SANTA CRUZ >> The Santa Cruz Derby Girls ended their 2015 season Saturday at the Civic Auditorium with a thrilling home-team grudge match between the Redwood Rebels and Organic Panic.
And it was the Panic who defeated the Rebels, 172-137.
The last time the two teams played was in March, and the Rebels prevailed 135-134 in a bout that featured four lead changes — two in each half — and a nail-biting final jam.
Saturday, the teams hit the track and immediately set a fast pace. Lead-jammer advantage went back and forth, keeping the score close and the fans cheering.
As the half progressed, the Panic proved stronger, leading at halftime 90-63.
The Rebels showed renewed confidence in the second half and charged to within 12 points of the lead. However, with some timely power jams for the Panic they surged ahead and held their lead for the final score.
Saturday was an opportunity to not only watch veteran all-stars play, but also see some recently drafted home-team skaters for a preview of what’s to come in the 2016 season.
Newly drafted skaters for the Panic include Swoop Dogg (Jennipher Wood), who came out of retirement after three years; and Mystery Violence Theater (Samm Dove), a transfer from New York’s Gotham Roller Girls.
The Rebels welcomed Madi Masochist (Madison Murphy), a graduate of the league’s junior derby program; and Sny-anide (Jessica Snyder), a rookie skater.
The bout caps the first year of home-team play for the Santa Cruz Derby Girls. Home teams showcase the league’s all-stars alongside up-and-coming skaters in mixed teams of equal skill level, as well as provide an opportunity for derby fans to watch all their favorite skaters in action.
Next season will kick off in February at the Civic Auditorium with home teams vying for the 2016 championship.
**Article by Eileen Hill as printed in the Santa Cruz Sentinel**
**Photo Credit: Lauren Macadaeg - Purple Turtle Photography ©2015**