One year ago, the St. Chux Derby Chix took its inaugural journey to the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association’s post-season tournament.
No longer a playoff newbie, the St. Charles-based rollers are primed for a return engagement this weekend.
SCDC’s Pack In Black, ranked #54 internationally by the WFTDA, skates at the Division 2 playoff round held in Cleveland, Ohio this Friday through Sunday.
In the ten-team bracketed tournament, seventh-seeded St. Chux meets tenth-seeded Brandywine Roller Girls in a quarterfinal qualifier on Friday at 10 a.m. Eastern (9 a.m. Central).
The winner of that match-up meets second-seeded Kansas City later at 4 p.m. Eastern in the quarterfinal round.
The top two finishers of the three-day event in Cleveland advance to the Division 2 championship games held in November in St. Paul, Minnesota.
St. Chux (2-8) has faced perpetual adversity throughout the 2015 campaign as setbacks against higher-ranked opponents in the last five months resulted in the team’s current rank and post-season seed.
That being said, SCDC’s slate is wiped completely clean heading into the Buckeye State trek and the playoff posse possesses an opportunity to prove to itself, and others, that it belongs in the fight for one of two coveted tickets for Division 2 championship advancement.
“The team we are taking is filled with people who are so excited to be going to playoffs and are ready to play hard and have a great time,” said St. Chux captain Pixie Dust-Ruction. “Scrimmages have been going really well! Everyone has been working super hard.”
Eight SCDC skaters from last year’s tournament charter return for their second post-season trip. Alongside Dust-Ruction, blockers Whip L’Ash, Tara Eyes, Slaughter Haus, Big Red and Blue Collar Brawler and jammers Jedi Knight-N-Gale and Conner re-visit WFTDA playoff play.
Jamming will be supplemented by Pack-In-Black rookie Sugar Shock and Psychokid D Freakout, a transfer from the Southern Illinois Roller Girls. Veteran blockers Zombie F-Bomb, 50 Shades of Pink and Joanie Rollmoan will experience their first respective WFTDA post-season appearances during the weekend.
Darth Maully, Gnome Chompsky, Sha ‘Killa, Calamity Cat and Judy Boom accompany the 18-skater charter.
Even with significant changes in the SCDC line-up compared to last year, there are fewer jitters overall heading into the weekend since it won’t be the league’s first playoff rodeo.
“Definitely less anxiety going into 2015 playoffs than going into 2014,” said Dust-Ruction. “We have experience now and know what to expect.”
The Pack In Black’s Friday morning opponent likewise had its first taste of WFTDA playoff action last season and also aims for a victorious quarterfinal entry.
Downingtown, Pennsylvania-based Brandywine Roller Girls, currently ranked #62 in the WFTDA, launched its season with four straight wins. A split over its next six contests resulted in its current 7-3 mark.
On the upside, the Belligerents finished the regular season with a 217-144 victory over #80 Ithaca on June 7. That upward trajectory, along with ample time to rest and prepare, gives the flat-track troopers a potentially positive bracket push in Cleveland.
“The team is peaking at exactly the right time,” said Brandywine’s Koach HotWheels. “Our on-skates and off-skates training have been tough and we are ready to go. Our recent scrimmages have seen a tightening of the X-factor or gelling of the team and so many of our strategies and counter-strategies are coming together nicely.”
Alongside co-captains Rapid ArrythMIA and Cutthroat KC, veterans Skinny Guinea, Crash Bansheekoot, Ballerinka, Buenos D. A$$, Not-Knotty, DeckHerH8er, Anya Alnight and Thresher return for playoff play.
2015 additions Ka$h & Prizes, Kelly Krueger, MRSA LA, Raggedy Aneurysm, Rontanamo Bay, Slamshine Annie, Ultra Shear-her and VALociraptor are also members of the Belligerents’ charter.
Much like St. Chux, HotWheels says that Brandywine is using its playoff familiarity to offset any first-time concerns.
“I and other seasoned team members have been able to address some of the worries that accompany a tournament like this,” claimed the head coach. “The fewer unknowns, the better, so our mental preparedness is on point.”
Friday’s battle will be the inaugural meeting between the two leagues and the pair of Division 2 entrants has only one common opponent during the regular season, current #60 Brewcity. In their respective match-ups, St. Chux topped the Bruisers by over 80 points in March while Brandywine fell to the keggers by 40 points in May.
As neither game was available online, one can only look at past results on paper to a certain extent for assessment. Scouting the opposition in preparation was difficult for both.
“We have found footage and have gleaned from that what we could,” revealed Brandywine’s HotWheels. “Teams like this one (ourselves included) constantly hone and address weak areas, so footage is only so useful depending upon age.“
“Yes, it does make it difficult to prepare,” added SCDC’s Dust-Ruction. “But we will just do our best to adjust in any way possible once we figure them out.”
The objective for both teams this weekend is to place higher than where they were seeded coming in. Future WFTDA rankings progression hangs in the balance and a Friday morning victory propels the missive.
“Our goal is to take one game at a time and play to our high level of expectation,” said the Belligerents’ HotWheels.
“SCDC’s goal in Cleveland is to play hard, stay focused, and most importantly, have a great time,” added the Pack In Black’s Dust-Ruction.
A trip to Minnesota in November for WFTDA’s D2 showcase would be the cherry on top. Three straight wins in the bracket by one of them this weekend gets them there.
A recap of this game will be posted Friday at noon at Arch City Sports.
For more information on the St. Chux Derby Chix, go to stchuxderbychix.com.