BALLWIN, MO–For Arch Rival (WFTDA #11), what had happened in Vegas apparently stayed in Vegas.
Following a pair of lopsided losses at Rollercon 2013 the week prior, the St. Louisans rebounded with a 132-127 victory over Minnesota (WFTDA #17) Saturday at Midwest Sport Hockey in front of 450.
“I think that Rollercon was a very humbling experience for our team,” said ARRG blocker Grave Danger of the high-profile setbacks to Denver and Rocky Mountain last weekend. “We went into neutral territory and played some amazing high-level teams, but we didnâ€™t play together. We didnâ€™t follow our plan.”
The Arch Rival plan misplaced in Nevada was re-established in the five-point win that improved the squadâ€™s record to 11-4, and more importantly, provided a confidence boost with the WFTDA Division 1 post-season mere weeks away.
“The Rollercon trip was important,” reflected Arch Rival jammer Smarty McFly. “It was important that we lost our shit then instead of losing our shit for the playoffs.”
“We had a lot of naysayers out there because of what we did out there last week,” added ARRG blocker Rhino-Might. “To come back, retaliate and pick up the â€˜Wâ€™ was exactly what we needed. Out of 24 years of playing competitive sports, this was, by far, a top highlight in my athletic career.”
In the inaugural match-up between the former North Central sistren, key components from both squads were missing as MNRG jammer Juke Boxx and ARRG blocker Shimmy Hoffa were absent from their respective rosters due to prior commitments.
Following a bout-opening scoreless jam, Minnesotaâ€™s Lâ€™exi Cuter notched a natural grand slam to give the visitors an early advantage. Medusa added a pair of points on the next rotation to give MNRG a 7-0 lead four minutes deep.
Arch Rival responded with seven straight. Mighty Mighty Bostonâ€™s four-pointer in jam five was followed by a trey from South City Shiner that tied the score, 7-7, with 23:45 left in the period.
A scoreless jam was followed by a seven-point strike by MNRGâ€™s Fannie Tanner which gave her squad a 14-7 lead.
Arch Rivalâ€™s Boston reciprocated with four on the next rotation to make the bout a three-point affair. Cuter answered back two jams later by notching a trey and extending Minnesotaâ€™s lead to 17-11 with 18:25 left in the period.
Following another scoreless stalemate in jam #12, Arch Rival punched home a plethora of points as McFly gained lead and passed the star to pivot May Require Stitches. A 20-point jam ensued, resulting in a 31-17 Arch Rival lead change midway through the frame.
Arch Rival pushed the lead to 36-18, but MNRGâ€™s Medusa notched 10 at 13:10 to whittle the margin to 36-28. The Saint Louisans extended the lead to 43-31 after Bostonâ€™s trey scored with 10:40 left in the half.
Minnesota then capitalized on a power jam as ARRGâ€™s Shiner was sent off for a track cut. Cuter scored a dozen in the fracas, which tied the score 43-43 with 8:45 left in the period.
This started a rally for Minnesota as they proceeded with a 29-7 sprint during first halfâ€™s waning minutes. Tanner scored four in jam 20 to give the visitors a 47-43 lead. Killerbruise added nine on the next rotation to extend the Minnesotan margin to a bakerâ€™s dozen.
A MNRG power jam posted with 3:00 left resulted in 15 points for Cuter, extending the lead to 71-43. Brickyard notched a 7-2 jam for Arch Rival that was stopped for a knee injury suffered by MNRG blocker Diamond Rough.
Minnesota widened the advantage to 74-50 at intermission but lost the services of Rough for the first seven jams of the second period.
Cuterâ€™s second period-opening four-point strike extended MNRGâ€™s lead to 78-50. A 10-0 Arch Rival run spanning the next six jams cut the deficit to 78-60. In jam eight, Tanner broke the rally by posting seven, which pushed Minnesotaâ€™s lead to 85-60. Unfortunately for the “Aqua and Armyâ€™s” cause, another trooper was lost in the process as blocker Second Hand Smoke picked up her seventh penalty and fouled out with 20:30 left in the bout.
After Minnesota netted a 6-4 score in jam nine to push its lead to 27 points, Arch Rival scored 15 straight as Brickyard and Boston tallied 10 and five, respectively, and cut the gap to 91-79 with 16:30 left.
Minnesota blockers Buzz TightRear, Shiver Me Kimbers, ShivaShankn and a host of others continued their steady, physical play as the period progressed. It showed as the aforementioned trio helped Killerbruise score 14 in jam 12 and extending its lead to 105-79 with 15:00 left.
On the other side of the ledger, the workload and output was about to increase for Arch Rivalâ€™s Danger, Might, Stitches, Chewblocka, Mayor Francis Slayer, Science Friction, The Educator and a host of others. This blocking foundation paved the way for a 44-7 ARRG run over the boutâ€™s next six jams.
Four points from McFly was followed by a 4-2 strike from Boston and finished with Brickyardâ€™s four in jam 15 to narrow the Minnesota lead to 107-91. After Cuter notched a pair of points for MNRG with 10:00 left, Boston collected a dozen to make the bout a six-point nail biter, 109-103.
In jam 18, the Arch Rival rally hit its peak as MNRGâ€™s Tanner was sent off for a track cut. Stitches, in her first rotation as a jammer in the bout, capitalized on the advantage and posted 20 points. Tanner notched three after she returned to play, but the 20-3 exclamation point flipped the scoreboard to Arch Rivalâ€™s favor, 123-112 with 5:50 remaining.
Following a 2-1 jam for Cuter, ARRGâ€™s Boston posted four that extended the hostessesâ€™ lead to 128-114 with 3:05 left. A 4-4 push in jam 21 raised the score to 132-118.
In the boutâ€™s penultimate jam, Cuter powered her way in front and posted a nine-point strike for Minnesota. With :23 left, Arch Rival clung onto a 132-127 lead.
Following a MNRG time out, and with everyone in attendance in a perpetual state of frenzy, Boston and Killerbruise donned stars for Arch Rival and Minnesota respectively. After the single whistle start and as the period clock ticked precious time, Boston inevitably scampered to the front of the pack, but not cleanly.
With under :10 left, Killerbruise gained lead for MNRG as Boston raced around the flat-track in an effort to notch non-lead points. Killerbruise called off the 0-0 jam as the period clock displayed a goose egg. After an official time out to confirm the expiration of the period clock, the bout was declared a 132-127 victory for Arch Rival.
“Iâ€™m really proud in the fact that we played every jam and had a strong finish,” said ARRGâ€™s McFly, whose squad outscored Minnesota 82-53 in the second period. “We stayed out on the track and played for the last jam. We also managed the time, which was important.”
Boston paced Arch Rival scoring with 43 points while Cuter notched 57 for Minnesota (1-5).
“I have a lot respect for Minnesotaâ€™s players,” said Danger. “They are absolutely amazing. Honestly, being out there tonight, looking around, I was like â€˜I canâ€™t believe that I get to do this!â€™”
Arch Rival now prepares for the Fort Wayne Division 1 playoff round. As the third seed, they face sixth-seeded Ohio (WFTDA #24) in the opening round on September 6.
“One thing that I do know about (our) team is that we show up to practice, we put in the work and we truly operate as a team,” said Rhino-Might. “Everybody truly has each otherâ€™s back and I donâ€™t expect anything less. I expect us to go into Fort Wayne locked and loaded and ready to prove something.
Minnesota next travels to Chicago in two weeks to face Windy City (WFTDA #10).
In the b-team match-up between the two leagues, Minnesotaâ€™s B-Squad defeated Arch Rivalâ€™s Saint Lunachix 186-146. Slambda Phage paced MNRG (2-0) with 85 points.