RECAP: 2014 Season Opener – February 22

Hell Marys vs Hustlers

Hustlers Malice JammingDemonstrating a brutal sense of cohesion and defense, the Hustlers dominated the first half of their game. Primarily fielding veteran skater Sprawkett and newcomer Malice as jammers, the Hustlers found themselves in a commanding lead. At halftime, they were over the century mark, strongly leading against the Hells.

The Hell Marys, however, were not taking this or last season’s loss in the final game sitting down.

Returning after halftime, the Hell Marys found themselves re-energized, forcing and taking strong advantage of power jam after power jam. The Hustlers had trouble keeping their jammers out of the box, and despite impressive blocking efforts, were unable to hold the Hells back. Sprawkett noted after the bout that she thought, “Both teams really put forth their full effort. They both played really good on the line, however, I think that the Hell Marys were a little bit better at pushing our players out to the edges, and that was really incredible and it was really hard for our Hustler jammers to push to the middle and it just made for a really close game. It was incredible.”

Hells BabyFace Jamming

The Hell Marys took over in the second half, finishing off the game with a 101-point lead. Notorious D.I.E summed up the bout this way: “I’m just really enthusiastic about the win tonight. I thought that our defense was on point. It is at a better level than it was last season. We’ve got so much chemistry and it feels really good and I’m really excited about the season we’re going to have, and I couldn’t be any prouder of this team, my second family, than I am tonight.”

The Hell Marys’ BabyFace Assassin added, “I feel that the bout went as planned. We practiced really hard and we played really hard and we played as a family, and I think that the scored showed that.”

The final score was 267–166.

New skaters contributed to the success of each of the home teams in this season opener. New Hell Mary and former Detroit Derby Girl The Mad Hatcher reflected on her first bout with the Texas Rollergirls by pointing out that the experience was awesome. “The team is so welcoming. We are family off the track and we are family on the track. I am just really, really happy with how the bout went tonight. [The Hustlers] are an extremely formidable opponent. Because I am a blocker, I am always focused on the jammer, so I told Sprawkett that she was such a pain in our butts tonight. There’s so many of them — Sal, all the jammers were doing a great job. The team as a whole was really challenging. We had to regroup, refocus and keep our cool and stay calm against them.”

Hotrods vs. Heartbreakers

Hotrods & Heartbreakers JammersThe Hotrod Honeys were ready to fight after losing the championship to the Honky Tonk Heartbreakers last season, and they played for keeps as early as the eighth jam. Jams full of hard hits and big point gains were what the Hotrods brought to the table. The Heartbreakers, however, did not give them an easy time of it. Jam after jam, both teams knocked each other around the track.

When all was said and done, this game was a brutal barnburner that still felt exciting to the last whistle, despite the almost 300 point spread. Rarely in a game with such a spread do you feel both teams fighting tooth and nail. “I was so happy to see both teams fighting the whole night and really going at it and being strong,” said Hell Mary skater The Mad Hatcher. That is exactly what happened here.

No matter who fans came to see, they seemed to leave impressed. Best Seat in the House winners Ian Cheever, Abigail Smith and Tom Moore came to see Deep Dish Nitza of the Honky Tonk Heartbreakers. “She is a co-worker. She is a rookie, so this is her first bout and she did really well.” Abigail was also impressed with other skaters as well, saying, “Olympia was a bad ass and Bloody Mary was killing it — lots of muscle on her.”

Heartbreakers vs Bloody MaryOn what they were hoping to see in the future: “We really hope the Honky Tonk Heartbreakers can come back strong in their next bout,” said Abigail. “There were just so many penalties tonight, it seemed like as soon as they came on the track, they were sent right back off but they tried really hard. I’m sure that is really hard when you’re on the track.”

Another fan, Crystal Rivera (who also is a former Texas Rollergirls Rec N’ Rollerderby skater known as Blitz), was anxious to see this second bout. “I really wanted to see the matchup of the Heartbreakers versus the Hotrods again. I wanted to see how they were going to respond after a complete off season and being ready to go after each other again,” she said. “I really don’t have a favorite team. I just really want to come and see some world-class roller derby. This is the second-highest ranked league in the world. I mean, anybody that wants to be on skates or appreciates the game is going to come here and get a good time.”

A good time was definitely had by all. The final score was 378 – 131, but despite the large gap in score, everyone seemed energized by what and who they saw. Everyone is excited for the season to come.

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