By Thomas Gerbasi
It was fitting that the Gotham Girls Roller Derby league’s annual visit to Abe Stark Arena in Coney Island on July 15 was next to Luna Park, because both games epitomized the rollercoaster ride that has been the 2017 home team season. It’s been a campaign that has seen a defending champion go winless, two juggernauts battling for the title, and an underdog finally breaking back into the win column.
And we haven’t even reached the postseason yet.
In the opening bout of the doubleheader, the Queens of Pain continued to roll, as they handed the Brooklyn Bombshells their first loss of the year, 167-118. The top two teams in the league will meet again at John Jay College in NYC on August 26 to determine who wins the GGRD Golden Skate trophy.
But it was the closing game of the evening that made the most noise, as the Bronx Gridlock won their first bout since May 2014, defeating the defending champion Manhattan Mayhem 138-119. These two squads will also meet again, this time in the league’s third-place game on August 5 at John Jay.
This win for the Gridlock comes after years of frustration in which injuries, team turnover, and plain ol’ bad luck has kept them from getting back into the win column. This is a team that even had to borrow skaters from the opposing team for one bout in order to make up a complete roster. But in spite of all this, the Gridlock kept showing up to practice, kept showing up on game night and kept giving a supreme effort.
On July 15, they were underdogs again, and things didn’t get off to a great start as Manhattan earned an early 25-9 lead. As is their custom, the Gridlock kept it close, but at halftime, they were facing a 20-point deficit and the reality that the dynamic defensive duo of Violet Knockout and Roxy Dallas were going to do anything in their power to keep the cabbies from scoring.
The Gridlock were undeterred, and with their defense taking advantage of the absence of veteran Mayhem jammer Em Dash, Bronx’ own scoring machine, Kate Sera Sera, kicked things into high gear, with a 19-point jam to start the second period cutting the lead to 1. Five jams later, the Bronx took the lead, 93-90, and while Manhattan would briefly get the advantage once more, the Gridlock, led by Kate’s game-high 91 points, regained the advantage and never looked back, making it clear that this Saturday’s rematch is going to be one to watch.
In the opener, Queens reminded the league and its fans that if there is a favorite to win the Golden Skate this season, they wear black. Dominant all year, Queens made it 18-0 before Brooklyn even got on the board, and by halftime, it was a 95-41 lead for the team looking to secure its first GGRD title since 2013.
Brooklyn did make their run in the second half, but without GGRD All-Star V-Diva on the track, Miss Tea Maven was an all-night target for the Queens blockers, allowing Suzy Hotrod, Puss ‘N Glutes and their veteran squad to finish up the regular season with a win and an unbeaten record. Now all they have to do is repeat that win in a few weeks, a task easier said than done.
BROOKLYN vs. QUEENS STATS
1 2 F
Brooklyn MVP – BlueJ
Queens MVP – Low Maim
Leading Brooklyn Scorers
Miss Tea Maven 63 points (28 jams)
Bellatricks 26 points (5 jams)
BlueJ 26 points (6 jams)
Leading Brooklyn Blockers
Lady Fingers 30 jams (-58)
D.A.R.Y.L. 29 jams (-37)
Papierschnitt 27 jams (-3)
Leading Queens Scorers
Suzy Hotrod 67 points (15 jams)
Low Maim 40 points (13 jams)
ShortStop 40 points (15 jams)
Puss ‘n Glutes 33 jams (+26)
Pinky Swears 26 jams (+29)
Livvie Smalls 26 jams (-3)
Minutes in Box: 23 Jammer Box Trips: 6
Minutes in Box: 46 Jammer Box Trips: 6
MANHATTANvs. BRONX STATS
1 2 F
Manhattan MVP – Veronica Ache
Bronx MVP – Kate Sera Sera
Leading Manhattan Scorers
Kid Vicious 47 points (11 jams)
J Rod 42 points (14 jams)
Lumiknoxity 29 points (10 jams)
Leading Manhattan Blockers
Roxy Dallas 25 jams (-1)
Violet Knockout 23 jams (-32)
Spork Chop 19 jams (-12)
Leading Bronx Scorers
Kate Sera Sera 91 points (17 jams)
Big Banger 19 points (10 jams)
Heronymus Boss 11 points (3 jams)
Leading Bronx Blockers
Caf Fiend 22 jams (-15)
Fast and Luce 20 jams (+11)
Cherry Napalm 19 jams (+17)
Minutes in Box: 33 Jammer Box Trips: 9
Minutes in Box: 30 Jammer Box Trips: 10
Stats compiled via Rinxter