TALLMADGE, OH–2013 has been the strongest season yet for the NEO Rock â€˜nâ€™ Roller Girls of Akron, Ohio. And on Saturday, July 13, more NEO fans piled into the Summit County Fairgrounds than any other time during 2013 to see if this year of firsts for NEO would include on other milestone; the first victory over Clevelandâ€™s Burning River Roller Girl All-Stars, in this Kalamazoo Division Two WFTDA Playoff preview. NEO never trailed and sent their fans home happy with a 199-145 win.
There is ample history between these two teams. They have shared NSOs, refs, announcers and have both had travel-team-talented skaters transfer between the two teams. Most recently, NEO has received the services of three former Burning River skaters (Ivanna Destroya, Finnish-HER and Take Out) and one transfer from Youngstownâ€™s Little Steel Derby Girls (Hummuscide). Those four players when combining with the seasoned T-Party NEO veterans (Taking Names, Truly Outrageous, Twin Pistol and Teeny Houdini) have led NEO to their highest WFTDA ranking ever (#51) and their first ever post-season invite as they will travel to Kalamazoo, Michigan for the second Division Two WFTDA Playoff weekend.
But in four prior bouts, NEO had never beaten Clevelandâ€™s Burning River with their last contest being 364 days earlier when Burning River scored a 20 win. NEO began their 2013 season with an 88 point win over Grand Raggidy and had marched their way to a 5-4 record. Burning River had a mark of 6-5 which included a 30 point win over the DC Rollergirls. So while NEO held the higher ranking, Burning River had history on their side.
Hummuscide began the night with a 16 point jam as the burning river jammer was sent to the penalty box. This would be an unfortunate trend for River as their Jammer would return to the sin bin another 11 times during the course of the bout. With Twin Pistol and Hummuscide switching off the Jammer star the rest of NEO played great defense and capitalized on power jams. At the 15 minute mark of the first half, NEO led 42-9. They had captured lead jammer position in 8 out of the first 11 jams and thanks to strong defense by Amber Zerker, Wes Craving Brainz and the NEO captain Sicilian Slicer, Burning River had remained in single digits.
Then Burning River scored their biggest jam of the night as Mary Kaos put a 25-0 power jam. LuLu followed with her own 6-0 jam and at the 11:42 mark of the first half, visiting Burning River was only down by two points 42-40. But they would never take the lead.
The NEO coaches took a time out and whatever they said should be patented because the rock â€˜nâ€™ Roller Girls went on a 50-5 run over the next three jams. Twin Pistol posted NEOâ€™s biggest jam of the night matching Mary Kaos for 25 points, followed by Take Out who scored 11 and Hummuscide completed the three jam onslaught with a 14-0 jam. With 2:35 remaining in the half, NEO led 92-45.
Burning River finished the half scoring 20 unanswered points as BRRGâ€™s defensive unit of Hidden Ajennda, Bad Mooney Rising, West Nel Virus and The Eduskater allowed CupQuake and Maul-ibu Barbie to score 11 and 9 points respectfully.
Burning River jammed seven different skaters in the first half and were led by Mary Kaosâ€™ 25 points and CupQuakeâ€™s 17. NEO was led by Hummuscideâ€™s 37 points and Twin Pistolâ€™s 35. Hummuscide was very effective getting lead jam position 5 times in her 7 jammer opportunities. The least relevant stat of the half was the effectiveness of the Burning River defense. NEO was held scoreless in 11 of the 19 first half jams. However, Burning River gave NEO 6 first half power jams and the Rock â€˜nâ€™ Roller Girls took full advantage. NEO scored 74 of their 92 first half points (a full 80%) during those power jams and took a 92-65 lead into the intermission.
Burning River never challenged in the second half as they gave NEO 6 more power jam opportunities for a total of 12 during the bout. 33% of the time, a Burning River jammer was in the penalty box. NEOâ€™s first win over Burning River was led by the veteran T-Party and the four transfers. They won each half by 27 points making the final margin 199-145. NEO was led by Hummuscideâ€™s 72 points with Take Out and Twin Pistol each contributing 59. Mary Kaos and CupQuake each scored 40 for Burning River.
Recap courtesy of Kent Smith.