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20SkateTeen BOUT 1 recap: San Francisco ShEvil Dead v. Berkeley Resistance

BAD’s opening home bout of the #20SkateTeen season pitted the Berkeley Resistance against the San Francisco ShEvil Dead in a hard-hitting test of endurance and stability, resulting in victory for the zombies, 172-99.

BAD’s teams took the track at San Francisco’s historic Palace of the Fine Arts under the gaze of two ominous angel statues and a triumphant crowd of about 700 fans.  The starting jammers–Eva Menace for the Resistance and Danymite for the ShEvil Dead–crashed into the pack of skaters, with Dani taking a quick lead and forcing Eva to pass the star to her pivot, Raven Evergore, while Dani continued on to score five points and call off the jam.

The first half of play saw the teams trading low-scoring passes and calling off the jam.  It seemed as though both teams were working more towards stability on the slick track than on elaborate strategy. Both teams used up their official reviews in the first half of play, requesting the officials to call cut track penalties on the opposing team’s jammers.  The officials stood by their decision in both cases, and both teams lost their official reviews.

At halftime, ShEvil led the Resistance with a score of 89-45.

The Resistance came back swinging, however, taking on a two-wall of ShEvil blockers and scoring a quick five points.  The next jam, too, saw Berkeley’s Smother Mary break through a full contingent of zombie blockers, leading to yet another star pass from ShEvil’s Sterling Archer to pivot Stefanie Mainey.  

Berkeley’s momentum was not to last, even as the Resistance and ShEvil both solidified their defensive strategies in the second half of the game.  With just over ten minutes left on the clock, Berkeley completed a star pass right off the line to Raven Evergore. But ShEvil’s jammer, Tifa Knoxhard, followed closely behind out of the pack and into her scoring pass.  After two passes the ShEvil blockers were able to clear the penalty box and, with Stefanie Mainey bracing a wall of three, shut down Raven Evergore and allow Tifa Knoxhard the time to break through the Resistance tripod, all while running down the game clock.

From then on, the half saw multiple scoreless jams, including one with only 8 minutes left on the clock, where the tripod walls for both teams held the jammers for a full two minutes–a testament to both teams’ strength and communication.

At the end of the night, the ShEvil Dead emerged victorious, with a score of 172-99.  The Resistance have another chance to prove themselves in their upcoming fight for the East Bay against the Oakland Outlaws on April 7th, again at the Palace of the Fine Arts.  Which team will own the Bay?

Photography by Will Toft.

FINAL SCORE

San Francisco ShEvil Dead: 172
Berkeley Resistance: 99

Featured image by Mark Nockleby.

2016 Season Preview: Berkeley Resistance

As the season readies to open, so does Berkeley’s defense of their 2015 league title. With all of the other teams eager to ensure that Berkeley’s reign is a short one, the Resistance will have to rely on the work ethic, team cohesion, and grit that helped make them champions last October, while developing skaters to fill voids left from the departure of skaters from last year’s team.

2015 Home Record: 3-1, 1st Place

All-time League Record: 8-11

Losses: #45 Dolly Rocket, #76 Jet-I Force, #11 La Chica Mala, #50 Taxi Scab, #19 Steely Jan, #1950 Stoodie Baker, #91 Vile E. Coyote, #22 Knitorious

Additions: #1217 Chasing Amy, #701 Illuminaughty

Photo credit: IGP Photo
Photo credit: IGP Photo

Berkeley’s jamming rotation was arguably the best in the league last year, and at its core this year are savvy All-Star skaters, Brawllen Angel and Frightmare, who never shy away from having the star on their head (and more often than not they get results). When you add the potential that Shenghis Kahn and Chasing Amy bring, replacing the recently retired Steely Jan, it seems Berkeley won’t have any problem scoring points.

However, jammers don’t win games without help. With Frightmare joining Dirty Lil Trick (also known as Sasha Fierce or even Broseph) as Berkeley coach for the first year, we are excited to see how the Resistance’s new leadership addresses the team overall. Frightmare shed a little light on their approach this season saying, “We’re constantly working on shaping the team as a whole instead of relying on a few key players.” Both coaches realize they will be able to depend on returning stalwarts like Gretchen Vomette, who is a strong blocker who skates with the Bay Area All-Stars, comfortable and capable as a pivot, and doesn’t shy away from the jamming rotation when relief is necessary, and Jambee, the embodiment of the Resistance’s team mentality, a tenacious and determined blocking force on the track while still being all about the love and rarely without a smile on her face.

The team is betting the keys to repeating their championship are depth and developing the talent of the team as a whole. According to Dirty, “(hopes are) that April Bloodgate, Pomba, and Foxy Throwdown are able to step into bigger roles this season,” filling the void left by retiring skaters. Frightmare shares similar sentiments, “We’re taking it [this season] as an opportunity to build up the rest of the team. More than ever, we’re going to focus on team cohesion and complementing each other on the track, working together, and encouraging everyone to step it up.” Joss Hole, KillA Beezy, Mad M. Barbrawl, and Illuminaughty fill out this season’s ranks.

“More than ever, we’re going to focus on team cohesion and complementing each other on the track, working together, and encouraging everyone to step it up.”

When it comes to tough competition, Frightmare believes, “we have so much exciting competition within our league that you never really know which home team will take it all!”  But we got down to it and discovered Dirty’s main fear for 2016. Oakland Outlaws. The 2015 second-place Oakland Outlaws will be keen on taking the crown. But before the Resistance-Outlaws rematch, Berkeley faces the Richmond Wrecking Belles at our home-team season opener on March 26th at the Craneway Pavilion. Berkeley is on top right now, but there’s always farther to go, as a recent loss to the 2015 WFTDA D2 Champions, the Sacred City Sacrificers, starkly illustrates. If Berkeley is to stay the BADdest at BAD, it will be because of their commitment to maintaining positive attitudes and enjoying each other on and off the track.


 #23 April Bloodgate || #888 Brawllen Angel || #1217 Chasing Amy || #405 Dirty Lil Trick || #10 Foxy Throwdown || #31 Frightmare || #86 Gretchen Vomette || #701 Illuminaughty || #43 Jambee || #4 Joss Hole || #137 KillA Beezy || #30 Mad M. Barbrawl || #242 Pomba || #434 Shenghis Khan

The 2015 Season Preview: The Berkeley Resistance

You’ve met this year’s ShEvil Dead.  Now let’s meet their opponent in our Season Opener Double Header at The Craneway Pavilion. Rex Blocker spoke with coach-and-captain pair #45 Dolly Rocket and #86U Gretchen Vomette about where the team is headed, and if you’re a fan of the women in pink, you should be excited about the future of The Berkeley Resistance.

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Any sports fan will tell you that it takes a while for expansion teams to find their stride in a league. While some teams, like the Arizona Diamondbacks (who won the World Series in only their fourth season), find success quickly, others, like the NHL’s St. Louis Blues, who’ve been in existence since 1967, still have no titles.

So it goes for the Berkeley Resistance. Established in 2011, the Resistance have won the fewest league games of all the teams. In fact, last season was their first winning campaign ever. Long-time observers of the B.ay A.rea D.erby Girls will note the change in this team: the increased focus, the dedication, the desire.

Berkeley Resistance

2014 Record: 3-1, third place

All-time League Record: 5-9

Key Losses: #14 Roofio, #6 Kristi Yamagotcha

Key Additions: #10 Foxy Throwdown, #31 Frightmare

2014 was a turn-around year for the Berkeley Resistance. After going 0-3 in league play in 2013, the revolutionaries in pink came out strong, beating San Francisco in the season opener, then losing a close non-league game against the V-Town Derby Dames (Visalia). After a setback against Oakland in the season’s second doubleheader, Berkeley went undefeated the rest of the way, including handing eventual champion Richmond their only league loss in an eight-point nail-biter. Unfortunately, however, Berkeley had to settle for third in the league, with a 3-1 record overall.

“It was a solid year of growth for the Resistance.  We really learned who we are as a team and our strengths to lean on in tough games.” Dolly Rocket

The team returns largely intact for 2015. They lost a regular part of the jammer rotation in #14 Roofio, and an All-Star blocker and pivot in #6 Kristi Yamagotcha, both of whom retired, but Berkeley also took advantage of the wealth of transfer talent into the Bay Area, adding #10 Foxy Throwdown from Rat City Rollergirls (whom Dolly calls “a formidable blocker”) and “a twinkle toes jammer transfer from DC,” #31 Frightmare.  They also know they’re improving from within, seeing “really rapid growth and solid commitment from #91 Vile E. Coyote, #434 Shenghis Khan, and #22 Knitorious.” She adds, “We are working very hard to be a deep bench this year.”

In their effort to get over the hump and make it to the title game, Berkeley will emphasize molding the entire team to be well suited to any situation: “[We’re] hoping that any of our skaters can be thrown in a sticky situation and gel.” To that end, Dolly won’t single out any one set of players as the pack she’d turn to when Berkeley needs a stop, or to which jammer she’ll turn when the Resistance needs points. “We focus on training the whole athlete,” she says.

“We are hoping to be a well-rounded and versatile team that is able to put constant pressure on opponents.” Dolly Rocket

And they do have some legit athletes on this team. You can always count on a Berkeley skater to be doing a handstand, turning a cartwheel – in skates – or showing off some fancy skating moves in warmups. Over the off-season, Dolly says, “a lot of our skaters have also been bouncing around at House of Air and at the Berkeley skate park!”

So on whom have they set their sights? Who do they have to beat to know they’re on their way? Dolly is circumspect when it comes to anticipating match-ups, preferring to take a one-game-at-a-time approach, but does allow a small glimpse into her thinking: “Oakland is the only team we haven’t been able to eke a win out with since my tenure with the team, I think that would also be a big confidence booster to Berkeley.”

But it won’t be just about beating Oakland, or Richmond, or their first opponent, San Francisco. She also points out that Berkeley’s position as the newest team in the league gives them something to prove whenever they take the track. “We finally feel like last year we began to click and gel as a unit in and of itself due to the effort and commitment everyone put into the team,” she says. “Success for us this year is continuing that growth, and continuing to focus on making the Berkeley Resistance a formidable presence.”

The 2015 Season Starts NOW!!

In exactly one week, all four home teams for the B.ay A.rea D.erby Girls will take the track at The Craneway Pavilion for the first double header of the 2015 season. In what can only be described as a much-anticipated rematch of the 2014 Championship, The San Francisco ShEvil Dead will once again face The Berkeley Resistance in game one, and The Oakland Outlaws will battle The Richmond Wrecking Belles in game two.

B.A.D.’s very own Rex Blocker sat down with the team coaches, and over the next week, we’ll be introducing you to the teams, featuring interviews and key roster changes, and sharing the drive, heart and passion of your favorite B.A.D. skaters.  First up, The ShEvil Dead.

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After finishing nearly every season in the league Championship game, The San Francisco ShEvil Dead started the 2014 season with two huge holes in the jammer rotation and the loss of a formidable blocker from the pack due to a number of skaters withdrawing from home team play to focus their efforts on the All-Star team. Rebuilding was the name of the game. While San Francisco went winless in league play for the first time since 2009, they did find ways to fill those holes, and eked out wins against some non-league opposition, including taking two out of three in the Shore Shots Round Robin tournament in Los Angeles.

And now 2015 dawns, with still more losses among the zombie ranks. I talked to coach Miss Moxxxie about all the feelings from 2014, and what the Dead will be doing to return to form.


San Francisco ShEvil Dead

2014 Record: 0-4, fourth place

All-time League Record: 7-18

Key losses: #318 Mae K. Haste, #360 Trixie Pixie, #52 Kid Ace, #616 Silver Foxxy, #713 Sherlock Home Slice

Key additions: #55 Bobby Dazzler


Longtime fans of the Bay Area Derby Girls know the San Francisco ShEvil Dead as the league’s most venerable, consistent team. Several All-Stars have skated in green; the team has won and lost, but has always been in it at the end. They’ve shown poise and a bit of brute force, and have always had a loud and loyal fan base.

So last year had to be a bit trying, as so many freshly Dead skaters figured out on the fly how to work together to own the track. There was a lot of exuberance, though, and smiles on the skaters’ faces, and as coach Moxxxie says, there were “feelings. Lots of them.” The Dead may have had trouble getting past Richmond, Oakland, and Berkeley, but that didn’t seem to dampen their spirits. They’re Dead, not down.

2015 brings another round of roster losses, however, as five zombies from last season have retired, including All-Stars #52 Kid Ace (who’ll stay on as a non-skating coach) and #713 Sherlock Home Slice. Also gone are jammers #318 Mae K. Haste (who will still serve the league as a non-skating official) and long-time veteran #360 Trixie Pixie, and blocker #616 Silver Foxxy. They’ve regained the services, however, of jammer/blocker hybrid #55 Bobby Dazzler, back from Australia.

“We are starting the season with only two skaters with all-star experience on our roster.  This means we will be working hard to get the rest of the team up to speed, and quickly!”  Coach Moxxxie

But Moxxxie is confident. “Some of the newer Dead are looking pretty great,” she says. The jammer rotation is expected to depend on some of the more experienced skaters, including #89 Mean Burrito and #212 Xpress Lane Jane. For the packs, “we turn to our veteran skaters to lead this charge. #47 Kimfectious, #0 Slaybia Majora, and #140 Nurse Lithium are our pivots, the vocal backbone of the team.” Kimfectious and Lithium will also be sharing the on-track Captain duties this season.

Still in a rebuilding mode, Moxxxie isn’t looking towards any one bout, or for any specific result for the 2015 season. Asked which bout she was looking forward to, she was diplomatic. “Every bout when our team exhibits focus, precision, intensity, communication and calm.” She added, “We plan to play our game.”

That game will rely, as always with ShEvil, on small, wily jammers, mixed in with a little power every now and again. As for defense, it looks like San Francisco won’t be aiming for the blockbuster hit to exert control over the pack. In a discussion about the team’s heaviest hitter, Moxxxie wasn’t about to single anyone out: “We have a handful, but are working more on our controlled, positional game.”

But as Yogi Berra allegedly said, “Ninety percent of this game is half mental,” and ShEvil are working on that aspect, too.

“ShEvil’s team goal for this season is to work on our mental toughness.” 

It’s not all work with this team, however, not when they have a tradition to uphold of the most blood-spattered, outlandish team photo session in all of roller derby. Moxxxie described it as “a sticky, hilarious, fake-blood-filled blast,” and one that went a long way towards team building.

Any time a team is coming off a winless season, it is an uphill battle, but several experienced skaters from other leagues joined B.A.D. this off-season, forming a deep pool of draftable skaters from which Moxxxie can select. “We’re very excited about a number of transfers,” she says. “Lots of great prospects!”

Early returns do show an improvement in the ShEvil Dead, despite a 29-point scrimmage loss to Shasta early on. Other teams are watching how ShEvil will grow and change this season, and feel confident the team will come back as strong as ever, with their howling fans behind them. And what will Moxxxie point to as a sign the team is back among B.A.D.’s elite? “If our team can collectively improve upon and exhibit that mental toughness,” she says, “this will be a great season.”