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.
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.
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.”