(Photo Credit: Bob Dunnell)
(TEMPLE TERRACE, FL) For the second straight year, Arch Rival’s b-team traveling squad, the Saint Lunachix, finished with forward momentum in a post-season tournament by placing higher than their entry seed.
Arriving at the ten-team “Hostile TACOver” as the eighth seed, the Lunachix finished the weekend 2-2 and claimed a seventh place victory over Tampa Roller Derby Bruise Crew, 241-202, Sunday afternoon.
The end result replicated St. Louis’ tourney start and finish one year prior. ARCH’s split at the bracketed event, held at The Wrecking Hall and hosted by Tampa Roller Derby, culminated in the team’s 6-4 finish in 2017.
Key to the strong finish was consistent jamming from the trio of veterans Psychokid D’ Freakout, Flash and Hakuna Renata (a late-minute sub for injured starter Aggie Wartooth) and a stubborn blocking schema paced by Jenforcer, Cruella Belleville, Hero Shima, Sue Bob Fight, Carmina Piranha, Birdsong, She’Kill O’Neal, Pegasass, Pixie Dust-Ruction, Rock Slobster and Nox.
In short, it was a team effort across the board as the season finished on a high note the leads to optimism.
At their quarterfinal qualifying game that launched Friday morning action, the Lunachix engaged in a scrap with ninth-seeded Minnesota Nice. The two teams traded lead changes numerous times in the second period. Tied 165-165 with 2:35 left in the game, the Chix capitalized on a power jam and posted a 17-4 rotation, resulting in their 182-169 with :23 left in the game.
After an official review, Minnesota gained lead and scored 10 points as the period clock expired. However, play was stopped by the officials due to skater injury prior to the completion of the jam. As Minnesota shored the score to 182-179 with goose eggs showing on the play clock, an extra jam was held due to officials’ discretion.
Clinging onto a three-point lead on the game’s final rotation, ARCH’s Flash raced to the front of the pack to claim lead and quickly called off the jam, clinching the 182-179 quarterfinal triumph over the Nice.
As heart-stopping as that victory was in the morning, the Lunachix ensuing game against top-seeded Rose City Axles of Annihilation turned out to be a heartbreaker later in the day. The defending B-team champion mightily steamrolled ahead and stretched open a bi-centennial lead at intermission, 232-32.
The second half did not fare better for St. Louis as the AoA powered their way to a 401-77 win that sent the Lunachix to the consolation bracket. Rose City inevitably went on to claim the “Hostile TACOver” trophy on Sunday.
In Saturday consolation play, the Lunachix squared up against Atlanta Rumble B’s, a team that they had defeated a few months prior, in a game that would send the victor to the weekend’s fifth place game. Controlling play early, ARCH netted a double-digit lead within the first couple of rotations but then Atlanta went on rally and flipped the scoreboard to their favor, 44-36, midway through the period.
The Rumble B’s continued to apply pressure and widened the score to 93-56 at intermission. The Lunachix challenged Atlanta during the second and, at one point, narrowed the differential to single-digits. Unfortunately for ARCH, the fifth-seed surged heavily down the stretch and posted the 144-113 duke.
Now finding themselves in the weekend’s seventh place game, the Lunachix met Tampa Roller Derby Bruise Crew, who as the weekend’s third seed, wanted to end their season with a win as well.
St. Louis started strong and posted a 39-17 advantage eight minutes in following Flash’s nine-pointer. Then with the aforementioned blocking at the forefront, ARCH went on a 40-1 run over the next five rotations. Launched with power jams of 16 and 15 points respectively from D’Freakout and Flash and concluded by another nine-pointer from Flash, the Lunachix stretched their lead to 79-22 with 15:00 left in the period.
The methodical work continued as the period progressed and concluded. Confidence was sky high as Chix posted a 142-70 lead at intermission.
In the second period, the Bruise Crew slashed into the deficit quickly and posted a 39-4 run that sliced the Lunachix lead to 146-109 seven minutes deep. ARCH countered the rally with five consecutive lead jams gained that resulted in a comparable 40-4 run. The Lunachix punctuated the stretch with Renata’s 11-point power jam with 17:30 remaining that made the score 186-113.
Tampa chipped away at the deficit but ARCH continued to post points to stave off a scoreboard flip. The Lunachix broke the bi-centennial level with Flash’s seven scored with 7:16 left that made the score 206-168.
Down the stretch, scoring was cumulatively even. As a result, the Lunachix maintained a plus-30 differential. When the final whistle blew, ARCH claimed a 241-202 victory that resulted in the seventh place finish at “Hostile TACOver.”
Renata paced Lunachix scoring with 84 points, followed by 81 from D’Freakout and 76 from Flash.
This season was arguably the most-competitive in the Saint Lunachix nine-year history. They twice battled the inevitable b-team national champion, faced the developmental squad of the WFTDA’s top ranked league (Victorian), notched a road win over a WFTDA Division 1 team (Nashville) and tangled with other highly-respected leagues. A 6-4 finish overall and a seventh place status in the nation should be considered a success, no questions asked.
With expected return of numerous faces next year combined with promising call-ups that await in the wings, the future of the Saint Lunachix is on solid ground and ARCH nation looks forward to what 2018 brings.
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