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Roller Derby Saturday: New Season, New Players, a Dramatic Ending

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Story: Sheri Zampelli

Saturday night's Los Angeles Derby Dolls bout was an unfolding series of unique derby experiences. Yes, there was the normal spectacle: Krissy Krash and Tara Armov taking skaters to the rail, jammers slipping through the pack and plenty of falls in the infield.

The announcers set a light-hearted, tongue-in-cheek tone and the DJ pumped out a high-energy soundtrack. However, this weekend's conclusion was so unusual that first-time attendees probably thought it was scripted for dramatic impact. Even a few seasoned fans and skaters were left scratching their heads, trying to piece the puzzle together.

In the second-to-the-last jam, the Fight Crew had three players in the penalty box. That left two Fight Crew blockers to defend the track against a pack of Tough Cookies. Laguna Beyatch scored nine points on that jam, most of them ghost points (points she would have recieved if the players who were in the penalty box had been on the track).

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The regulation game ended in a tie, so the teams moved to sudden-death overtime. Because of the Tough Cookies penalties, Fight Crew's Judy Gloom was the only jammer with the ability to score. All that the Tough Cookie blockers could do was fiercely defend against Gloom's entry to the pack, which they did perfectly, so it was time for another sudden-death jam. This time, Fight Crew were the ones penalized, and Tough Cookies sent Laguna Beyatch to score four points for the 64-68 victory.

Beyatch, who credited her teammate's tenacity for the win said, "My blockers did such a good job those last two jams -- first by shutting out Tawdry to give us another chance to score -- and then secondly, by holding the pack together and slowing it down. When I got out in that last jam, I saw them slam on the brakes. I knew we were going to win at that point."

The new season brought several line-up changes for both teams. Former Fight Crew jammers Crystal Deth, Fighty Almighty and Jihad are no longer on the team. Former Siren, Haught Wheels, is the new Fight Crew co-captain, and Janis Choplin is their new captain. The Tough Cookies recently lost Axles of Evil to retirement and one of their highest-scoring jammers, Laura Palm-Her, moved to Oregon. Three new members of the Tough Cookies skated this bout: Stiv Skator, Stefcon1 and Skatum O'Neal.

On February 28th, the Varsity Brawlers will roll against the San Diego Derby Dolls at the Doll Factory.