The Resurrection Roller Girls struggled but ultimately lost, 195-127, to the Peninsula Roller Girls last Sat., May 18 in a match held at Cal Skate in Rohnert Park.
Still, despite the almost 70-point difference between the two teams, it’s quite an improvement for Resurrection. The last time they faced off against the Peninsula Roller Girls a year ago they lost 244-70. Of course, a lot can change in a year, and for Resurrection 2019 was one of growth. They pulled in a large number of new recruits from their annual boot camp and worked to bring them up to speed.
Now, finally, it seems all of that effort seems to be paying off.
“It went very well, all considering. We played this team last season and they won by a lot more last time,” Resurrection’s coach, Kayley Mounts, said. “I usually play, and I’m the coach, so it’s really difficult to see what we need to work on. It’s good to have games like this where I don’t play and get to observe. There’s definitely a lot we need to work on.”
Resurrection dominated for the first ten minutes of the hour-long match. They took the early lead with a careful strategy that built their score with small, incremental plays that, when paired with their team’s overwhelming size and strength advantage, earned themselves a rather fair 20-point lead at one point. Yet it was a strategy dependent upon careful coordination and the lead position, vulnerable to the more swingy, big plays a faster jammer could bring to bear.
Which is exactly what happened when one of the Resurrection jammers, Zen Ross, landed herself in the penalty box, giving Alex Gilmore free reign.
Gilmore is a small and spritely skater, eager to slip through any gaps in a defensive line. She took full advantage of her power jam to destroy Resurrection’s carefully constructed lead, scoring twenty points in a single jam. Even when Ross left the penalty box, Resurrection lacked a true answer to Gilmore and they closed out the first half 30 points behind.
“Our jammers are really quick. They’re not pushers. Their jammers are real pushers and we’re not used to that. They hit hard,” Gilmore said. “I’m not going to go up against someone who’s twice my size. With enough speed I can avoid that hit. We just tried real hard not to get hit.”
The match shifted slightly in the second half.
Resurrection came back with fire in their belly. They tried to bring their size advantage and trademark aggression to bear against Peninsula, which largely neutralized Gilmore as a jammer. She eventually switched to pivot.
The new, aggressive strategy yielded some results when Zen Ross seized a power jam of her own. She side stepped around the outside of the course, dodging the Peninsula blockers that moved to shove her out. Then she took off, racking up point after point. Peninsula could only watch as their lead slowly shrank.
Yet it was far too little too late. For every burst of points Resurrection’s aggression earned, it also yielded a penalty. The player down allowed Peninsula to build up their lead anew and the whole process repeated.
“It was definitely a win because the points weren’t far away and our team did really well. Nobody got hurt,” Ross said. “[It’s thanks to] a little more practice, experience, new coaching. More than anything though? Attitude. We went into it just looking to have fun.”
Despite the loss, Resurrection left the rink in good cheer. They elected Zen Ross as the team’s overall most valuable player for the game and took her for an after party held at a bar in Cotati, bringing along some of their opponents.
Their match will be at home at Cal Skate against the Monterey Bay Derby Dolls June 22. Tickets are available on the team’s home page at: https://rrderby.org/