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World Cup: USA Hammers New Zealand, 377-8

TORONTO, ON -- New Zealand had the unfortunate distinction of being the first team to face perhaps the best collection of flat-track talent ever assembled when they took on Team USA in the fourth 40-minute round-robin game at Toronto's Roller Derby World Cup. USA's extremely experienced and athletic squad didn't allow a single point for New Zealand for the first 32 minutes while scoring at a clip of nearly 10 points a minute on their way to a 377-8 victory.

New Zealand came out looking feisty with an opening haka right up in an unfazed Team USA's assembled equipment check, but the first jam went pretty much as expected; Atomatrix ran up a huge 35-0 while New Zealand's jammer Evil K'Neevil was battered by USA's defense and eventually landed in the penalty box. NZ attempted to play a back wall game against the Americans by rushing the jammer line, but to no avail; Bonnie Thunders added 14-0 on jam 2 and her Gotham teammate Suzy Hotrod put up 5 more, although not without taking a big takeout hit from New Zealand's Terror Satana. After three jams and five minutes, USA was up 54-0.

Although New Zealand's blockers did an impressive job of beating on Team USA's jammers, they were too strong to be taken down and usually shrugged off blockers rather than getting knocked off their lines; meanwhile, the USA defense, featuring particularly hard-nosed play from Tracy Akers and Psycho Babble along with Sassy's calm control of the front of the pack, repeatedly refused New Zealand's jammers. Team USA's lead hit triple digits on a huge jam to Urrk'n Jerk'n as Booty Blockya after 11 minutes, putting the Americans up 108-0, and Suzy Hotrod made mincemeat of the NZ defense on a followup lopsided powerjam; she motored through for 35-0 and forced an New Zealand timeout with the score 143-0 after just 13 and a half minutes.

The score grew to 158-0 with about 4:40 to play in the half before New Zealand got an opportunity when USA's jammer Bonnie Thunders cut her way to the box; however, Sexy Slaydie, Sassy, Atomatrix and Disco Akers bashed on Axl-Slash-R to kill half the power play and then followup jammer Evil K'Neevil was boxed after receiving similar treatment from Teflon Donna, Frida Beater, Urrk'n Jerk'n and Psycho Babble next. The powerjam opportunity slipped away with no score for New Zealand and USA up 178-0. The 20 minute half ended with a 25-0 jam to Atomatrix that left the halftime score a bracing 203-0.

It was clear that the second half would be more of the same when Urrk'n Jerk'n busted a natural 25-0 to open the last 20 minutes; NZ got some more hard effective hitting from Terror Satana in the pack, but there was no offense to speak of as New Zealand's jammers could do nothing against the relentless, slow Team USA walls. USA continued scoring points at a clip of almost exactly 10 points a minute, hitting 307-0 with 9:40 left in the game.

In the last ten minutes, New Zealand finally got points on two jams - one a 13-4 loss for Axl-Slash-R, who used New Zealand's only lead jammer call of the game to fight all jam long for her scoring pass while Teflon Donna racked up a few passes, the other one on a 4-4 for Skate the Muss over lead jammer Atomatrix, who waited a bit too long to call it. Though both jams were immense crowd-pleasers, the final tally on the scoreboard reflected USA's massive dominance -- 377-8.

USA's roster for this game was Joy Collision, Tracy Akers, Atomatrix, Bonnie Thunders (skating as Nicole Williams), Urrk'n Jerk'n as Booty Blockya, Psycho Babble, Sassy, Suzy Hotrod, Tannibal Lector, Frida Beater, Sexy Slaydie, Fisti Cuffs, Teflon Donna and Donna Matrix (skating as Anna Kohlberg).

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ouch.

for games like this I think teams would do well to remember that at the first national tournament in 2005 Rocky Mountain took last place, and of course became champions a few years later. Everyone starts out as a loser, but it's having the gumption to take the painful losses and what you do after that determines whether you remain losers or become winners.

I'm sure NZ knew this was a

I'm sure NZ knew this was a tough one but someone had to face them and who better than the hard-hitting Team New Zealand! Their Haka was one of the defining moments of today and they played the game out with so much tenacity that while the US packs and jammers owned the game, NZ fought to the very end and should be proud.

NZ Haka