(ST. CHARLES , MO) Indicative of sports, sometimes a scoreboard’s final display doesn’t reveal the entire narrative of a contest, especially its back story.
Consider the St. Chux Derby Chix, currently ranked #70 within the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA), and their 203-175 setback to #74 Omaha Saturday night at Lamborghini Gold Coast Athletic Center in downtown St. Charles.
Heading into the contest against their comparably-ranked opponent, the Pack In Black knew that a big offensive cog in the machine would be missing as top-flight jammer Jedi Knight-N-Gale was absent from the season-opening line-up.
Not having the skater, whom normally scores triple-digits, in the mix certainly changed the complexion of the jamming sequence that contained a plethora of new faces that had never competed on the WFTDA A-team level.
Overall Saturday night, the St. Charles County-based collective had eight players that were not a part of the 14-skater line-up that last competed in July 2016. That’s easily over half a new line-up for a team dormant for eight months.
In short, there were too many unknown variables for St. Chux heading in. All things considered, the Pack in Black’s 28-point setback didn’t seem so overwhelming after the final whistle.
If anything, Saturday’s game was all about self-discovery.
“I really feel like that’s a great way to put it,” reflected SCDC Captain ShaKilla afterwards. “We had to step outside of the box and play with people we haven’t played with. The Pack In Black was quite a solid line-up for a few years and now we have a lot of new faces. Learning to play with different people is going to really maximize what we’re going for towards the end of the season.”
Lessons learned in the Omaha game will be implemented immediately as the Pack In Black (0-1) returns to WFTDA–sanctioned action for its hosted invitational, the fourth annual “Skate to Thrill,” held March 25 & 26 at its newfound St. Charles home venue.
“I think this game was a great starting point,” ShaKilla said. “We have three weeks to buckle down and figure it all out.”
Early on, both teams tussled in order to gain an advantage. Trailing 5-0 after the first period’s two rotations, St. Chux grabbed their first, and inevitably only, lead of the night with new addition Annieville Horror’s nine-point strike that flipped the scoreboard, 9-5, at the 27:00 mark.
Omaha regained the lead three minutes later as Genni Cash’s 11-4 rotation gave the Nebraskans a 16-13 edge. Amelia Airhurt followed with a 9-2 rotation with 22:40 left in the frame that pushed the score to 25-15.
After a 3-3 push in Jam 7, St. Chux took advantage of a non-lead power jam and posted an 18-8 game-tying jam. During the fracas, jammer Calamity Cat scored ten points and then passed the star to pivot Big Red, who added eight and when the dust had settled, the Pack In Black had tied the score 36-36 with 18:00 left in period.
Omaha quickly broke the stalemate with Meg Skeeto’s 22-point jam that helped Omaha break open the score to 58-36 with 14:00 left in the half.
St. Chux, paced by blockers Dani Disaster, Judy Boom, Slaughterhaus, Whip L’Ash, Pixie Dust-Ruction, Blue Bear, Bad Mutha T and Spill Murray, scored 18 straight points over the next two jams that shored the score. Cat grabbed 14 via a power jam and ShaKilla followed with a four-point pass with 11:40 left in the period that whittled Omaha’s lead to 58-54.
Airhurt then piloted a 22-point Omaha power jam on the ensuing rotation. SCDC penalties and strong blocking from Crash Hartless and Rylan Gotasling resulted in the Nebraskans widening the score to 80-54.
St. Chux newcomer Ankle BiteHer notched a power jam and scored nine with under 8:00 left and helped the hostesses whittle the score to 80-63.
Then in Jam 15, St. Chux’s home opener took a sour turn as the Pack In Black’s jammer was sent to the penalty box via a track cut and saw other personnel follow with infractions. This gave Omaha jammer Eblastagirl wide open track space to quickly and easily rack up scoring passes. When the rotation ended with 5:30 left in the period, she posted 32 mind-numbing points and the visitors’ lead blossomed to 112-63.
SCDC went on a 17-4 stretch run to finish the period but Omaha managed to possess a 116-80 advantage at intermission.
The visitors gained the first four lead jams in the second period and notched 31 consecutive points. Omaha stretched their lead to 147-83 following Airhurt’s seven-pointer scored five minutes deep.
Scoring was marginal by both in the next ten minutes as Omaha maintained a 154-97 cushion with 15:30 left in the second.
Refusing to wave the white flag, St. Chux got a quick burst of scoring by notching four straight lead jams that resulted in a 30-0 rally. Big Red’s 10-point power jam, back-to-back four-pointers from BiteHer and Horror and Cat’s dozen scored with 11:00 left helped SCDC slice the score to 167-127 with 10:50 remaining.
Both teams exchanged leads, penalties and points down the stretch which helped Omaha shave time off the clock and preserve victory. The Pack in Black outscored the opponents in the second period, 95-87, but by using the halftime cushion, Omaha proceeded to notch the 203-175 home-opening spoiler.
Airhurt paced Omaha (1-0) scoring with 117 points followed by Eblastagirl’s 40.
Four SCDC jammers collected double-digit scoring, paced by BiteHer’s 51 points followed by Calamity Cat’s 46 and Big Red’s 45.
“There was a lot of great play from our jammers,” assessed ShaKilla. “We didn’t know what to expect. This was a really good appetizer for the season.”
Focus for St. Chux now turns to the “Skate to Thrill” invitational in three weeks as the locals face #52 Houston, #68 Twin City (Champaign, IL) and #94 E-Ville Roller Derby (Edmonton, Alberta, Canada).
ShaKilla feels that being aggressive offensively will be imperative. Inserting Knight-N-Gale back in the newfound jamming line-up, combined with a pesky blocking battalion, brings optimism to the team’s pivotal weekend.
“I think the main focus is going to be collective offense,” the captain said. “I feel like our jammers have the skill and if we, as blockers, can come together and make better holes, we’ll be able to have a little more success.”
ST. CHUX DERBY CHIX: Ankle BiteHer 51, Calamity Cat 46, Big Red 45, Annieville Horror 28, ShaKilla 8, Pixie Dust-Ruction 3.
OMAHA ROLLERGIRLS: Amelia Airhurt 117, Eblastagirl 40, Meg Skeeto 32, Genni Cash 14, Rady Ruck 13.
In the b-team game that launched the evening, SCDC’s Hells Belles topped Omaha AAA, 230-184, in their season opener to begin its campaign 1-0.
For more information on St. Chux Derby Chix, go to their OFFICIAL WEBSITE.
For more information on the Omaha Rollergirls, go to their OFFICIAL WEBSITE.