By Jim Rueda
Free Press Sports Editor
A big first-half lead for the Mankato Area Derby Girls squad was the difference on Saturday as the local squad earned its second home victory in as many outings at the Verizon Wireless Center.
The Mankato-based team rolled to a 102-37 first-half lead but then had to hold off a furious charge by the Moose Lake Mafia to record a 168-109 triumph. The bout was played before a crowd of about 1,400 people.
“I think they were figuring out what we were trying to do,” said the MAD Girls’ Naughty-Nelly (Janelle Meyer of Fairmont). “We got the big lead on them but then they adjusted and the points were a little tougher to come by.”
Strawberry StrikeHer was again the leading scorer for Mankato with 47 points but, after a fast start, she cooled off and some of the other team members picked up the slack. Nurse Nutcase, Naughty Nelly and Brutal Army Barbie all posted good numbers.
Nutcase finished with 34 points, Nelly ended up with 27 and Brutal Army Barbie came away with 20. BA Barbie painted her face up in camouflage colors for Saturday’s bout and immediately became a fan favorite.
“I’m in the Army Reserves with the 429th out of Mankato,” Brutal Army Barbie said. “I just thought it would add a little more fun to the night. It’s fun to try different things.”
Barbie (Paula Olson of Madelia) is an electrician with her Army Reserve unit. Most of her company was away training this weekend but she said they came out in full force at the team’s first home bout a month ago.
Naughty Nelly second the strong fan support was not totally unexpected.
“Our home crowd has been fantastic,” she said. “I might have been surprised at the crowd tonight if we hadn’t drawn so well at the first one.”
The MAD Girls tried a number of different jammers Saturday to try to keep the team fresh. The fact that most team members are becoming better skaters as the season goes along gives coach Just J an option to try different people.”
Barbie credited the team’s blockers for Saturday’s win.
“They’re really improving,” she said. “Some of them are jammers, too, and when you know how to jam it helps you think and anticipate as a blocker.”
Among the team’s top blockers Saturday were Red Molly, ButsyRoll, Hula Hoopla, Andy Gorehol and Ver-Rockin-Ya.
The MAD Girls will be on the road for their final three bouts. They take on the St. Cloud Area Roller Dolls on June 22, battle the Cedar Rapids Rollergirls on July 20, and meet the Goosetown Roller Girls in New Ulm on Sept. 21.