The Sea to Sky Sirens were looking for revenge in front of more than 500 fans at their home turf at Brennan Park Recreation Centre on Saturday (June 23), but the Harbour City Rollers from Nanaimo showed the Sirens what island girls are made of with a final score of 244-209.
“We were playing our strategies really well,” said Sirens coach Stan DaSide, describing the first half of the match.
“Everybody was doing what they were supposed to do and we weren’t incurring penalties. We were playing fairly clean.”
The lead bounced between the two teams for the first minutes of the game until the Sirens broke away with a 27-point power jam by crowd favourite Honey Badger. Spunk Monkey posted 59 points, more than any jammer in the first half, with a follow-up string of power jams resulting in a formidable 151-76 halftime lead for the Sirens.
Coming out of the locker room with a renewed blocking strategy, the Rollers managed to turn the tables on the home team and capitalize on a string of power jams against Squamish.
“Our jammers and our blockers got into a bit of penalty trouble,” DaSide said.
“We spent a lot of time in the box and they wracked up a whole bunch of points on us to nail the lead. They were building a very strong back wall, so our jammer was coming into that wall fast, causing a back-blocking penalty.”
With a Sirens jammer in the penalty box for 60 seconds at a time, the Rollers slowly closed the gap until they took the lead by scoring 64 points over three power jams. Harbour City jammer Smasha Ho Dawn then scattered the Sirens with a period-high score of 67.
“The game can turn on a dime when the jammer is in the box for too long,” DaSide said.
Unable to score until the last five minutes of the game, the Rollers’ lead was too large for Squamish to recoup. But the Sirens would not lay down in front of their home crowd, scoring in the minutes before the final whistle and closing the final score to a respectable 35-point difference.
“We were hoping for a bit of revenge,” said Sirens jammer/blocker Mala Justed.
The Rollers defeated the Sirens by 43 points in the first bout of their inaugural season last year.
“They had a really strong wall that was holding our jammers. You fight that for a while and then eventually you get tired and frustrated,” said Mala Justed of the second half.
“It’s one wrong move and you’re in the box. You try to play clean as much as you can, but the longer you have to fight, the harder it gets to stay clean.”
The next home bout will take place July 7 against the Chilliwack NWO Roller Girls at Brennan Park and the Sirens hope to draw a crowd as enthusiastic and loud as they saw on Saturday night.
“It’s their yelling and cheering that keeps me going when I break through the pack,” said Mala Justed.