SANTA CRUZ, CA >> The Santa Cruz Derby Girls’ All-Stars, the Boardwalk Bombshells, lost to Bay Area Derby’s Team Gold 167-139 at the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium on Saturday night.
Last year, Santa Cruz put up a solid win versus Bay Area, 133-103, but since then have faced them in scrimmages with mixed results.
Both teams held up strong defensive walls with the score going back and forth for the first several jams. Midway through the first half, Bay Area ran up the score 51-24, keeping Santa Cruz scoreless for several jams. With the offensive help of CoraZone (Cora Olson), who delivered well timed blocks for her jammers, Santa Cruz closed the gap to go into halftime trailing 68-62.
Coming out of the half, Bay Area had a strong start to the second half and took advantage of Santa Cruz’s jammer penalties to drive up the score, 126-66. Santa Cruz’s defense fought back and held the Bay Area jammer scoreless, while Santa Cruz scored 29 points, keeping the Bombshells still in the game. In the last seven seconds of the game, with Bay Area in the lead, coach Valcohol (Valerie Andromacha-Atha) called a timeout for one last Hail Mary jam to no avail.
The Bombshells nevertheless moved up in the latest Women’s Flat Track Derby Association rankings, from No. 44 at the beginning of the season to No. 23 — the highest ranking Santa Cruz has ever garnered. The All-Stars will be competing in the Division I playoffs in Columbia, S.C., from Sept. 9-11. Their first game will be against No. 10 Denver Roller Derby, the same matchup in 2014 when Santa Cruz played in their first D-I playoff.
Bombshell co-captain Hell Louise (Andrea Lilly) is looking forward to the bout.
“We’re really excited to have another chance to play Denver,” she said. “Our team looks much different than in 2014 and we’ve been really working well together and fine-tuning our strategy. We’re honored and up for the challenge to take on one of the best teams in the WFTDA.”
• Halftime featured the derby girls honoring five league members who made history in bringing the team to the first WFTDA D-II championship game, followed by Santa Cruz’s first D-I playoff tournament. Skaters were recognized as “Santa Cruz Derby Girl Legends” and retired their numbers into Santa Cruz Derby Girls history.
**Article by Eileen Hill as printed in the Santa Cruz Sentinel**
**Photo Credit: Arne Dietrich ©2016**