#36 Ohio Welcomes D2 Champs #42 Blue Ridge
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#36 Ohio Welcomes D2 Champs #42 Blue Ridge

This weekend the WFTDA International Division 2 Champions, Blue Ridge Rollergirls, take their shot at your Ohio Roller Derby. This matchup will be the second time the two squads have ever played each other, with Ohio being victorious back in 2013.

Ohio is already five bouts deep into their 2017 season with games played against Naptown, Houston, No Coast, Killamazoo, and Brandywine. Ohio’s success has mainly been due to a deeper jammer rotation than in years past. With Gorges Curves, Pain Train, Val Holla, Lora “Outa My” Wayman, Blitz Lemon, and BrussKnuckles able to wear the star, Ohio’s jammers are able to go deeper into the game without sacrificing quality on the jammer line. In fact, three Ohio jammers have been able to eclipse the 100 point mark in three of their five bouts so far, with Val Holla scoring 113 points against Brandywine during Ohio’s last home bout.

This bout will be Blue Ridge’s first sanctioned bout of 2017, with upcoming contests against Steel City, Calgary, and Brandywine in a rematch of last season’s Division 2 Championship bout as seen on ESPN3. Blue Ridge’s success lies primarily with superstar jammer, Dr. Octopushy. Dr. Octopushy was the only jammer at the Division 2 Playoffs (Wichita bracket) to have eclipsed over 1,000 points over the season. She averaged 106 points per bout and, more importantly, has one of the lowest penalty percentages on her team. Dr. Octopushy was named the Division 2 Playoffs (Wichita bracket) Most Valuable Person and was recently named to the All-Star team at the upcoming East Coast Derby Extravaganza invitational. With quick footwork and incredible acceleration, Dr. Octopushy could give Ohio’s defense fits for sixty minutes. Along with Dr. Octopushy, Blue Ridge touts a secondary jamming punch with Lady Rider. Rider, who could easily be a #1 jammer on another team, shares the same footwork and acceleration as Dr. Octopushy, but also has a physical element that makes her a dual-threat. The squad did lose their third jammer, Hurrycane Jackie, after last season but are able to fill that role with skaters like Tractor Taylor amongst others.

In front of their jammers, the Blue Ridge blocking core is about as experienced as they come. Whoever said that “defense wins championships” must have been talking about Blue Ridge as they have returned nearly every role player from last season’s championship team. Most derby teams play with two different packs that rotate time on the track. In Blue Ridge’s first pack, they return all four skaters including Brutal, Dixie Kicks, Pocahotmess, and Coma N. Ducer. They also return three of the four skaters in their second pack, consisting of Ashevillain, Hopi-wan, and Boot Scootin Bully. Blue Ridge skaters Waggle, Killer Tofu, and the aforementioned Tractor Taylor are all able to fill that fourth spot left by Vexing Violet after last season. Blue Ridge’s defensive transitions from a wall to brace to a diamond defense was the primary reason for their success last season as they were able to cater their defense to whatever type of offense a team might throw at them. With seven of their eight regular blockers returning, this has the potential to be a “grind-it-out” sort of game for both squads, and may be the most physical contest Ohio has been involved in so far in 2017.

Ohio Roller Derby would encourage you to purchase tickets in advance so your seat is guaranteed. You can purchase tickets at http://ohiorollerderby.com/tickets/ or you can attempt to purchase them at the door at the Ohio Expo Center, Ohio Building. Doors open at 4:00 p.m. with Ohio’s charter squad taking on the Blue Ridge Rollergirls’ All Stars at 5:00 p.m. Gang Green will take on Blue Ridge’s French Broads following the sanctioned bout.

Andrew Marron