The Castlegar Dam City Rollers took on the Spokane SASS from the Lilac City Roller Derby League on Saturday night and suffered an epic defeat.
The Dams were behind from the get-go as the SASS effectively blocked the Dams’ jammers — the player on the team who scores points by skating past the opposing team’s blockers — time and time again.
The SASS players also proved effective at claiming lead jam — their jammer consistently made it through the pack first, not only giving them the opportunity to score first but to call off the jam once the Dams’ jammer had finally broken through the pack and was coming around to start counting points.
The Spokane SASS were so effective that it proved a big challenge for the Dams and one they weren’t able to overcome during the bout.
“It was really fun; it was very difficult,” said Dams captain Kristina Kruchkowski Conroy, a.k.a. Kitty Karnage.
“They are a really strong team. It was really challenging. Even when our jammers seemed to break through, they had the recycling down, so the jammer would get out and they just recycled right in front. So our jammers had a really hard time to get any points.”
Conroy said the Spokane SASS were so strong that the Dams’ blockers weren’t able to help out their jammers as much, which also made it a hard bout.
“It’s good for us though. It gives us a goal of where we need to be and just shows us what we need to focus on going forward,” said Conroy.
In practice, the Dams have been working on an offensive strategy where the jammer gets the attention of the opposing team’s blockers so that her own blockers can come in and help her.
“A lot of it is when the jammer does her sparkle and shine because then all eyes are on her and that the most effective time to help, so that’s what we’ve been trying to focus on,” said Conroy. “But this game wasn’t good for us for helping because their jammers were so strong, we really needed all four people to stop them, so we weren’t able to send that help.”
In the second half, the Dams also faced the serious obstacle of having their jammers take multiple penalties in a row.
When the jammer is sent to the penalty box, they remain the jammer, and the team loses the ability to score for the duration of the penalty.
“As people probably noticed, a jammer getting a penalty really kills the point spread,” said Conroy. “Having a jammer on our team go into the box three or four times in a row, they were really able to rack up some big points on that and it’s hard to come back from that.”
The Dams lost the bout 288-50.
For upcoming action, the team will be on the road in March, playing in Kelowna, and their next home game will be April 7, when they will host a mini-tournament with Fernie’s Avalanche City Roller Girls and Missoula, Mont.’s Hellgate Roller Derby team.
The Dams will also host the Penticton Pistoleras during Sunfest.