The Santa Cruz Derby Girls B team, the Harbor Hellcats, returned for the first time since 2014 on Saturday night at the Civic Auditorium, where they notched a victory over the visiting team, The Root Force from Humboldt Roller Derby, 285-152
Santa Cruz came out on fire after the first whistle as captain Elsa “E-wrecks” Miller scored 23 unanswered points in the first two minutes of the game with Humboldt’s jammer sitting in the box for a track cut. Humboldt’s Root Force was held scoreless for the first three jams of the game while the Hellcats went on an offensive tear. After the first 15 minutes of the game the score was 73-7 in favor of Santa Cruz thanks to a combination of extremely effective offensive blocking from Hellcats skaters Kylie “High Roller” Condon and Lenore “Jurassic Snark” Bailey, as well as double digit scoring jams from each of the Hellcats’ jammers.
Though Humboldt suffered initially from penalties, they fought back at the halfway point of the first period with their first big jam of the night when Humboldt scored a 13-0 power jam over the Hellcats. In the last minutes of the first half, Humboldt took advantage of Santa Cruz’s mounting penalties with back-to-back power jams and more than doubled their points. The first period ended with the Hellcats nearly matching Humboldt’s penalty count but holding a commanding, yet not insurmountable, lead of 158-73.
Humboldt came back from halftime with a clear defensive plan to limit the Hellcats scoring. They were able to keep the Hellcats to just eight points in the first ten minutes of the half while scoring 19 of their own. But after Santa Cruz pivot Daisy “Flower Power” Baxter took a star pass and scored eight lightning quick points, the Hellcats regained control of the game momentum. In the next shift, Santa Cruz scored 27-0, the highest scoring jam of the night, and increased Santa Cruz’s lead 201-92.
Humboldt wasn’t going out without a fight, putting up two double-digit jams in the waning minutes of the game. However, Humboldt’s rally came too late and the Santa Cruz Harbor Hellcats capped the night with a 285-152 win.
Miller, the Hellcats’ captain, was the highest scoring jammer for both teams with 107 points. She said she could feel the positive energy both on and off the track. “My first game with SCDG was exhilarating,” Miller said. “The Civic is a fantastic venue, between the lights and the crowd this team brings in, every game feels like a big game. It was a huge rush and a lot of fun to play to the crowd when we had done something on the track worth celebrating.”
Santa Cruz relied on dedicated and focused offense to maximize scoring. “We were able to run very efficient offense, sweeps on the outside proved most effective and I have my blockers to thank for assisting,” Miller said.
The next home bout will be at the Civic Auditorium on May 12th, with the Boardwalk Bombshells taking on Bay Area Derby’s Berkeley Resistance. The game will be a double header with Santa Cruz’s junior team, the Saltwater Sassies, playing the West Coast Derby Knockouts from Ventura.
**Article by Eileen Hill as printed in the Santa Cruz Sentinel**
**Photo Credit: Adam Freidin ©2018**