First Playland, Now the World

Texecutioners finish out 2010 home season

It was the win the Texas Rollergirls needed: A 209-35 defeat of home-state rivals the Dallas Derby Devils. Now the Austin flat-track Roller Derby league can start eying the national tournament scene with a fresh vigor.

Sunday's home season finale closed the circle on the year. Back in February, the Texecutioners took the 2010 Governor's Cup after handing down a 156-24 title defeat to Dallas' all-stars, the Hellraisers. That final whistle scoreline didn't truly reflect a much tighter game on the track, but this time the Texies left no doubt that this was their house.

It was all about control, and veteran Texies' blocker Belle Starr dancing on the line to burn down the penalty clock may have been the defining image of the bout. Dallas couldn't even get lead jammer status until the ninth jam of the first period, and by then they were already trailing 48-3. Fielding a roster strong on rookies like Luce Bandit and Short Cut, this experimental lineup paid off.

The biggest shock of the night (well, definitely for Dallas) may also be Texas' biggest new acquisition. Sarah Hipel – formerly known as Killbox of the Detroit Derby Girls – made an impactful 53-point debut as a Texas jammer. Not that the big local names were exactly slacking: Olivia Shootin' John took advantage of two unopposed power jams to bag a brace of quadruple grand slams, while Molotov M. Pale was as good at shutting the door on Dallas' scoring opportunities as she was at taking advantage of openings for Texas.

This wasn't some push-over Dallas team: Anita Riot was a slugger on the jam line, while Rink Panther made a smooth transition from first-period blocker to second-period jammer. However, the Texies looked polished and more coherent than they have since last season. With Curvette reminding everyone why she's consistently the Hustlers' Whammy pick for the best blocker, and Short Cut proving that a small positional blocking can kick as much defensive derriere as a power hitter, Dallas was left with no doubt as to why Texas is No. 1 in the region.

The last few minutes of the second period saw a de facto mercy rule, with at least one jammer in the box in five out of the last seven jams. Yet with Texas closing in on the magic double century mark, it was less if they could hold that lead and more how far they wanted to push it.

It was a well-timed win for the Texies, who have spent much of the year rebuilding, restructuring, and testing out the rookies and red shirts. A tough and rare home loss in June to Baltimore's CCRG All-Stars came after back-to-back losses on the road to the Denver Roller Dolls and the Rocky Montain Rollergirls.

So now the preparation begins for Amber Waves of Pain, the Women's Flat Track Derby Assocation's South-Central Regionals in Lincoln, Neb., Oct. 9-10. The tentative schedule gives Texas a first-round bye, and then a matchup against the winner between hosts the No Coast Derby Girls and the Hard Knox Roller Girls from Knoxville, Tenn. From there, the target is Uproar on the Lakeshore, the national finals in Chicago, Ill., Nov. 5-7.

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Texecutioners, WFTDA, Women's Flat Track Derby Association, Molotov M. Pale, Anita Riot, Rink Panther, Sarah Hipel, Killbox, Curvette, Belle Starr, Dallas Derby Devils

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