FIRST-HALF BLUES

By Robert Husseman, The Triplicate July 17, 2012 03:11 pm

Tsunami Sirens lose early 18-point lead, fail to catch up to Assassins

 Tsunami Sirens jammer Shellie “sHell On Wheels” Duncan, left, wearing the star on her helmet, makes a pass through a pack of blockers as Cynthia “Ms. CynAsster” Ford, center, keeps a member of the Shasta Assassins at bay during Saturday night’s roller derby bout at the Del Norte County Fairgrounds. The Assassins, based in Redding, defeated the Sirens, 149-77. Del Norte Triplicate/Robert Husseman
Tsunami Sirens jammer Shellie “sHell On Wheels” Duncan, left, wearing the star on her helmet, makes a pass through a pack of blockers as Cynthia “Ms. CynAsster” Ford, center, keeps a member of the Shasta Assassins at bay during Saturday night’s roller derby bout at the Del Norte County Fairgrounds. The Assassins, based in Redding, defeated the Sirens, 149-77. Del Norte Triplicate/Robert Husseman
One year ago, the Tsunami Sirens were humbled at the hands of the Shasta Assassins of Redding, losing a bout by 170 points.

On Saturday, the Sirens held the lead for much of the first half against the Assassins but fell behind by 44 at intermission, eventually losing 149-77.

“I think our team fought until the end,” Siren Heather “Nursin A. Grudge” Larson said. “We did a little bit better than (the last time).”

Danielle “Ragin’ Reg” Arispe scored 18 points in two of the Sirens’ first five jams, helping the Sirens take a 22-4 lead. The Assassins began chipping away from there, although Shellie “sHell On Wheels” Duncan’s four-point jam for the Sirens briefly increased the lead to 28-21.

Four jams later, Shasta led 68-28 and the Tsunami Sirens never would get closer than 37 points.

“Fifteen minutes in, they figured out that we were putting our power (blockers) on the inside and outside,” Sirens coach Jack “Old Xchool” Gollaher said. “They went straight up the middle. It was outstanding work.”

The Assassins followed up with their offensive surge by tightening the proverbial screws defensively, allowing the Sirens just seven points over the final nine jams of the first half.

 Tsunami Siren Danielle “Ragin’ Reg” Arispe shoulder-blocks a Shasta Assassin jammer during Saturday’s bout at the Del Norte County Fairgrounds. The Sirens lost the bout, 149-77. Del Norte Triplicate/Robert Husseman
Tsunami Siren Danielle “Ragin’ Reg” Arispe shoulder-blocks a Shasta Assassin jammer during Saturday’s bout at the Del Norte County Fairgrounds. The Sirens lost the bout, 149-77. Del Norte Triplicate/Robert Husseman
“Shasta’s a team that hits really hard,” said Siren Jennifer “Jentropy” Murphy. “They’re very good at barely legal hits. It was just impressive to watch (on the track). All four blockers would focus on the (Sirens’) jammer.”

Duncan, Murphy and Arispe combined to score 16 points for the Sirens in the first four jams of the second half. Shasta matched them with two grand slams and never allowed more than eight points in a Siren jam. The Assassins racked up six grand slams in the second half to the Sirens’ two.

“We needed to hold their jammers, and their jammers are so sneaky,” Gollaher said. “We’d get ours out (in the lead); they’d get theirs out (shortly after). You’ve only got time to score two, three points and call (the jam) out.”

Additionally, the Sirens hurt themselves with penalties, specifically on jammers. Shasta had seven power jams — opportunities to score while the other jammer is in the penalty box — during the game; the Sirens had two.

“They were never over there (in the penalty box) and we always were,” Larson said.

Murphy was one of two Sirens on loan from other derby teams due to scheduling conflicts for other players. Murphy competes for the Peninsula Roller Girls in Redwood City and lives in Palo Alto; she made a nine-hour drive to lace up her skates for the Sirens.

“It was my first time skating with girls I’d never played with before,” said Murphy, who scored  14 points for the Sirens. “It was definitely really different. By the second half, things started to get a lot better.”

Gollaher considered the bout, which dropped the Sirens’ overall record to 3-3, “a win for us.”

“We were giving it to them,” he said. “This was a really physical bout. As you move up in the ranks, it gets more and more physical. (The Assassins) are athletes.”

The Sirens will play the Redding Roller Girls in Redding on Aug. 25 in their next bout.

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