Rewind earlier this year to the month of February, and to the beginning of the Arch Rival Roller Girls’ primary travel team campaign. With the return of veteran local skaters alongside the highly-anticipated addition of transfers with playoff experience, optimism heading into the 2015 regular season was positive.
With one game left prior to post-season placement, Arch Rival now looks to achieve something that the St. Louis-based league has never accomplished during its prior six interleague seasons within the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA), an unblemished pre-tournament record.
Arch Rival, currently ranked #14 internationally by the WFTDA, hosts the Naptown Tornado Sirens this Saturday at Midwest Sport Hockey at Queeny Park (570 Weidman Rd., Ballwin, MO.) First whistle blows at 6:30 p.m.
St. Louis maintained its perfect record in early June with a three-game sweep at the “Midwest Brewhaha” invitational in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Wins over #7 Minnesota (169-133), #28 Steel City (369-104) and #29 Ohio (367-41) pushed ARRG to 11-0 in the ledger.
“We knew going into Brewhaha that it would be a tough weekend,” reflected Arch Rival co-captain Bricktator. “We had been working hard, but we weren’t sure how we would match up against the other teams. For each game, we grabbed the reins and held on tight. We took each jam one at a time, reset when necessary, and maintained solid teamwork throughout. “
Arch Rival’s upward surges in the WFTDA Division 1 rankings, earmarked for the Top 40 leagues internationally, and its current rank of #14 means that the squad, if playoffs began today, is entrenched as a fourth seed at one of the four post-season tournaments held later this year.
However, a final set of calculated rankings are to be released in early July. If St. Louis climbs two spots in the hierarchy with the next reveal, and reaches a #12 rank overall, its respective playoff seed will advance to third.
Although this Saturday’s game vs. Naptown is non-sanctioned, and will not apply to the team’s calculated rankings, Bricktator says her team highly anticipates the pre-playoff reveal due to application of the early June victories. The trajectories, both upward and downward, of closely-ranked teams will also play a part in Arch Rival’s July rank.
“The end of June can’t come sooner,” she says. “We are anxiously awaiting the outcomes of several other games to determine the last set of calculated rankings. We are optimistic that we will end up in the Top 12, but only time will tell.”
But enough about the future and let’s look at the here and now, and most importantly, Saturday night. ARRG is faced with a good problem as it currently contains a roster of five top-notch jammers. With the aforementioned Bricktator, Brickyard, Mighty Mighty Boston, Annie Swanson and Harmony Killerbruise all eligible to post premium points, picking out a four-skater starting rotation is difficult. Who gets to don the star Saturday is anyone’s guess.
The focal point of Arch Rival’s success in 2015, and its respective rankings climb, has been the solid work of the blocking, paced by co-captain Party Foul, Emily Rinehart, Mayor Francis Slayer, Shimmy Hoffa, Kayla Seiber, Chewblocka, Cloak N’ Drag-Her, Jamheiser Bush, Shear-Ra Powers and The Ginger Assassin. Grave Danger, Krista Grant, Ninja Sass ‘Em and Julie Gray have also been instrumental in helping ARRG achieve its unblemished record this season.
How dominant has the front line been this year in the team’s overall complexion? In its eleven victories this season, the final differential in nine of them have been at least triple-digits. In seven out of those nine, the final margin has been plus-200. Additionally, the defense has held its game-day opponent to under 100 points in seven of the triumphs.
There are so many layers and so much depth. Much like the jamming situation, one has to wonder, which skaters get the starting nod Saturday night as ARRG looks to maintain its perfect historical record (17-0) at Queeny Park?
#49 Naptown, based out of Indianapolis, Indiana, is familiar to ARRG Nation and they come into the contest looking to maintain traction in WFTDA Division 2, classified for the teams ranked #41 through #60. The Tornado Sirens (4-5) fell to #32 Toronto, 186-175, last Saturday at home.
St. Louis battled Naptown at April’s “Skate To Thrill” invitational and notched a mind-numbing 316-101 victory. Although the final differential was plus-200, the Tornado Sirens possessed a 26-point lead fifteen minutes into the game. Arch Rival’s 104-0 rally over the next ten minutes not only flipped momentum, but also the scoreboard.
“At our first match up, they came out with intensity and the first half was a battle,” recalls Bricktator of the match-up. “We had to make some adjustments in order to finish the game strong.”
Maiden America, Veronica Dodge, Wicked Baum-Chelle and Eve Anne Helical pace the Naptown jamming rotation while blockers Deadie Page, Dora The Destroyer, Mutant Jean, Trudy Bauchery and Scorpiopathic lay down the foundation.
Even with its 215-point win recorded earlier this season, Arch Rival’s Bricktator says her squad will not overlook the opponent and take Saturday’s tilt very seriously.
“This game will be a good indicator of our team’s growth,” she said. “We have come a long way since Skate to Thrill. Undoubtedly, Naptown has also gotten better, so we will need to show up with our game faces on.”
Meanwhile, Saturday’s “B-team” game is also a re-match as ARRG’s Saint Lunachix (2-1) faced the Naptown Warning Belles (6-4) in Indianapolis on March 14 and posted a 178-126 victory.
The Chix seeks its second straight win. Co-captained by blockers Jamheiser Bush and Fletch-A-Sketch, the Lunachix jamming rotation is paced by Chokehold Chanel, Cupquake and Aceta Menacin. Also in the mix are blockers Morgan LeFaetal, The Ginger Assassin, Party Rockher, Girl Fawkes, Orange Ya Sry, Rock Slobster, Carmina Pirhana, Sp!ce Rack, Science Friction, Hakuna Renata, Grave Danger and Warpath O‘ Jen.
Tickets are $15 at the door while children 10 and under get in free. Save $3 per ticket by purchasing them in advance online AT THIS LINK.
For more information on the Arch Rival Roller Girls, go to archrivalrollergirls.com.