(ST. LOUIS, MO) After months of training, scrimmages and on-track donnybrooks, the Arch Rival Roller Girls, St. Louis’ first women’s flat-track roller derby league, kicks off its post-season with the ARRG 2014 Local Playoffs this Saturday.
The derby double-header takes place at Midwest Sport Hockey at Queeny Park (570 Weidman Rd., Ballwin, MO). The playoff’s seedings and respective match-ups between the League’s four local squads were determined following a three-month regular season.
In Saturday’s #1 vs. #4 match-up, the top-seeded M-80s (3-0) battle fourth-seeded Rebel Skate Alliance (0-3). In the nightcap, the second-seeded Smashinistas (2-1) tangle with the third-seeded Stunt Devils (1-2).
The winners of the two bouts will compete for the trophy at its signature event, the ARRG 2014 Local Championships, held Friday, March 7 at Chaifetz Arena. The teams that suffer setbacks will compete at Chaifetz in a third place bout.
However, all four local ARRG teams don’t want to let that last sentence cross their collective minds. A “W” is the goal, and as a result, one can expect the action to be extremely competitive.
Last month, the M-80s solidified its top seeding with an impressive 179-132 win over defending League Champions the Smashinistas to finish the regular season perfect.
“We felt that the Smashies were the team to beat,” said M-80s’ jammer IDA the Living Dead following the bout. “We tightened up our game, played clean and got our offense in line. That’s what helped us win.”
They’ll have to use that same philosophy against the steadily-improving Rebel Skate Alliance, who looks to avenge a December loss.
“I think it’s going to be a better game than when we played them last,” said RSA jammer Sleazy E, the team’s top-scorer. “They better look out because we’re going to bring it hard.”
Saturday’s other playoff bout featuring the middle seeds has a storied history behind it. The Smashinistas and Stunt Devils battled for last year’s local trophy. In a physically and emotionally-draining bout, the Smashies netted a five-point win to hoist its first-ever championship.
Earlier this season, the defending champs thumped the third seed in local play, but both teams have followed different trajectories as the season progressed. The Stunt Devils posted 270 points en route to victory last month and are primed for a lower-seed upset.
“I’ve been going to the gym and bulking up,” chuckled Stunt Devils’ Co-Captain Chokehold Chanel. “We’ve been getting our butts to practice and keeping our goal of improving in sight.”
Despite a stumble last month that put the lone blemish in its regular season record, the Smashinistas hope to take one stride toward a second straight title trip with a win Saturday.
“We’re going to focus on our bridging, our soul crushes and our tight walls,” said Smashinistas’ blocker Cloak N’ Drag-Her. “I think our team is so strong mentally and so connected as a strong, healthy team, that we can overcome a lot.”
The Arch Rival Roller Girls, founded in 2005, consist of athletes from the bi-state area dedicated to the sport of flat-track roller derby. ARRG is a chartered member of the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA), the international governing body of the sport that has over 230 leagues internationally.
More information on the ARRG Playoffs, and a link for discounted tickets, is available at archrivalrollergirls.com.