CLEVELAND >> Tatiana Starets, who skates as Roasted Pony, made her first playoff appearance as a jammer with the Santa Cruz Derby Girls and scored 63 points as the top-seeded Boardwalk Bombshells rolled in the opener at the 2015 International Women’s Flat Track Derby Association Division II Playoffs, trouncing the No. 9 Oklahoma Victory Dolls 256-90 on Friday at the Cleveland Public Auditorium.
Santa Cruz will face No. 5 Demolition City of Evansville, Ind., in Saturday’s semifinals at 11 a.m. The match will air on wftda.tv and be shown at the Seabright Brewery.
“This is a dream come true for me,” Starets said. “I played happy and played with a full heart for myself, my team, my family, my league, and our fans, which was one of my major goals. I’ve worked hard for quite a few years to get here, and realizing the dream is pretty awesome.”
The semifinal winners earn a berth to the D-II Championships on Nov. 6-8 in St. Paul, Minn.
No. 6 Houston Roller Derby and No. 2 Kansas City Roller Warriors will square off in the other semifinal.
Santa Cruz expects a tough match from Demolition City, a 241-65 winner over No. 4 Treasure Valley Roller Derby of Boise, Idaho.
“We expect to continue playing the way we played today,” said Santa Cruz’s Andrea Lilly, who skates as Hell Louise, “focusing on our teamwork, regrouping, and keeping our walls solid. Demolition looks to have some strong blockers and we will need to keep them under control.”
Both the Boardwalk Bombshells and Victory Dolls competed in D-I tournaments last season before slipping back into D-II.
Santa Cruz’s Claire McCoy, aka Ace Wenchura, was unable to compete due to a recent surgery.
“This has been the best season with the best coach and team — so much love and support all around. That win was for Ace,” Starets said.
The Victory Dolls earned the match with the Boardwalk Bombshells by beating the No. 8 Jet City Rollergirls 222-190 earlier Friday.
Overall, the game was in the Bombshells’ control. With the exception of a couple of power jams, Santa Cruz dictated the speed and style of play.
Santa Cruz’s offense came from a number of sources. Taraism, who prefers to only go by her skater name, added 53 points without a penalty in the first half. Cheri Bell, aka Queen Litigious, maintained a perfect lead percentage in the first 30 minutes. Regan Eymann, aka Shamrock N. Roller, consistently offered successful offense, using screens and hits to make way for the Boardwalk Bombshells jammers to pass through.
Defensively, Eymann — as the pivot for Santa Cruz — held down the top of the pack, using her shoulder to hit out the opposing jammers. Santa Cruz showed its flexibility, shifting between multiple defensive formations.
In contrast, the Victory Dolls stuck with a standard four wall for the majority of the game.
Santa Cruz blocker Tina Tyre, aka Beans, fouled out late in the game.
**Article by Kristen Garfield as printed in the Santa Cruz Sentinel**