Roller derby action blurs around the Walla Walla YMCA track Saturday night as the Walla Walla Sweets Roller Girls faced the Snake Pit Derby Dames.
WALLA WALLA — The Walla Walla Sweets Roller Girls showed the Snake Pit Derby Dames their improved defensive wall that has gained in endurance, skill and brute force since the team’s last home bout Saturday night at the Walla Walla YMCA.
Team captain Kate Moon said those factors, and strategy, were the keys to the Sweets’ 172-162 victory over the Derby Dames of Coeur d’Alene Saturday night.
“We focused more on defense and practiced on maintaining that strong wall,” Moon said. “Unfortunately, that left the jammers to bust through the wall on their own. But defense first.”
Good blocking also gives jammers more chance to take the lead, which key jammers Raquel “Roc-N-Decker” Stapleton and Katrina “Blonde Bandita” Morales dominated for most of the first half.
The halftime score left the Roller Girls with a 105-59 lead.
The second half saw more challenges for the home team, as the Snake Pit Derby Dames found ways to break up the defensive walls formed by key blockers Nikki “Nik Yo Face” Williams, Greer “Luz Cannon” Buchanan and Elaine “Hawaii TKO” Jomwe.
“They did a really good job of switching it up, and that messed us up a little bit. And they are heavy hitters,” Jomwe said.
Faced with new second-half strategies from the Derby Dames and several jammer penalties, the Sweets Roller Girls saw their lead drop to 164-151 with less than 10 minutes left in the bout.
In spite of a tougher second half from the Snake Pit jammers, Morales and Stapleton managed to score enough points to keep the lead to the end.
Breaks in the Roller Girls’ defense were also more frequent in the second half, but those breaks were matched with a quick rush regroup the wall of red.
“We tried really hard,” Buchanan said. “That is one of the things we have been working on is getting back together. But you are always going to split up. But you get back together.”
The Derby Dames were not without their moments, as the team closed the gap to a 10-point spread in the last few seconds of the game.
But, too little time on the clock for the Derby Dames and too tough a defensive wall kept the Roller Girls in the lead to the end.
“I think we were holding some pretty tight walls and we worked hard on hammer and nails,” Jomwe said, referring to a move where two blockers work together to team up on a jammer and knock her out of bounds — and sometimes to the ground.
The Roller Girls’ next bout is Sept. 15 against the Port Scandalous Roller Derby in Port Angeles, Wash.
The Roller Girls’ next home bout — and season finale — will be Oct. 6 against the Rolling Hills Derby Dames of Pullman and Moscow.