Mazel Tough

Disloyalists Dismantle D-VAS, Continue Ontario Dominance

The 2012 D-VAS hosted Kingston’s Disloyalists in their first (non intrasquad) bout of the year. (Photo by Greg Russell).

The Disloyalists (KDG) 314 vs. The D-VAS (ToRD) 55

Kingston Derby GirlsDisloyalists have come a long way in the past year. Previously, they were just another of the many leagues popping up in the burgeoning Ontario derby scene; at last year’s 2 Fresh 2 Furious they had their moments (one of their unnamed teams lost to the D-VAS in the quarterfinals), but still looked very much like a league finding itself. They played some tight games against some of the other newer leagues in the sport, but didn’t do much to distance themselves from the likes of Durham Region Roller Derby or the Royal City Rollergirls. But as physical a sport as roller derby is, there comes a point when the difference between two teams will be defined by their knowledge of the game, by that elusive but all important “track sense”: once you get it, the game changes and the improvements become exponential. In 2012, the Disloyalists have certainly gotten it.

Coming off of two one-sided victories over previous rivals in Durham and South Simcoe in the past two weeks, the Disloyalists rolled into Toronto in the midst of their first significant winning streak and continued those winning ways with a thoroughly dominant performance over ToRD’s D-VAS. Of course, this D-VAS team is not the same D-VAS team Kingston last encountered, and the inexperience was evident as they played their first game against outside competition in 2012. Kingston got going early, led by 100 at the half and pulled away at the end of the 259-point victory.

Kingston’s LaVallee of the Dolls anchors an athletic and tough Disloyalists jammer rotation. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

Things got rolling quickly for the Disloyalists with Lavallee of the Dolls picking up 6 on the first jam. Sticking with a tight jammer rotation in the early going to Lavallee, Luci Fleur and Johnston (with Yo! Shanity Slam and the triple threat Manic Breeze sneaking into the rotation as well), the Disloyalists rushed out to a lead but couldn’t quite distance themselves from the D-VAS. The Toronto team went with a much wider jammer rotation giving at least six skaters a shot with the star. Lexi Con got the D-VAS on the board first and Joss Wheelin (who wore both helmet covers with confidence on the night) picked up an early 2 points as well, but the D-VAS couldn’t do much to penetrate the tough pack defense from Kingston and found themselves down 29-5 ten minutes in.

Mazel Tough had a strong positional game for the D-VAS and was solid one on one. (Photo by Greg Russell)

With Meanstreak on the track jamming, Kingston’s Luci Fleur was sent to the box on a major track cut giving the D-VAS a chance to make up some ground early, but in a jam indicative of the way things would go for the D-VAS, they negated the power jam with a penalty of their own, and further penalties from pack players led to a formidable Kingston pack advantage as well and the subsequent 19-point jam from Luci Fleur blew the game wide open and gave Kingston momentum. While strategic miscues were reflective of the lack of experience, the D-VAS had great individual moments throughout, and the smooth skating Tomy Knockers (playing her first ever game in Toronto Roller Derby) scored some nice late-half jammer take outs, while Mazel Tough had her best game with the D-VAS showing a strong positional awareness and performing very well one on one. But the fast strategic transitions of the Disloyalists had the D-VAS constantly a step behind, and they stared at a big 131-29 deficit at the half.

Recent transfer Tomy Knockers (laying down a strong offensive block) had a solid game for the D-VAS. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

The D-VAS came flying out to start the second half, and a massive 20-point pick up by Wackedher on a power jam pivoted by Joss Wheelin (and aided by some nice recycling from the D-VAS pack led by Tomy Knockers) had them clawing their way back into it. But the pushback wouldn’t last. Two strong Kingston pivots Little Orphan-Maker Annie and Banger Management worked together on a jam to neutralize D-VAS jammer Machete Maiden, and a couple of natural grand slams restored the Disloyalists’ lead to 155-49 five minutes into the half. Again the D-VAS had their moments: both Babushkill and Mean Streak continue to be solid performers and Joss Wheelin and Lexi Con are beginning to exhibit diverse talents on the track transitioning from blocker to jamming very smoothly, and the improvements were evident as the game wore on and they began to respond to situations more efficiently and accurately (like a well executed Viktory Lapp power jam pivoted by Joss at the midway point on the half); they also kept their spirits up and made sure to celebrate small victories (like an Armageddon Rose  jammer take out on Vagina Dentata late in the game). But the Disloyalists never looked like they were out of control at any point. Widening their jammer rotation late didn’t change things either, and the depth of the pack made sure that the D-VAS could never truly mount a significant comeback. Luci Fleur closed things out for the Disloyalists, scoring 17 points on the final jam of the bout to push her team over 300 points, cruising to the 314-55 victory.

In the end, the depth and experience of the Disloyalists overwhelmed the D-VAS. (Photo by Greg Russell)

For the Disloyalists, this is just another victory in what will undoubtedly continue to be a break out year for them (and they’ve certainly earned themselves a shot at a more experienced ToRD team like the newly resurrected Bay Street Bruisers, for example). For the D-VAS this game provided perfect, much-needed experience against a strategically sound team that is on the rise and is the first step in a year-long process that will prepare them for ToRD’s 2012 entry draft (held in the fall); all of these little experiences (no matter how challenging) will pay off immeasurably in terms of experience gained and knowledge acquired.

**Next up for the D-VAS is a showdown in Brantford against the Belles of the Brawl on May 26th, while the Disloyalists have a little break in their busy schedule before taking on the Royal City Rollergirls next month in Guelph.

D-VAS Win! Split Squad Bout Kicks off ToRD’s 2012 Season

The D-VAS were divided for a split squad showdown. (Photo by Greg Russell)

In a fitting kick off to ToRD’s 2012 home season, the farm team skaters who make up the D-VAS (Deadly Viper Assassination Squad), duked it out in a split squad bout featuring the skaters who will be eligible for the 2013 ToRD entry draft: a glimpse of the future stars of local roller derby. Divided into evenly matched Red and Black uniforms (and featuring a smattering of recently drafted skaters and one retiree to round out the rosters), the D-VAS got a sold out crowd at The Bunker at Downsview park riled up and ready for the regular season bout between the Gore-Gore Rollergirls and the Chicks Ahoy! that followed in the double header. The matchup never disappointed either, right down to the white-knuckled finish that saw Red hold on for a 2 point victory.

Wacked Her gets held up by Red's Bridget Bones and Joss Wheelin. (Photo by Joe Mac)

Red’s Bridget Bones skated to the pivot line leading her pack against Black’s Margaret Smackwood (one of your 2012 D-VAS’s captains). Joss Wheelin kicked things off on the jam line against Black’s Wacked Her. Joss picked up a natural grand slam behind some stiff pack defense; a Red strength that carried over to the second jam as well as Lexi Con picked up 4 more. It wasn’t until newly transferred D-VAS Elektrick Maverick took the star for Black that they were able to get on the board, as some physical jamming cut the score to 9-5. The score would continue to sway back and forth as some of the more experienced skaters left their marks. Newly drafted Death Track Doll Scarcasm was outstanding one-on-one, while retired ToRD vet (and mentor D-VAS) G-Force showed her superior track sense always leading Red’s blockers in the right direction, and Purple Pain (the other 2012 D-VAS’s captain) looked very comfortable with some solid positional blocking. With Babushkill warming up at the end of the first half (she seemed to own the inside line when jamming for Red), the Red D-VAS were able to pull ahead slightly at half, 31-24.

Black pivot Mazel Tough engages the Red pack to free up jammer Armageddon Rose. (Photo by Greg Russell)

The most positive aspect of the bout was how slow and steady both teams were playing. Younger, more inexperienced players have a tendency to go all out in the early going, electing for the simplicity of skating fast and hitting hard, but these D-VAS showed much more track sense than that, and with a respect for the strategies of the flat track game, the play began to tighten up in the second half. Mean Streak added yet another hot jammer to Red’s arsenal that helped them begin to pull ahead early as they quickly increased their half time lead to 41-26 five minutes into the second half. Increasingly improved play by the Black pack (led by some strong jams from Mazel Tough and Maverick) led to a Black power jam where Wacked Her picked up 9 points to tighten the gap. The jamming was virtually even on both sides with Black’s Armageddon Rose and Viktory Lap picking up the pace for their team in the late going to counter continuously strong jams from a Red rotation featuring Joss, Mean Streak, Lexi Con and an impressive Babushkill (who was making her D-VAS debut). Despite all this excellent jamming, it was actually a nice block by Black pivot Margaret Smackwood that would begin to turn the tide late in the second half.

Viktory Lap scored 9 points in the final jam for Black, almost bringing her team all the way back. (Photo by Joe Mac)

Down by 19 points with under five to go, a well timed Smackwood block on Red’s Bellefast allowing Viktory Lap through and seemed to shift momentum Black’s way. LowBlowPalooza managed a huge ten-point pick up with only two left to bring Black back within 4, 54-40. Mean Streak nabbed a lead for red to pick up a few points and preserve the lead and set up a final jam between Viktory Lap (Black) and Lexi Con (Red) with the bout on the line. Viktory got lead for Black and had a clean first pass but the Black pack could only hold Lexi for so long before she was able to break through; despite Vik’s 9 point jam to close it out, Lexi’s 4 preserved the victory for team Red, 61-59.

It was as good a 2012 debut as one could imagine for the D-VAS; an impressive display of derby by such an inexperienced crew that bodes well for ToRD’s future. These skaters have a full year of bouting to get through before next year’s entry draft. Based on the display that was put on in the season opener, that draft will be graduating an impressive draft class.

***Next up for ToRD is another double header on March 3rd when the Death Track Dolls and the Smoke City Betties kick off their 2012 season. Make sure to be their early though, as the opening bout will feature CN Power hosting the Roc City Roc Stars from Rochester, New York, in a WFTDA sanctioned match up. Tickets are on sale now!***