(BALLWIN, MO) The local finale for St. Louis-based Arch Rival Roller Derby saw a seasoned squad claim their fourth title in a contest that saw numerous lead changes and plenty of flat-track drama.
In the season-ender held at Queeny Park’s Midwest Sport Hockey, the Smashinistas topped Rebel Skate Alliance 198-184 to claim the trophy they last hoisted in 2017. Leading by a solo point with eight minutes remaining, the Smashies (5-2) utilized a 36-23 run late to secure the triumph.
In the evening’s opener for third place bragging rights, the M-80s claimed their third straight victory with a convincing 201-94 duke over the Stunt Devils.
The League now converts to travel team play. ARCH’s Nemesis and Fleur De Linquents host Nashville Roller Derby Saturday, May 18 at Midwest Sports Hockey.
ARCH TITLE GAME: SMASHINISTAS 198 REBEL SKATE ALLIANCE 184
The narrative heading into the trophy tilt was primarily focused on RSA, who rejoined the League last December after a four-season absence, make a claim to snare the prize last won in 2012, which marked the only other time the franchise had ever competed in the ARCH finale.
Meanwhile, the Smashies were feeling optimistic after edging the then-undefeated Rebels earlier this month by a solo point in a last-jam come-from-behind win. Could they make it two victories in a row over the squad that was projected by many early in the season to easily secure hardware?
The first half was a topsy-turvy affair that contained seven lead changes. Trailing 10-5 five minutes in, the Smashinistas claimed the game’s second scoreboard flip following Smashing Violet’s 12 point strike at the 22:45 mark that handed her team a 17-10 edge.
On the next rotation, high-scoring jammer Frowntown added 24 points that numbed the RSA fan base and pushed the score to 41-18.
Undaunted, RSA responded with a 31-4 rally over the next three rotations. Launched by Darth Tator’s 17-point strike at the 18:30 mark and punctuated by Carth O’Nasty’s 11-point ender two jams later, the Rebels regained the lead 49-45 with 15:45 remaining in the period.
The lead was shortly lived as the Smashies reclaimed the advantage at the 12:45 mark with Frowntown’s 12-4 jam that made the score 58-57.
RSA co-captain Admiral Aggbar quickly flipped the scoreboard with her 8-2 strike that handed the lead back to galaxians, 65-60 with ten minutes left.
Smashies’ jammer Skeevie Nicks then countered with an 8-3 jam that tied the score 68-68 at the 8:00 mark and teammate Violet added an eight-pointer with six minutes left that gave the Smashies a 76-68 advantage.
Down the stretch, and unsurprisingly, scoreboard flips continued as the RSA’s Tator claimed a 16-4 jam recorded with 2:30 left that resulted in a 84-80 edge with 2:30 remaining.
Then on the period’s penultimate rotation, the Smashies claimed a power jam and Violet raced to grab an advantage and five grand slams ensued. The 20-2 gut punch resulted in the Smashinistas’ 100-86 lead with :35 left.
As the Smashies maintained that 14-point lead at intermission, many in attendance knew that the inevitable outcome was going to be determined by both squads’ blocking battalions.
While RSA went their seasoned group of Han Rolo, Lethal Dose, Titanium Falcon, Jabba The Butt, Wookie Monster, Obi-Wan Kenosebleed, Storm Bruiser, Yoda Blow, Spock N’ Roll, Zombie Plagueis and SITH HAPPENS!, the Smashies countered with Cloak N’ Dragher, Gnarley Carbsmashian, Smash Money, Oliver Smash, Smashsquatch, chili beans, Nigel Smashberry, WyldeSyde, Regrets and soup beans.
In second period’s opening jams, RSA grabbed an early advantage and cobbled a 22-12 run in the first four flights. With Tator’s grand slam recorded six minutes in, the Rebels shored the score to 112-108.
Then the Smashies claimed another power jam and Violet collected a 28-3 rotation that pushed the score to 140-111 with 21:30 left in the game.
As the second half progressed, the Smashinistas attempted to shut the door on their rivals but Rebel Skate Alliance refused to waive the white flag. In fact, RSA cobbled their way back in contention with a 34-18 run that made the score 158-145 and with Tator’s 16-4 jam with eight minutes left, the Rebels narrowed the game to a one-point affair, 162-161.
Feeling the heat, the Smashies claimed lead in Jam 16 and Violet commanded another multi-lap bonanza, a 24-4 strike that widened their lead to 186-165 with six minutes left.
RSA chipped away at the deficit and trailed 198-184 heading into the game’s final jam with under thirty seconds remaining on the period clock.
In front of the nervous derby faithful, the title game’s final jam commenced with Frowntown jamming for the Smashinistas while Tator donned the star for RSA. After a frenzied start, Frowntown was able to burst through the pack and claim lead jammer status. The veteran calmly and wisely killed the reaming seconds on the period clock and when it reached goose eggs, called off the jam to secure the 14-point win.
Both teams tied in scoring in the second half (98-98) as the Smashinistas claimed the 198-184 victory. Smashing Violet paced the victors with unofficially 114 points.
RSA (5-2) was topped by Bricktator’s 82 points.
THIRD PLACE: M-80s 201 STUNT DEVILS 94
Give credit where it’s due. With absences and injuries, the M-80s looked very vulnerable after dropping their first four games of the season. But the three-win turnaround, which included the triple-digit triumph over the Stunts Saturday, certainly provides optimism. Considering the fact that they also easily outmuscled the inevitable ARCH Champs, the Smashies, by over 50 points in March, who is to say that the troopers can’t be a major contender next local season?
The M-80s grabbed an early advantage with jammer Slipknot’s 16-point power jam at the 24:10 mark that gave the squad a 24-7 advantage.
The Stunts rallied back and with Zoe Hell’s 12-point power jam with 22:20 remaining, her team sliced the score to 27-19. Primary jammer Scarrie Fisher added a three-point pass that made the game 27-22.
The M-80s proceeded to go on a huge 69-8 rally, propelled by top-notch blocking provided by Trampfire, Merit Badger, Scouts Horror, Special Brownies, Pecan Misandry, Slam Shakusky, Crumbledore, Curl Scout, Wood Bang and S’more Cowbell.
In the process, M-80’s high octane jammer L’Okie Dokie individually claimed twenty, sixteen and twelve-point strikes. When the dust settled, the M-80s possessed a 96-28 lead following Slipknot’s dozen-pointer claimed with 11:20 left.
Dokie added a 22-point power jam deep that helped the M-80s hold a 132-43 lead at intermission.
In the second period, the M-80s effectively maintained the differential while the Stunts, who only fielded eleven skaters on the evening, gave it their all in order to keep pace. Blockers Rhonda Lousey, Mya Pinion, Black Dynamite, Kill-Ya Knightly, Ginger Assassin, Sir Ian McKillin’ and Glenn Close But No Cigar did their collective best against tough circumstances.
Overall, scoring in the second period curbed. The M-80s outscored the Stunts 69-51 in the final frame to claim the 201-94 win and finish the season 3-4.
For more information on ARCH, go to their official website.
By trade, he is a six-time, regional Emmy Award-winning news videographer/editor for KTVI/KPLR-TV. By hobby, he is an announcer and digital content producer for St. Louis-based Arch Rival Roller Derby. Also a webcast announcer for post-season roller derby tournaments on wftda.tv. Yep, this Illinoisan primarily writes about derby, covering Arch Rival, the St. Chux Derby Chix and the STL GateKeepers men's league. He also writes about St. Louis SLAM Women's Football, St. Louis Lions women's soccer and other sports topics.