 22 and 23 points, respectively, in back-to-back power jams, boosting the score to 203-84; a 14-0 jam by The Smacktivist and a combined 28 points by KloverKill and Bigg Rigg over the next three jams brought Ohio to 257 points while Chicago stalled at 103. Over the final few jams, Ohio posted 30 points to Chicago’s 2; Val Holla rained heavy hits on opposing blockers, Paige Bleed scooped up a clean 4-0 jam, and Elektra Magneto finished out Ohio’s scoring with 5 points for a 287-105 final.
Skating for the Ohio Roller Derby All Stars during the tournament were: Elektra Magneto, Paige Bleed, Jesse “Ava Tarr” Fox, Kitty Liquorbottom, Bigg Rigg, Chainsaw, Val Holla, Stevie Brown, Blitz Lemon, Betty T. KayO, The Smacktivist, Burnadeath, Zee “Loraine Acid” Gulertekin, and KloverKill.
Photos by: Mr. McWheely