SANTA CRUZ, CA >> In a rematch of the 2015 Santa Cruz Derby Girls’ Home Team Championship, the Redwood Rebels eked past the Steamer Janes 159-157 at the Civic Auditorium on Saturday night.
The win supplies the Rebels with a perfect season.
“I am so proud of the Rebels this season,” said coach Shana Kerr, whose derby name is Ima Hotmess. “They have worked hard all season for this win and their team cohesiveness shows.”
The bout started with the Rebels slowly chipping away at the lead with great jamming by Rebels jammers Ace Wenchura (Claire McCoy), Madi Masochist (Madison Murphy) and Queen Litigious (Cheri Bell), as well as a solid Rebel defense. The Janes also showed their diversity and deep jammer bench by rotating through several different jammers.
The Rebels came out of the half with a 25-point lead and kept ahead until the final six minutes of the game. In the last minutes, Janes jammers Krista Corwin (Skirt Vonnegut) and Lexi Baldisserri (Absolutely Scabulous) closed the gap to within 15 points following three back-to-back monster jams.
In the final seconds of the game, Bell worked her way through a tough Janes defense to squeeze out two more points for a thrilling win.
Angela Percy, who skates under the name Pax A Punch, is a recent transfer from the Boston Derby Dames. She was a standout blocker for the Janes with effective backwards blocking and fierce hits.
“It was awesome and intense,” she said. “Every skater put their hearts into it and we played as a team.”
The night started off with a bout between the league’s junior derby skaters, the Santa Cruz Derby Groms, who are skaters ages 10-17. Junior skaters are coached by Santa Cruz Derby Girls to play full-contact roller derby under the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association rule set.
The groms’ bout featured good overcoming evil with the Super Heroes beating the Super Villians in the last jam, 203-201. The league’s junior derby program has excelled in the last year. The all-star junior team, the Gromshells, are currently ranked No. 3 in the Junior Roller Derby Association, which consists of more than 100 international junior teams.
Meri Ancic, who skates as Rebels co-captain Adrian’s Revenge and is the mother of a junior derby player, said: “Tonight was amazing. I love that Santa Cruz embraces roller derby and comes out to the Civic to support our junior derby skaters and adult skaters. And it doesn’t hurt either when your team has a perfect season and wins the championship!”
**Article by Eileen Hill as printed in the Santa Cruz Sentinel**
**Photo Credit: Purple Turtle Photography ©2016**