MOUNT VERNON — It took them four tries, but the Central Ohio Roller Dolls have registered a victory in the win column.
Led by ShaSam’s 66-point effort in the first half, the Roller Dolls earned their first-ever bout victory, beating Pennsylvania Underground Roller Rebellion by a final score of 179-170 in Mount Vernon Academy’s gymnasium on Sunday afternoon.
“Overall, we played really well today,” said Bridget Murphy, also known as PB SlammHer. “We played hard and tried not to make mistakes. We played great and our opponents played great, but we played just a little bit better. We needed this one.”
Since he was on the sideline shouting instructions to his players, Roller Dolls head coach Micha Grubaugh, aka Akilla The Fun, saw many similarities between this home bout and the one two weeks ago, where his team lost 204-196 against First Settlement of Marietta.
“It was scary,” Akilla The Fun said. “For me, it was a lot like our last home bout. We got a big lead early and the game was very close at the end, but the girls fought hard today. I am sorry that there had to be a loser today.”
The win improves the Roller Dolls’ record to 1-3, while the loss worsens the Roller Rebellion’s record to 0-2. For Grubaugh, this was an important win for not only himself, but also the team.
“(This win) means a ton to me,” he said. “A team has to build off wins. Winning is contagious. If a team finds a way to win, the team will remember it. The same goes for losing. The girls needed this one today.”
With a few minutes remaining in the bout, Grubaugh called his last timeout to organize his team. He was a little nervous, but the message to the team was clear.
“I told the team that we are still in the game,” Grubaugh said. “I put my biggest and strongest blockers in the game and I knew if we got the lead jammer, we would be in good shape.”
Besides ShaSam’s 66 first-half points, PB SlammHer added 30 first-half points, while captain Green Hell-Ana chipped in with 25 first-half points of her own for the Roller Dolls. Roller Rebellion’s Inked Assassin finished the contest with 105 points.
Within the first two minutes of the bout, Inked Assassin, who was named MVP jammer in her team’s first outing of the season, scored the game’s first 20 points, but the Hermitage, Pa.-based club’s lead did not last for long.
A 21-point jam by ShaSam secured the first lead change of the afternoon and gave the home team a 41-26 lead with 19:30 left in the first half.
“It was huge to take the lead,” PB SlammHer said. “We made it a priority to hold onto the lead. Taking the lead changed the game for us, and that is why we won the game today.”
A 10-point jam by Green Hell-Ana extended the Roller Dolls’ lead to 56-31 with half of the first period concluded. PB SlammHer’s 12-point jam increased the lead to 84-50 and with halftime in sight, ShaSam tallied a 24-point jam to hand the Roller Dolls a 121-73 halftime lead.
“I thought they (PB SlammHer and ShaSam) were fantastic,” Grubaugh said. “We put ShaSam against their best power jammer to keep the points low. She overly exceeded my expectations for her. PB SlammHer skated clean and got us many points. It was the best performance from those two to date.”
After Zombie Enforcer added three points to make the score 126-77, PB SlammHer was at it again as her 8-point jam gave the Roller Dolls a 134-81 lead with 24:45 remaining in the bout.
Even though they were down for a majority of the game, the Roller Rebellion did not quit. An 18-point jam by Sophonda Drama and a 9-point jam by Inked Assassin cut the deficit to 145-136 with 15 minutes remaining.
Down by 13 with time almost up, the Roller Rebellion had one last chance to snatch victory from the clutches of the Roller Dolls. The Roller Dolls were prepared to stop the Roller Rebellion, which is why PB SlammHer was not worried about her team letting another lead slip away.
The Roller Dolls were able to hold Inked Assassin to four points, thus recording the victory in front of their fans.
“I am on cloud nine right now,” PB SlammHer said. “With two home bouts left, I believe we will continue to carry on.”
The Roller Dolls will look to make it two straight home victories when they take on the Southern Belles on Sunday, July 21. Start time is slated for 2 p.m. at MVA’s gymnasium.
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