By Thomas Gerbasi
Spring has sprung in the Big Apple, a sign that a new season of Gotham Girls Roller Derby action is underway, and the league’s four home teams came out swinging in their season openers at John Jay College in NYC.
On March 25, the perennial contenders from Queens stunned the defending champion Mayhem 176-130, putting an immediate dent in Manhattan’s quest to become the first GGRD team to repeat since the Bronx Gridlock pulled off the feat in 2010.
Led by ShortStop, who put a game high 105 points on the board, Queens used an early 25-0 jam by the All-Star jammer to jump out to a 46-15 lead, and then their defense kicked in, holding the Mayhem to 18 points over the next 10 jams as they extended their advantage to 72-33.
By halftime, the Queens lead was 47 points, and while Manhattan played their rivals on even terms in the second half, they were never able to make the run that threatened the ladies in black, who skated away with a statement-making victory to kick off their 2017 campaign.
QUEENS vs. MANHATTAN STATS
1 2 F
Queens 102 74 176
Manhattan 55 75 130
Queens MVP – ShortStop
Manhattan MVP – Cork Rebel
Leading Queens Scorers
ShortStop - 105 points (16 jams)
Suzy Hotrod – 42 points (10 jams)
Beauty Andie Beast – 23 points (12 jams)
Leading Queens Blockers
Puss ‘n Glutes – 23 jams (+19)
Livvie Smalls – 22 jams (+61)
Chopstick Murphy – 18 jams (+19)
Leading Manhattan Scorers
Em Dash – 65 points (13 jams)
Cork Rebel – 41 points (9 jams)
Lumiknoxity – 17 points (8 jams)
Leading Manhattan Blockers
Roxy Dallas – 26 jams (-27)
Bonita Apple Bomb – 26 jams (-95)
Violet Knockout – 25 jams (-15)
Minutes in Box: 36 Jammer Box Trips: 10
Minutes in Box: 29 Jammer Box Trips: 6
Two weeks later, derby fans returned to John Jay for a showdown that had a lot of intrigue attached to it, as the Brooklyn Bombshells assembled a squad that looked quite different from the 2016 version of the team, as four new skaters took the track. Yet after a slow start, it was business as usual for Brooklyn, who moved to 1-0 with a 167-148 victory.
Eager to get back in the win column for the first time since May 2014, the Gridlock came out blasting at the opening whistle, slugging it out with the Bombshells until a 19-point jam from Big Banger broke open a close bout and put the cabbies up 71-33.
They added to their lead as the defense clamped down on Brooklyn, but the Bombshells’ Miss Tea Maven brought her team back into the game in the last two jams of the first half, with 29 points turning an 81-50 score into 81-79 at halftime.
Undeterred by the Brooklyn run, the Gridlock stayed composed early in the second half as they maintained their lead. But on the ninth jam of the second period, it was Maven again breaking the hearts of Bronx fans, as her 14-point effort put Brooklyn ahead 112-111.
The Gridlock’s grit was impressive though, as they fought back and regained the lead, 125-121, as time ticked away. Both teams had to dig deep as their defenses made life difficult for the jammers, and the lead changed three more times before Brooklyn finally pulled away with the kind of win that will certainly bond the new skaters with their squadmates.
BRONX vs. BROOKLYN STATS
1 2 F
Bronx 81 67 148
Brooklyn 79 88 167
Bronx MVP – Kate Sera Sera
Brooklyn MVP – Miss Tea Maven
Leading Bronx Scorers
Kate Sera Sera - 63 points (19 jams)
Legs//Cite – 48 points (18 jams)
Big Banger – 37 points (11 jams)
Leading Bronx Blockers
Fast and Luce – 28 jams (+15)
Caf Fiend – 27 jams (-3)
Cherry Napalm – 24 jams (-33)
Leading Brooklyn Scorers
Miss Tea Maven – 112 points (24 jams)
VanEssaV-Diva Sites – 28 points (14 jams)
Sweets McBacon – 27 points (7 jams)
Leading Brooklyn Blockers
D.A.R.Y.L. – 24 jams (57)
Gut-Her Punk – 24 jams (26)
BlueJ – 24 jams (-2)
Bellatricks – 24 jams (-7)
Lady Fingers – 24 jams (-19)
Minutes in Box: 43 Jammer Box Trips: 9
Minutes in Box: 28 Jammer Box Trips: 3
Stats compiled via Rinxter