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Cincinnati Rollergirls 2010: Preview & Predictions
On March 27, the Cincinnati Rollergirls kick off their 2010 season at the historic Cincinnati Gardens. 2009 was a banner year for the team, seeing the ladies fall one game short of making the national tournament. Although it’s only been a few months since CRG took to the flat track, many things have changed both for the league and the WFTDA as a whole. Join me as I give you up to date information on what has changed and what I think might happen because of it; this blog is the best primer you have to get ready for the season.
The face of the Cincinnati Rollergirls, like many leagues in the nation, is changing. A debilitating back injury put an end to the stellar career of Blu Bayou. Blu was voted as one of the most valuable players of the East Coast Derby Extravaganza via an online Derby News Network poll this past summer. She was a cornerstone of the CRG roster at the pivot position, which she shared with Sk8r-Kinney. This combo gave CRG a decisive defensive advantage in almost every game they played in. Blu’s athletic ability and in game leadership will be missed.
Three other members of the Black Sheep will not be on the track this season as they are out with nine-month injuries, also known as pregnancies. CandyKICKass!, Mae C. Stars, and Ruff’n the Passer are expected to be out for the entire 2010 season, which will leave three big holes in the CRG lineup, but will also create new opportunities. Candy is a triple threat, which is a valuable weapon to have in your arsenal in a game when you are running into penalty trouble. Mae C. Stars has been playing roller derby longer then CRG has been in existence. She was a major cog in the CRG pack for years at the B3/rear blocker position and her presence on the track will be missed, especially during the first few games, as someone will have to step up to take over this important role. On top of these losses, the Sheep also lost their captain, Ruff’n the Passer. Ruff’n is a linchpin of this team, the calm and cool side opposite the firebrand of the coaching staff. She is going to leave some big skates to fill on the track and in the locker room.
Cincinnati is going to get a new look this year, as a minimum of four spots are up for grabs on the Sheep. Who will step into those roles? Cherry Choke and Jungle Lacy both were sitting in the alternate spot last season. It’s not an easy place to be in, as each game you must be prepared to play, but more often than not, you don’t. They are looking good so far this season. Both women have solid blocking games and jamming experience. I am expecting big contributions out of them.
Dr. McDerby, also skating for the Sheep, is back from a major shoulder injury, which cut the 2009 season short for her. McDerby’s toughness is second to none. I seriously think the girl might have Wolverine’s mutant healing ability. She is a fierce competitor on the track and deserves to play jammer on the next level or pivot. She has the talent to be the next Blu.
Karma Krash has come in about 20 pounds lighter this season. Karma brought it on late last season, making the 20-woman A-team roster and dedicating herself to the gym in the off-season.
There is a solid jammer corps returning to the Sheep: Hannah “Oucho Cinco” Barbaric, K Lethal, Nuk’em, and Sadistic Sadie. Oucho Cinco is the smartest jammer the Sheep have. She knows what to do in every situation she finds herself in. K Lethal, before the age of 21, has won the league’s best jammer award. K is all business and continues to grow into a player that could someday be a household WFTDA name. Nuk’em skates in a style that mixes speed and violence. While most jammers try to avoid contact, Nuk’em uses herself as a battering ram to fight her way through packs. Sadistic Sadie has become a face of this franchise and brings the swagger that CRG has become known for. Sadie infuses the attitude into this team and does so by both what she preaches and how she plays.
Sk8r-Kinney will be running the front of the pack. I know that’s like saying the sun will rise tomorrow, but it comforts me to say it. Kinney has some new skates this year, and I would like to take this time to say for her: “They are not Bengals skates.” These skates are a thing of beauty and intimidation. June with a Cleaver, Sk8 Crime, and Killian Destroy will be in the pack, forming the backbone of this team.
On CRG’s B team, the Silent Lambs, Bex Pistol is in the best shape of her career as well in practice. I am interested to see what she does this season. Rookie of the Year Wheezy also looks to make an impact this season. She came late in the season last year, but her performances in scrimmages have cemented her as a player to watch for 2010.
This season is Cincinnati’s most interesting one yet. CRG’s home season is all against teams they are ranked above or are not in the WFTDA. This means Cincinnati is favored to win these games and likely will not move up in the rankings unless other teams are beaten and knocked off above them. If they lose, however, they could go into a rankings freefall. This should lead to competitive, close games, and this looks to be a very pivotal season for the Black Sheep.
SAN DIEGO DERBY DOLLS (HOME)
The first game pits Cincinnati in a rematch from last season against the San Diego Derby Dolls. In 2009, Cincinnati traveled to San Diego to beat the Dolls on the flat track and then played them on the SDDD banked track the next day. San Diego is not in the WFTDA but is the best independent league in the country, having been ranked as high as 17 in the DNN power rankings. If San Diego joined the East, West, or North Central regions, they would definitely make a regional tournament, and if they joined the South Central, they could be in contention for a Nationals berth.
San Diego has a lot of talent, experience and the ability to adapt to multiple styles of play. SDDD is now the home to Trish the Dish and Ivanna S. Pankin, who have been involved with roller derby longer then CRG has been in existence. These two women have possibly seen more live bouts then anyone else in America and played in a countless number of games. This gives the Dolls a very distinct experience advantage in their training program. Combine this with the fact that this will be Cincinnati’s first game of the season with a number of personnel changes, and SDDD has a chance to score the upset. CRG is going to have to rely on its veterans to get the W here and allow the new blood on the team to get their feet wet.